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NITI Aayog’s effort towards reforming Indian Medical Education is a step long overdue. There is a broad consensus across the Parliament, Executive, Judiciary and State Governments to replace the thoroughly corrupt, utterly inefficient and a decrepit Medical Council of India (MCI) with a new commission that meets the aspirations of 21st century India. MCI has neither fulfilled the objective of improving access to medical education nor setting the high professional and ethical standards that the complex healthcare sector demands from the doctors. It has become a textbook example of ‘regulatory capture’. The age old socialist mindset towards regulatory institutions continues to plague many sectors in India, of which MCI is only one example.

NITI Aayog’s radical shift in regulatory philosophy towards liberal and market oriented one can be considered as one of the big bang reforms of the current government. A shift in approach from inputs based norms and standards to the one based on outcomes is definitely going to create a lasting impact in quality of medical education and is expected to set the precedent for other streams of education too.

The National level entrance and exit exams will ensure that merit prevails over discretion and admissions are handled in a transparent manner. Removing entry barriers for private investors by doing away with the infamous ‘non-profit’ tag will address the challenge of access and helps meet the huge demand for medical education in India. Currently, around 11 lakh students chase an odd 55,000 seats and this has given some unscrupulous colleges a free hand in exploiting the artificially induced scarcity.

Largely in consonance with the proposed bill, we would like to bring few specific issues to the Aayog’s notice to help realizing the true spirit of the bill.

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This guidebook is based on Centre for Civil Society's pilot programme Patang, which was implemented in two private schools in Delhi. The objective of Patang was to understand the issues arising from one of the provisions of the Right to Education act (RTE). Section 12 (1)(C) of the RTE Act requires aided and unaided private schools to reserve at least 25% of their entry-level seats for children from economically and socially disadvantaged communities (EWDS). The provision has been severely contested and several systemic and classroom level issues have also been raised against this provision. Patang focuses only on the classroom impact of such a reservation. It was designed as an intervention to understand:

  • the challenges of inclusion in private schools enrolling EWDS students under the reservation category
  • efforts required to address these challenges
  •  the policy implications for improving inclusion in schools.

The guidebook with details of the programme also highlights the struggles and successes of the intervention. It provides concrete steps to help schools create an inclusive environment for students especially those from the EWDS background.

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The Union education budget has seen an increase in monetary allocation every year and the enrolment rate across the country has also been largely moving upwards. It becomes important to scrutinise the education budget for 2014-15 to understand how the new government has approached the education sector, especially elementary and secondary education. This paper looks at four major schemes undertaken by the Government of India in the education sector,and identifies trends in state education budgets by analysing data for three sample states—Gujarat, Maharashtra and Rajasthan.

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The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act (RTE), 2009 ratified education as a fundamental right and seeks to promote equitable access to education for all children up to the age of 14 years. However, the Act focuses almost entirely on school inputs and not on learning outcomes. The lack of a focus on output has been accompanied by poor learning outcomes, increased pressure on government capacity and the implementation of policies that may not necessarily give the returns in terms of improving outcomes. In this paper, we argue for a case to shift the focus of education investment from inputs to outcomes, outlining the recognition norms defined under the RTE. We review the literature available to examine whether a correlation between input norms and learning outcomes exists and make recommendations for an outcomes-focused policy approach to improving the quality of education.

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The paper reports on existing incentive structures in a sample of government and private schools in Delhi and elicits teachers’ perspectives on factors which motivate them. It is found that performance-related pay and promotions are important monetary incentives for teachers. Recognition, regular evaluation and monitoring and contractual based employment are found to be important non-monetary incentives. Having a large class size, having to teach subjects outside of a teacher’s expertise and performing clerical duties are found to be some significant disincentives for teachers.

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Budget Private Schools (BPS) are privately-run schools that charge very low fees, operating among the poorer sections of the society and have become relevant to the education discourse of India. Such small schools began mushrooming in the late 1980s across developing countries as alternatives to dysfunctional state-run schools and India was no exception. However, the in the succeeding two decades, BPS contributed heavily to the soaring enrollment rates in private schools. These schools have been referred to in literature as “low-fee private schools”, “affordable private schools” and “private schools for the poor” among others, and are considered an entrepreneurial response to meet urgent education needs by expanding access to the poorest children. Despite lack of infrastructure and facilities, studies over the past decade has shown that learning outcomes in these schools are equal to or better than those of far more resourceful government schools. Despite huge spending over the past decade and more, the government still faces the challenges of millions of out-of-school children, high dropout rates after elementary education and low female enrolment among other things. It is in this context that existing literature on such low-fee charging private schools is being analysed to gain a better understanding of the situation in different parts of India about the achievements, challenges and overarching role of Budget Private Schools (BPS) in India’s school education ecosystem.

Studies published in the late 1990’s to as recent as 2014 have been included in the analysis and this meta-study has attempted to capture as wide a range of issues related to BPS from learning outcomes and regulations to gender problems and questions of equity while trying to maintain as much geographic coverage as possible at the same time. This study aims to understand why parents are increasingly choosing to send their children to BPS even in places with access to government-run schools, how children in BPS are performing relative to government schools and how regulations are affecting the functioning of BPS, besides trying to gain some clarity about the direction in which education in India is headed in this context.

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The paper examines the current state of funding of school education in India and identifies the inefficiencies and arbitrary nature of allocation of the system and suggests an alternative per-child funding model. The paper argues for the model on the basis of school choice and decentralized school administration, which would result in schools competing to be efficient in spending to attract/maintain students. The paper draws from such existing models in countries like Canada, Netherlands and UK while using the San Francisco School District's model as a detailed case study to further strengthen the argument for such a per-child model of funding.

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The Indian education ecosystem today consists of the government, private sector, and nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) that have helped provide education to millions of children. The enactment of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act (RTE), in 2009 should have enhanced private sector participation manifold. However, given the current legal framework, the environment is not conducive for the entry and sustenance of private players.

Given this context, this paper seeks to examine the current legislative framework in Delhi and Gujarat, which is acting as a bottleneck for edupreneurs to enter the education sector.

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This is an in-depth research conducted in two districts of Punjab – Barnala and Mansa – to understand the impact of school closures on various stakeholders namely students, parents, school owners and teachers. The purpose of conducting this study has been two fold. Firstly, to understand any monetary and non-monetary implications of school closure on the various stakeholders and secondly, to explore any irregularities involved in the procedural mechanism for shutting down a school. The field study was conducted in 32 schools covering both districts in the form of Focussed group discussions (FGD) and Semi-Structured Interviews (SSI).

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With the objective of shifting regulatory focus towards some of the above issues, Centre for Civil Society brought together some of India’s eminent educationists and thought leaders to identify specific amendments to the RTE Act, which would ensure quality education for all in India. Key concerns regarding the structure and impact of the RTE were discussed, and based on this, recommendations for amendments to the RTE Act 2009 have been drafted. RTE 2.0: Building Consensus on Amendments truly aimed at weeding out the pain areas in the existing scheme of things, finding out what works and what doesn’t, and introducing actual amendments to the text of the Act.

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