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Editorial

Dear CCS Champion,

Wishing you a happy New Year! I hope your 2016 has started on a meaningful note.

The Government of India is drafting a National Education Policy (NEP) this year to improve educational opportunities and outcomes to put India among the global leaders in education. The Drafting Committee had been given the deadline of 31 December 2015 but the draft is yet to be made public. The Government has also embarked on a time-bound grassroots consultative process, which will enable the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) to reach out to individuals across the country. They aim to achieve this through 2.75 lakh direct consultations at the local and state level and online inputs from citizens via www.mygov.in on 33 themes identified for discussions.

Many of the national level government organisations like NCERT, NEUPA, NCT, UGC, and Association of Indian Universities are also holding consultations with experts, academics and activists. Summary and synthesis of all these consultations would be given to the Drafting Committee.

People at all levels are articulating and voicing their ideas and expectations about the NEP. However, neither the Prime Minister nor the HRD Minister has said a word about their ideas and expectations from NEP. The discourse so far has been one-sided and it is urgent that it becomes two-way exchange and debate for a robust NEP to emerge. One hopes that after the first Draft is out, this exchange and debate would be at the centre of the process of decision making.

We at CCS are also doing our part for the challenging task of getting NEP Right! We have been part of some of the consultations and have organized our own roundtables. We have given policy briefs with ideas and suggestions to the MHRD Minister and concerned organisations and individuals. A core document details CCS approach to NEP.

It is time to redefine the central idea governing education for a new India—we need a policy framework that keeps students first: An education system that works for students and not for the adults who manage it. It should put parents and local governments in charge, create more choice and competition with autonomy and accountability. It must be designed to encourage adaptation and innovation at the teacher, school and the system level. The three core values that should be at the heart of NEP are Choice, Autonomy and Innovation.

  • CHOICE: Create a framework that respects and enables all stakeholders to exercise the power of choice. This will particularly empower and engage parents and students in the learning process and make the education system responsive to their needs and aspirations, and not those of the activists and experts. The flipside of choice is competition—all schools (and colleges) would compete to attract and retain students by offering higher quality at affordable cost.
  • AUTONOMY: To make the education system student centric by offering them choices, it is imperative that all providers of education at all levels—from teachers, principals to regulators—have the highest degree of autonomy. This autonomy would be tied to accountability by focusing on outcomes and not inputs.
  • INNOVATION: A system that has such a tremendous impact on individuals, economy and society has seen very little innovation that can impact the millions of students. Disruptive technologies, gamification, mobile apps that can help meet the delivery challenges as well as personalised education are critical. Blended classrooms or flipped classrooms type of interventions are making the current processes more efficient and customised. But we may need to think about a completely different education system for the 21st century than just re-engineering the 20th century factory model of education.

NEP is critical since it will guide all education reforms for a long time to come. Join us in the Get NEP Right campaign:

  • Partner with us to host roundtables and meets with select groups of policy makers and influencers;
  • Volunteer your time and network for our advocacy efforts;
  • Sponsor full time staff for 3-6 months;
  • Provide platforms and technology to conduct mass public discussion on the Draft NEP;
  • Donate towards the campaign expenses.

For more information, please write to baishali@ccs.in. I look forward to your continued support to help our government do the right thing!

May the New Year bring each individual a life of CHOICE!

Parth

POLICY WIN
New Education Policy

Influencing the New Education Policy
We brought together 30 policy makers and education experts together during two roundtables organized jointly with the Shayma Prasad Mukherjee Research Foundation and Brookings Institute in Delhi. A joint letter and recommendations have been submitted to the HRD Minister. Our representatives also participated and submitted our recommendations at the state level consultations in Hyderabad, Allahabad, Guwahati and Bangalore. Our ideas were featured during a 30 min program on NEP in Lok Sabha TV. Watch the full episode here. CCS board member and public intellectual Gurcharan Das’s article Expectations from NEP to Smriti Irani was published in Times of India and was sent to all state education ministers along with our reform ideas.

Delhi government adopts CCS’s centralised lottery idea for 25% EWS admissions under RTE Act
The circular by the Delhi government highlights three key recommendations unique to CCS:

  1. Income limit for EWS (1 lakh): Most states are yet to define income criteria for EWS which is a great move from the point of view of ensuring admissions to 'truly deserving' candidates.
  2. Definition of underprivileged: Clearly defined and therefore easier for schools to verify claims.
  3. Relaxed neighborhood criteria: Which can turn into the biggest game-changer going forward especially if 25% reservation is actually to work along the lines of a voucher system.

Improving India’s ranking in World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business report:
We submitted our policy recommendations to the parliamentary standing committee constituted to look into the progress made into ease of doing business efforts taken up by the government and were invited to make a presentation in September. The standing committee submitted its report in parliament on 21 December which was presented in both houses of parliament wherein CCS has been given due credit for several recommendations. The committee engaged all concerned ministries and departments including key authorities of the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), the apex body responsible for improving India’s rankings which has consented to the recommendations to be implemented in the days ahead. You will find our recommendations here.

Ease of Doing Business

Tracking 32 State Ranking on the 98 point action plan of Ease of Doing Business
We launched a dynamic website www.easeofdoingbusiness.org on 1 November to track the progress made by state governments on the 98 point action plan laid down by DIPP. Of the 32 states and Union territories (UTs) evaluated, no state has been able to secure 'Leader' category, i.e. completed 75% of the reforms in the 98-point action plan. Seven are aspiring leaders. Twenty-five states and UTs are in 'acceleration required' category, i.e. completed less than 50% of the reforms. 16 are 'jump-start needed'. Gujarat tops the list with 71%. To know more about how you can partner with us contact amit@ccs.in.

Protecting Livelihood Freedom of Street Enterpreneurs
CCS filed a petition in the Rajasthan High Court to stop eviction of street vendors and implement the Street Vendors Act 2014. The Rajasthan High Court ruled in favor of the street vendors putting stay on eviction and asked the state government to prepare a comprehensive plan regarding vending in the state. However, the judgment had one technical flaw as it noted that the Central Act was not notified specifically for the state of Rajasthan and although the state law also does not allow it, they continued eviction. We filed a petition at the Supreme Court requesting clarification that the Central Act be applicable to all states. The Court asked Jaipur Municipal Corporation to hold a meeting with aggrieved parties and prepare an action plan, which incorporates several ideas by CCS and submit to the Court. The matter is now pending and the next date of hearing is 19 Feb 2016.

IDEA WIN
UnpackED Launched

UNPACKED launched
In attempts to reform education, several stakeholders have undertaken small and large scale initiatives. Karthik Dinne, a public policy enthusiast in this book synthesizes lessons from these attempts and debates across different strands of education - assessments, pedagogy, governance and argues that weak state capacity is the critical constraint in the school education reform currently. UnpackED was launched at the School Choice National Conference 2015. Download your copy here.

Budget Private Schools

Meta-Study on Budget Private Schools (BPS) in India
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 BPS in India’s school education ecosystem. The detailed paper is available here.

Model Rules on Implementation of Street Vendors Act (SVA) 2014
We created rules for implementation of SVA and submitted to Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, GOI and State Urban Development Ministries of Rajasthan and Delhi. You will find the rules here. You can also find our proposed amendments to the Delhi government rules here.

PEOPLE WIN
S V Raju Conference

Honoring India’s Liberal Giant SV Raju
In partnership with the Friedrich Naumann Foundation, we hosted an academic conference, Liberalism in India–Past, Present and Future on 20 November 2015 in New Delhi. Shashi Tharoor, Indian politician and public intellectual delivered the keynote address at the conference which saw the participation of over 150 delegates including leading opinion makers, political party members, think tank and NGO leaders, corporate, scholars, fellows and students. The conference was held to honor S V Raju, Secretary of Swatantra Party and President of Indian Liberal Group who passed away earlier in 2015. Seven authors including Seetha, Senior Journalist,  Surjit Bhalla, Chairman & MD of Oxus Investments,  R Jagannathan, Editor-in-Chief, Firstpost, Parth J Shah, President, CCS, Barun Mitra,  Founder & Director, Liberty Institute, J P Narayan, Founder, Lok Satta Party, Jerry Rao, ex-CEO, MPhasis, and Nitin Pai, Founder, Takshashila, presented their papers (the abstracts of which can be accessed here). The papers presented at the conference will be published as a Festschrift in May 2016.

School Choice National Conference 2015

School Choice National Conference on NEP
Our annual flagship conference brought together over 200 educationists, planners, policy experts, activists, school owners and government officials to discuss and debate policy proposals for the NEP. The conference focused on areas of policy reform that need to be streamlined towards achieving choice for students and parents, autonomy for schools and teachers, and accountability of the system. Speakers at the conference included Geeta Gandhi Kingdon, Meeta Sengupta, Premila Nazareth Satyanand, Vyjayanthi Sankar, Murlidhar Koteshwar, Amitav Virmani among others. Watch video documentation here.

Jeevika 2015

12th Jeevika Asia Livelihood Documentary Festival
We received 115 documentaries (16 international productions and seven student documentaries) and screened 26 shortlisted ones during the three day festival from 30 October- 1 November at Siri Fort Auditorium, New Delhi. This year we launched a new initiative under the Jeevika banner—EduDoc, Stories of Edupreneurs, an international short film competition to bring to light inspiring stories of education entrepreneurs from across the globe. The highlight of the festival were three panel discussions on Law, Liberty & Livelihood, Clean India, Clean Statutes and Ease of Doing Business. Shailaja Chandra, policy analyst and former Chief Secretary of Government of Delhi, Raghav Chadha, spokesperson for Aam Aadmi Party, Gopal Krishna Agarwal, national Spokesperson of BJP and Anil Khaitan, Chairman of SNK Corp. were some of the panelists. The  2015 winners along with the winning categories can be accessed here. We received over 45 media mentions this year making it the biggest festival till date. If you would like to screen Jeevika films in your city contact manoj@ccs.in.

Law and Liberty Conference

First Law & Liberty Conference in India
CCS in collaboration with The Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies, Jindal Global Law School (JGLS) and Jindal School of Government and Public Policy (JSGP), jointly hosted a two-day international conference on ‘Law and Liberty’ at the O.P. Jindal Global University on 18-19 Sep. Dr. C. Raj Kumar, Vice Chancellor, O.P. Jindal Global University (JGU), Prof. Michael Davis, Distinguished Visiting Professor, JGLS & Professor, Faculty of Law, The University of Hong Kong, Shruti Rajgopalan, Asst. Prof of Economics, State University of New York, Madhavi Divan, Advocate, Supreme Court of India, Shubho Roy from the National Institute for Public Finance and Policy, Arghya Sengupta, Director of Vidhi Centre for Law and Policy,  Prof. James Huffman, Erskine Wood Sr. Professor of Law, Lewis and Clarke Law School, Prof. James Kelly, President of the Solidarity Center for Law and Justice, USA were some among the 16 speakers featured during the conference. For more details on the conference, please see: Media coverage | Photos on Facebook.

Freedom Caravan

Freedom Caravan reaches 13 colleges in Mumbai & Delhi
CCS Academy brought together over 1200 students to explore ideas about individual liberty and economic prosperity. We partnered with six colleges in Delhi ( DTU, OP Jindal University, Jesus & Mary College, Dayal Singh College and IP college and Delhi School of Economics) and seven colleges in Mumbai (NMIMS, IIT Bombay, SK Somaiya, Government Law College, Jai Hind, Sophia College and RamNarayan Ruia College). Some of the key speakers at the program were 2015 Bastiat Award winner Amit Varma and iJustice lead Prashant Narang.

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