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Drought, truck stir hit textbook printing

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BENGALURU: Schools have reopened across the state but students are yet to get their textbooks. Why the delay? The state's answer: Drought.
When the issue rocked both Houses of legislature, primary and secondary education minister Tanveer Sait said: "Because of a harsh summer and drought in the state, there has been a shortage of water. This, in turn, has affected paper production. With paper not being easily available, printing of textbooks was affected."
Sait's statement was made in the backdrop of criticism by Visveswara Hegde Kageri and Arun Shahpur (both BJP) over the failure to print and distribute textbooks to students on time. On Wednesday , Kageri alleged that nearly 50% of the textbooks had not reached schools.

Shahpur slammed the government for taking up print ing at a time when distribu tion should have been completed. "Now it appears that textbook distribution will be completed only by end Au gust," he stated, warning that further delay would put more pressure on students and teachers. "The government has revised the syllabus and students have no clue what they have to study ," he said.

Sait, admitting to hurdles in the initial stages, said: "But steps were taken to expedite the distribution process. Cur rently, 97% of printing is complete and around 90% of the textbooks have been distributed. Since we barred private schools from selling their own textbooks, some schools have not sourced textbooks from us and this has created confusion. We will take action against such schools that are not lifting textbooks."

On drought affecting printing, the minister said: "Major paper factories suspended operations because of water scarcity and this triggered a paper shortage in the market.Water is one of the key components in paper production."
Sait said the government tried to tide over the crisis by sourcing paper from factories, but hit another hurdle as they demanded advance payments.


TNN | Jun 15, 2017,
posted Jun 16, 2017 by Sidharth Appu

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Photo source: TOI

BENGALURU: The Congress lost the plot completely in the no-trust move in the legislative council by banking entirely on two legislators for additional votes, writes Naheed Ataulla.Council chairman DH Shankaramurthy survived the motion by a single vote.The Congress is said to have spent its energy on getting two MLCs -Puttanna and D U Mallikarjun -on their side and seeking support from the JD(S). Primary and secondary education minister Tanveer Sait said on Friday school that textbooks found to have large-scale errors may be recalled. He, however, added that the errors were in small numbers and so all textbooks need not be recalled.
Since the government has already disbursed as many as 6.80 crore textbooks in 76,000 schools across Karnataka, the possibility of a recall is a matter of grave concern.

Sait told reporters that he has found errors in some textbooks and that necessitates a recall. "In one case, for a particular class, a publisher who was tasked with printing Maths and English textbooks, interchanged the pages with each other. The error hap pened only in one particular batch of textbooks. As a result we will only be recalling that particular batch of textbooks," he said.

The minister said in a few cases transliteration of Kannada prose into English and English into Kannada has seen goof ups owing to inappropriate language usage. "In other cases, conversion of transcript from one software to another has also resulted in errors, which went unnoticed," he said.
"All the 561 modules of text books from classes 1 to 10 are being "re-verified" by the textbook committee and reports will be sought from them to take erroneous textbooks off the shelves," Sait said.

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Being a part of the education industry and even more importantly, being an ardent believer in the power of education, I was thrilled to know that NCERT was planning a review of its school textbooks to incorporate the latest developments. Kudos to the government for doing something that was long due!                                                         (Shobhika Puri a freelance writer)

Reasons for the unease of people concerned about the quality of education are manifold. An important one amongst them is the relevance of what is being taught to the current environment. This is also the reason being cited by the government for the exercise. It says that it wants to incorporate the latest developments like Demonetization and Goods and Services Tax in the school textbooks. Bang on!

The foundation of every state is the education of its youth, and the key to progress is also education. Any government or institution that wants its country to progress, will understand the importance of the review exercise and why it needs to be done well. Need we say more?


+1 vote

Source: TOI

BENGALURU: Flipping through the pages of the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) English textbook for class five, one finds a drawing depicting five men engaged in the construction of a house. Women, who are invariably present at construction sites carrying pans of bricks and cement, are conspicuous by their absence.

The drawing is merely one example of gender bias, and stereotyping, in primary school NCERT textbooks. A study conducted by ActionAid India, a child rights NGO, found that gender stereotypes were found in plenty in the content. Anais Leclere, a French student interning with the NGO, studied the NCERT textbooks for classes one to five, and found a glaring gap between the guidelines of the National Curriculum Framework, and the content in the books.

"The guidelines are very gender-progressive, with the objective being to reach 'equality of outcome', and not just 'equality of opportunity'. Use of gender-sensitive language is also emphasised. But content in some of these textbooks fails to match this ideal," said Leclere.

Besides projecting men as the natural 'heads of the family', roles of women are confined to the domestic sphere, defined largely in relation to males - as mothers and wives. Nearly all money-lenders, shopkeepers, doctors, scientists and soldiers illustrated for explanatory purposes in the textbooks are men, with women portrayed largely as teachers, always clad in saris. The study has raised concerns over how such demarcation between professions could only reinforce gender stereotypes.

Moreover, even outdoor activities have been showcased as being within the exclusive dominion of boys and men. Moreover, even animals have not been spared the bias, with most being referred to in the masculine.

The analysis of the class five English textbook revealed that 56% of the illustrations featured only men and boys, while women were shown in just 20.6%. The remaining diagrams showed both men and women together.

    What is more disturbing is the portrayal of men and women in the stories, where the former are valourised for accomplishing great feats,while women are largely glorified for their helping nature. In the same vein, while qualities such as strength and stamina are ascribed to men, women are seen as being kind and understanding.

    "I did find a few positive stories too, such as the one about a woman joining the Army, along with one that discussed gender bias. Since the NCERT does not write these stories, but just chooses them, there's definitely space for addition of more powerful women-centric stories to the syllabus" said Leclere.

    Kshitij Urs, who heads the Karnataka and Kerala chapters of ActionAid India, said that the Karnataka education board had incorporated some of the suggestions that the NGO had made following an analysis of the state syllabus textbooks. "Similarly, we'll be taking the study to NCERT. While reviewing textbooks is important, we should ensure that our fundamental documents are gender-inclusive," said Urs.

    Kripa Alva, chairperson of the Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights attended the public discussion on the report on Tuesday and extended her support for the cause. Women from different organisations who teach and work with children in slums and villages in and around Bengaluru too participated in the discussion, and shared their experiences.

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    Picture Source: Indian Express

    Textbooks should not be used as “ideological battleground” between the Left and the Right and should only be children-centric, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia has conveyed to HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar today.

    Sisodia, who is also Delhi’s Education Minister, made the observations at a crucial meeting of the National Council of Education Research and Training (NCERT), chaired by Javadekar.

    Content review of textbooks, implementation of learning outcomes, adequate supply of textbooks and recruitment of non-academic staff were among the items on agenda of the 54th General Council meeting of NCERT.

    The meeting was attended by several state education ministers and officials.

    “Successive governments have used education as an ideological battlefield, that is used to force certain narratives on children. Education must not be a platform for any political point-scoring,” Sisodia said.

    “Textbooks must not be used as an ideological battleground between the Left and the Right. They must be designed to suit the needs of the children,” he added.

    The comments by Sisodia come against the backdrop of concerns raised by various quarters about quality of content in NCERT textbooks.

    Maintaining that NCERT textbooks are “confusing, incompetent and text-overloaded”, Sisodia also presented an analysis of the certain books by the council which has been prepared by a team of Delhi government school teachers.

    NCERT had last month invited suggestions and feedback from states and union territories regarding any factual errors in textbooks and required changes in content/concept presentation.

    The deadline for the same is June 30 following which the council will decided on incorporation of changes.

    Officials from the Uttar Pradesh education department expressed the state’s interest in making NCERT textbooks mandatory.

    According to NCERT officials, various states raised the issue of limited availability of NCERT textbooks and the trigger for giving a platform to private publishers.

    The HRD Ministry will next month be conducting a review meeting with NCERT officials to address the issue of availability of textbooks.

    +1 vote


    Photo Credits: TOI

    BENGALURU: It's common for politicians to do nothing but crib about the dwindling number of students in government schools. But a politician-official partnership in Hubballi-Dharwad has managed to arrest this negative trend with a simple strategy: starting pre-primary (kindergarten) classes in government schools.
    The move has yielded positive results as the student intake in Dharwad Urban division has increased by 2,247 students in 61 government schools between 2015-16 and 2017-18. Inspired by the outcome, the government is contemplating starting kindergarten classes in all government schools across the state next year. The finance department is currently evaluating the proposal.

    MLA, Hubbali-Dharwad (West), Arvind Chandrakant Bellad, whose brainchild it was to start kindergarten classes in government schools, said: "We realized that not many parents were putting their kids in government schools because the entry-level age for first standard is five years and ten months. So, parents preferred to send their kids, who have attained three years and ten months and out of playschool, to lower kindergarten (LKG) in private schools. The usual tendency among parents is to continue their kids in private schools and, hence, the number of kids in government schools was low. We decided to bridge the gap between playschool and first standard by commencing kindergarten classes in government schools."

    The move was not an easy one, given the legal hurdles and financial implications involved. Bellad started with the government school at Kelageri village near Dharwad by taking members of the school development and monitoring committee (SDMC) and local education department officials into confidence."We decided to pool in resources and rope in teachers from outside for kindergarten classes. It worked and the number of admissions gradually shot up. The same model was replicated in 36 out of the 63 schools in 201415. It was extended to 40 schools in 2015-16 and 61 schools in 2017-18."

    The education department officials too joined hands by redeploying staff."Some schools had teachers who had little work and some had physical training teachers with less work load. Such teachers were engaged in kindergarten. Of course, they were sensitized about the needs of kids and the larger goal of getting and retaining more students in government schools. We also got teachers from outside by paying them a monthly honorarium of Rs 3,000-4,000," said Bellad. What has made these kindergarten popular among parents is the fact that emphasis is being laid on teaching English along with Kannada.

    Education department officials recently briefed primary education minister Tanveer Sait about the initiative and he was quite appreciative of it

    By Rakesh Prakash