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How KG classes boosted student strength in schools

+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


Rakesh Prakash | TNN | Jun 19, 2017,
posted Jun 19, 2017 by anonymous

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BENGALURU: While modern educationalists  believe that extra-curricular activities play an important role in moulding GenNext  and sports administrators  dream of producing  world class talent,, the situation on the ground is rather dismal.
As per the latest government data, only five of the 778 elementary and secondary government schools in the Bengaluru educational division have playgrounds. Primary and secondary education minister Tanveer Sait shared it in the legislative council on March 24 to a question raised by Ganesh Karnik (BJP). 

According to the state's sports policy, at least 1 acre for a primary school and 2.5 acres for an upper primary school should be available for use as playgrounds. If playgrounds are not available, the Karnataka Knowledge Commission said schools should allocate space for common playfields and playgrounds within 2kms.

Irrespective of the correct number, the fact remains that many government schools do not have playgrounds. In most such schools, students don't engage in outdoor games or physical training due to lack of playgrounds.  
The unwritten rule, according to official sources, is that schools without playgrounds must focus on indoor games and theoretical aspects of sports. "The physical education subject, compulsory in schools, is 50 per cent theory and 50 per cent physical activity. In the indoor games category, most schools without playground teach yoga and simple exercises for healthy living,'' said an official.  

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Picture Source: News World India


In a bid to improve the quality of education, the Karnataka government is considering a proposal to make compulsory for state government employees to send their children to government schools rather than private schools.

Primary and Secondary Education minister N Mahesh was quoted by Hindustan Times as saying, “We are considering bringing in a policy on the basis of a report to encourage enrolment in government schools.”

“By making government employees enroll their wards in government schools, we hope to make them stakeholders in the betterment of these schools,” Mahesh added.

In order to implement the proposal the Karnataka government is seeking a legal opinion.

“We have asked for legal opinion to ensure that we do not go against some judgments of the Supreme Court, where it held that state governments cannot dictate the choice of the school of the children. We are looking at ways to overcome this,” Mahesh said.

The move is based on the Kannada Development Authority (KDA) report published in September 2017 that suggested “those who draw a salary from the government have to mandatorily send their children to government schools and not private ones. And there should be a provision to punish those who flout this rule.”

In the month of June, it was proposed in Karnataka to pilot English-medium classes in 1,000 government schools. 

According to a survey during 2011-15, the total enrolment in government schools fell by 11.2 million, whereas in private, it rose by 16 million.

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Photo source- Deccan Herald

By- S Giridhar,

There is a history and trajectory which we must remember. Twenty years ago we did not have a school in every village and children had to walk miles to the nearest school. Enrolment in 2001 was just around 70% and more than 40% children dropped out by Class V. Since those days and with the thrust provided by Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, we have a school in virtually every habitation. Enrolment for the past few years has reached close to 100%. The Right to Education Act 2009 has also played its part. The dropouts at Class V in 2001 was over 40 % but today, even by Class VIII, dropout has reduced to less than 20%.  At the same time, while enrolment and retention issues have been addressed, the issue of children’s learning remains wickedly unresolved. Even as a number of things have been suggested and tried, there is now a consensus that the way forward is only a long haul — one where the country must invest greatly in teacher education, their continuous development while also understanding their situation and challenges.   

In this context, one of the proposals to ensure better quality schooling is the merging of very small strength schools. It is seen as a means of consolidating scattered resources so that issues of multi-grade teaching are addressed, there are teachers for every class and subject and with an optimum pupil-teacher ratio (PTR) etc. One recognises that very small schools with 10 to 12 children across five classes is unviable; one also knows that an ideal school scenario where we have 130 to 150 children in five classes with five teachers is almost utopian. It is between these two extremes, that one must appreciate, lies the proposal to consolidate schools. To begin with, we must view the proposal of merger of very small strength schools not with the knee-jerk fear that they are ‘shutting down schools’ but as a considered plan of ‘consolidation’. Having said that, any such consolidation must ensure that access is never compromised. It is, after all, only the commitment to ensure access that has enabled enrolment reach close to 100%. One sweeping policy will not fit all contexts in a large, complex and diverse country like ours. If in remote locations, hilly terrain, harsh desert etc., primary school children have to walk three kilometres to a school it will certainly compromise access and deny children their schooling. On the other hand, merging schools that are nearby could be an obviously implementable decision. Therefore consolidation will require individual attention, an appreciation of the local context and the wisdom to know where to consolidate and where not to consolidate.  

If such careful consolidation is done, one can reason that while ensuring access, one could also achieve a better quality of education. At a PTR of say 30:1, with teachers who can teach Math, Science, EVS, language etc. for each class, the quality of learning is bound to improve.

The challenge for the single teacher is immense. She or he may manage the children of ages 6 to 11 across five classes very skilfully, but at the end of the day, it is a very stressful and sub-optimal pedagogical situation. Obviously, even among single teachers, one will find 15 to 20% of them are absolute heroes. They work sincerely without supervision, leveraging the autonomy they have, trying to enrich the learning experience of their students as much as possible. But this is not because of the system, it is just an individual’s answer to his or her own conscience.

There is enough evidence in India and other countries that the quality of education in private schools is not better than in government schools. There is a misconception in the community that certain visible symbols such as shoes, ties, computers, learning English indicate better learning for children. Sometimes a migration to the private school is just the social pressure to match a neighbour even if one’s financial resources are strained. Government schools may often have better iinfrastructure, better-qualified teachers. However, many of the government schools that are doing their job sincerely are not effective in projecting to the parents and the community, their efforts and in demonstrating the learning of the children. If they were to do this, the community would gain a better appreciation and then make informed choices of whether to stay with the government school or migrate. 

At the end of it, the core point is that public education/government schools must be strengthened and supported if we aim to have an equitable society. For more than 50% of India, eking out subsistence livelihoods, government schools are the only road to a better future. Otherwise, we will have only a greater disparity and inequality.

+1 vote

Back to school: Students of Sharada Vidyanikethana Public School, Talapady, looking at The Hindu In School edition after its launching on Monday.  

The Hindu In School edition for the 2017-’18 academic year was launched at Sharada Vidyanikethana Public School here on Monday.

Releasing the new edition, Sushma Dinkar, principal, said the school has been cultivating among the students the habit of reading newspapers. Each room in the school’s hostel was being supplied with a newspaper.

Ms. Dinkar said the student’s edition should have the right mix of current affairs, stories, cartoons and articles that help students. G.R. Venkatesh, Regional General Manager, said The Hindu In School has been providing such content since its launch four years ago.

Ms. Dinkar and ten students launched the edition. Among the students who received the new edition was Advait, of Class 10, who started reading newspapers since joining the school three years ago.

Suhas, of Class 8, said he starts reading the newspaper from the sports pages everyday




+2 votes

Prasad studies, works at home, helps his father and still manages to score all ‘A’s in his exams

By Anantha Subramanyam KAnantha Subramanyam K, Bangalore Mirror Bureau

 Sitting on the pavement at Gandhinagar, 10-year-old Prasad peers attentively into a book. On closer inspection, you see it is a Mathematics textbook. He will be in Class V this year and does not waste time to catch up on the syllabus. But unlike other school-going children, Prasad has not enrolled into any summer camp for the vacations. He goes to help his father Shakarappa stitch seat covers for auto rickshaws behind Freedom Park instead.
"Though I ask him to spend time at home with his books, he is keen on assisting me and joins me every day. When we do not have any customers, he studies,"
Shankarappa says.

Shankarappa earns an average of Rs 300 a day if he gets enough customers. When Bangalore Mirror visited Prasad's home, he offers to make us tea or coffee. He proceeds to the kitchen, which is just a partition of a 10X15 dwelling with an asbestos roof. "I know how to make coffee and tea and I can also clean the house as my mother leaves early for her work," he says before heading out to fill water as they get water only for one hour."His mother Manjula works in the housekeeping department in Jubilee International Public School. Both Prasad and his elder sister Pavithra goes to this school. The school has waived their fees. We spend only on books and uniform," Shankarappa says. Meanwhile, Prasad returns with coffee and shows us his progress report that is filled with A+ in all disciplines.

In school too, teachers are all praise for Prasad's obedience and hard work. "Though we have enough children under RTE rules, there are many more children from economically weaker sections who need help and guidance. As education is the greatest help, we encourage parents to put the children in our school. Most of these students are brilliant and hardworking. Prasad and his sister Pavithra are shining stars as they excel in all the subjects," says TV Mohan, Chairman of Jubilee International Public School.

As for Prasad, he has a set goal in sight - study well and become a Mechanical Engineer.