ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Assessing ASER 2017

The publication of the Annual Status of Education Report (Rural) 2017 titled “Beyond Basics” has resulted in predictable outcry over the state of education in the country. Using the report as a case in point, the complexities in reading and interpreting data presented by such large-scale assessments on learning are highlighted.

Right to Education

Despite a few glaring shortcomings, the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 proved to be a landmark. It provided a justiciable legal framework that entitled all children (6–14 years) to education and established basic parameters for quality education. Several provisions are, however, still not in place, which brings the efficacy of its features and implementation into question. This article considers the progress and shortcomings of the implementation of the act.

School Textbooks: From Sublime to the Ridiculous

A Class XII Sociology textbook of the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education was found to have written on a number of social practices and trends as if it were explaining the legitimacy of such practices rather than encouraging reflection on their regressive features.

School Education

The proposed National Policy on Education 2016 has important implications with respect to school education in India. While acknowledging some of its positive features, attention must be focused on objectives of education as espoused in the policy: key amendments suggested in the Right to Education Act, 2009; position and importance of Early Childhood Care and Education and reforms proposed in the curriculum and assessment practices in schools.

Rethinking Assessments in Schools

This article examines the nature of two varied forms of assessments like the continuous comprehensive evaluation and end-of-the-year exams, studies the variations in the principles underlying them and presents a case for an assessment that is more suited to the varied contexts, needs and educational levels of a large majority of Indian children.

The Elusive Nature of Educational Incentives

This paper examines the assumptions underlying educational incentive schemes with the help of data collected on the status and implementation of three such schemes for minority communities in Maharashtra. Though the lacunae in the design and implementation of these schemes are highlighted, the objective is not to condemn them. All parents interviewed gave utmost importance to a good learning environment. An incentive only offers temporary and partial relief. Good quality education for all children is the biggest incentive and educational incentives should not be assumed to be a substitute for poor learning environment in schools.

Caste among Schoolchildren

Despite the potential of the paper, "Critical Thinking on Caste among Schoolchildren in Maharashtra: Case Study of Two Schools in Chiplun" (EPW, 31 May 2014), it is reduced to a reporting of some of the views and attitudes of children on caste-related issues and leaves much to be desired. The paper does not achieve the objectives it set out for itself. It makes sweeping generalisations across sites and across respondents and holds the schools responsible for being unable to develop critical thinking among children.

North-east Indians and Others

School textbooks play a signifi cant part in perpetuating stereotypes and prejudices about tribals, minority communities and other marginalised groups. The north-east states of the country and their people and cultures are very often not mentioned at all. However, the new NCERT (National Council of Educational Research and Training) social science textbooks, besides being pedagogically superior, attempt to grapple with the real lives of people and sensitise and help children to critically engage with issues of diversity, inequality and discrimination.

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