Oops! It appears that you have disabled your Javascript. In order for you to see this page as it is meant to appear, we ask that you please re-enable your Javascript!
  • +91 95133 77282 / 83 / 84 / 85 ( 9 AM - 6 PM | Mon - Fri )

Archives


Wither the role of academicians in starting a school?


Posted on September 21, 2018 | by Vinod Kakumanu

India is witnessing an increasing trend in the number of new schools. Starting a new school in India and providing quality education involves meticulous planning and unconditional commitment of the promoter.

An inordinate number of school owners approached me to seek assistance in increasing the number of school admissions. Incidentally, most of them had entrusted the responsibility of setting up and managing the school to veteran academicians and expected the academicians to deliver the revenue goals to sustain the school.

Even before the school completed its first academic year, there were occasions where the services of these incumbent academicians were terminated on the grounds of insufficient admissions and its financial implications on the school project.

I can never approve of such executive decisions, given the root causes I deciphered during my school consultation visits – Promoters themselves sowed the seed for a much deep-rooted issue by barely taking care of the real estate, building and employing founding academicians with an expectation to deliver financial results.

Founding academicians are indispensable for any school, such arbitrary acts seriously compromise the educational objectives of the school, leads to attrition adding fuel to the fire.

Failure cannot be solely attributed to founding academicians, as promoters compromised with the fundamental principles of planning a new school. The role of an academician in the 21st Century school is immense, timely planning ensures significant savings in the school set up and management costs.

The new school caters to the educational needs of the target community, sustaining its position is always a number one priority.  A school concept that succeeds in a given circumstance might not work at all in other circumstances. Many promoters ignore the need for planning and learn the hard way.

I strongly advise school promoters to deploy the professional expertise even before they invest the first penny into the new school venture—A school consultancy who can advise you on all aspects of the new school project including devising a suitable concept for the target market in line with your goals, connect missing links between academics and infrastructure to facilitate meaningful 21st century learning, position the school effectively to the target audience; predict inception &  growth basis empirical data, bring to reality your dream school and ensure perpetual support for the school.

How the schools can make parent’s critique positive


Posted on September 15, 2018 | by Vinod Kakumanu

No school provides “bad education or good education”, I personally believe every school starts with an intent to provide quality education. The philosophy, methodology, and infrastructure may vary with the founder’s vision.

The school ecosystem comprises of several elements, the administrators, the teachers, the students, the parents, and the support staff to name a few. They work in tandem to operate a 21st century school, demonstrating excellence in their job.

How the schools can make parent's critique positive

 

The students, parents, and staff are all brand ambassadors of the school – this can hardly be contested. The school must have a reliable connection with the entire school ecosystem. Schools are expected to deliver their educational promise. Parents perception revolves around several factors.

There is a practice of socializing amongst parents. With the advent of communication technology, the ways to communicate has expanded, Schools have become the talk of the town. In this article, I would like to talk about how the schools can make parents’ critique positive –

  1. Personalized Learning: Education tends to become a monopoly of bright students. Classroom instruction more often, than not, leans towards the best and the brightest. 21st Century demands diversity of talent which, in turn, demands personalized instruction and individual child development. The rate of cognitive and emotional development of the child will resultantly rise much to parent satisfaction.
  2. Safety & Security: It would be stating the obvious, yet no school should compromise the safety and security of the child. The school must ensure that the points of high vulnerability are closely watched; transportation, perimeter, classrooms, activity areas, private spaces, employee background checks, etc. Stringent action is advised even for a minor lapse, Parents expect that school keeps nothing ambiguous. When school safety is referred to, it means the overall well-being, safety, and security of the child, including physical and emotional health. These are looked at from the perspective of –
     

    • Safe school environment – the safety of school premises, building, and property – secluded areas, debris, campus, playground, pathways leading to school/inside the school
    • Location of the school – risk-prone area, on the highway or near a railway crossing
    • Safety & Security of classrooms – seating arrangement, furniture, the height of blackboard, electric connections
    • Access to school – availability, management of children in transit, vulnerability to sexual harassment on the way, physical barriers on the way to school
    • Quality of school construction and maintenance – safe for use
  3. Health & Hygiene in the school premises: Certification of hygiene is among the prerequisites for opening a school in India, however as the time passes and schools strength rise hygiene takes a back seat. This is a common recipe for disaster, exposes children to infections.
     

    • Health & hygiene in school premises – drinking water, toilet, hand washing facilities
    • Meal – kitchen hygiene, etc 
  4. Care: Care is a vital part of 21st Century Learning, parents expect the school to provide a caring environment.
  5. Communication: Communication gap between the school and the parents can confound the itinerary of their child’s future. A constantly open channel of communication will reassure the parents, at the same time school could recalibrate individual child development and track progress efficiently.
  6. Being Proactive: School must proactively build and moderate the connection between the parents and the teachers by creating more opportunities for interaction.
  7. Harnessing the Parents Teacher Association Potential: Events like Parents Teacher Association (PTA) meetings must be heeded particularly and their attendance observed. Children of the parents who regularly do not attend PTA meetings can be counseled to know whether they are undergoing parental negligence at home.
  8. Increased Interaction through school events: Besides the class and individual students, the school as a whole is also to be represented in the events that take place. The events must not be a show of grandiosity but an opportunity to showcase the child’s potential reflected through the combined work of the teacher and the taught.
  9. Grievance Redressal: Grievance Redressal committee must be very prompt in listening to the parents’ concerns and rectifying the same.
  10. Child Protection: It is important all school staff be made aware about how to handle instances of Physical abuse, Emotional and mental abuse/harassment, Cyberbullying and Child sexual abuse so that they are equipped to initiate required action to ensure the safety and security of their students. Preventive strategies to aid prevention of situations that make schools unsafe or insecure for children should be in place, this will also reduce the possibility of the manifestation for any issue to take place or occur, thereby reducing children’s risk or vulnerability to their safety to their safety and security. The school should train staff for a better understanding of how to respond to situations that occur despite best of preventive measures.
  11. Results: Results speak the loudest and they echo for at least a year or until the next exam takes place. Nothing builds parents confidence than academic results. Call it a bias, but it is justified.

Parents hear and watch the school and from subjective opinions. The overall acceptance school earns from the community and the progress it makes by the year complements an increase in student enrollments. It would be remiss of me not to say that ethics, value system and will to excel are the factors that synthesize success of a school.

Strategies to Consider for CSR in School Education


Posted on August 9, 2018 | by Vinod Kakumanu

If you are thinking to commit CSR funds for improvement of a school and want to go beyond upgrading the infrastructure and add value to the educational ecosystem it is very essential to understand in detail how those who have secured such educational systems in the world actually did it.

 

In India, to open a school is a challenging task and amidst the need of official permissions and bureaucratic mechanism involved, the average school promoter could hardly find time or will to look at the raised bars of education. When an enterprise is proactively investing CSR funds it must make sure to incorporate what has originally been omitted – sound data on prevalent practices in school education from best practitioner nations.

The information that follows is of great relevance to the entrepreneurs who have selected school education as their field of social contribution.  As industrialists, you must have compared economic attributes of different nations. By having a look at how the different economies of the world have framed their education structure, you will be able to discern the critical measures or derive certain thumb rules of CSR intervention in education.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) releases its annual Global Competitiveness Report on the state of the economies of the world. The report comes after the forum assesses the abilities of the countries in order to provide a higher level of ability to its citizens which generally depend on how a country manages its available resources among which the human resources are of critical import.

Ranking of the countries is based on twelve indicators which include primary education too. Prior to any CSR initiative made in the field of improvement of the quality of education the following data must be reviewed. It will really be of aid in understanding the values and structure of education, so you can intervene productively.

Japan: a knowledge economy, can easily be said to have an education system to reckon with. it leads in terms of literacy, science, and math education among the OECD group.

Students in Japan undergo six years of elementary school, three years of junior high school, and three years of high school before they decide whether or not they want to pursue the university education. Although high school is not compulsory in Japan yet the enrolment in high school is close to 98%.

Barbados: The government of this small island country stresses on education exceptionally. That has resulted in a literacy rate of 98% which is one of the highest in the world and an enviable education system.

New Zealand: Primary and secondary education in New Zealand ranges between the age 5 to age 19, and the school remains compulsory between ages 6 and 16. The 3 types of secondary schools in New Zealand include state schools –roughly equivalent to our government schools, state integrated schools; which can be understood as sort of PPP schools and the last category is that of private schools.

The contrast with the Indian education system is inescapable given the fact that state schools which educate approximately 85% of students and private schools only educate 3 %.

Estonia: This European union country spends 4% of its Gross Domestic Product on education Estonia’s  education act states that “the goals of education are to create an environment that encourages proper development of personality, family, and growth of the Estonian nation, to encourage the development of ethnic minorities, economic, political as well as the cultural life in Estonia and to teach the children of the country the value of their citizenship.” This gives an insight into the characteristics of the education system which emphasizes on equality of opportunity, something which we are struggling to bring even with RTE and SSA.

Ireland:  Ireland presents a unique picture among others we have discussed. Most of the secondary schools in Ireland are owned and managed privately but they remain funded by the state only; it is plausible to equate them with PPP schools. This in itself is a prospect that can be further researched and selectively applied in Indian scenario with the support of the corporates.

Qatar: Besides measures to diversify the economy which requires a skilled human resource, Qatar is paying a lot of attention to improve its educational standards as part of the Qatar Vision 2030 programme. The education is completely free for the Qatari citizens but children coming from the families of other nationalities have to send their kids to private schools. like in other Gulf countries Indian diaspora is interested in giving their children Indian education and are opening schools affiliated to CBSE and ICSE, which are indeed very popular. Funders can learn a lot by analyzing the factors that make the difference and come up with solutions to replicate it.

Netherlands:  The children of the Netherlands were judged to be the” happiest” in the world in a 2013 study conducted by UNICEF. This, according to some analysts, reflect that the education system is optimal and efficient. Schools are not allowed to give much homework until the students reach secondary level resulting in less stress and pressure among them.

Singapore: India has scored dismally low in the Programme for International Student Assessment test (PISA), Singapore scored tremendously high in PISA. An evaluation of education to ascertain the quality is in order and funds may be channeled to that end.

Belgium: Belgium’s education system is divided into 4 different kinds of secondary schools, which are general secondary schools, the technical secondary schools, vocational secondary education schools, and the art secondary education institutes. The private schools are available to all children between the ages of 4 and 18, at a very little or no cost at all.

Switzerland: As opposed to India, a meager 5% of children attend private schools in Switzerland. Switzerland offers multiple languages according to different regions of Switzerland, with German, French or Italian being the most common medium of instruction. the point is to make the instruction comprehensible to children from across the social realms. Measures which can do the same can be facilitated by the corporates while helping schools to elevate the quality of education in India.

Finland: Finland’s education system and its results assure its top position in the rankings of global education systems. The school education is particularly known for having no categories among students which clearly means that all pupils, regardless of their ability, are taught in the same classes. The Indian education system also has the same classes for all students, bright or otherwise, but the pedagogy tends to tilt towards the need of the bright students. While in Finland, the gap between the weakest and the strongest student remains substantially less. In fact, India would rank high in academic performance variation in a class, if there is an evaluation measuring inequity.

Finland’s education system can generate several replicable versions of teacher’s attitudes and approaches. Corporates can evaluate the education system of Finland and incorporate elements in their sponsored education teacher training programmes to great consequence.

So before the enterprises design an initiative to intervene in the community by improving the standards of education, it is good idea to study the facts in detail about the various education systems that exist globally and then take the best cue from them and plan the operationalization of the initiative by emulating what’s worth and avoiding what the study cautions against.

Accreditation of Schools Testifies Quality of School Education


Posted on August 8, 2018 | by Vinod Kakumanu

There have been scores of surveys, national and international, that have reported our relative standing in terms of quality of school education and, to put it mildly, it is not to be proud of at any stretch of the imagination. We have dealt with the question of quality of education in several posts and have underscored the drastic difference in the quality of school education provided by private schools. In the present article, we will talk about the standardization of the quality of education and the policy level measure for it namely, accreditation.

Accreditation is not to be confused with affiliation. The latter precedes the former. In fact the board of affiliation viz. CBSE has devised a mechanism for accreditation of schools affiliated to it. There have been suggestions calling for far-reaching measures like accreditation renewal every three years and making accreditation mandatory under Quality Council of India. Presently, the quality of school education which accreditation attests has proven to be a useful parameter for the community and a benchmark for the school management. The accreditation of schools is an assessment of the quality of education the school has potential to provide and it has objectively set parameters against which the assessment is done.  These include Education Quality Management, Resource Management, Governance, and Management.

 

The accreditation of schools is sometimes outsourced by the national boards including CBSE. These private institutions have, to the board’s satisfaction, the capability to assess a school in terms of quality of education it imparts.

The agencies that accredit the schools are Quality Council of India (QCI) and National Accreditation Board of Education & Training (NABET).

National Accreditation Board for Education and Training (NABET) provides accreditation to schools, It can be understood as a counterpart of higher education accreditation body NAAC.

The process of accreditation would desirably aim at analyzing the substantive aspects rather than just infrastructure and student-teacher ratio etc. as the CBSE bye-laws are getting to change substantially accreditation mechanism will also be influenced by the changes. As the definition of quality of education and concentration on the elements composing it change, the rules of accreditation change.

CBSE has sought the guidance of the Quality Council of India to structure and operationalize a quality assessment mechanism applicable to all schools affiliated to the CBSE board.

CBSE has tried to develop an independent assessment mechanism to assess schools for accreditation with the help of QCI, but till date, it continues to recruit help from multiple external agencies to form accreditation empaneled committees for assessing the institutions comprehensively.

The significance of accreditation for a school

Accreditation of a school shall signify that the school abides with the standards set by the board and has the resources to maintain the standard of the parameters that signify the quality of education

There have been directives in the past which were rescinded yet their reinforcement cannot be ruled out. One of the episodic directive issued by the CBSE directed every affiliated school to get accredited within three years.

We have specifically discussed hitherto accreditation process and history of accreditation in the context of CBSE and have not dealt with other boards. The reason for it is that the accreditation empaneled committees are formed by ICSE boards too and the agencies which are given the mandate to assess the quality of education are liable to change from year to year. It can be said without a shred of doubt that assessment of the quality of education and accreditation is critical for all the stakeholders including the students. The accreditation score provides the students, teachers, parents, community and educationists etc. the information about the assets and wants of the school in terms of infrastructure, human resource, and performance.

How is the accreditation carried out?

The school applies for accreditation online. The application is accompanied by what is called the School Quality Assessment and Accreditation Scheme (SQAAS) details. The SQAAS details incorporate information regarding students, teachers, qualification of the teachers and the head of the school, state of infrastructure, labs, and library, and sports and games arrangements. In addition to that, documents and a list of attested documentary evidence have to be made available.  There exists a Peer Assessment Team (PAT) to evaluate the data provided by the school.  The PAT that would decide the substance in the candidature for accreditation. It would visit only those schools which cross the 50 percent threshold in the SQAAS process.

Data-informed by responses to the questionnaires given out to students, teachers and the non-teaching staff besides the parents is also analyzed by PAT.

There have been emphatic suggestions that accreditation of a school must imminently follow affiliation to CBSE. If the school is given the privilege of calling itself a CBSE school it must get accredited too. CBSE were to use School Quality Assessment and Accreditation (SQAA) as its assessment device for assessing the functions of the schools.

What accreditation indicates?

It is believed that the school accreditation decidedly upgrades the quality of the functions of the school thereby bettering the educational outcomes. The obvious benefits notwithstanding, it is not yet mandatory for the schools to be accredited.

The agencies that are empaneled for the accreditation inspection approve a school to be accredited or otherwise by evaluating a set of parameters

  • Education Quality Management
  • Resource Management
  • Governance and Management

Once the school is accredited, it needs to adhere to the accreditation standard and indulge in continual improvement.

An accredited school can be vouched for its quality of education and the school management can consider it as a successful self-evaluation that verifies the propriety of the aspects of management as well as financial sustainability and most importantly, the human resources.

Teacher Training and Learning Outcomes


Posted on July 31, 2018 | by Vinod Kakumanu

There has been a lot of deliberation over the level of qualification and skills of teachers teaching across schools in India. Teacher training policies have been reviewed and commissions appointed to study and report on the scenario.

The school teachers in India, before they enter the rolls of their respective schools, get through a course at District Institute of Education and Training (DIET), in certain cases teachers come to DIET after joining the schools. DIET also trains in-service teachers if the need for supplementary training is assessed. These supplementary training modules are centred on capacity building themes like the introduction to ICT etc. All the trainee teachers and educators invariably have a teaching degree i.e.  B.Ed / M.Ed.

 

Comparison with other nations and their models of teacher training has brought to light opportunities as well as constraints present in our own schooling system. The portrayal of the Indian education scenario is not conceivable without pointing out the difference that exists in the quality of education between government and private schools. The difference oftentimes reaches to the point of contradiction.  Reports of dismal performance of government schools and dysfunctional primary schools abound and as if in a parallel dimension, private school teachers with equivalent qualifications are able to give their students education that becomes instrumental in turning them into leaders of the knowledge economy.

Adding to the bipolarity in the Indian education experience, we have seen the rise and functioning of International schools and international programmes in 21st century. These programmes have been informed by global standards of education and implemented by indigenous educators. The teachers trained for conducting the international curricula are themselves, alumni of the same or similar teacher training institutes as their counterparts teaching in government schools, nevertheless, there is such an obvious difference in performance, starkly apparent in learning outcomes that it becomes natural to suspect that something is amiss.

With all these facts in sight, it is not possible to deny that there is a systemic issue that plagues the competence-building of teachers.

There are quite a few valid points of view such as the one which points at the demotivation of teachers resulting from witnessing the environment of the schools, attitudes of their senior teachers, bureaucratic interference, parental negligence etc. While that is exactly why the NCERT has recommended field extensive training for teachers in their graduate courses.

DIET’s around the country have been running courses which are reinforcing the lessons in child psychology and handling of community attitude. The states have also exempted teachers from extra official duties, yet it did not seem to suffice in raising their performance. 40% of the students in India study in private schools, it must be noted that the ones who are studying in government schools are those who do not have a choice in the matter.

Interestingly, government teachers are better paid than their private school counterparts and have job security. Ironically, some see that as the reason for non-performance. When prospects of growth in career are not dependent on the performance there is no incentive to be better at their job. If that is the case that’s a catch 22. If we do not provide good remuneration and job security no one comes forward to be a teacher, at least none of the worthy ones and when they are given that they create the defunct scenario which we originally tried to avoid.

The potential of teachers is not directly assessed by tests, unlike their recruitment. The performance of their students reflects the level of competence of their teachers. The results of several reliable tests of the academic ability of children in government schools, like the ones conducted by ASER, have been shockingly sub-par. What disappoints the most is not just the outcome of training of teachers which is deficient in several areas but also the education system which tolerates persistent low performance. Private schools are using recruitment management solutions (like http://www.educatorone.com) to hire teachers and achieve consistent learning outcomes.

The solution lies in effective use of resources including the demotivated human resource which we have in the form of the cadre of teachers.  We have discussed how companies have and can come forward and make systemic changes that would go a long way, click here to read.

The solutions which are successfully tested through CSR initiatives include Public-Private Partnership (PPP) schools set up, which have been successful to deal with the resilient incompetence of teachers in the government schools.

There is also a common theory that it is the education at the secondary level and above that, which really brings out the difference of level of competence of private and public school teachers because in lower classes learning outcomes are not clearly defined besides some language and subject skills. To allay such misconceptions, it has forcefully been emphasized by various national and international organizations that not only the primary classes but the pre-primary classes as well need teachers with proven acumen and experience. One hopes that there will occur welcome changes in the standard of government-run preschool or aanganwadis with the intervention of corporates which is in the pipeline. We have covered the corporate’s ICDS aanganwadi initiative in the separate post click here to read.

Being a nation that has passed Right to Education Act makes it obligatory upon states to ensure that every child gets educated, it is rational to be expected of us to ensure that the education thus imparted is not wanting in quality, in fact, that is implied in the very text of the act.

The pedagogical approach of teachers of the notable private schools, subscribing to both national and international curricula, is something that must be analyzed. In addition to that, there are certain measures taken by organizations like Cambridge International and International Baccalaureate which are really a rich resource in themselves. Designing of IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) syllabus is incumbent upon the teachers as well. They are provided with a framework and support using which they have to design and implement the curriculum. (We have dealt with IB PYP in a separate article) Such interventions which broaden the role of the teachers and enhance the involvement has the power to redefine education and must be used.

The curriculum of the education degrees that enables graduates to be teachers in India does not reflect obvious lacunae, neither is there a shortage of supplementary in-service training programmes on pedagogy, teaching aids etc. It is not to say that there have never been instances of criticism of the curriculum. Agencies like NCERT has criticized the curriculum of the bachelors and masters programme in Education saying that it fails to take into account differences in the context in which teachers are required to function. There have also been questions about the ‘Field experience’ which forms the part of the curriculum. There have been calls from several quarters to restructure the field experience component for providing realistic exposure to trainee teachers.

All the interventions, directly or indirectly, talk of increased involvement of teachers in implementation of the educational programme of schools and curriculum. Regular scrutiny of the performance in terms of learning outcomes are indispensable to change the state of affairs.

Use of CSR Budget to Improve Early Childhood Education in India


Posted on July 19, 2018 | by Vinod Kakumanu

Educationists opine that elementary education plays a vital role in charting the development of an individual. Through preschools, children get exposure to the world around and develop an affinity for learning. Social statistics demonstrate that children who had the opportunity to complete elementary education remain less likely to drop out from schools at any level.

Advocates of compulsory preschooling stress its role in creating the foundation for learning at an age when the rate of brain development is highest. There is no dearth of scientific data indicating that cerebral development in early years has a lifelong effect not only on mental development which manifests in learning, behavior, memory, emotions and mental health but also on physical growth.

Let’s look at how opinions have translated into policies for expansion of preschooling or elementary education.

 

Preschools do not find a place within the ambit of the RTE act which is effective for age group 6-14 only. Nevertheless, there is evidence attesting preschools’ contribution in meeting the RTE goals, hence in developing national assets.

Early schooling initiatives and policy interventions by the state, with regard to preschooling, are numbered. One of them, National Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) policy with the declared objective of providing a developmental continuum from prenatal to primary schooling age. As far policy changes are concerned, The narrative of preschooling has always gets lost in the grand narrative of universal education and ECCE is no exception.

There are other schemes preceding ECCE that can be said to be having a significant effect on the societal attitude towards early childhood education.  The one which is relatively better known is the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS). It has completed four decades since its inception and under it there are around 10.25 lacs “Aanganwadi centers” spread all over India. The number of children that fall in the ICDS gamut is huge enough to make it one of the world’s largest state intervention in the area of child development. However, the impact it is having on early education scenario does not come even remotely to its scale.  The fact remains that the quality of early education being provided through Aanganwadis of ICDS is sub-par for avoidable reasons.

Preschooling, its popularity, and potential have been demonstrated by urban India’s private daycare, preschools, and playschools. They are run by, or at least expected to run by, staff qualified in child care and early education. They have a structured curriculum and follow progressive educational philosophies guiding child education.

Unlike the private preschools, the ICDS centers or Aanganwadis are, at best, nutrition and daycare centers in popular perception. It is fair to say that they cannot be expected to be more than that given the staff with practically no qualification in childhood development. In addition to that, supplies that are indispensable in forming any preschool’s environment are simply non-existent in half of the Aanganwadis. So, what we have on the ground are so-called preschools for rural children with no books, pencils, drawing material, toys, puzzles to engage them in constructive activities.

We have a scenario where a huge state apparatus for early childhood education is failing to make the dent for some very specific reasons. Attempted solutions are faced by challenges rendering them irrelevant. For instance, the capabilities of staff of the Aanganwadis can be upgraded through training and direction, but the possibility of that becomes slim when we have a situation where more than 60% of the staff is simply denied guidance by the immediate superior or the supervisor.

Enter corporates with their trusts and think tanks. Tata Trusts and Copenhagen Consensus have recently issued a report outlining the strategy to change the state of elementary education. The significance and potential of corporate intervention in education have been well recognized and it is known that direct investment will undoubtedly change the picture of elementary education too.

There are some models to learn from, certain schemes of early education promotion. Conceptualization of some of the schemes is very unconventional, to say the least, yet they have some success to their credit in other developing countries. One of such schemes is to essentially hand out cash incentives to the parents who send their children to early childhood education centers.

In India, we have mid-day-meals that remotely resembles the aforementioned scheme. Now, this unprecedented incentivizing scheme is being contemplated upon by corporate houses backed by research and studies of some acclaimed think tanks. The ‘cash- incentive’ scheme has found its advocates who have already brought forth projections of costs and results for certain states.  For Andhra Pradesh, the estimated enrollment figures predict a 35% increase in the current Aanganwadis enrollment.

An overview of the case of Andhra Pradesh provides a perspective. This cash incentive model or its variant essentially proposes a grant of Rs. 6000 to a family who sends their 3 or 4-year-old to the Aanganwadi center regularly. The projection cost of such an incentive for the recently bifurcated state is 333 crores and it is expected to bring 1.4 lakh children to the early childhood education realm.

The empirical fact that strengthens the case of cash incentive measure is its positive correlation with enrollment in higher education. In other words, the use of an unconventional method for the promotion of preschooling is worth it. That is so because, preschooling has repercussions in terms of national human resource asset and progressive knowledge economy.

The economic wisdom of this scheme is, from an individual perspective, the increment in wages in which preschooling will have played a decisive part.

Macroeconomic translation of the scheme can result is in excess of 2 lakhs for a preschooled workman which translates into 3,146 crores for the state. Going by this calculation, we find that for every rupee spent on the child’s preschooling a return of Rs. 10 is ensured for the society. Corporates like Tata Trusts are taking initiative in bringing about these estimates through dedicated studies and collaboration with international think tanks.

For ICDS centers, corporate investment would bring in tangible improvements. It will include hiring of teachers, upgrading learning environment, setting up of a curriculum, training of the Anganwadi staff and availability of uniforms and books for the children.

The efficacy of the entire project of promotion of early education, despite its omission from the RTE act, is fundamentally based on the success of the private preschools. The developmental environment provided by good preschools exceeds the one provided by Aanganwadis by miles. When we say miles, we mean 1183 crore rupees. That means to bring the Aanganwadis, catering to all 3 – 6 years old children currently, to the level of a good preschool will cost that much.

Corporates are incentivizing families to promote preschool education. The intervention is welcome and preschools must be made exemplary learning hubs in the urban areas too. The curriculum and teacher training must not be compromised with. Use of modern educational philosophies has a big role to play in realizing the potential of preschools.

CSR Spending for Improvement of School Education


Posted on July 10, 2018 | by Vinod Kakumanu

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) contributions has been mandated by Government of India for all companies meeting specified financial thresholds. Certain areas of socioeconomic development have been specified as well, school education being one of them.

 

According to Section 135 of Companies Act 2013, Every company having net worth of rupees five hundred crores or more, or turnover of rupees one thousand crores or more or a net profit of 5 Crore or more during the financial year, shall ensure that the company spends, in every financial year, at least two percent of the average net profits of the three immediately preceding financial years on CSR activities. With the Companies Act, 2013 came into effect, the involvement of the companies in school education through CSR has changed both qualitatively and quantitatively.

School education – a case of changing nature of corporate philanthropy

Current trends of philanthropy in the corporate sector indicate that school education is receiving exceptional interest. Corporate leaders who have come to realize that resources spent on school education are bound to impact social equity are diverting CSR budgets to improve the quality of school education.

Customarily, CSR funds in education have been spent on improving the basic infrastructure and amenities. However, in the absence of continued maintenance, it proved to be only a cosmetic change at best. Further, the outcome is marred by inefficient, stereotypical use of assets resulting in stagnation. But there is an apparent change in the corporate spending scenario in the improvement of school education. This change is visible on several fronts including R&D for efficiency enhancement, application of technology and training of school leaders.

As the corporations realize the importance of educational equity in the establishment of a sustainable economy they are proactively aiding the implementation of the Right to Education Act. With the change in the outlook platforms for collaboration emerged for an exchange of ideas and knowledge sharing. Consequently, the role of corporates in K-12 education sector progressed from granting and funding to research, advocacy and facilitation of systemic change.

 

Ways To Manage Schools Redefining Learning Outcomes

 

For corporate initiatives to be consequential, an understanding of India’s education landscape is a must. To this end, several fact-finding studies have been funded by enterprises. The findings of these studies pinpoint the areas that require special attention in CSR outlay including quality and adequacy of teachers and school leaders, assessment of student achievement, measurement of the impact of new educational policies and use of technology in optimizing teaching-learning outcomes.

The changing outlook of stakeholders underlays the principle that CSR budgeting for education should shift focus from inputs and outlays to outcomes and impact.

CSR spending for stimulation of innovation and improvement of education

Corporate intervention for Top 10 Corporates Ranked In Order Of CSR Funding On Educationmaximum impact on school education also includes the adoption of best practices in education, bringing tested processes to scale and development of an environment conducive for innovation with accountability. An environment free from bureaucratic friction enables the stakeholders to conceive, test and assess innovations.

A sister organization of Pratham, ASER center started releasing annual surveys beginning  2000s about the scholastic merit of Indian students,  the survey became most quoted and significantly reliable student assessment tool used in India. Its inherent value made certain state governments adopt its indicators in assessing the impact of school education reforms of the state.

Other corporate assisted projects whose innovation has been upscaled pertain to the training for school leaders. Under this project, the administrative practice wherein principals of schools in India are commissioned to work as administrators without any formal training compromising the education ecology of the school, was selected for intervention. The significance of the role of heads of the school is reflected in several pieces of research one of which states that learning outcomes are altered by 25% depending upon the effectiveness of the school leadership. The school leader-training model that turned out to be exceptionally impactful was initially tested in the state of Rajasthan and eventually in 1000 plus schools in 3 states.

 

Strategize School Improvement To Build Sustainable Futures

 

Prospective influences of corporate spending on school education

While 97% enrolment in grade 1 has been achieved, only 35% of the 355 million children in India reach grade 12. Private schools are saving the day by imparting quality education and their role can be optimized in a knowledge economy with the assistance of CSR backed initiatives. Despite the fact that the private schools cater to 40% of the total students, policies made by the state does not consider their position and practically undermine them like what happened after RTE quota enforcement to some very good affordable schools.  CSR spending can help to bring about a change of state of affairs through research and advocacy and make easier for schools in India to operate and upgrade.

Experts operating in the K-12 sector in India can make it easier for corporates to strategize their CSR spending in school education arena. The government of J&K, Wort & Tat are cases, where School Serv has assisted to bring a systemic change in housing children in the safe, caring environment and educating them for socioeconomic progress.

 


SCHOOL CONSULTANTS
Want to Start a School in India ?