Posted on July 13, 2018 | by Vinod Kakumanu
Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), in a bid to mainstream health and physical education in schools, has intervened elevating sports from a neglected extra-curricular activity level to a curricular standard. Health and Physical Education (HPE) – as the new subject is named – is to be made a daily period in all schools, for class IX to XII. It is clear that the policy is directed towards the adolescents and their lifestyle that is bringing about results contradictory to the purpose of overall development. Children, in the present state of affairs, are turning into “couch potatoes” and that moved the board to take the unprecedented step. Detailed guidelines and descriptive methodologies for putting HPE into effect in CBSE Schools has been made available by CBSE at Mainstreaming health and physical education manual.
As per the guidelines of this policy, students from the classes 9th to 12th would move out to the playground with the liberty to engage in the physical activity of their choice. The students will choose the activity and they will be graded in the same. The sports manual contains instructions to implement the new policy along with the list of sports and games that it recommends for the HPE period starting from the 2018-19 academic session.
The rationale behind the policy to strike a balance between physical and cognitive activities is obvious but the executive instruction to the CBSE schools reflects an immediacy. CBSE cites that it is a measure against the rising incidences of obesity in children. While there has never been a compulsory sports period in CBSE or, for that matter, any other board, it is now only a matter of time before other boards take steps to check the plummeting of the physical activity owing to the preoccupation of adolescents with media. Teachers are increasingly realizing that the restriction current routine puts on venturing outdoors and flexing muscles is turning pathological. It is mentionable here that India had the second highest number of obese children in the world after China in 2017.
The circular making the sports period mandatory is welcome because it is realized that the situation is alarming. By all accounts, CBSE has made a good start and its wisdom has been attested by none other than the sports icon of successive generations, Sachin Tendulkar, whose congratulatory letter to CBSE Chairman, Anita Karwal mentions obesity as a major concern for the health of children and underscores India’s dubious distinction as being no. 3 in terms of obesity.
There Is widely rising concern about the children’s health on which sedentary routine is taking its toll. Such lifestyle brings obesity in its wake, which is a physical and psychological liability for the adolescents.
There have been several studies that establish that adolescent obesity is correlated with early onset of metabolic diseases like Type-2 diabetes. Other diseases that are plausibly related to inactivity and resulting obesity in early life include heart diseases, respiratory disorders like asthma and sleep-apnea and heightened risk of other chronic diseases in later life.
The order will have several administrative implications for school management including the accommodation of the extra period, upscaling of sports and medical emergency facilities etc.
Essential elements of CBSE sports guidelines include following facets
CBSE direction to affiliated schools to reserve one period for “Health and Physical Education” in 2018-19 academic session is a major policy move. Though currently, it is applicable for classes IX to XII the board signifies that it prefers it to be extended to all the classes eventually.
Regardless of the scale, School Serv invariably offered equal importance to sports and academics in every school project. With this step of the national board, School Serv’s mission stands vindicated.
Posted on July 10, 2018 | by Vinod Kakumanu
The role of corporations in the upliftment of education and quality of learning has been recognized globally. The potential of the corporate sector to improve learning outcomes can be inferred from UNESCO’s ‘Education for All’ Goals and the ‘UN Global Education First’ Initiative.
Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) has adopted leadership of sorts in the collective social assignment of making quality education available to all children. The targets that the collective of corporates has set coincide with that of the Right to Education Act and many other public policies framed for development and propagation of education.
Corporate researchers recommend areas for high impact CSR spending in education which include establishment schools under Public Private Partnership (PPP), training of teachers and preparation of school leadership. Besides these, subjects like the application of technology in education, involving ICT in school education and in student assessment, co-scholastic or co-curricular schooling, early childhood or preschooling, nutrition and introduction of vocational education in secondary grades have been zeroed upon for strategic spending.
Social dividends of CSR contribution in School Education
The social dividends that directly follow with progressive spending on education are economic and social equity. Corporate spending on school education can enhance the quality of the human resource which would accelerate the economy.
The social component of education is extensive and has the potential to bring about social and economic justice. Quality education would bring in its wake better health care, the increment in incomes and standard of living. Furthermore, the quality of education will ensure higher political consciousness and democratic engagement. It will also increase the consciousness of human rights. One of the most notable prospective impacts lies in the girl education, Socio-economic studies have proved that investment on girl child education gives phenomenal developmental returns as it potentially affects the state of the entire family and communities.
Economic and Strategic need of CSR Investment on Education
It is commonplace to hear how good Indian diaspora is doing in U.S, UK or Australia but it cannot be denied that the situation of the inadequacy of skill set of the employees at home is retarding the development of companies in India.
There are certain findings from the investigations focused on the issue of effects of low levels of skills of the workforce on the enterprises like a global CEO survey which revealed that as many as 41% of Industry leaders including CEOs were forced to withhold, postpone or review important industrial initiatives due to the talent deficit in their firms.
Given the gravity of the situation in terms of the effect on the economy, CSR investment in education becomes a decisive measure.
There are quantitative assessments of the skill set and productivity which suggest that returns for the investment on education are exceptionally encouraging. Every 100 Rs. invested in the schooling of an Indian child translates into a return of 5300 Rs. for the employer of the resourceful employee the same child grows into.
Ways of corporate Intervention in School Education
It is emphasized by several corporations investing in school education that to create an impact, indirect modes of intervention like policy optimization, collaboration with civil society groups and governments should be explored.
In the current scenario, innovation could hardly be driven by the government system. Therefore one of the best corporate efforts has been in research and development of innovative models wherein projects have been piloted and their impact has been systematically recorded, assessed and scaled up.
The other indirect modes of intervention which corporates have opted for includes institution-building. Institutions like Azim Premji University which trains professionals for a career in education and in the development sector have been set up as a corporate effort and is strengthening school education.
The indirect intervention mode recommended by CSR strategists include collaboration with other stakeholders which are brought together by the company taking the initiative to put in effect a coalition that enables knowledge sharing. The organizations with expertise in building learning environments in different scenarios are acutely helpful for corporates to spend fruitfully on education.
Another indirect mode of CSR investment in school education is the collaboration with NGOs and development sector organizations having expertise in their field of school education. To broaden the impact of CSR, institutions like Socio-Economic Development Foundation (SEDF) of FICCI acts as the advisory organization to help corporates choose suitable development sector partners.
Streamlined CSR spending strategies in school education
CSR interventionists have started taking a realistic view of the timelines of the projects. The educational quality improvement is a gradual process, unlike infrastructure development. While forming their CSR approaches, companies hold on to a long-term view with mid-term objectives.
The other practice which is gaining currency in CSR educational intervention is the monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of inputs and short and long-term outputs.
Even though the corporate spending in school education is relatively modest, these developments give us reason to believe that if done strategically, CSR will catalyze the development in schooling by facilitating innovations which are impressive enough to move the state to commission them.
PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP (PPP) SCHOOLS
Complementing school education has found an effective way in the form of Public Private Partnership (PPP) schools. The term ‘Public-private partnership schools’ implies that the ownership of the institution is public and school operations have been privatized. PPP schools are institutional models which have been adopted from countries where they have shown great promise as far as improving education infrastructure is concerned. The concept has its value in the idea that inherent efficiency of the private functioning will rejuvenate the ailing government schools. These schools can become quality schools and leading examples propagating the efficient ways of school administration.
It has been noted that the infrastructure of government schools ends up becoming surplus as a preference for private schools limits the number of students in the government schools. In urban areas, were private schooling has proliferated owing to its superior quality, the situation of unused infrastructure in government schools has become particularly pronounced. This presents a scenario where PPP schools can come in as a change maker.
The Education Alliance, a relatively young organization advice the government in favor of PPP by tabling their design and execution strategy and in collaboration with state agencies they come up with quality assurance mechanisms. Presently, the CSR arm of corporate groups supports quality education through a PPP model. A trio exemplifying the collaboration of corporate, civil society organization and the government institutions has been made in several cases.
The trio of corporate, civil society organization and government has taken up six municipal schools operating the schools, paying salaries of teachers etc. and selected a suitable education foundation as knowledge resource partner. The role of the government agencies come in with the municipal corporation providing the infrastructure, books and stationery, mid-day meals. The knowledge foundation trains teachers and prepares school leadership. In the mentioned example, the corporate arm supports foundation conduct a student progress assessment test termed national ASSET test. The CSR effort in education is exceptionally rewarded when Educational Quality Foundation of India by “Whole School Award”.
We conclude that spending on education is definitely a promising option for corporates as far as CSR fund allocation is concerned. The shift in corporate philanthropy towards school education suggests that this fact is dawning upon enterprises. The need is for expert agencies like School Serv which can aid corporate groups to go about their CSR spending with their hands-on experience in establishing and managing K-12 schools. it is an imperative for the aiding ‘school lifecycle organization’, like School Serv to command expertise in the field of executing school improvement projects for CSR spending to be more meaningful and sustainable.
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.
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 maximum 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.
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.
Posted on July 10, 2018 | by Vinod Kakumanu
CBSE affiliation bye-laws are set for an overhaul. The proposals containing guidelines for far-reaching changes in the examination policy and affiliation bye-laws have been drafted and sent for consideration to Ministry of Human Resource and Development for approval. The proposal that is being construed as making the case for the revamping of the affiliation bye-laws has already been approved by the governing body of the CBSE. Besides this, the examination committee is reported to have been given more executive authority, which seems only rational in the light of scams and paper leaks in the CBSE board examinations, and some changes in the curriculum have been proposed to the NCERT by the board.
We believe the proposed changes in the affiliation bye-laws, will make it less arduous for the schools to decipher the bye-laws, apply and obtain affiliation. It remains to be seen if concessions are made in the land and infrastructural requirements besides the reduction in the procedural length and application processing time. It is expected that the affiliation process that currently spans between 16 to 18 months will take considerably less time of 6 months.
That implies ease for promoters starting a CBSE school and new entrants into the education sector. The sheer length of the process and the long tenure of the consideration before the affiliation is granted to the school had long been putting edupreneurs in logistical difficulties. And for the ones who contemplate setting up a school and subsequently making it a CBSE school,
deciphering affiliation bye-laws has very often been unduly hard. Affiliation bye-laws contain clauses about the minimum land requirement, documentation, qualifications of teachers, remuneration and financials that the school must conform to, among other critical conditions about the state of the school desired by the board. This makes the document crucial and, at the same time, voluminous. The affiliation bye-laws document which is a 90-page volume is getting trimmed down to 40 pages.
As a matter of course correction, “duplication” of procedures that take place in the course of inspection for granting affiliation to a school would be done away with. The present state of affairs has a lot of inspection, verification, and reviews that end up being done multiple times at two different levels. for instance, the inspection committee’s review of the documents related to the land and infrastructure is carried out despite the fact that every operational school already has the necessary certifications and permissions from the state education department. Other bureaucratic measures of checking conformity in the documentation and details about the amenities will stand curtailed if the reforms are finally approved.
The inspection committee that assesses the suitability of the school for affiliation will focus on reviewing the outcomes of the institution that relate to pedagogy, academics, teachers’ competence and level of training, initiative, and innovation.
If that comes to pass the affiliation to CBSE will not only get fine-tuned but remarkably progressive.
Posted on June 15, 2018 | by Vinod Kakumanu
School education is evolving in tandem with the diversifying higher education, spawning industries and broadening career options, some conventional and some not very much so. There have been steady and studied developments in the curriculums and pedagogy but then there are also abrupt modifications and short-sighted imports. Amidst this constant influx of newness in the school education scenario in India, one positive factor is unmistakably sighted. All boards of education including CBSE, CISCE, and international boards, which are increasingly becoming popular in India, including Cambridge and International Baccalaureate have been concentrating upon the targeted development of the intrinsic capabilities of the students. The degree of emphasis varies with each board and as an observer of school education scenario we have to admit that child-centric education culture has been predominant in the international curricula in general and in IB schools in particular. National boards have tried to engrain the element of equal importance to all streams of studies and identification and development of the innate potential of a student but there is still a lot left to be desired.
In other words, the ideal that is getting unprecedented attention from the modern curriculums and school education practices is that of exploration of aptitude of a child and facilitation of individualized learning outcomes.
Now, the school promoters are aided and advised to follow pedagogical practices or incorporate elements from progressive educational philosophies like Theory of Multiple Intelligences in the curriculum regardless of the board of education or certification exam they subscribe to.
However, like technical and academic shifts social and cultural changes are far more difficult to come by. There is clear bias for certain professions hence subjects and streams that lead to those professions. What results is undue pressure during studies and mediocrity in the profession, not to mention the potential lost through forced diversion from the stream of interest to the stream of “security”.
With the advent of organizations that implement a blend of career counseling, psychometrics, and parental orientation, a viable opportunity has opened up for students who feel the need to explore possibilities their aptitude affords them and opportunities that this day and age presents them.
There are facets of such comprehensive consultations and the counselors explore the areas that need to be scrutinized and studied to analyze any given case, these include understanding both parents’ choice or child’s ability and exploring the compatibility between the two.
There are critical junctures in the course of school education namely 10th and 12th grades ,which have come to be so decisive that they give an impression that they are salient life events for a substantial section of the population. As soon as a student has crossed one such milestone, the second one comes following on its heels. There comes an unmistakable dilemma for any student as soon as he or she approaches 12th grade. It all boils down to making the all-important career choice. Career guidance assessments play a pivotal role in mentoring the students and parents while making crucial career decisions.
Most times the parents start pressurizing their children to take up a career of their choice instead of focusing on the ability and interest of the child. It becomes a case of a tug-of-war between the stereotypes and interests, the parents and the child.
The absence of career guidance can hamper the students’ ability to be an achiever in his chosen field of career. Career counseling can be availed both at the school level i.e. while the student is doing his 12th and privately after passing out of the school.
It is left to the parents and the students to make the appropriate choice. In some cases, if the career counselor feels that the student’s choice of subjects has not benefited him or her and their grades reflect basically an unstudied choice of subjects, they might suggest something more befitting, because after this point the student might not be able to make another change of subjects in the future.
Coming to the modality of the counseling, depending on the stream that the student has chosen he or she has to write the relevant aptitude tests.
Career Guidance Test: These kinds of psychometric tests are conducted to discern the mental ability, intellectual inclination and academic aptitude of the student. These tests are designed as per the chosen field of the student. Results of these tests give an insight into the strengths and weaknesses of the student. The determination of aptitude act as a deciding factor in the suggestion of a career choice for the student.
Parental Counseling: It is imperative to counsel the parents, sometimes even prior to the student. Most parents have pressing anxieties which need to be addressed at the earliest. These concerns range from
Finally, though the decision rests on the jointly on the parents and the student, it is the career counselors job to point out the best interests of the student.
Encourage students to think of Alternate career opportunities:
Career counselors, are adept at encouraging students to step out of their comfort zone and focus on a career which they might never have conceived of taking up. They counsel students to take up vocational training or learn a foreign language along with their studies, which would help them further their career. For example, learning a foreign language opens a hoard of opportunities like- interpretation, foreign correspondent, diplomatic services, tourism, just to name a few.
It is a general assumption that students passing out of established colleges are preferred for high remunerative jobs, but today the industry is changing, and most well-paid positions are held by people who can think differently. This mindset is what the counselors focus on changing.
It’s time for the student to be in the know of their receptiveness towards a given domain of academia and not just the receptiveness of the industry for a particular trade. The modern methods of assessment of cerebral potentialities have to be employed with the perfect handling of adolescent emotions to achieve a future that has been dreamt of.
Entrepreneurs have taken cognizance of the need to direct the intellectual potential as suitably as possible. However, this enterprise requires coordinated efforts of several professionals including psychologists, academicians, career counselors, adolescent counselors, psychometric tests assessors besides subject experts. Enterprises such as mydisha (https://www.mydisha.in/) have reportedly shown promise and commitment to the entrepreneurial goal.
Posted on December 20, 2017 | by Vinod Kakumanu
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Posted on December 20, 2017 | by Vinod Kakumanu
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