Schools grading initiative
The Nagaland state government’s education department has commiss-ioned an NGO to undertake an assessment project to grade schools. The project on quality education and students development was launched on April 29. The survey, conducted by the Mayangnokcha Award Trust, will cover Kohima, Dimapur and Mokokchung districts.
“The project will grade schools for the state government, the school itself and the public,” additional secretary for school education Bendangkokba informed the media in Kohima on June 1. Lauding the trust for initiating and organising the programme, he pledged full support of the education department. “Imparting quality education in the state is not solely the job of the education department, schools and teachers. It also requires involvement and efforts of NGOs, civil society and parents,” he remarked.
Nini Meru, chairperson of the Nagaland Board of School Education, called upon all schools to volunteer for assessment so that they can improve themselves by becoming aware of their shortcomings.
Schools fee control order
As per recommendations of a committee and the outcome of discussions with educationists, the Rajasthan govern-ment issued orders on June 1 to control tuition fee increases by private schools and set conditions for raising them.
R.P. Jain, principal secretary (school and Sanskrit education) said that only schools which have appointed permanent staff, and are paying them according to the recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission from the 2009-10 academic session, can raise tuition fees. “Collective fee hikes from academic year 2007-08 to 2009-10 shall not exceed 32.5 percent for schools run by trusts or societies, 30 percent for private schools located in divisional headquarters and 27.5 percent for other private schools. No school shall hike fees in mid session, and the development fee, should be used only for school furniture, fixtures and literary items and shall not exceed 10 percent of the tuition fee. Moreover no school shall charge fees except tuition, development, limited caution money, transfer certificate and sports fee,” he said, adding, “only such schools can charge sports fee where sports grounds and facilities are available for students.”
Modi directive to municipal schools
Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi has directed seven municipal corpora-tions in the state to improve the quality of education being dispensed in municipal schools. “In a meeting held on June 6, the chief minister asked officials of the seven municipal corporations to focus on the education provided in municipal schools,” said a senior official in the chief minister’s office (CMO).
The chief minister reportedly made a number of suggestions to improve academic standards in municipal schools which enrol children of the urban poor and lower middle class. “CM wants to bring about qualitative change in the education provided in government and civic body-run schools,” said the official, adding that infrastructure facilities will be improved in all such schools in the state.
Currently an estimated 1,000 schools in Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara, Jamnagar, Bhavnagar, Rajkot and Junagadh, are being administered by municipal corporations.
BJP call for OBC quota
In a statement dated June 4, Damodar Naik, spokesman of the BJP’s Goa legislative wing, directed all educational institutions in the state to reserve 19.5 percent seats for OBC students.
Naik informed a press conference in Panaji that the state government had first issued instructions to implement the OBC reservation policy in 1998. In 2007, the circular was amended to include 12 percent reservation for scheduled tribes (STs) in all education institutions in the state. “The government has already reserved 19.5 percent capacity for OBCs in various sectors such as employment, technical institutes etc,” says Naik. “Similarly the state’s education department should issue instructions to all high and higher secondary schools to do likewise,” he added.
Thumbs down for more reservations
The Tamil Nadu and Kerala state governments are opposed to reservations in jobs for the economically backward class, the member-secretary of the Commission for Economically Backward Classes (CEBC) informed media in Ranchi on June 13. “We have visited 17 states and had spoken to their officials, NGOs and other people. Most of them are not in favour of further reservations in government jobs and education, particularly Tamil Nadu and Kerala,” said Mahendra Singh, the member-secretary.
The commission was constituted in July, 2006 to ascertain the opinion of all state governments, Union territories, NGOs and others, on whether reserva-tions needed to be made available to backward people not covered by the existing reservation policy.
Church ready for dialogue
The Syrian Catholic church of Kerala is ready for a dialogue with the Communist-led state government to sort out differences on various issues including education provision, Major Archbishop Baselious Mar Cleemis Catholicose, head of the Syro Malankara Catholic Church, said in Thiruvananthapuram on June 15. “The church is concerned about certain initiatives of the government on the issue of religious rights, and it is the duty of the government to allay such fears and apprehensions,” he told a meet-the-press programme in the state capital.
Archbishop Cleemis termed the CPM secretariat’s allegation that a section of the church was running a “misleading” campaign against the state government together with the Congress-led UDF opposition, baseless. “The church is not owned by any party and it has never taken a stand on issues to support any political party. Nor has the church issued any pastoral letter in favour of any political party,” he added.