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Quality Education for All: Case Study of a New Delhi Government School

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Abstract:

This Paper presents a case study that was conducted at a Hindi-medium government secondary school located in a low-income area in New Delhi, India, in March 2012.

The study took place two years after the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act (RTE) came into force in April 2010, which aims at achieving the universalization of elementary education in India. RTE establishes the right of every child aged six to fourteen to be admitted and educated at a neighborhood school until the completion of elementary education, at no parental cost. It also mandates how aspects of elementary education are to be provided and places responsibility on state governments and local authorities for implementing the legislation. The universalization of elementary education in India, an objective of the Indian government since Independence in 1947, has yet to be achieved. Through the introduction of RTE, the vision of education conceived since then and underlying principles it has been based on have been carried forward within an updated, child-rights based framework that is based on social justice and equality, covers the whole of India and is legally enforceable.

There has been some significant progress in the last decade with regard to Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), the Indian government’s main program for achieving education for all,
particularly in access and enrolment. The goal of universal access has almost been achieved at the primary level (Government of India, 2011, World Bank, 2014). The core remaining problems have been identified by the state as follows: a high proportion of children, particularly from disadvantaged and poor backgrounds, still drop out before completing Upper Primary; there is still a large out-of-school population, particularly of so far unreached children; and the quality of learning achievement is not always satisfactory. SSA was revamped following the introduction of RTE as a vehicle for implementing the reforms.
The objective of the Study was to investigate the functioning of the school in order to gain insights into how education objectives and curriculum were being implemented, and how its teachers approached the implementation of the National Curriculum, following the introduction of RTE.

Of ‘instrumental’ design, (Stake, 1995), the school was examined in order to provide understandings of contexts and the implementation of RTE rather than to promote understandings of the school itself. The issues of lack of teacher professionalism and inadequacies in infrastructure were chosen to form the conceptual structure of the study, as well as a focus on Comprehensive and Continuous Evaluation (CCE) as a component of child-centered curriculum as required by RTE. These areas formed the basis of the primary research questions. Flexible, semi-structured interviews were conducted with nine teachers and the school principal over a two-week period. Other sources of data were observation of the school environment and operations, school publications and documents, teacher diaries and student work.

Findings from the research present insights into how the education reforms were being implemented at the School as well as insights into the effects that infrastructural difficulties, particularly a high teacher-pupil ratio, could have on educational outcomes at the School and on how these could affect the professionalism of its teachers. This investigation of a specific local context provides a basis for discussion of the imagining and implementation of Education for All in all its complexities across India as well as in comparative and international contexts. It also presents a starting point to reflect on the objectives, realities and future of EFA. It is hoped that a discussion of infrastructural difficulties, high teacher-pupil ratio and the professionalism of teachers, as highlighted in the Study, will lead to thoughts and ideas on how innovation may present possibilities for moving forward.
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Name: Comparative and International Education Society Annual Conference
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MLA Citation:

Sarin, Meera. "Quality Education for All: Case Study of a New Delhi Government School" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Comparative and International Education Society Annual Conference, Sheraton Centre Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Mar 10, 2014 <Not Available>. 2014-12-10 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p718368_index.html>

APA Citation:

Sarin, M. N. , 2014-03-10 "Quality Education for All: Case Study of a New Delhi Government School" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Comparative and International Education Society Annual Conference, Sheraton Centre Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada <Not Available>. 2014-12-10 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p718368_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: This Paper presents a case study that was conducted at a Hindi-medium government secondary school located in a low-income area in New Delhi, India, in March 2012.

The study took place two years after the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act (RTE) came into force in April 2010, which aims at achieving the universalization of elementary education in India. RTE establishes the right of every child aged six to fourteen to be admitted and educated at a neighborhood school until the completion of elementary education, at no parental cost. It also mandates how aspects of elementary education are to be provided and places responsibility on state governments and local authorities for implementing the legislation. The universalization of elementary education in India, an objective of the Indian government since Independence in 1947, has yet to be achieved. Through the introduction of RTE, the vision of education conceived since then and underlying principles it has been based on have been carried forward within an updated, child-rights based framework that is based on social justice and equality, covers the whole of India and is legally enforceable.

There has been some significant progress in the last decade with regard to Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), the Indian government’s main program for achieving education for all,
particularly in access and enrolment. The goal of universal access has almost been achieved at the primary level (Government of India, 2011, World Bank, 2014). The core remaining problems have been identified by the state as follows: a high proportion of children, particularly from disadvantaged and poor backgrounds, still drop out before completing Upper Primary; there is still a large out-of-school population, particularly of so far unreached children; and the quality of learning achievement is not always satisfactory. SSA was revamped following the introduction of RTE as a vehicle for implementing the reforms.
The objective of the Study was to investigate the functioning of the school in order to gain insights into how education objectives and curriculum were being implemented, and how its teachers approached the implementation of the National Curriculum, following the introduction of RTE.

Of ‘instrumental’ design, (Stake, 1995), the school was examined in order to provide understandings of contexts and the implementation of RTE rather than to promote understandings of the school itself. The issues of lack of teacher professionalism and inadequacies in infrastructure were chosen to form the conceptual structure of the study, as well as a focus on Comprehensive and Continuous Evaluation (CCE) as a component of child-centered curriculum as required by RTE. These areas formed the basis of the primary research questions. Flexible, semi-structured interviews were conducted with nine teachers and the school principal over a two-week period. Other sources of data were observation of the school environment and operations, school publications and documents, teacher diaries and student work.

Findings from the research present insights into how the education reforms were being implemented at the School as well as insights into the effects that infrastructural difficulties, particularly a high teacher-pupil ratio, could have on educational outcomes at the School and on how these could affect the professionalism of its teachers. This investigation of a specific local context provides a basis for discussion of the imagining and implementation of Education for All in all its complexities across India as well as in comparative and international contexts. It also presents a starting point to reflect on the objectives, realities and future of EFA. It is hoped that a discussion of infrastructural difficulties, high teacher-pupil ratio and the professionalism of teachers, as highlighted in the Study, will lead to thoughts and ideas on how innovation may present possibilities for moving forward.


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