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Dear Friends,

April 2014 marks four years of the passage of the landmark Right to Education Act, which aimed at guaranteeing access to free education to all children under the age of 14 in India. We see that despite enrolment figures in schools seeing a significant upward trend since the Act was passed, student performance has seen a downward spiral, both in public and private schools, according to ASER Reports.

While, on one hand, the Act mandates that 25% seats in private schools be reserved for neighbourhood children from ‘socially and educationally disadvantaged classes’, a closer look at the Act and you will see that it severely restricts the scope of private edupreneurs to operate primary schools, especially unrecognised budget private schools. Not all kids will be covered by the 25% quota, and thousands are already, or soon going to be, out of school.

Media reports that since the passing of the RTE, 2,983 schools have been shut down across 17 states, and another 5,907 face threat of closure. In Punjab alone, 1,170 schools have been shut down. These figures, already staggering, become even more so when you consider on-ground figures. Our field coordinators in the National Independent Schools Alliance  report that 4,331 schools have already been shut down in 17 states – 2,500 in Punjab, while another 15,083 face threat of closure (as on 18 March 2014) affecting over 18,00,000 students.

With the General Elections around the corner, we need to make education policy reform a political agenda for the next government in power. So far, the Congress manifesto has provisions for an independent regulatory board to assess both public and private schools which brings them both on common grounds, and the BJP manifesto has mandated a thorough and continuous monitoring of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. But we need more to be done in education than merely this. The new government needs to ‘right a wrong’ and stop these schools from closing down to be able to truly deliver on the great intentions of Act.

Following an extensive strategy planning early on in the year, we have set for ourselves two ambitious but much needed goals. Firstly, to reshape the school education policy landscape by shifting the focus to learning outcomes, expanding choice in education and advocating deregulation of the private sector. Secondly, to protect the budget private schools (BPS) from input-centric RTE norms and enhance their credibility and capacity through our National Independent Schools Alliance (NISA).

The time to ACT is now! I look forward to your continued support in ensuring that every child in India receives the right to education of choice. I leave you to read about CCS’s work this quarter in the areas of education, livelihood and CCS Academy from the heads of the verticals.

In liberty,

Parth J Shah
President, Centre for Civil Society

Nilanjan Chaudhuri | Manager, Research, School Choice Campaign

heckmanIn the first quarter of the year, the SCC team completed research projects on Scholarship Disbursements Schemes for Minorities and Public-Private Partnerships in Education. The quarter ended on a high-note with CCS partnering with University of Chicago to host Nobel Laureate James J. Heckman at the Taj Palace Hotel in New Delhi on 28 March 2014. Read more.


Subhalakshmi D | Associate Director, Livelihoods and Skills

VikalpWe've started the year with a fair amount of action and introspection in the Livelihoods vertical.  While most of the Vikalp team in Mumbai was involved in getting the next phase of voucher distribution up and running in half the time we took for the last phase, we have also spent time completing the landscape review of Livelihoods to chart out CCS's goals for the next three years. Read more.


CCS Academy
Baishali Bomjan | Director, CCS Academy & Asia Centre for Enterprise

ALF 2014The year 2014 started with a big bang for CCS Academy! Two international conferences, three policy courses, a liberal students leadership training, several lecture series on education and livelihood policy, and a think tank start up training engaged over 700 participants from over 40 countries strengthening our mission to inspire individuals to pursue the dream of a free society by championing a liberal approach to public policy. Read more

New faces at CCS

Farah Mendjour
Farah obtained a Bachelor of Arts in War Studies and Philosophy from Kings College London and a Masters of Science in Contemporary India from the University of Oxford. Prior to joining CCS as a Senior Research Associate for the School Choice Campaign, she has worked at the French Parliament, the TRANSCEND human security project, focusing on livelihoods and women empowerment, UNESCO and the Madhyam Foundation.
Meril Antony
Meril is a Research Associate with the School Choice Campaign. She completed her Masters in Economics from Jawaharlal Nehru University and her graduation from St. Stephen's college, Delhi University. She has previously interned with Centre De Sciences Humaines (CSH), Delhi.
Nilanjan Chaudhuri
Nilanjan is the Manager of our School Choice Campaign Team. He brings rich experience in development research and program implementation in various national and international organisations. He holds a masters degree in Development Studies from the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) where he was a Felix Scholar.
Pari Jhaveri
Pari is a parallel entrepreneur who founded a global talent management, firm Third Sector Partners, CSR and sustainability advisory SustainabilityCXO Partners Worldwide and Good Deed Leaders, a global thought leader counsel initiative. Pari is currently working on initiatives to create multi stakeholder collaboration on Right to Education and Livelihoods. She has won the PR Week Asia Pacific Award, Asian Brand Marketing Effectiveness Award, Best Woman Entrepreneur Award by Chief Minister of Maharashtra and Edelweiss Social Innovation Awards. Pari completed her Masters in International Relations and Diplomacy from The Fletcher School at Tufts University bolstering her Graduate and Master’s degrees in economics, psychology and social work. At CCS, Pari is a Consultant for the School Choice Campaign Advocacy team.
Sharon D’Souza
Sharon graduated from Babson College in 2012 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a Concentration in Economics. She has interned with the Herbert A. Stiefel Center for Trade Policy Studies at the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C and joins CCS as a Research Associate for the School Choice Campaign.
Somnath Bandyopadhyay
Somnath is Senior Advisor for Research at CCS. He has done pioneering work in environment policies, livelihood enhancement and social development programs for over two decades. He spent over eight years each with the Gujarat Ecology Commission and the Aga Khan Foundation in various senior positions. Prior to joining CCS he was Chief Strategy Officer at the Safe Water Network. Somnath holds a PhD in Environmental Sciences from JNU and has professional training in environmental economics and policy analysis from Harvard University. He has authored over a dozen publications.

Bamboo Regulation in India : The Need for Reforms

Viewpoint 12: Bamboo Regulation in India : The Need for ReformsThis memo examines the current state of laws and policies that affect bamboo in India, with the goal of setting out a broad framework for reforms that would pave the way for sustainable development of the country’s bamboo sector.

RTE State Rules Matrix

RTE State Rules MatrixThis Matrix features an in-depth analysis of state rules under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009. It broadly classifies the rules into seven key categories, further divided to provide clause level summary.

Soft copies of these publications are available for download on the CCS website. For hard copies, email ccs@ccs.in.
Education 2025: Student First!- A shared vision for India
Education 2025: Student First!- A shared vision for India
CCS in the MEDIA
  • Senior Advisor Meeta Sengupta on the role of budget private schools in Hindustan Times. 5 February 2014.
  • Meeta Sengupta on the importance of Second Chances for Adult Learners in The Pioneer. 6 February 2014.
  • Board Member Praveen Chakravarty on what we can ask our MPs to do. Economic Times, 10 February 2014.
  • Harsh Shrivastava on Budget Private Schools in Nai Dunia. 13 February 2014.
  • Board Member Luis Miranda wrote an article on Poorly Taught Economics for Forbes India. 1 March 2014.
  • Parth J Shah’s article highlighting Why Choice Matters was published in the Financial Express. 3 March 2014.
  • Prashant Narang’s article ‘People Want Choice, Not Charity’ in Business World. 21 March 2014.
  • Manasi Bose of CCS, with Vipin Veetil and Akshaya Vijayalakshmi on ‘Why Profit is Not a Bad Word’ in HT Education. 26 March 2014.
Quoting CCS
About CCS
  • Parth was featured in Digital Learning’s January edition, as one of the 10 Game Changers in Education. January 2014.
  • Harsh Shrivastava was on a panel to discuss Building Blocks for Equitable Growth, which was covered in the Economic Times and The Times of India. 24 January 2014.
  • CCS Among top 50 think tanks worldwidee. Various online and print media. 26 January 2014.

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