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Monitoring child progress for school accountability and reducing information asymmetries for parents

The debate on low learning levels has spurred several actions by the state. India has enrolled to participate in the 2021 round of PISA. The NCERT has defined grade level learning outcomes for languages (Hindi, English, Urdu), mathematics, environmental studies, science and social science up to the elementary stage. NITI Aayog is developing an index to `institutionalise the focus on improving education outcomes' including learning, equity and access based on information generated by NAS, the largest national assessment survey in the country. NAS coverage has been expanded to include government-aided schools and the sampling unit is changed from state to district level. The moot question is: Are these reforms sufficient to bring improvement across schools or are we still just tinkering at the edges?

Taking note of the crisis and recent developments, this brief urges the government to use the power of information to strengthen its ability to hold individual schools accountable, parents' ability to choose, and schools' ability to improve.

For more information on the project, to share your feedback or to get involved, get in touch with us at research_feedback@ccs.in.

Research Year: 2019 | Category: Education

An estimated one crore people in India rely on street vending for their livelihoods, supplying affordable and essential goods to the public and contributing directly to economic growth. However, they operate in public spaces over which different stakeholders claim contrasting and competing interests. In addition, a lack of clarity on their rights encourages informal governance and allows local authorities to benefit from flourishing channels of rent-seeking.

The Central Government, in a landmark event, enacted the Street Vendors Act 2014 with the objective of protecting and regulating the street vendors of the country. The Act mandates states to create rules, schemes and local governance structures, in consonance with the spirit of the Central Act, to legitimize the rights of vendors.

This report evaluates the progress made in institutionalizing mechanisms to protect and regulate vending since the past four years. There are three parts to the report: a look at the interpretation of the Act by the Higher Courts, a statistical capture of the progress by states in implementing the Act, and a case study of two urban cities to explore how the new Act is reshaping urban space management.

Through an analysis of 57 court judgements, RTI responses on 11 questions from 30 states, and review of orders and meeting minutes of 2 Town Vending Committees, we found that the Act notwithstanding, vendors continue to be excluded from critical urban space management decisions. Four years after enactment, progress across the board on implementing the mandate of the Act is sluggish.

 

Research Year: 2019 | Category: Livelihood

Prior to the passage of the Right to Education (RTE) Act 2009, government registration or recognition of private schools was not mandatory in most Indian states. The Act has drawn heavy criticism for its impact on recognised and unrecognised private schools across India. Its uniform input-oriented regulatory approach does not pay attention to the fact that children from all socioeconomic classes attend private schools. Application of uniform principles to all schools, irrespective of the fee charged, ignores the costs of compliance with the mandated input norms, and the implicit penalty imposed on low-income parents. Worst of all, the enforcement of the Act threatens to shut down well-performing schools who may not have the means to comply with input norms.

Nearly 10 years after the passage of the Act, we are yet to have credible estimates from the government on the regulatory impact of RTE, particularly on children attending low-fee private schools.

Against this backdrop, the report provides estimates on the extent of school closures as a result of enforcing private school recognition norms prescribed under RTE.

Research Year: 2018 | Category: Education

Separation of Powers is one of the foremost principles of good governance, and states that the rule-maker, rule-executor and adjudicator should be distinct from each other. Such a separation installs checks against conflicts of interest and abuse of power by regulatory authorities and increases institutional accountability for outcomes.

We need to separate the functions exercised in governing the school education sector of India, particularly at the state level. A state government's Education Department is responsible for the construction of schools, teacher hiring and management, distribution of funds for school activities and formulation of state-level education policy.

The blueprint identifies three key-problems with the current governance structure:

  • Violation of natural justice;
  • Ineffective performance monitoring and rule compliance; and
  • Differential laws for government and private schools.

o address these three problems, the blueprint proposes separating the functions of service-delivery, assessment of learning outcomes, and adjudication of disputes (from the state departments of education) into three independent bodies.

Research Year: 2018 | Category: Education

India, one of the largest democracies in the world with an ever-rising population, has had, several statutes that with the advent of time have become obsolete, redundant or repetitive. In addition to this, there is the matter of inconsistent language and dissemination- making it difficult for an ordinary citizen to access and comprehend the plethora of legal information with ease. This increased transaction cost coupled with glaring redundancy further breeds fertile grounds for corruption, discouraging engagement of individuals and firms with the society/ economy at large.


Centre of Civil Society (CCS) initiated the 'Repeal of 100 Laws' Project in 2014 with the aim to identify laws that could be repealed on account of three reasons

  • Redundancy
  • Obsolescence in the face of new laws
  • Hindrance to development, governance and freedom.

For the 2018 edition of the Repeal of Laws initiative the following state compendiums have been prepared:


APPEAL FOR REPEAL LAW DAY

Centre for Civil Society, in an effort to institutionalize the repealing of laws as a constitutional practice for the Republic of India, brought together like-minded organizations, scholars, academicians and lawyers to acknowledge 26 November as the Appeal for Repeal Law Day. Its objectives were:

  • To celebrate the diversity of our legal system and have a constructive dialogue around the process of repealing of laws
  • To launch the compendiums constituting the recommended laws for repeal in the aforementioned 6 States

To mark this day, we launched the Repeal Law Compendiums constituting the recommended laws for repeal in the aforementioned 6 States. The launch was followed by a panel discussion on ‘Exploring Alternatives: Institutionalization of Repeal of Laws’. Our esteemed speakers for the panel consisted of India’s prominent legal and industry experts such as PK Malhotra, Former Law Secretary, Ministry of Law & Justice, Maneesh Chhibber, Editor (Investigations and Special Projects), The Print, Satya Prakash, Legal Editor, The Tribune, Tariq Anwar, Former Union Minister, Hemant Batra, Founder and Chairman, Kaden Boriss Global and Neeti Shikha, National Coordinator, Repeal of Laws initiative, Centre for Civil Society.

Research Year: 2018 | Category: Governance

In 2014, Government of India (GoI) made it a policy priority to improve the business environment in the country. This prioritisation derived from India's lacklustre performance on the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business Index that ranks 190 countries on their business regulatory environment. Since 2003, the World Bank has measured the time, cost and regulation of entry, operation and exit for firms, and ranked countries based on these measurements and government reporting. In addition, in 2017 the IDFC Institute conducted an enterprise survey of over 3,000 manufacturing firms across India, to assess the business regulatory environment 'from the viewpoint of manufacturing firms'. However, these studies have significant gaps.

First, we do not have a deep understanding of the substantive and qualitative changes undertaken by different states. Second, ubiquitous urban services provided by micro, small and medium enterprises have found short shrift in the reporting on business climate reforms. Third, none of the studies give us a sense of the next granular steps in the reform process. Our Doing Business in Delhi addresses some of these questions. It studies the regulatory barriers to operate restaurants, meat shops and e-waste recycling plants in Delhi, and evaluates the business reforms conducted between 2016 to 2018.

 

Research Year: 2018 | Category: Livelihood

Called “Faces of Budget Private Schools,” the BPS report 2018 is an attempt to explore both the data on the current education challenges and needs and also bring to light individual stories from the stakeholders in the system to set the data in perspective.

The Report consists of 3 main sections, which looks at 'Reach and diversity', 'Solving the problem of quality' and 'Educating children for an uncertain future'.

 
Research Year: 2018 | Category: Education

Different state governments of India have notified through Government Orders (GOs) the amount they will pay out in reimbursement to private schoolsfor each RTE child the school admits. For example, Tamil Nadu has fixed the reimbursement amount at Rs. 2351 per pupil per month; Delhi at Rs 2225, Himachal at Rs. 1593, Uttarakhand at Rs 1380, Karnataka at Rs. 1333, Rajasthan at Rs 1252, Bihar at Rs. 465, and Uttar Pradesh at Rs 450 per month per child. These amounts are meant to represent the states’ per pupil expenditure in their respective government elementary (primary + upper primary) schools. However, there has been some doubt and dismay about the accuracy of these estimates, and also some research estimating per pupil expenditures in the different states of India in Dongre and Kapur (2016), World Bank (2016) and NIPFP (2017).

The NIPFP (2017) found that the Uttar Pradeshgovernment’s actual per pupil expenditure in 2014-15 on its government and aided schools was Rs. 1529 per month. If this Rs.1529 estimate were to be inflated up to 2018-19 by 10% per annum, the per pupil expenditure today would be equivalent to Rs. 2239 per month on account of the increase in expenditure alone. If the fall in enrolment from 2014-15 to projected enrolment in 2018-19 is taken into consideration, then the average per pupil expenditure as per NIPFP would be Rs.2652 per month in 2018-19. This can be compared with the Rs. 450 pm upper limit of reimbursement set by the Uttar Pradesh government in June 2013, which has remained at the same level until 2018-19.

This short paper seeks to estimate the per pupil expenditure in government elementary schools in Uttar Pradesh using the government’s own expenditure data and enrolment data.

Research Year: 2018 | Category: Education

The report brings together research and perspectives from relevant stakeholders with the aim of updating and pushing forward the discourse on BPS in India, by providing a platform for informed and inclusive interactions on the sector.

The Report consists of 17 chapters and is categorised into four themes which represent the different aspects of the BPS sector: demand, supply, ecosystem, and regulation.

The chapters of the Report are authored by experts representing a variety of backgrounds and organisations with a deep understanding and expertise of the BPS sector, representing research, policy and practice.

 
Research Year: 2017 | Category: Education

Repeal Laws CompendiumCCS has consistently campaigned for governmental action to repeal redundant and inconsistent laws that promote red tapism and encumber personal, social and economic freedoms. This year, we reinforced our call for the recognition of 26 November - the Constitution Day of India, as the National Repeal Law Day.

To mark this day, we launched the Repeal Law Compendium, a rigorously researched repository of obsolete laws across five states - Maharashtra, Karnataka, Chattisgarh, Telangana, and Uttar Pradesh. The launch of the Compendium was followed by a panel discussion on the Need for Institutionalisation of Repeal of Laws. Our esteemed speakers for the panel included Hemant Batra, Founder and Chairman, Kaden Boriss Global; Maneesh Chhibber, Executive Editor, DNA; Justice A P Shah, Former Chief Justice, Delhi High Court; Parth J Shah, Founder President, Centre for Civil Society; KTS Tulsi, Member of Rajya Sabha and Senior Advocate at the Supreme Court of India.

Research Year: 2017 | Category: Governance