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Need of the hour: Special status for teachers

PARVATHY JAYAKRISHNAN examines the many valid reasons why teachers need to be given the respect, remuneration, safety and security they deserve

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A teacher fills in as a parent in the formative years of a child, she/he guides and corrects a child when he make mistakes, encourages students to reach for the stars and applauds their achievements. All packed in one, a teacher’s role is not an easy one. A teacher sometimes takes on the role of a parent, a friend, a confidant and much more. A student spends so many years interacting with his/her teachers on a daily basis and the role of a teacher in a student’s life cannot be replaced by any other professional in society. And clearly, it is the teachers who are responsible for building good citizens. Hence, good teachers are truly what a country needs to move forward. The unfortunate reality is, despite all these responsibilities and roles resting on a country’s teachers, they not given the respect and special status they truly deserve.

An army man in uniform or a doctor is well-respected in our society. In some states, patients remove their footwear before entering a doctor’s chamber as a mark of respect – the kind of respect that you give God while entering a place of worship. We smile and sometimes even bow our heads as a mark of respect when we see an army man in uniform. However, the work and efforts of teachers are more often than not ignored in our society. Is it a kind of conditioning that we are brought up with?

We are very proud of our sacred guru-shishya parampara, which is a tradition of spiritual relationship and mentoring where learning is transmitted from a guru "teacher" to a shishya "disciple". Such knowledge, whether it be Vedic, agamic, architectural, musical or spiritual, is imparted through the developing relationship between the guru and the disciple. We talk ever so proudly about our Gurukul system of learning where the students live near the guru or in the same house as the guru and learn lessons of life from the guru. The guru does this without accepting any fees from the students because the relationship between a teacher and student is considered sacred.

Sonal Ahuja, Learning evangelist, founder, House of Learning explains that for thousands of years, the Indian subcontinent revered its teachers to the highest level. “Indian tradition dictated that teachers must be treated with respect that paralleled kings. The Mahabharata famously depicted the story of Eklavya, a gifted archer who cut off this thumb as Guru Dakshina to show his unconditional gratitude to his Guru, Drona.”

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So, we cannot completely blame our conditioning because our traditions and values teach us to respect “the teacher” the same way that you respect God. Then where did we go wrong and why aren’t teachers today given the kind of respect they deserve?

Urvashi Warman, Principal, The Palace School, The City Palace, Jaipur believes that the government needs to step in and set high parameters for teacher selection. She says, “When we have such stringent standards set at the entry level for doctors and engineers,  why are we so lax in raising the bar at the entry level to become a teacher … a teacher who actually helps to give good doctors and engineers to the society? The government should also set decent rates for monthly emoluments so the teacher is not forced to indulge in additional commercial activities to make two ends meet. This by far is diluting not only the standard of education being imparted but is also lowering the stature of a teacher as he gets relegated to the level of a commercial tutor rather than getting elevated to the pedestal of an Acharya or Guru.”

Shalini Dahiya, educator, Modern School – Barakhamba Road, New Delhi explains why teaching is underrated today.

“Occupational status depends on the public valuing of the competence, role and overall contribution of a particular occupation to individual and social welfare.

Teachers are struggling for a special status as firstly they are not considered as a temple of knowledge or a good character building instrument, with the surge of social media and too much of information available on the internet.”

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Teachers in other countries

Japan

Japan is one of the countries in the world where the teaching profession is respected and valued. Here’s how they make sure that teachers are given the special status they deserve…
Teachers in Japan have traditionally been paid better than other civil servants. Japan’s average teacher salary for a lower secondary school teacher after 15 years of service is US$47,561, as compared to the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) average of US$40,569. Following WWII, over concerns about teacher shortages, the Prime Minister decreed that teachers would be paid 30 percent more than other civil servants. Although this gap has decreased over the last 50 years, by law teachers remain relatively highly paid among civil servants. Also, teacher salaries do not vary much across the country because teachers are paid from both the national government and the prefecture government so they are relatively consistent regardless of an area’s income levels or property values.

In Japan, teachers are addressed with the honorific sensei, a term also used when addressing a doctor or member of Parliament. Teachers are held in such high regard that they are often contacted before parents by the police if a student is in trouble with the law.

The teaching profession in Japan is also highly selective which ensures that only the best and most committed teachers enter the profession. Those who do make the cut only do so after a rigorous set of school board exams and evaluations and teachers must hold a degree from an institution of higher education.

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Finland

The Finland education system regularly tops the international Pisa performance rankings and the teachers need to take the credit for it. Finland’s teachers are different from the rest of the world because they believe that extensive training is the basis for giving teachers the autonomy to work the way they want. The result is a highly prized profession and good education system. This has even led to educational tourists coming in to learn the Finnish experience. The high-level training is the basis for giving young teachers a great deal of autonomy to choose what methods they use in the classroom – in contrast to most countries where teaching feels like a profession that oscillates between administration and giving tests to students. In Finland, teachers are largely free from external requirements such as inspection, standardised testing and government control – school inspections were scrapped in the 1990s. In Finland, teachers are given high-quality education so that they know how to use the freedom they are given in the classroom and they learn to solve problems in a research-based way.

China

The 2013 Varkey Foundation Global teacher status index report revealed that it is only in China that people think of teachers are being most closely compared to doctors. In the US, Brazil, France and Turkey, people thought teachers were most similar to librarians and in New Zealand people think the job of teaching is most similar to nursing. The report found that teachers in China have the highest level of public respect. Most foreign English teachers in China receive benefits like free or reimbursed airfare to and from their home country, and/or free furnished housing. Many teachers also receive health insurance and paid vacation. It is one of the few countries where  parents were most likely to encourage their kids to become teachers.

Respect and remuneration

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One important dimension of how an occupation is regarded, and which is inextricably linked to standing or social status, is pay. An individual’s standing in a culture depends on how much they are paid in absolute or relative terms.

The 7th Pay Commission, launched in September 2015 ensured that the teachers in primary schools, secondary and higher secondary schools, colleges and universities get a hiked net salary of 16 per cent. However, the yearly increment of 3 percent did not change.

Dr. Dheeraj Mehrotra, National Teacher Awardee 2005 & Academic Evangelist, Next Education India believes that “The imbalance from the teaching profession, highlights a great divide with narration of unethical practices of low salary and refund of said amount via account transfer as reverse payment. There must be a check on equal pay for all grades and at all levels.”

It is important that teachers are provided with a substantial yearly increment to prevent attrition and keep them motivated. Also, there is a huge gap between the salaries of a primary school teacher and a high school teacher. This gap needs to be addressed as primary school teachers are equally important and this has to be shown by ensuring their salaries are on par with the rest.

Urvashi Warman, Principal, The Palace School, The City Palace, Jaipur avers, “The teacher is by far a silent sentinel of a country's future and if this sentinel is not compensated adequately in terms of financial and social security, the country's future is sure to be doomed. This doom is inevitable because the poorly compensated  teacher, who is a role model for his students,is sure to indulge in acts which totally demean his stature and thus sets a poor example for his students to emulate.”

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According to Dr Jagpreet Singh, Headmaster, The Punjab Public School, Nabha, “The primary reason we all work is for money – so teachers should get their due financial recognition which will definitely bring young, intellectual people into this noble profession. Proper management of funds by the school authorities should be done and teachers should be given regular incentives and bonuses on the basis of their performance. ”

Measures to ensure teachers’ financial stability

Teaching is a profession which requires going beyond the call of duty to deliver great results. Financial stability is a must for teachers and the government must bring in special allowances and privileges for teachers so that they can sustain themselves well without having to find secondary jobs to make ends meet. The remuneration you receive is also a sign of your value to the school and an underpaid teacher will always feel unimportant.

Teachers can be granted allowances based on the number of years of service or excellence in their work. It is worth a thought whether the salaries of teachers need to be taxed at all or even if they are taxed, there needs to be a separate slab which will ensure minimal taxation.

Every school can also ensure that a teacher’s child learns for free or is given a subsidized fee.

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Lavita Kacker, Head of Department- Social Sciences, Sacred Heart School, Kalyan suggests that “Financial stability measures for teachers may include provision of housing allowances, reduction in taxation on income, attractive investment schemes, medical reimbursement, concession on public transport and better pension facilities.”

Shraddha Bhatnagar, Headmistress (Head of Cambridge Section), Seedling World School, Udaipur wishes that the government checks the imbalance between salaries of teachers in private and government-run schools.

Proper remuneration is important to boost a teacher’s self-confidence and make her/him feel secure in the job. Yearly increments and bonuses are also required for the same reason. A job which does not do that will, at some point, end up being taxing.

“The pay commissions are restricted to government aided, affiliated and government run schools. There is no start up point for early childhood sector and private schools where teachers are exploited with low pay scales. A respectful minimum pay scale should be mandatory for schools to pay to their teachers. There should be levels of training with specialisations in teaching as in the medical field and accordingly a pay scale armed with good gratuity, pension, and life covers for financial stability,” says Smriti Agarwal, Sr. Headmistress, Podar Jumbo Kids Powai, Mumbai.

Kavitha Vyas, Director, Crystal Kids Pre-School, Vadodara mentions that job security is absolutely necessary to ensure a teacher’s financial stability. They can be trained further for higher grades and regular promotions to improve their pay scale. More social security and medical benefits for their family are also required, she maintains.

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Safety for teachers in schools

It is not uncommon today to hear the news of a teacher being stabbed by a student or attacked by an adult or a mob in the school premises. So tricky is the state of affairs today that teachers are often scared of even punishing a child for doing wrong for fear of his/her own safety. Safety of students in schools is always talked about as a priority that is pursued by parents. However, a school should also provide safety and support to its teachers so that they can function normally and without fear. Merely providing compensation to the family of the deceased is not a solution to the problem. Teachers need to feel safe to do their job faithfully and without fear. School authorities need to ensure this happens. Parents also need to teach their children the importance of teachers in their lives.

According to Dr Jagpreet Singh, Headmaster, The Punjab Public School, Nabha, “A school should be as safe for a teacher as it is for a student. Rather than enforcing restrictive discipline among children, the parents should take equal responsibility of bringing up their children and instil strong moral values and ethics.”

Speaking about the need for an emergency response system,Yasin Khatri, Sacred Heart School, Kalyan explains that teachers must be trained to handle any crisis that takes place around them. The feasibility of the emergency response system must be checked through frequent mock drills at school. “Students must be sensitised and teachers should be trained to identify such cases within the classroom or around. Immediate psychological help must be provided to pupils who need it.”

Priyanka Singh, ICT Educator, The HDFC School, Gurgaon emphasises that schools should have a security check system at the entrance so that people cannot enter a school premise with weapons. She also suggests schools have a police booth in its vicinity so that help can be immediately sought in case of any mishaps.

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“The Government must have good health care and on-call medical facilities in every school across the country. Metal detectors and CCTV cameras should be installed within the school. EQ and IQ evaluation of students should be conducted to identify problems amongst students. Uniform level of safety and security measures for all schools should be ensured,” says Lavita Kacker, Head of Department – Social Sciences, Sacred Heart School, Kalyan.

Suggesting that self-defence for teachers can be part of the teacher training programme, Smriti Agarwal, Sr. Headmistress, Podar Jumbo Kids Powai, Mumbai also advocates instant justice and firm law in cases where teachers are physically, emotionally or sexually harassed, so that it creates a sense of fear in any individual towards the consequences of such an act.

Urvashi Warman, Principal, The Palace School, The City Palace, Jaipur has a different opinion on how to tackle the safety issue of teachers in schools. She says, “The solution to violence in schools does not lie in turning the school or any educational institute into a fortress. The solution lies in empowering the teaching faculty with proper life skills which they need to impart to students from a very young age. When the student community is sensitised and learns how to deal with issues like rejection, failures, grief, disappointment and general strengthening of the emotional quotient, the problem of increase in violence is sure to dissipate very soon.”

What we can do to ensure teachers are respected

The role of teachers is paramount in shaping the future of the country. The government should include teachers while reforming educational policies. With the digitisation of education happening at a rapid pace, the role of teachers is also changing drastically. Today, teachers are taking on roles of being advisors, friends and disciplinarians to students rather than the conventional role of a teacher who only explains what is there in the textbook. However, the role of a teacher is indispensable in a student’s life and it is imperative that the student understands it and respects the teacher accordingly.

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Suman Sood, Territory Head, Kolkata Chapter, Early Childhood Association explains the importance of giving grants to teachers so that they can better themselves. She says “Involved and passionate teachers are always wanting to do things differently so that they may enhance learning of their students. Innovative teaching is important, but it can be expensive. The US model of giving grants to teachers for enhancing their skills and using funds for buying teaching aids can be followed for our teachers. Some of the grants given may be  Professional Development Grants for Teachers, Funds for Classroom Enrichment/Student Achievement, STEM Grants, and Humanities Grants.”

Shraddha Bhatnagar, Headmistress (Head of Cambridge Section), Seedling World School, Udaipur suggests, “Government can think of rewarding/awarding teachers annually for their outstanding contributions. One of these rewards can be the official use of the upaadhi ‘Guruji’ or ‘Gurudev’ with their names.”

Summary

Verbally, we talk highly of teachers, praise their work and value them. But mere lip service is not enough. We need to show it by giving them the special status they truly deserve; by showing them that they are indeed doing a selfless job in raising citizens of this nation. We can take a leaf out of the books of some of the nations who treat their teachers on par with other noble professions and provide them with special rights. We need to make our teachers feel safe, secure and wanted.

To make sure that teachers continue in the same profession, we need to ensure that they are guaranteed financial stability and substantial yearly increments. A change in the mindset of parents is also very much required. It is very common to see parents wanting to see their children become doctors or engineers; we need to encourage our children to become teachers as well as ensure that the teaching profession is on par with any other profession. To facilitate this better, the salaries in the teaching profession need to be on par with those of other professions. Let us bring back the glory of the teaching profession from the days of Dronacharya or Ved Vyas and ensure that teachers today are treated with love and respect. We need to make a strong effort for this but together, we can.

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What teachers want…

“Financial security being the top priority, recognition for their selfless service in the upbringing of others’ children which goes unnoticed. Teachers posted in remote areas should get extra allowances. Quality time to spend with family will work as an incentive in improving their output. Also, monitoring through CCTVs should be focused on students’ actions rather than teachers.”

Dr Jagpreet Singh, Headmaster, The Punjab Public School, Nabha

“Matching teachers’ salary to the best salary in the market is a must. Sponsorship of teachers to visit schools across the world to learn the best practices is important. Collaboration among Indian teachers and creating a forum of teachers to share best practices is also necessary. Teacher education courses should be enhanced and the process for it should be eased.”

Mohammed Azhar, Principal, Knowledge Academy School, Chennai

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“Teacher (Tr.) Title should be given to teachers and Sr. Tr. to teachers who have been into the teaching profession with a minimum of 15 years. A requisite of a Teachers’ Club in every city with provisions for teachers' welfare and community should be there. To teach is to preach; teaching is no doubt the most trusted profession in the world. Let teachers be recognised and saluted for their commitment towards enriching young minds and igniting them towards becoming prosperous nation builders of tomorrow.”

Dr Dheeraj Mehrotra, National Teacher Awardee 2005 & Academic Evangelist, Next Education India

“Funding needs to be provided for innovative teacher education, for programmes that target minority teacher recruitment, and for increased collaboration between universities and schools in preparation of teachers so that more participation and encouragement is provided to teachers coming from rural areas. Private sector teachers should also get benefits similar to the government set up. There should be provisions for continuous professional development, trips and excursions as a team building activity.”

Priyanka Singh, ICT Educator, The HDFC School, Gurgaon

“The Government of India should give teachers a professional designation and respect like those given to army personnel because the same way that the army defends the nation, teachers too defend the citizens from illiteracy, poverty, ignorance, unemployment, superstitions, mental and social evils. Their privileges could include subsidised accommodation, annual medical checkups and medical aid, standardised salaries, transport allowance, opportunities for professional development, work from home, financial incentives, better pension and retirement plans.”

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Lavita Kacker, Head of Department – Social Sciences, Sacred Heart School, Kalyan.

“The government can do a lot to change this scenario and create an atmosphere of great respect for teachers throughout the nation. This can be done by reiterating through various government campaigns and highlighting achievements of exceptional teachers. Following can be some privileges that can be given to teachers:

  1. Special considerations in all government-related jobs such as making passports, getting medical assistance, legal proceedings etc.

  2. Teachers to get special privileges like subsidised passes in railways, airlines and bus services.

  3. Subsidies on electricity and water bills.”

Shraddha Bhatnagar, Headmistress (Head of Cambridge Section), Seedling World School, Sapetiya, Udaipur

“Our government needs to attach value to teacher training and the profession with the same benefits and royal respect that the Indian Army gets. Like a civilian salutes a man in uniform when they come across him, there should be a bow to a teacher. The Government of India has not formed universities for teachers, regulations and government-accredited qualifications and national awards for teachers, which are prevalent in some countries. The most pertinent sector of early childhood education is the most neglected and sidelined. Let’s start from the roots, right from the very beginning and reap the fruits. Teachers need to be given an identity before discussing about privileges. Teaching is treated as a part time job for women. Doctors, engineers, IAS, IPS officers and defence personnel and other government officials are given the benefits of accommodation, respect and a standing in the society. The same attitude is lacking for teachers. Before special privileges, let’s make the basic amenities like resources, toilets, clean environment and good school buildings for teachers to give them a better workplace.”

Smriti Agarwal, Sr. Headmistress , Podar Jumbo Kids Powai, Mumbai

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“The same way that a doctor can add his degree as a prefix to his name, a respectable term should also be given to the teacher.  Also, government advertisements promote and encourage citizens to join the defence system of the country. There need to be advertisements to promote teaching as well.”

Sonal Chawla, Head of Department – Mathematics, Sacred Heart School, Kalyan

“The student-teacher ratio must be brought down. A higher ratio makes the job even tougher for teachers. Proper and timely payment of wages is a must. But the fact is that appreciation in form of financial incentive is not a very popular culture across our country. Delayed salaries and delay in implementation of the pay commission is a very common scene. Teachers, particularly in government aided schools, are compelled to do clerical jobs. This must completely stop.”

Yasin Khatri, Sacred Heart School, Kalyan

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Education

Why Sex Education in Schools is a Battlefield: A Look into Recent Debates and the Path Forward

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Sex education in schools has once again found itself in the eye of a political storm. In the UK, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s recent overhaul of sex education and gender identity teachings in England’s schools has sparked intense debate. As reported by CNN, Sunak’s administration claims the changes provide much-needed clarity, but critics argue they are politically motivated and detrimental to students’ wellbeing.

The Current Debate

The newly unveiled guidelines mandate that children cannot be taught sex education before the age of nine, with explicit discussions on sexual activity delayed until age 13. Additionally, the concept of gender identity is deemed “highly contested” and is to be excluded from the curriculum. Education Secretary Gillian Keegan emphasized that teachers should impart facts rather than push agendas, a statement that has further fueled the controversy.

Pepe Di’lasio, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, criticized the move as being driven by a “political agenda at the front of a campaign season.” He pointed out the lack of substantial evidence backing the changes, suggesting they are more about garnering votes than genuinely addressing educational needs.

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The Politics of Sex Education

Sunak’s approach is seen by many as a bid to win over socially conservative voters ahead of an impending general election. This strategy has involved a series of divisive announcements, with sex education being the latest target.

Critics, including Paul Whiteman of the National Association of Head Teachers, argue that the rigid limits on discussions could drive students to seek information from unreliable sources. Sam Freedman, a senior advisor at the Ark education charity, echoed this sentiment, highlighting the educational value of discussing contested topics like gender identity in a balanced manner.

The Case for Comprehensive Sex Education

The debate over sex education isn’t limited to the UK. In India, where traditional attitudes often dominate, the need for comprehensive sex education is equally pressing. According to a 2022 survey by the Indian Journal of Community Medicine, only 20% of Indian adolescents reported receiving formal sex education. This gap leaves many young people ill-equipped to navigate their sexual health and relationships safely.

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Sex education opponents often cite cultural and moral grounds, fearing that such education might corrupt young minds. However, evidence suggests otherwise. A UNESCO report from 2018 highlighted that comprehensive sex education can lead to delayed sexual initiation, reduced risk-taking, and increased use of contraception, thereby reducing rates of unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections.

Breaking the Stigma

The stigma surrounding sex education often stems from misconceptions and a lack of understanding. Addressing these misconceptions requires a multi-faceted approach:

1. Parental Involvement: Engaging parents in the dialogue around sex education can help demystify the topic and alleviate fears. Schools should offer workshops and resources to help parents understand the curriculum and its benefits.

2. Teacher Training: Educators need robust training to handle sex education topics sensitively and effectively. This includes understanding diverse perspectives and being equipped to support students’ varied needs.

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3. Evidence-Based Policies: Policymaking should be grounded in research rather than political agendas. Studies consistently show that comprehensive sex education supports better health outcomes. Policymakers must prioritize students’ long-term wellbeing over short-term political gains.

4. Community Engagement: Building community support for sex education involves transparent communication and collaboration with local leaders, healthcare professionals, and advocacy groups. Creating a community consensus can help overcome resistance and build a supportive environment for students.

A Path Forward

The controversy over sex education in schools highlights a broader issue: the tension between political agendas and educational integrity. While Sunak’s new guidelines may cater to a specific voter base, they risk undermining the comprehensive education that young people need to thrive.

In both the UK and India, breaking the stigma around sex education requires a commitment to evidence-based practices and an open, inclusive dialogue. By fostering understanding and addressing concerns head-on, we can create a more informed and healthier society.

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As we navigate these debates, it’s crucial to remember that the ultimate goal of education is to equip students with the knowledge and skills they need to lead healthy, fulfilling lives. Let’s ensure that political motivations do not overshadow this fundamental objective.

(Inspired by recent analyses from CNN and BBC on UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s new education guidelines)

References:
– Rob Picheta, CNN Analysis
– The Indian Journal of Community Medicine
– UNESCO Report on Comprehensive Sexuality Education (2018)

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Climate Change Erodes Education Outcomes: World Bank Report

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A new World Bank policy note reveals alarming evidence on how climate change is severely impacting education outcomes worldwide. The report highlights the increasing frequency of school closures due to extreme weather events and other climate-related factors, outlining the urgent need for adaptation measures within the education sector.

Over the past two decades, schools were closed during approximately 75 percent of extreme weather events affecting over 5 million people. It has become common for countries to close their schools multiple times a year due to heatwaves, flooding, and high pollution levels. The duration of these closures is often prolonged when school infrastructure is vulnerable or used as evacuation centres.

Climate change is also indirectly affecting students through increased diseases, stress, and conflict. The report notes that a one standard deviation change in temperature and rainfall has been linked to a 14 percent increase in the risk of intergroup conflict and interpersonal violence. These factors have severe consequences on children’s educational attainment and achievement.

The erosion of learning due to climate change translates into lower future earnings and productivity, especially for the poor. Research indicates that each additional year of schooling is associated with a 10 percent increase in earnings. As climate shocks reduce educational attainment, future earnings are likely to suffer, perpetuating cycles of poverty and limiting social mobility across generations.

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Despite these growing negative impacts, the report indicates that policymakers do not fully appreciate the urgency of climate adaptation within the education sector. A novel survey covering 94 education policymakers across 28 low- and middle-income countries reveals that nearly 61 percent ranked the protection of learning from climate change among the bottom three priorities in their country. This low prioritisation is troubling because the benefits of education are under threat.

To build resilience in education systems, policymakers must act on four fronts: education management, school infrastructure, students and teachers as change agents, and ensuring learning continuity. The report underscores the need for immediate action to adapt education systems to cope with extreme weather events.

For instance, global estimates indicate that the education sector experiences financial losses of $4 billion annually due to tropical cyclones alone. In the Philippines, over 10,000 classrooms are damaged per year due to typhoons and floods.

The World Bank’s findings stress that for millions of children who will need to attend school over the next 50 years, the results of climate mitigation will come too late. Governments must act now to increase the capacity of education systems to adapt and cope with these increasingly prevalent extreme weather events.

As climate change continues to pose severe risks to educational outcomes, it is imperative that policymakers recognise and address these challenges urgently. The future of education depends on our ability to adapt and build resilience against the adverse effects of climate change.

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Source- ANI

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Tripura Launches E-Attendance in Government Schools to Boost Accountability

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The Tripura government is set to revolutionise the management of its school system by implementing an e-attendance system across all 4,912 government schools. This digital leap, aimed at boosting transparency and accountability, is part of a broader effort to enhance educational quality and performance.

Introduced under the Vidya Samiksha Kendra initiative, which was first launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Gujarat in 2022, the new system promises to improve the transparency of educational operations and school functionality. The adoption of e-attendance is expected to streamline academic monitoring and increase operational efficiency within schools.

An education department official disclosed to IANS that the implementation across all schools is projected to be completed within two years. Additionally, the integration of a geo-tagging system will facilitate online access to all essential school-related information, further enhancing the oversight capabilities of educational authorities.

The e-attendance system was previously trialled in government offices, including the civil secretariat, where it was met with positive feedback for improving administrative accountability. With 37,761 teachers currently educating 6,94,539 students across various educational levels in the state, the successful expansion of this system to schools could transform the educational landscape.

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Once fully operational, the system will allow the Chief Minister, along with other senior officials, to directly monitor the performance of teachers and schools from their offices, ensuring that educational standards are upheld across the state. This initiative is seen as a significant step forward in the government’s commitment to delivering quality education.

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CBSE Class 12 and Class 10 Results 2024: Girls Lead as Pass Rates Climb

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The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has today announced the results of the Class 12 and Class 10 board examinations.

In the results announced for Class 12, this year, 1,426,420 students have successfully passed the examinations, representing an overall pass rate of 87.98%, an increase of 0.65% from the previous year. The results have highlighted a significant achievement for female students, who have attained a pass rate of 91.52%, compared to 85.12% for their male counterparts, thereby outperforming them by 6.40%.

This year, approximately 39 lakh candidates registered for the CBSE Board Exams 2024 across Classes 10 and 12, with about 24 lakh of these registrations for the Class 10 exams alone. The examinations for Class 10 were conducted from February 15 to March 13, marking a crucial period for thousands of students nationwide.

Students can check their results on the official CBSE website at cbse.gov.in or other affiliated sites such as cbse.nic.in and results.cbse.nic.in.

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At ScooNews, we extend our heartfelt congratulations to all students on their results. We also want to remind everyone that marks are not the sole measure of one’s abilities or potential. For those who may feel their scores do not reflect their true capabilities, do not be disheartened. Remember, this is merely the start of a thrilling new chapter in your life.

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Shri Sanjay Kumar Chairs a Meeting on Early Childhood Care & Education (ECCE)

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In a collaborative push towards achieving the broader objectives of Early Childhood Care & Education (ECCE), Secretary of School Education & Literacy, Shri Sanjay Kumar, chaired a comprehensive meeting at the Ambedkar International Centre in New Delhi. The meeting was attended by representatives from the Ministry of Women & Child Development (MoWCD), various states, and autonomous bodies under the Department of School Education & Literacy (DoSE&L).

Setting the tone, Shri Kumar emphasised the critical role of all stakeholders in ensuring quality ECCE and commended the initiatives led by the MoWCD and states. He underscored the need for establishing three Balvatikas for children aged 3 to 6 in all CBSE and Kendriya Vidyalayas with Class 1 to ensure a seamless transition to primary education. He also advocated for co-locating Anganwadis with primary schools in rural areas through coordination with the MoWCD, aiming to provide a strong foundation in preschool education.

The group further explored the integration of Jaadui Pitara, a curated set of learning resources, into government schools offering pre-primary education. NCERT’s role in aligning the learning toys with the goals outlined in the National Curriculum Framework-Foundational Stage (NCF-FS) was highlighted. To streamline pre-primary to Class 1 transitions, the Ministry of Education and MoWCD were encouraged to link the Poshan Tracker and UDISE+ data, creating a cohesive tracking mechanism.

Brand recognition for programmes like NIPUN Bharat, Jaadui Pitara, e-Jaadui Pitara, and Vidya Pravesh was also identified as a priority to boost their visibility and impact across states. The adoption of Jaadui Pitara by state SCERTs will be supported by NCERT, ensuring compliance with designated learning outcomes.

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In the meeting, the importance of training preschool teachers and Anganwadi Workers was brought to the forefront, recognising their critical role in achieving a well-rounded ECCE framework. The session emphasised the collaboration between MoE and MoWCD to ensure transparency and efficiency through Requests for Proposals (RFPs) while procuring Jaadui Pitara materials.

With these strategies outlined, the meeting paved the way for a concerted, multi-level approach to early childhood education, striving for a seamless, inclusive, and quality experience for every child.

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UNESCO’s Happy Schools Initiative: Placing Happiness at the Heart of Education

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In a progressive move to reshape global education, UNESCO has developed the ‘Happy Schools’ initiative to place happiness at the forefront of educational transformation. By positioning happiness as both a means and an end to quality learning, this initiative encourages education systems worldwide to recognise happiness as a critical driver of learning and well-being.

Why Happiness Matters in Education

The Happy Schools initiative stems from an ever-growing body of evidence linking happiness with improved learning, teaching, and overall well-being. Academic excellence and happiness are not competing priorities; instead, they work hand in hand. Joyful learning environments enhance creativity, motivation, and the overall learning experience, thus improving educational outcomes.

Education systems face mounting pressure to provide quality learning in the face of widespread global challenges. Currently, 250 million children and youth are out of school worldwide, and over 44 million teachers are required to meet the global teacher shortage. Alarmingly, more than half of the world’s children and adolescents aren’t learning effectively, and one in three students experiences bullying at school every month. Given this backdrop, prioritising happiness is no longer a luxury but a necessity for fostering resilient and collaborative societies.

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The Framework of the Happy Schools Initiative

UNESCO has developed a comprehensive Happy Schools framework that consists of four pillars: people, process, place, and principles. These pillars, combined with 12 high-level criteria, aim to provide a flexible and adaptable guide for transforming education systems.

1. People: Promoting relationships, inclusion, and respect among students and staff to foster social cohesion and well-being.

2. Process: Encouraging dynamic and participatory learning processes that inspire engagement, creativity, and motivation.

3. Place: Creating safe, welcoming, and inclusive learning environments that support both physical and social-emotional well-being.

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4. Principles: Upholding values of empathy, integrity, and respect while ensuring academic excellence.

Global Impact and Implementation

Several countries have already implemented the Happy Schools initiative, including Portugal, Viet Nam, Yemen, Japan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, and Thailand. These nations have utilised the framework to improve teacher training, strengthen socio-emotional learning, and foster healthier school relationships. By approaching happiness from various entry points, the initiative has proven to be versatile and adaptable to different education systems, even in crisis situations.

Joining the Happy Schools Movement

UNESCO invites educators, policymakers, and individuals to become Happy Schools champions, advocating for happiness in education through these main approaches:

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– National Projects: UNESCO provides technical support to help Member States adapt the framework to their educational systems.

– Self-initiated Projects: Schools and organisations can access the available public resources to lead their own Happy Schools projects.

– Advocacy: Advocate for incorporating happiness into education policies to raise awareness of the importance of well-being in education.

– Evidence-Based Studies: Contribute to the growing body of research on happiness and learning.

For those interested in joining the Happy Schools mission, contact UNESCO at [email protected] or join the LinkedIn community for regular updates and connections. By embracing this holistic approach, we can empower children to flourish, thrive, and build resilient, happy societies.

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Vidyashilp University Hosts Discussion on Disruptive Careers at their Future of Higher Education Event

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Vidyashilp University’s recent event, “The Future of Higher Education,” convened prominent industry leaders to discuss evolving career trajectories and educational paradigms. Held at the Prestige Falcon Towers in Bengaluru, the event aimed to enlighten students and parents about navigating the dynamic job market and achieving success in an ever-changing world.

Distinguished speakers, including Mr. Ullas Kamath, Mr. Pranav Pai, Mr. Aprameya Radhakrishna, and Dr. Subarna Roy, engaged in thought-provoking dialogues on global economic trends, emerging technologies, entrepreneurship, and the alignment of education with industry requirements. Professor P.G. Babu, Vice-Chancellor of Vidyashilp University, commended the principles of NEP 2020, emphasizing the importance of interdisciplinary learning and critical thinking.

Keynote speaker Mr. Ullas Kamath highlighted India’s economic growth trajectory, emphasizing entrepreneurship as a key driver. Mr. Pranav Pai underscored the significance of India’s startup ecosystem, describing technology as the linchpin of human evolution.

Vidyashilp Education Group alumni, Mr. Vikrant Maini and Ms. Vrishika Melanta, praised the institution’s focus on holistic learning and practical exposure, citing their personal experiences. Mr. Aprameya Radhakrishna stressed the importance of real-world learning experiences for students to bridge learning gaps and discover their passions.

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Overall, the event provided a platform for fruitful discussions on the future of higher education and the imperative of equipping students with the skills and adaptability needed to thrive in the modern workforce.

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Rajasthan Education Minister Bans Mobile Phone Use by Teachers During School Hours

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Image Source- Facebook/Madan Dilawar

Rajasthan’s Education Minister Madan Dilawar announced on Monday stringent measures against teachers in government schools caught using mobile phones during duty hours.

An official order has been issued to prohibit the use of mobile phones by teachers while on school premises.

Dilawar emphasized the necessity for teachers to refrain from bringing mobile phones to schools.

“Mobile phones are a kind of disease. Teachers in school are busy watching the stock market. Mobile phones will be completely banned in schools. Students suffer loss in studies due to mobile phones..Phones will have to be deposited with the principal,” he asserted.

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He further stated, “In the event of unintentional possession of mobile phones, teachers must surrender them to the principal. Additionally, any unauthorized activities such as performing religious rituals during school hours will result in disciplinary action.”

Since assuming office, Dilwar has implemented various policies, including mandating the wearing of school uniforms for all children. He has also introduced the practice of Surya Namaskar as part of the morning prayer in all schools.

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Education

Vice President of India Inaugurates The Kulish School of Patrika Group

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One of India’s leading media houses – Patrika Group – commemorated a great event in their history with the start of Kulish School, a lighthouse of educational center led by the respected Vice President of India, Mr. Jagdeep Dhankar. The extravaganza was held on 30th April signalling the start of a new epoch of academic achievement and social improvement. Besides, during the program, the statue of Mr. Kirpal Chandra Kulish, the founder of Patrika, was also unveiled by the Deputy President.

The Kulish School, the ambitious enterprise of the Patrika Group, recognizes the importance of foresight and community involvement, which is made evident by the school. Named after Kulish Ji who is remembered historically for bringing in constructive alterations, the school is ready to redefine education to become a transforming movement.

The principal of the school, Debashish Chakraborty, introduced the school as a cutting-edge innovation, further saying, “We seek to harness the power of play and experimentation to expose our students to the most complex ideas of innovation and creative technology.”

The Kulish school is based on cutting-edge tech coupled with Vedic knowledge and principles propounded by Kulish Ji. Mrs. Vrinda Kothari, Director, Board of Governors conveyed, “To Kulish Ji education meant skilled and virtuous educators imparting knowledge that brings self-awareness and joy to individuals by developing not just the body and intellect but also enriching their soul and minds.”

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“In schools, the presence of the divine diminishes. In other words, Indian culture, nature, and concepts like unity with the universe become obscure in life. No one has an answer to what should be taught and why.” as stated by Gulab Kothari Ji, he further stated, “What nature had given, education has taken away. Now, the individual has become secondary, and the body is the primary objective. The soul bids farewell to life without truly living it. This is the rarity of a meaningful human life!”

The epitome of the event was the keynote lecture by the Hon’ble Vice President of India, Shri Jagdeep Dhankar. He expressed, ” I wish I were a kid; I would love to study at The Kulish School. This school is Rajasthan’s pride and a priceless diamond. The Kulish School Will Set a Global Benchmark. Where the students of the school will go, I can’t even imagine, as they will achieve much higher. The Kulish School will be a lasting investment in the future and the history of education, putting the family’s name in golden words in the future of education.”

Therefore, the launch of The Kulish School represents a milestone, a bold move toward to shape education for a better tomorrow by the founder’s visionary imagination and showing the way for the upcoming generations.

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Empowering Education: LASSI 2024 Concludes with Success and Inspiration

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The curtains have closed on a successful edition of Liberal Arts and Science Symposium India (LASSI 2024), hosted by ScooNews in collaboration with Good Shepherd International School, Ooty. The symposium, held at the picturesque campus nestled in the Nilgiri Hills, saw an unprecedented gathering of educators, students, and industry experts from around the world.

Themed ‘Shaping Tomorrow,’ LASSI 2024 surpassed expectations in providing a platform for insightful discussions, innovative ideas, and collaborative initiatives in the realm of Liberal Arts and Sciences education. Over the course of the event, attendees had the opportunity to engage in a diverse array of masterclasses, keynotes, and case studies, each offering valuable insights into the transformative power of Liberal Arts education.

Reflecting on the success of the symposium, Jacob Thomas, President of Good Shepherd International School, Ooty, remarked, “LASSI 2024 has been a testament to the spirit of collaboration and inquiry that defines our institution. We are proud to have facilitated meaningful discussions and exchanges that will shape the future of education in India and beyond.”

The event was helmed by Prof Anil Srinivasan & Chetnaa Mehrotra who set the context for the 2-day event as the Summit Curators. Reflecting on the dynamic sessions that unfolded at LASSI 2024, attendees were treated to a diverse range of insights and discussions that shaped the future of education. From Jacob Thomas‘ exploration of emerging technologies to Maheshwar Peri‘s elucidation on Liberal Arts programs in India, each session offered a unique perspective on educational advancement. Vivek Atray‘s interactive Ask Me Anything session, alongside Naman Kandoi and Vardan Kabra‘s discourse on building artistic learners, sparked lively conversations on leadership and innovation. Reena Gupta and Rahul Batra‘s exploration of liberal education further underscored the importance of inclusion and empowerment in academic settings. Outdoor activities and workshops added a touch of experiential learning, while Radhika Lobo and Nisha Bhakar delved into pedagogy and curriculum development. The symposium culminated in a captivating musical performance by Prof Anil Srinivasan, leaving attendees inspired and enlightened. With engaging discussions and impactful presentations, Day  1 at LASSI 2024 proved to be a transformative event for educators, students, and industry experts alike. 

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Day 2 began with Professor Sugata Mitra‘s inspiring session on redefining educational norms that left a lasting impact on attendees. Sandeep Sethi‘s spotlight session explored innovative approaches to education through monuments, theatre, and folk art, shedding light on alternative learning methods. Attendees engaged in an interactive “Ask Us Anything” session with all speakers, fostering open dialogue and exchange of ideas. The Fishbowl Session on the 21st-century school, led by Dr. Venka Purushothaman and Chetnaa Mehrotra, provided valuable insights into the future of education. Meanwhile, students had the opportunity to participate in a workshop led by Prof. Anil Srinivasan, where they explored the concept of creating a startup in the classroom. After a lunch break, the afternoon session kicked off with an open mic segment, allowing attendees to share their perspectives and experiences. Akhila Ramnarayan and Dr. Vijila Edwin-Kennedy led a session on the significance of liberal arts education, prompting reflection on its relevance in today’s society. The day concluded with a student panel discussion on the decision to take a gap year, offering valuable insights into the benefits and considerations of such a choice. 

In addition to thought-provoking discussions, LASSI 2024 showcased leading Liberal Arts colleges from India and abroad, providing attendees with valuable insights into their educational options. Success stories and groundbreaking research findings presented at the symposium underscored the transformative impact of Liberal Arts education on both careers and personal growth.

As the symposium concluded, ScooNews and Good Shepherd International School expressed their gratitude to all participants, sponsors, and partners for their invaluable contributions to the success of LASSI 2024. Looking ahead, both organisations remain committed to fostering collaboration and innovation in education, continuing the momentum generated by this landmark event.

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