Date: 30th March 2019
Venue: GP Birla Science Centre, Hyderabad
On 30th March, we conducted Baithak, our monthly policy dialogue at the GP Birla Science Centre - our first in Hyderabad! Baithak has been conceptualised as a platform for our alumni and young learners to come together for a discussion on contemporary socio-cultural and economic issues, steered the presence of prominent liberal voice.
With 21 participants, our last dialogue addressed the theme of ' The vulnerable and the marginalised: India's most formidable development challenges'.
Facilitated by Dr. Amir Ullah Khan, Development and Trade Economist, the discussion touched on the following sectors: Education, Health, Population, Agriculture, and Gender. Dr. Khan, inkeeping with theme, identified gender as one of the biggest policy challenges facing India.
Date: 28th February - 1st March 2019
Venue: Colombo, Sri Lanka
Our Chairman, Luis Miranda and President, Parth Shah were invited to speak at Atlas Network's Asia Liberty Forum held in Colombo, Sri Lanka, from 28th February to 1st March, co-hosted by the Advocata Institute. Every year, the Asia Liberty Forum brings together freedom champions from across Asia and the world, to celebrate the movement for market-liberal reforms in this part of the world.
Speaking as a part of the panel on 'Tipping Points: A Model for Social Change' Parth Shah discussed the idea of innovation diffusion and how it can help organisations create momentum for reform.
As part of the 'Fundraising Fundamental: How to Build Donor Relationships' Panel, Luis Miranda shared insight into building committed donor relationships.
We launched our Progress Report on Implementing the Street Vendors Act 2014 at the National Workshop on Street Vendors convened by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), Government of India, on 8th February. This report evaluates the progress made in institutionalizing mechanisms to protect and regulate street vending since the passing of the Act in 2014.
The report was launched by Shri Hardeep S. Puri, Minister of State for Housing and Urban Affairs, addressing a gathering of over 250 representatives including Housing and Urban Development Ministers from several states, administrative officials, street vendors' associations and civil society leaders. Also present, were Shri Durga Shanker Mishra, Secretary, MoHUA; Shri Sanjay Kumar, Mission Director, National Urban Livelihoods Mission, and State Mission Directors from across the country.
Date: 23rd February 2019
Venue: Ambala, Haryana
The Haryana State Association of the National Independent Schools Alliance (NISA) and the Haryana Federation of Private Schools Welfare Association organised the 'Shiksha Bachao Andolan' (Save Education Rally) in Ambala on 23rd February. More than 10,000 budget private schools' (BPS) leaders and teachers gathered to protest against policy prejudices that continue to discriminate against BPS in India.
The rally called attention to the implications of the Right to Education Act for BPS and raised concerns of inevitable school closures with their inability to meet the heavy and capital intensive input norms of the Act. The rally also demonstrated the role and significance of private schools in Haryana, catering to over 45 lakh students in the state.
The rally was aired live on our Facebook page: watch now!
Date: 2-3 February 2019
We piloted the first edition of our certificate course in the Politics of Development (POD) in Gurgaon on 2-3rd February with 75 students and young professionals. Politics of Development or POD is conceptualised as a two-day immersive, residential program focusing on the political challenges to goals of economic development. It explores the intersections of politics and policy and their implications for the nation's development.
The course encouraged participants to question and debate the nature of the State and politics in India through sessions like 'Is there Really a Culture of Poverty in India?', 'To Regulate or Not to Regulate', and 'How Can We Disrupt the Political Marketplace?' among others. Our faculty included policy and development experts such as Barun Mitra, Founder and Director, Liberty Institute; Swaminathan Aiyar, Columnist and Economist, Fellow, Cato Institute; Laveesh Bhandari, Director, Indicus Foundation; Ajay Shah, Professor, National Institute for Public Finance and Policy; Mohit Satyanand, entrepreneur and Member, Board of Advisors, Centre for Civil Society; JP Narayan, Founder, Lok Satta Party; and Geeta Gouri, Former Member, Competition Commission of India (CCI).
Date: 7th February 2019
Venue: Constitution Club of India
On 7th February the National Independent Schools Alliance (NISA) organized a Policy Roundtable for parliamentarians on education policy reforms at the Constitution Club of India, New Delhi. Moderated by Prof Geeta Gandhi Kingdon, Chair of Education and International Development, University College London, seven Members of Parliament from the states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Delhi, and Madhya Pradesh participated in the roundtable.
The roundtable addressed the relevance of Direct Benefit Transfers (DBT) as a means of restoring efficiency and transparency in education financing and improving quality, policy frameworks for ensuring student safety in schools and the need for the separate policy for budget private schools (BPS) taking into account the distinct conditions and challenges with which they operate.
Following the roundtable, NISA has been invited to submit a draft of policy recommendations and solutions to the enduring concerns of BPS in India.
Date: 19th February 2019
Venue: Ministry of Human Resource Development, Shastri Bhawan, New Delhi
On 19th February representatives from the National Independent Schools Alliance (NISA) met with the Ministry of Human Resource Development to discuss guidelines to secure accountability from school management in the matter of student safety. As the principal voice of Budget Private Schools (BPS) in India, the NISA delegation flagged the concerns faced by BPS vis-a-vis implementation of the guidelines, making a strong case for consulting stakeholders in preparing guidelines so that feasible and implementable solutions can be designed to ensure student safety in schools.
The meeting was chaired by Ms Reena Ray, Secretary, Ministry of Human Resource Development and attended by other co-petitioners.
In 2018, NISA had submitted a Charter of Demands to the MHRD, voicing the concerns of budget private schools in India.
We successfully piloted our first Massive Online Open Course on Education Policy in partnership with the OP Jindal Global University with 49 students, who graduated in the month of February. The four-week online course on Education Policy was launched to address the enduring lack of comprehensive and accessible training in education policy in India. The course aims to train students in research methods, along with the philosophical, economic, and political aspects of education policy in the Indian context.
The course is designed as a comprehensive training addressing the historical and extant education policy landscape in India, the economics of education, regulatory frameworks and interventions and innovations to catalyse education quality. Our faculty consists of eminent experts and academicians , including Amit Kaushik, CEO, Australian Council for Educational Research (India); Yamini Aiyar, President and Chief Executive of Centre for Policy Research; Parth Shah, President, Centre for Civil Society and Gurcharan Das, Author and Former CEO, P&G India, among others.
Date: 13th February 2019
Venue: IIT Madras
On 13th February we conducted Baithak, our monthly policy dialogue at IIT Madras. Dr Parth Shah, President, Centre for Civil Society, facilitated the discussion addressing India's job crisis, equating it to an enduring 'entrepreneurship crisis'. Dr Shah also highlighted the role of poor quality of schooling and higher education, and the un-ease of doing business in India, in exacerbating the country's job crisis.
Drawing on CCS' on-going work for the rights and recognition of street vendors, the discussion explored various policy roadblocks thwarting entrepreneurship. For instance, street vendors carry out their trade in public spaces, but since they do not exercise any rights over the land that they carry out their trade in, it makes it difficult for them to expand their businesses'. This lack of property rights for street vendors is symptomatic of the larger roadblock in ease of doing business in India.
To know more about the status of street vendors in India, read our Progress Report: Implementing The Street Vendors Act 2014 here.