Parth Shah, President, Centre for Civil Society, was invited to speak at Atlas Network's Global Policy Perspectives event series held this June at the Cornell Club in New York. Speaking on the need for 'Dismantling Barriers to Education and Enterprise in India' he discussed the emergence and scope of, and challenges to locally grown, market-based solutions to education and poverty in the country.
The talk addressed the shift in parental choice and the rejection of state paternalism in education, even among communities that were historically presumed to be welfare-dependent, demonstrated by the increased preference for 'low-fee' or budget private schools (BPS) in India. Highlighting the policy prejudice against BPS in the context of India's enduring license raj, he also addressed the continuing regulatory barriers to small and marginal enterprises, and the need for promoting the ease of doing business at the bottom-of-the-pyramid.
In the backdrop of these regulatory incompetencies, Parth Shah introduced the audience to CCS' on-going research and advocacy for reforms in education and enterprise regulation, and the need for cultivating young policy leaders to drive social change in India.
We hosted two journalists' dialogues' in the month of June bringing together 37 journalists, to discuss market solutions to our enduring developmental challenges. An opportunity of networking and insightful discussions, the participant journalists discussed and deliberated on policy issues, and celebrated the spirit of liberal journalism.
The discussions addressed the merit of imposing a ban on things over incentivising citizens to minimise use in the backdrop of the recent plastic ban in the state of Maharashtra, the government's approach of finding short-term solutions to problems like delays of trains and increased use of electric power, and the repeal of outdated laws, among others. The discussions were led by Avinash Chandra, Editor, Azadi.me and Prashant Narang, Supreme Court advocate, and moderated by Shantanu Gupta, Political Analyst and Author of 'The Monk Who Became Chief Minister' and Amit Chandra, National Coordinator, NISA.
To know more about our monthly dialogues with journalists, contact email@example.com
This June, we launched the 18th edition of our flagship summer internship program, the Researching Reality Internship. The annual six-week research internship engages college and university students in critical learning, primary research and policy analysis, leading to a publication of original research papers addressing key governance concerns and policy frameworks.
In this edition, we have a cohort of 22 young learners, researching the complex regulations and policy bottlenecks that continue to thwart enterprise in India.
Theme and Sub-Themes: Taking note of the complex regulations that govern businesses in India, the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce and Industry in 2014 prepared a 98-point action plan in 2014 called the Business Reform Action Plan (BRAP) to ease the business regulatory environment across states. The internship will address the implementation of the ease of doing business reforms in the state of Delhi with a particular focus on: (a) the progress on the ease of doing business reforms, (b) the need for and scope of regulatory reforms in the services sector. The research will also incorporate an exploratory study on the emergence of service aggregators (such as Uber, Zomato) and document the regulatory shifts and learnings, if any, in and for the industries they operate in.
Under the guidance of Research Advisor Bhuvana Anand, the interns will delve deeper into understanding the true challenges that restrictive regulations pose to businesses through quantitative and qualitative research, data analysis, and critical thinking. The interns have undergone dedicated sessions on 'Ease of Doing Business in India', 'Economic Development and Poverty', 'Property Rights', 'Public Choice', 'Spontaneous Order and Prices', 'Policy Evaluation and Methods' and many more by sectoral experts like Parth Shah, Founder President of Centre for Civil Society; Luis Miranda, President, Centre for Civil Society; Barun Mitra, Founder and Director of the Liberty Institute; and Shagata Mukherjee, Professor, Meghnad Desai Academy of Economics, among others.
Spontaneous Order, our digital publication of liberal commentaries, hosted its third edition of CCS’ Facebook Live Discussions ‘Spontaneous Dialogue’ on 27 April 2018 titled ‘Fee Regulation in Education’. Featuring eminent panelists such as Vikas Jhunjhunwala, CEO and Founder, Sunshine Schools; and Akriti Gaur, Research Fellow, Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy, the Dialogue analysed the costs associated with operating private schools in India, and tried to unpack the complexities of ‘fee regulations’ by questioning not only the definition of such a term -and lack thereof- but also its scope. The Dialogue received an organic reach of 7,444 persons and unique viewership of 1,595.
The bi-monthly Dialogue series, live-streamed on Facebook, aims to offer impartial and factual perspectives on contemporary issues, conveyed in the form of rational deliberations between experts from across the ideological and academic spectrum.
From 6-8 April 2018, we partnered with Government Law College, Mumbai, to conduct our flagship certificate course on public policy i.e. ‘ipolicy for Young Leaders’. We had 30 young leaders participating in interactive sessions including discussions on ‘Indian Liberal Tradition’, and ‘New Public Management’, conducted by esteemed faculty members such as Bhargavi Zaveri, Senior Research Associate, Finance Research Group, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research; and Kumar Anand, Head of Research Team, Free A Billion. The course brings learnings in liberal philosophy and economic principles through engaging games and activities, providing young leaders, a chance to read, discuss and debate foundational liberal principles and their application to public policy.
'ipolicy for Young Leaders' is a 3-day intensive certificate course that aims to enable students and young professionals to explore the public policy landscape in India, introduce them liberal perspectives in public policy, and equip them with the necessary tools to examine the effectiveness of government policies and regulations.
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The NAAT Excellence Awards, hosted on 28 April 2018 at the Constitution Club, New Delhi, aimed to recognise the efforts and achievements of the top performers on NAAT assessments. The awards also recognised schools that secured highest enrollments, as a marker of their commitment to fostering greater transparency, a commitment to pursue quality and ensure student learning. The first 12 students were honoured with scholarships supporting the annual cost of their education, and amounting to INR 25,000 each, with an additional 12 students receiving educational tablets. The first cohort of 24 achievers were also enrolled into the National Independent School Alliance (NISA) student mentorship program, bringing them advisory and counsel for their personal, academic, and professional development. The NAAT Excellence Awards were acknowledged in 11 leading digital and print media, such as EduAdvice, Jagran and India Education Diary.
Designed by Gray Matters India, the National Analytical Aptitude Test (NAAT), is a core component of Udaan, a comprehensive program launched by NISA to improve the quality of education delivery and learning in budget private schools in India. The NAAT assesses learning outcomes amongst students from class 3 to 11 on abstract, numerical and verbal reasoning skills that provide the foundational faculties of curricular comprehension and learning. The program integrates student and school assessments, on-going mentorship and scholarships for targeted students, and a comprehensive school improvement program for the participating budget private schools from across the country. NAAT, conducted for the first time in 2017, saw an enrolment 24,826 students across 14 states with the highest participation from Andhra Pradesh (i.e. 11,863 students from 109 schools) followed by Haryana (i.e. 6,078 students from 77 schools), and Telangana (i.e. 3,062 students from 53 schools).
From 20-22 April 2018, we organised the ipolicy of Journalists, our three-day residential policy training designed exclusively for media professionals, at Jim Corbett, Uttarakhand. 22 journalists, selected through a rigorous review from over 82 applicants, participated in the training hosted in partnership with the Atlas Network. We had representatives from popular national media dailies, along with radio, television and digital media like Zee News, The Indian Express, ABP News, Hindustan, Amar Ujala, All India Radio, Doordarshan, Aaj Tak, Hindustan Times, India Today and Lok Sabha TV. Shantanu Gupta, Political Analyst and Author of ‘The Monk Who Became Chief Minister’ was the key speaker at the workshop, along with Dr Amit Chandra, National Coordinator, NISA, Avinash Chandra, Editor, Azadi.me, CCS and Kulbhushan Sharma, President, NISA.
Recognising the critical role played by the media in steering debates in public policy in a democracy like India, the training aimed at introducing journalists to the principles of sound public policy, market-liberal perspectives in social and policy analysis and the challenges of public policy in India.
Want to know more about ipolicy for journalists? Write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Education provisioning in India continues to be predominantly State-driven, with the government being the largest financier, provider and regulator of education in the country, even as the poorest of its people continue to shift preferences towards private institutions of learning. According to Geeta Gandhi Kingdon, private enrollment and schools, both have risen by 16 million and 71,360 respectively for the period 2010-11 to 2014-15. Yet, with the enactment of the RTE Act 2009, excessive emphasis on input-centric norms have stifled private initiative, and threatened the autonomy of these institutions and the individuals that operate them.
To this end, theNational Independent Schools Alliance (NISA) launched the Save Education Campaign on 15 March 2018, along with 130 representatives from different types of private schools from across India. Inaugurated by Gurcharan Das, Author and Trustee, CCS, the mandate of the Campaign was to garner support for the formal memorandum that was submitted to the Hon’ble PMO and Education Minister, demanding policy reforms under twelve heads, including autonomy of schools, ease of opening schools, outcome based regulation, Organised under the banners of National Independent Schools Alliance (NISA), National Coalition for School Education (NCSE) and Parents Forum of India (PFI), the campaign also saw 27 press conferences in 26 cities across 12 states, along with 22 street plays performed across Delhi, Chandigarh and Haryana.
An integral part of the campaign was digital advocacy through social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter. Via Facebook, the campaign was able to achieve 58k impressions and a reach of 45k, with page likes increasing by 20,000 +. Additionally, a tweetchat was organised on 1 April 2018 on Twitter, and the hashtag #SaveEducation trended #1 in India with 25,000+ impressions.
The Campaign culminated with a mass gathering at Ramlila Maidan on 7 April 2018, attended by 65,000+ representatives of 48 associations from 24 states. These included representatives from budget private schools, aided and unaided private schools, catholic minority schools, ICSE schools, among many others. The demonstration was addressed by a panel of 45 speakers including Prof. Geeta Gandhi Kingdon, University College London; Kulbhushan Sharma, President, NISA; Dr Amit Chandra, National Coordinator, NISA. The day received wide ranging coverage from established print and media houses such as The Tribune, Dainik Jagran, and Indian Express and Mumbai Mirror.
This March, CCS launched the ‘Faces of Budget Private Schools’, our annual publication on the role and contribution of the BPS sector. This year’s report the experiences of edu-preneurs, school leaders, teachers, and students engaged in the sector and brings to light their challenges within the current system of education. It also evaluates low-cost scale-able models of innovation being implemented throughout the country to improve learning outcomes, healthcare, and holistic development of both, the school and its students. The report features insights from 50 interviews with stakeholders from states such as Delhi, Bengaluru, Punjab, Haryana, Chennai, Coimbatore, Odisha. Telangana, Ahmedabad, Nagaland, Assam, and Kerala.
The launch of the report was followed by a panel discussion chaired by Seetha, Senior Journalists, with eminent speakers Kulbhushan Sharma, President, National Independent Schools Alliance; Vikas Jhunjhunwala, Founder and CEO, Sunshine Schools; Jairaj Bhattacharya, Managing Director, ConveGenius; Geeta Gandhi Kingdon, Chair of Education and International Development, University College London; and 70 participants from within the ecosystem. The panel highlighted the regulatory obstacles that discriminately threaten the education of students studying in low-fee private schools. As Prof Kingdon highlighted, ‘ 94 percent of government schools do not meet regulatory norms. With no threat of closure, these schools continuously neglect learning outcomes. Whereas a majority of low-fee private schools face abrupt closure despite their efforts at quality learning.’
Read our Report on Budget Private Schools 2018 here.