Education For All without resources
Education For All Without Resources. Dakar Summit on education in 2000 shifted the goalpost to provide Education (edn) for All (only up to 8th standard) by 15 years to 2015, worse, ‘target of delivering inclusive & quality edn for all (India included) by 2015 may elude a number of developing countries’ – Minister of State HRD (Business line 10 Nov 2013) meant an unending shifting of goalposts.
Dakar Summit on education in 2000 shifted the goalpost to provide Education (edn) for All (only up to 8th standard) by 15 years to 2015, worse, ‘target of delivering inclusive & quality edn for all (India included) by 2015 may elude a number of developing countries’ – Minister of State HRD (Business line 10 Nov 2013) meant an unending shifting of goalposts. Messages on International Literacy Day target at providing edn for all/ ‘literacy is a human right & the foundation of all learning’, ‘Edn of girls/ women will help decrease population by end 2100’ according UN led analysis. Pious intentions but little or no achievements.
PM’s ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padao’ Movement Can there be a Better Concretisation of it than EFA?
Workers adoption of shift system made mass pro- Can there be a bigger salute to the pioneers of the Shift duction possible worldover, & yet ‘Skilled labour System & restoration of labour dignity than Adopting the has not been given due dignity in society’– PM same Shift System to also provide EFA?
Nobel Peace Prizes 2014 for Edn of Girls & Can there be Better Acknowledgement & Continuation
Saving the Childhood of Girls of Their Valiant Effort than EFA?
And, Resultant international focus on Edn Can there be more honest Acceptance than EFA?
2015, Centenary of Gandhi’s Return from South Can there be better Tribute to the Mahatma & Comme-
Africa to whom cleanliness, edn, especially girls moration of Return of the Native, who led us to Freedom & wiping tear from every eye were articles of faith than launching Black Revolution–EFA-WAR & WAY?
Lack of edn is no less a scourge than the LACK of - toilets, safety of women from predators, growth with jobs, financial inclusion. Birth of Bangladesh, Nuclear capability, Mission to Mars in 1st attempt, navigation satellites, Nobel laureates, but not edn for all – what a paradox!! – Is India the mythical 2 faced Janus?
Reams of data exist on the number of uneducated/ inadequately educated children in each country and resources required to meet the goal of Education for All (EFA). We have not been able to provide edn to all, especially the girl child, because we are barking the wrong tree. The irony is the greater as the solution is there for grabs, we only need to remove our eye shields. Governance is not about more resources but optimising the use of our existing resources. We wrap everything in layers of complexity just to increase our importance; peel those layers, break the ‘myth of the complex’ & presto we have the solution. In a blink we can increase our school capacity six fold – yes six fold! Success is about ‘ability to see the latent’ & ‘getting things done’ rather than announcement of schemes & allotment/ increasing allocation of resources.
Institutions - government, private commercial, industrial, co-operatives, social, agriculture, service sector, NGO – have one thing in common - organisation. Organisational efficiency/ optimised use of resources is to an organisation what oxygen is to human beings. There is none more qualified in organisation than the military; if not for sound organization, it would collapse in war, whence information is tardy & time is short. Shift System in industrial & commercial establishments, normal to us, must have seemed outrageous & unacceptable when introduced; conversely Shift System in education, outrageous to us would seem ‘routine’ to future generations. Social sector including education has not seriously considered the shift system due to its control by bureaucrats, not known for innovative thinking or initiative. Private schools have not helped either, as they get parents to pay the fee demanded, thus not needing to consider the shift system. Currently Shift System exists in very few schools, those children are considered 2nd class citizens, is debilitated (night shift is even more pathetic), lacks belief, motivation & energetic pursuit. Only a correct diagnosis leads the perfect cure, be it medical, social or scientific
Use of infrastructure/schools for just 6 ½ hours a day for just ½ the year amounts to use-idling ratio of 13.5:86.5, resulting in high cost of edn (whether paid for by state or individual)
Through a combination of intra-day & inter day shifts capacity increased 6-fold & cost reduced to 1/3 (not 1/6) A chasm so wide can only be crossed in a single leap –through EFA Without Additional Resources (WAR)
Inflexible timings in a single shift. Parents need Inflexible timings in a single shift. Parents need choosing between the 2, they sacrifice girls’ edn
In 6-shift system parents can send children in different In 6-shift system parents can send children in different school – have their cake & eat it too
school – have their cake & eat it too severe a penalty for failures, absence due to sick- severe a penalty for failures, absence due to sickness, parents’ transfer leading to large dropouts
Term based promotion (4 terms in a year) reduces penalty on parents to just 1 term extra fee & child’s loss to just 3 months, thus avoiding dropouts. She may adopt just 3 months, thus avoiding dropouts. She may adopt
Flexibility & concurrent running of existing & new systems as long as desired, the key ingredients ensure success of the Black Revolution – EFA– WAR & WAY
Going beyond the ‘Right to Edn Act’ it actually provides Edn for All. Green & White Revolutions of the sixties/ seventies changed the face of our country. The Black Revolution) will be easiest, most visible, least demanding & the fastest to be accomplished. Can be introduced by Jan 2015, fully in place by Apr/ May 2015 & accomplished by Dec 2015. The fly in the ointment is it’s over simplicity bordering on disbelief.
The Three Faces of the Prism
1- Concept Infrastructure Use is optimised & capacity increased 6-fold by introducing/ invigorating Intra Day Shift System & supplementing it with Revolutionary Inter-day shift viz ‘Work Week-Holiday Week’ matrix (3x2 = 6 shifts) thereby reducing cost to 1/3rd (not 1/6th ) i.e.
1st Batch -Forenoon (FN) 5 ½ hours 0700-1230h (8 periodsX40 min each & 10 minute mid-session break)
½ hour Session change-over break 1230-1300h
2nd Batch - Afternoon (AN) 5 ½ hours 1300-1830h
½ hour Session change-over break 1830-1900h
3rd Batch - Late Evening (LE) 3h (½ duration as adults’ receptivity & motivation are higher) 1900–2200h.
Similar pattern for next 3 batches in the 2nd week which is holiday week for 1st 3 batches
Tables 1 exhibits Improved Use of Infrastructure in Schools
Tables 2A, B & C exhibit Intra-Day Shifts supplemented by Inter-Day Shifts & Multiple Academic Terms
Costs - Schools have fixed cost (land, classrooms, toilets, laboratories, office, libraries, furniture, play-grounds auditoriums - some would seem farfetched considering government schools lack even classrooms) & recurring costs (staff salaries, expendables, maintenance, repairs etc). Enhanced use of infrastructure keeps fixed costs constant, increases only in recurring costs reduces the overall cost per pupil. Tables 3 A & B exhibit reduced cost per pupil to around 1/3 irrespective of varying profit margin (0 - 25%- 50%) & irrespective of varying ratios of Recurring Cost to fixed (3:1 to 2.5:1 to 1.5:1)
2- Contents (Counters Problems B & C)
- Restructured school timings due to shifts enables children to attend school & also help the family.
- Increasing Terms to 4 (6 which will reduce penalty to just 2 months, to be introduced after 1-2 years), each Term is a New Academic Year for some batch), 4 different academic years in a single calendar year, each student will still complete 4 terms in each standard,
- Year Based Promotion replaced by Term Based Promotion, Report card reads ‘Successfully completed 1st Term Standard 4 & promoted to 2nd Term Standard 4 or ‘Successfully completed 4th Term Std 5 & Promoted to 1st Term of Std 6. Failure, illness, parents’ transfers etc reduce loss to only 1 Term (not Whole Year) for children & just 1 term extra fee (in context of overall reduction of fees to 1/3, would only be 1/12th) for parents. Drastic reduction in student’s trauma & parent’s burden would result in negligible dropouts. Students can even make good the loss & erase the stigma by opting for the fast track at some stage. Tables 2B&C
- Conversely, students demonstrating high capability get ‘double term’ promotion – none is so brilliant as to gain a whole year, none so dunce as to lose a whole year.
- Transfer of parent during the year need neither lead to child losing a whole year nor increased costs to parents in running 2 establishments if one parent stays back to complete the child’s education.
- Scattered ½ year of weekends, vacations etc regrouped into Work Week-Holiday Week Matrix
- Government, nay the PM himself interaction with the teachers & students for the 1st time has given an impetus to Teachers Day; that impetus, endless chanting of teachers’ noble role & contribution to society & the slogan ‘growth with jobs’ are concretised when we increase their salaries by 25% & their numbers 4-fold to cater for the 4 main shifts. This increases recurring cost 5-fold & doubles overall cost, but 6- fold increase in student capacity cost per pupil decreases to 1/3rd (not 1/6th). This makes them the self propelled/motivated engines to spearhead the Black Revolution.
- Private schools with a 6-fold increase of students can make more profits than before, based on volumes rather than margins, ala mobile phone service providers & airlines, are also the spearheads
- Government to be a facilitator/ regulator rather than a provider. As private enterprises are inclined to compromise to enhance profitability, witnessed in higher technical education & financial scams, an autonomous regulatory body is a must.
- 3 shifts mandatory in all schools, government or private – timings in Table 1 can vary based on climatic conditions
- Student/ teachers rotated FN & AN shifts to eliminate discrimination (similarly in the case of 3 shifts in nursery schools)
- Games & extra-curricular activities continue as before, as infrastructure used is separate (for FN shift held in AN, for AN shift games held in FN or in the Holiday Week)
- Push & Pull factors are at play – fee reduced to 1/3 enables more students to migrate from govt to private schools, greater profitability for private schools & salary increase for teachers.
Face 3 - Flexibility the key to the success of any revolution, incorporated in every parameter & feasibility of concurrent running of the existing system with the new, for as long as desired form the main ingredients
Work-Holiday Matrix is not rigid - can be week, fortnight, month, ½ week or even alternate days, as indicated in Table 4. Month, ½ week, day matrices are too long/ short, week being closest to the current 5/6 day work period is ideal. Fortnight matrix is also practical but doctors & psychologists need to be consulted to know whether children especially the young can bear the stress of a consecutive 14 day work period, Tables 4, 5 & 6.
Number of Shifts – Acceptance of either change in timing to a FN shift of 7-12.30 of to Work-Holiday Matrix (changing just from 5/6 days to 7 work days) is a must without which the Proposed System can never be introduced. With the acceptance of at least one of the 2 changes, 5 shifts are feasible but the actual number of shifts accepted is a subjective factor. Options from 1 to 6 shifts with varying mix of intra-day & inter day (existing 9AM-4PM, inter & intra day shifts of FN, AN & Late Evening (LE) are available. Table 4
- Both Systems Concurrent as long as desired is the crowning feature of the Black Revolution
- 178 working days with 16/19 day annual vacation, & 10 day elongated work week is the best option; 182 working days, if sacrosanct, is also feasible, with a 15 day annual vacation. Tables 5 & 6
- Number of Terms/ Academic Year – Initially 4, closest to the existing 3, later increased to 6, further decreasing loss due to failure etc further to just 2 months. Tables 2B, 2C, 5 & 6.
- Number of Teachers - Can vary from 4 to 6. Teacher Options (Within a Constant Wage Bill)
6 Sets of Teachers with 1 for Each Shift – Late Evening (LE) shift teachers working ½ the time as their counterparts in FN/ AN shifts getting the same salary is a) unfair to the latter, b) salary bill be 6 times the current salary bill, thereby increasing overall costs.
If their salaries are ½, they need to have another job by day to supplement their income - not a desirable situation as they would not be fresh for teaching at the LE shift – a sure recipe for disaster.
5 Sets – Separate set of teachers for 4 day shifts & a single teacher for both LE shifts a) either teachers do not get 25% increase or b) 25% increase to the 5 set of teachers & higher wage bill at 6.25 times the current bill instead of 5 times c) LE shift teachers do not get off day during the 4 week cycle till they change to FN/ AN shift.
4 sets - with 25% Increased Salary means increased incentive. AN shift teachers also take LE classes but average working hours remains 7-7 ½ hours as of now, in the next cycle FN teachers become AN teachers & take LE shift classes; slightly longer workday is only for 1 in 4 weeks (2 are holiday weeks & 1 is FN shift) is most beneficial to teachers, the self propelled engines & cost effective to schools
- IA better teacher to pupil ratio, education standards in government & private schools at par, enable government to enforce students attend nearest school to reduce children’s exposure to long hours away from home, vehicle pollution & road risks & reducing peak hour traffic.
- Classes have a number of sections, 4 shifts of each class, excluding LE shift, will represent/ replace the 4 sections of each class. Depending upon degree & rate of change acceptable, ‘Flexibility of the Proposed System’ enables choosing 2 to 6 shifts.
Without waiting for start of next academic year,
Proposed System (introduce-able within few weeks of acceptance, anytime of the year) can be introduced as a hybrid in Jan 2015 at start of 3rd term of Conventional Academic Year
In terms of syllabus existing batch would be 3rd term (ending in just 3 terms), the 2 new children shifts (& the 2 adult shifts), with admission based on entrance tests would be 1st & 2nd term
By May/ Jun 2015 at start of conventional academic year, it should be like a well oiled machine
At this point 1st & 2nd introduced in Jan become 3rd & 4th Terms, 2 new shifts now introduced are via a similar entrance test 1st & 2nd terms. Students of existing system enter 1st Term of the next standard.
A fully functional 6 shift system in a fully accomplished Black Revolution by end 2015 (WAY)
Win – Win Situation for All Stakeholders
Parents a) Fees reduced to 1/3 b) failures’ imposed burden 1/12th c) parents get children’s (especially girl child) help in domestic, farm, trade etc but also send them to school.
Students a) Shorter swaps between work & holiday b) Due to Term based Promotion & Multiple Academic Years) Loss due to failure etc reduced to 1/4th (3 months, later further reduced to 2 months), thus nil/ fewer dropouts - c) Can regain lost term by fast tracking subsequently
Teachers a) 25% increase in salary (hence recurring cost in the proposed system with 4 sets of teachers is 5 (not 4) times than the existing system B) 300% increase in jobs – ideal when prime focus is a job generating growth
Private Schools – Profit doubles (or more) irrespective of variation in profit margin from 0 to 50% or variation in cost ration fixed: recurring (see Tables 3A & 3B).
Government/ donor Agencies – Reduction of fees to a 1/3 will result in considerable migration from govt to private schools, resulting in reduced govt/ donor budgets than even what is at present (depending upon private : govt school/ capacity deficiency) or a dramatic infrastructure improvement in govt schools.
Spin Offs/ Side Benefits
- Week’s study followed by a week’s holiday would rejuvenate the child leading to higher receptivity, but not rusting during long vacations – apparent from mushrooming of summer schools/ camps
- As parents can have just ¼ (or 1/6) of their children being away in school at any one time, education of all children, without losing their valuable help in homes, farms, factories, trade or shop is ensured - girl child would be the greatest beneficiary – No. of girl students would be the same as the boys. Child labour, a reality, will run concurrent with schooling for a few years
- Adults can make good the lost opportunities of education – an educated mother (not a mere literate one) is the greatest asset of the society as she would ensure education, nutrition, health & development of children & also reduction in population. Edn also curbs population
- Hot lunch, unquestioningly more nutritious, is available to all students – early/ slightly late lunch for AN & FN shifts respectively.
- Flow of school traffic from A to B along with the flow of office going traffic in the morning & B to A in the evening along with office returning traffic is replaced by a segregation of office & school traffic – school traffic being - early morning A to B, noon A to B & B to A, late evening B to A & night 10 PM B to A leading to more road space for both category of commuters, a point of great concern presently.
- Paying Fees for term of 3 Months easier than paying Term fees of 4 Months (though total fees paid is same)
Nations provinces/ states & individual schools can choose the pace of change according to the ability & inclination but there should be a graduated system of incentive for the change over i.e. those adopting 6 shifts & 4-6 terms based academic years in the very 1st year being on top of the incentive package & those taking several years to even change to a 2 shift system & 2 academic years being pushed to the bottom of the list.
Scepticism (S) & Rebuttal (R)
S The phrase ‘shift system’ is likely to give visions of children going to school at night & returning even later
R Shift system for children is restricted to 1830 hours (modified as per sunrise & sunset timings)
LE shift is only for adults or children over 16 enabling them to work by day & redeem a right denied in their childhood.
S With both parents working who will look after the children, during the ‘off shift’ & ‘off week’?
R Who looks after the children during weekends & vacations? A similar system can be worked out.
S Children will have to go too early to school.
R Isn’t ‘children getting up early’ a good habit paying rich dividends in adulthood.
Anyway, this early routine is only for 1 of 4 weeks viz. a month
S How will children attend religious services on Fridays (Muslims) & Sundays (Christians)?
R Religious services are held morning noon & evening, children can attend one which does not clash. Secondly this will be only once in a month.
S Mothers will have to prepare separately for fathers & children leaving home.
R They should be glad for the respite from preparing for fathers & 2-3 children leaving concurrently.
S Children cannot use the parents transport to leave them to school.
R Presently the parents transport doesn’t help them get back from school.
Where children wait for parents transport for return trip, they have to be in school till 6 PM.
If the scheme is worked correctly, children will attend schools closer home, as is mandatory in developed countries, doing away with requirement of transport.
S All children not having vacation concurrently, secondly time inadequate for an out of town vacation
R Irrespective of the term, annual vacations are in the 13th cycle, Dec as of now
EFA WAR & WAY is a WAR on idling infrastructure & the WAY to complete the change within a year:
6-fold utilisation of infrastructure by invigorating Intra Day shift system & adopting the Revolutionary ‘Work Week-Holiday Week’ matrix, reducing cost to a third
4 fold increase in jobs for teachers & a 25% increase in salaries
Enable all children & even adults to attend school without sacrificing help in family chores through the Inter Day & Intra Day shifts
Reducing Loss of time for children & burden of fees through the Term based Promotion & Multiple Academic Years, eliminating dropouts
LE shifts if not required for academic training can be used for vocational training
Providing immense flexibility to adopt the new concept to suit one’s inclination & ability
Changing government role from a provider to that of facilitator & regulator Crowning feature is concurrent running of existing & proposed system for as long as desired
Schools will defeat Naxalism more easily than guns. The write up includes a detail execution plan. Simplicity bordering on disbelief, the devil is only in willingness to accept change. With edn on the concurrent list & with 37 different governments in the country, surely somebody will have the vision & courage to be the trail blazer. Can there be a more befitting tribute to the Mahatma, greater fulfilment of his dreams & a better Commemoration of the Centenary of his return from South Africa? Education is both the cause & effect of independence of thought – a must for breaking out of the third world morbidity. Prediction of 21st Century being the Afro-Asian Century can come to pass only if South Asia & Sub Saharan Africa the worst affected regions, form the vanguard of the revolutionised education system. Acting now we can still resurrect the Dakar Phoenix of 2000. Can even be adopted, with modifications in colleges universities & hospitals (OPD timings, Operation days etc) banks, courts could reduce their costs of higher education, medical care etc