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IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs – 4th December, 2015

  • IASbaba
  • December 4, 2015
  • 5
IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Analysis, IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs December 2015, National, UPSC
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IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs – 4th December, 2015

 

NATIONAL

 

TOPICGeneral Studies 2

  • Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector or Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

 

Is India actually free of polio?

  • On November 30, 2015, the day India introduced an Injectable Polio Vaccine (IPV) in its routine immunisation programme, stating that it “will be an important step in the Polio Endgame Strategy”, a case of Vaccine Derived Polio Virus (VDPV) was reported from New Delhi.
  • India has not reported a single case of polio caused by the wild polio virus (WPV) since January 2012. It is important to note that it also received a polio-free certificate from the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2014, after a nervous two-year wait to establish that the country can indeed maintain its polio-free status.

 

A look into the history:

The virus:

Polio is caused by a human enterovirus called the poliovirus. Wild polioviruses are those that occur naturally.

There are three serotypes of wild poliovirus – type 1, type 2, and type 3 – each with a slightly different capsid protein.

 

Vaccination against polio:

Expanded program in immunization(EPI):

  • Immunization Programme in India was introduced in 1978 for first time as Expanded Programme of Immunization (EPI) which covered immunisation against few diseases tetanus, measles, polio etc.
  • By 1984, it was successful in covering around 40% of all infants, giving 3 doses of monovalent OPV to each.

 

Polio vaccine:

Two polio vaccines, are used throughout the world to provide immunity to poliovirus. One uses inactivated (dead) poliovirus and the other uses attenuated (weakened) poliovirus.

Oral polio vaccine (OPV):

Oral polio vaccine (OPV) is an attenuated vaccine.

Types :

  1. Monovalent OPV: vaccine against any one of WPV. It can be either type 1 or type 2 or type 3.
  2. Bivalent OPV: vaccine against any two of WPV. It can type 1,2 , type 2,3 or type 1,3.
  3. Trivalent OPV: vaccine against all three types of WPV.

Universal immunization program (UIP) :

  • In 1985, by ending EIP, Universal Immunisation Program (UIP) was launched to cover all the districts of the country.
  • UIP became a part of child survival and safe motherhood program (CSSM) in 1992 and Reproductive and Child Health Program (RCH) in 1997.
  • This program led to a significant increase in coverage, up to 95%.
  • The number of reported cases of polio also declined from 28,757 during 1987 to 3,265 in 1995.

 

Polio eradication initiative by world health organisation (WHO), 1988

The Global Polio Eradication Initiative is a public-private partnership led by national governments and spearheaded by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Its goal is to eradicate polio worldwide.

 

Pulse polio immunisation program:

In 1995, following the Polio Eradication Initiative of World Health Organization (1988), India launched Pulse Polio Immunisation Program along with Universal Immunisation Program which aimed at 100% coverage.

 

Eradication of type 2 WPV:

In 1999, type 2 WPV was eradicated from India with extensive use of monovalent OPV. However type 1 and type 3 WPV still prevailed.

 

2004: Use of monovalent OPV type 1 and monovalent OPV type 3 started as a part of pulse polio initiative.

WPV type 1 came under control however the type 3 WPV did not come under control.

 

Introduction of Bivalent OPV, 2009:

  • By 2010, WPV type 1 was eradicated and type 3 WPV was showing signs of decrease.
  • Finally through sustained effort of government and other stakeholders the last WPV case reported was on 13, January 2011.
  • In 2014 India was awarded polio free country status by WHO.

 

The new challenge: The case of Vaccine Derived Polio Virus(VDPV)

Between January 2014 and March 2015, India reported four cases from four different States, of vaccine-derived polio.

VDPV:

Vaccine-derived polioviruses (VDPVs) are rare strains of poliovirus that have genetically mutated from the strain contained in the oral polio vaccine.

 

Spread of VDPV:

The VDPV is spreading at a faster rate which needs the attention of government.

 

  • Now in the immunization program, government has to replace the OPV with IPV in order to tackle new strains of VDPV, which the government introduced on November 30,2015.

 

Connecting the dots:

  • Still the fight against polio is not complete in India. Examine the above statement wrt recent increase in cases of vaccine derived polio virus.
  • Critically examine the vaccination strategy adopted by India to fight polio virus over the years. Do you think there is a need to reconsider the strategy today. Substantiate.

 

TOPICGeneral Studies 2

  • Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector or Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation. 
  • Indian Constitution- significant provisions and basic structure. 

 

 

Right to Education (RTE) Act: It’s working and Challenges

 

Education in India:

 

Article 45, Indian Constitution:

“The State shall endeavour to provide within a period of 10 years from the commencement of the Constitution, free and compulsory education to all children until they complete the age of 14 years”

 

  • National Policy on Education, 1968: First official document which attested Indian Government’s commitment towards elementary education.
  • National Policy on Education, 1986: Further emphasized on its due importance
  • Mohini Jain Vs State of Karnataka: SC of India held that right to education is concomitant to fundamental rights enshrined under Part III of the constitution and that every citizen has a right to education under the Constitution
  • Unnikrishnana, J.P. Vs State of Andhra Pradesh: Supreme Court held that “though right to education is not stated expressively as a fundamental right, it is implicit in and flow from the right to life guaranteed under Article 21 and must be construed in the light of the Directive Principles of the constitution

 

Article 26 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

‘Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory’

  • This Article 26 (UN recommendation) has been reinforced in the provisions of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act (2009), which came into effect in India on 1 April 2010, enshrining in law for the first time the rights of all Indian children aged between six and 14 years to free and compulsory elementary education regardless of caste, class, gender, etc.

 

Right to Education means:

(a) Every child/ citizen of this country has a right to free education until he/she completes the age of fourteen years and

(b) After a child / citizen completes 14 years, his/her right to education is circumscribed by the limits of the economic capacity of the State and its development

 

No-Detention Policy-

Section 16 of RTE Act8—Prohibits holding back and expulsion of a child from school till the accomplishment of elementary education

The ‘no-detention’ provision in the RTE Act does not mean that children’s learning will not be assessed but makes provision of continuous and comprehensive evaluation (CCE) procedure which will enable the teacher to assess the child’s learning and performance in a more constructive way.

Controversy: Doing away with the No-detention policy till Class VIII that implies that children can be held back from entry level- has met strong opposition from the educationists, NGOs and experts; who have called it “damaging, regressive and counter-productive” for school education.

Damaging-Giving quality Continuous Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE)  to ensure the child is ready for the next level has become government’s priority and the Delhi Assembly argued on the point that the planned changes in teacher training and curriculum are not in place and can be counter-productive if we go ahead with the policy.

Regressive- It places the blame on the student for not being able to perform while absolving the school of any blame; clearly depriving the poor children out of the benefits of the mainstream from point one.

 

Issues:

  • Activities conducted are very mechanical in nature and only aim at keeping children busy without learning anything substantial
  • Children come to these schools to get a free meal only (Period)
  • Annual Status for Education Report (ASER) – Rural, 2012:Enrolment levels have been 96% or more but 58.3% of children enrolled in Class V(government schools across rural India) cannot even read Class 2 text
  • Attitude of teachers:

‘Whether students learn anything or not, they are going to be promoted to the next class as per the RTE Act. So nothing is in our hands’

  • Perceive passing of examination as a criteria for being promoted to the next higher class.
  • The muddled CCE guidelines and lack of training have caused confusion among teachers on what their role is

 

Bhukkal Report:

  • No detention has too often been read as “no assessment” or “no relevance of assessment”, which reduces the significance of any testing that is conducted in the eyes of all involved- parents, teachers and children
  • Lack of a proper metric to measure student performance is compounded by the fact that the CCE guidelines are badly defined
  • Teachers are not equipped or trained to conduct evaluations within the CCE framework and they do not know how to use the assessments to tailor lessons to student capabilities
  • Reduction in the likelihood of teacher involvement in a child’s learning at the individual level

 

Geeta Bhukkal Sub-Committee Report: Given the declining learning outcomes of primary schoolchildren, the no-detention policy should be implemented in a phased manner that allows for students to be held back if they are lagging behind

 

RTE- Major hiccups

After elementary stage:

The long-term consequences of this revolutionary diktat have been left out unanswered.

What will be the fate of children from the weaker sections after they complete their free elementary education in the elite schools, where the tuition fee would be more than the annual income of their parents?

Minimum Infrastructure:

  • Only recognised institutions with certain minimum infrastructure will impart school education in the country (within 3 years; sections 18 and 19)
  • Minimum Infrastructure:
    • Minimum teaching personnel,
    • At least one classroom per teacher
    • A playground
  • Stringent stipulations: Will result in a large number of unrecognised schools as also aided schools being closed down

Unrecognised schools—

  • It is estimated that out of 12 lakh schools in the country today, almost a fifth are unrecognised, filling in for the non-existent government schools as the standards in government schools are dismal
  • A comprehensive study of unrecognised schools in Kerala some years ago concluded that, in general, children received a good education from well-qualified teachers, the only criticism being that the teachers were not adequately paid.
  • RTE Act: Has put all unrecognised institutions, the good and the bad, under threat of closure

Treatment of the better Government schools:

An Act that claims to strike a blow for equal educational opportunities for all children has no business to accord preferential treatment to these schools

Teaching quality:

  • It is considered as the prime adverse factor affecting the spread of literacy
  • More emphasis on physical infrastructure in schools but not on teaching standards thereby giving little importance to teaching standards
  • General statements:
    • Central government “shall develop and enforce standards for training a teacher.”
    • Ratified “relaxation in the minimum qualification required for appointment as a teacher” for up to five years

Absolute power to the Education Department and local bodies to make or mar schools:

  • Ideal tool for large-scale, systemic corruption
  • Culture of school inspectors being “appeased” despite the school doing nothing illegal
  • Implication: Large number of undeserving schools getting recognition and a good number of meritorious schools shutting down.

IASbaba’s Views:

  • More needs to be done on the front of creating an enabling and a learning environment for the child by introducing a major component of experimenting with different methods of student assessment and after adequately measuring learning progress, providing remedial classes for those who need them
  • Inclusion of more teachers as well as training teachers in the CCE concept, designing student assessment methods and grouping students by learning levels rather than age could do more to improve outcomes than promoting students only to set them up for failure later. Also, teachers should be made understood that ‘pass’ ‘fail’ options are not a necessary requirement for learning
  • The need of the hour is higher public investment in school education and a need to forge partnerships among state, school functionaries, voluntary agencies, parents and other stakeholders. Concerted efforts are required at all levels and the potential of the RTE depends a great deal on the advocacy and mobilization campaigns initiated by government, and the ability of parents and children to understand and exercise their new role relationships w.r.t the elementary education.

 

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MIND MAPS

 

1. Uniqueness of India’s smart cities

Indias Smart Cities JPEG

2. Is India actually free of polio?

India Polio Free JPEG

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