IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs (Prelims + Mains
Focus)- 12th January 2018
Part of: Mains GS Paper I- Social Issues
- A new survey on social attitudes in the country indicates that close to two-thirds of the population in rural Rajasthan and rural Uttar Pradesh still practice untouchability and almost half the population in the same area is also opposed to Dalit and non-Dalit Hindu inter-marriages.
- Despite decades-old-laws criminalising untouchability, it appears to be practised more by women.
- The survey also has results on significant attitudes towards women. Nearly half the persons interviewed disapproved of women working outside homes, indicating that social stigma for working women is still high. (Female participation in the labour force at 27 per cent by the International LabourOrganisation (ILO) placed India at a rank lower than 170 among 188 countries).
About the survey:
- The survey, Social Attitude Research, India (SARI), which was conducted through representative phone surveys in 2016 in Delhi, Mumbai, Rajasthan and UP, focusses on discrimination against Dalits and women.
- Conducted by the University of Texas, the Research Institute for Compassionate Economics, and Jawaharlal Nehru University, the survey sheds light on “explicit prejudice”.
Article link: Click here
Two-tier security process for Aadhaar
Part of: Mains GS Paper II- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
- The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has rolled out a new two-tier security process that will come into effect from June 1.
- This has been done in the wake of a report of an alleged breach of the Aadhaar database.
- The security process aims at eliminating the need to share and store Aadhaar numbers.
- The UIDAI has introduced the concept of a virtual ID, which an Aadhaar holder can use in lieu of his/her Aadhaar number at the time of authentication, besides sharing of ‘limited KYC’ with certain agencies.
- A Virtual ID (VID) will be a temporary 16-digit random number mapped with the Aadhaar number. There can only be one active and valid VID for an Aadhaar number at any given time and it will not be possible to derive the Aadhaar number from VID.
- The VID authentication will be similar to using Aadhaar numbers. However, since a VID is temporary, agencies will not be able to use it for de-duplication.
- Only the Aadhaar holder will be able to generate a VID and no other entity.
Article link: Click here
100th Satellite launched by PSLV C40
Part of: Mains GS Paper I- Science & Technology
- The PSLV C40 successfully placed the 100th satellite, Cartosat-2 series, a weather monitoring one into orbit.
- It also launched 29 more smaller satellites sequentially during a window of two hours of skillfulmanoeuvres.
- Buoyed by the growing business that Antrix Corporation, the commercial arm of ISRO is attracting for the PSLV, the Government recently announced that it will fund the space agency’s efforts to develop an exclusive Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV). This launcher can cater exclusively to mini and micro satellites. There is growing demand from private sector, research institutions and universities who want to put small payloads into low orbit for space data.
- India offers cost competitive advantagevis-a-visBig players like Arianespace, US, Russia, ESA etc. through PSLV.
- The SSLV can emerge more lucrative as ISRO can bring down its launch costs and offer better price to customers, instead of the present piggyback ride on the PSLV, which can then focus on higher payloads.
Article link: Click here
TOPIC: General Studies 2:
- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
- Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
- Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes
RTE Act, 2010: Improving implementation
Free and compulsory education of children in the 6 to 14 age group in India became a fundamental right when, in 2002, Article 21-A was inserted in the 86th Amendment to the Constitution.
The enforcing legislation came eight years later, as the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2010, or the RTE Act.
There are clauses in the Act which have enormous catalytic potential but that have gone largely untouched and unnoticed.
A focus on three of the provisions of the RTE Act can result in an immediate and discernible impact. The three provisions are:
- Ensuring retention.
- Pupil-to-Teacher ratio
- Decentralisation of academic schedules
Focusing on retention:
The Act envisages that the state, i.e. State governments and panchayats, would aggressively ensure that each child is brought into the schooling system and also “retained” for eight years.
Unfortunately, tracking dropouts and preparing and mainstreaming them into age-appropriate classes has been subsumed into existing scheme activities. Even seven years after its enactment, there are still children on the streets, in fields and in homes.
The problem now is more about dropouts than children who were never enrolled.
Strategies to ensure retention need to change from the earlier approach of enrolling the un-enrolled.
As children out of the fold of schooling are the most hard to reach, such as girls, the disabled, orphans and those from single parent families, the solutions have to be localised and contextualised.
It is the most critical requirement. But it has got the least public attention.
All other forward-looking provisions of the Act such as continuous assessment, a child learning at her own pace, and ‘no detention’ policy are contingent on a school with an adequate number of teachers.
No meaningful teaching-learning is possible unless trained teachers are physically present at school.
It is impractical to expect quality education without this.
According to the Education Department’s data, under the Unified District Information System for Education (U-DISE) database 2015-16, 33% of the schools in the country did not have the requisite number of teachers, as prescribed in the RTE norms. RTE Act prescribes a PTR of 40:1 and 35:1 at primary and upper primary level, respectively in every school.
The percentage of schools that were PTR-compliant varied from 100% in Lakshadweep to 16.67% in Bihar.
Teacher provisioning should be the first option to fund as no educationally developed country has built up a sound schooling foundation without a professionally-motivated teaching cadre in place.
In States with an adequate overall number of teachers, their positioning or posting requires rationalisation according to the number of students.
Decentralisation of academic schedules:
Another provision in RTE is that the academic calendar will be decided by the local authority, which, for most States and Union Territories, is the panchayat.
This provision recognises the vast cultural and regional diversities within the country such as local festivals, sowing and harvesting seasons, and even natural calamities as a result of which schools do not function academically.
It is socially acceptable that priority will be given to such a local event and not schooling. Not all festivals and State holidays declared by the the State headquarters may be locally relevant.
So, if panchayats, perhaps at the district level, decide the working days and holidays, this would not only exponentially increase attendance and teaching-learning but also strengthen local panchayats, being closest to the field, to take ownership of their schools. They would be responsible in ensuring the functioning of the prescribed instruction days.
The RTE Act is a game-changer in that it establishes that the onus to ensure free and compulsory education lies on the state. However, the ‘compulsory’ and ‘state liability’ part needs to be imbibed by the educational bureaucracy, which is now lacking.
A law is as good or as bad as its implementation. It is unfair to blame legislation alone for the sad state of affairs without implementing it in full measure, especially its enabling provisions.
Open-minded adoption of the above-mentioned provisions, keeping the child in mind, can go a long way in radically transforming our school education sector.
Connecting the dots:
- Right to Education Act, 2010 can go a long way in transforming our school education sector if all its provisions, especially those related to retention, pupil-to-teacher ratio and decentralised academic schedule, are implemented in true spirit. Discuss.
The road still runs through Ramallah
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