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May 2nd 2013 Global Action Week 2013, National Coalition for Education (NCE), India

National News from India by National Coalition for Education (NCE), India

                                                             Culmination Event of Education for All Global Action Week, 2013

                                                                                 “Every Child Needs a Teacher”

                                                                                      Thursday, 25 April 2013

                                                          Venue: Multi-Purpose Hall, Kamla Devi Block, India International Center,

                                                                                     Lodhi Estate, New Delhi

 

Education for All - Global Action Week happens every year – it’s a moment when children, teachers, parents and the like-minded people around the world unite in their demands for education. This year the Education for All Global action week is being held from 21st to 27th of April, 2013 and has set the theme “Every Child needs a Teacher”.

UNESCO New Delhi, UNIC, CARE India and National Coalition for Education (NCE), the national country representative of Global Campaign for Education’s (GCE) organized several national level campaign activities across country during the Education for All - Global Action Week, 2013. The culmination event on "Education for All, Global Action Week 2013" was co-organized by UNESCO New Delhi and National Coalition for Education (NCE) in New Delhi on 25 April 2013 at IIC New Delhi.

The participants in the culmination event were school children from C-2, C-4 and C-5 Government School, Janakpuri, New Delhi, parents, teachers, teacher union’s representatives, parliamentarians, academicians,  Right to Education Forum,  OXFAM, Save the Children, UNICEF, UNESCO, UNIC, NCE National and regional representatives, Max Havelaar Foundation, XERTIFIX Germany and print and visual media representatives. Some of the prominent media houses who covered the event are All India Radio, BBC world, News Express, Governance Now, Aapka Faisala, Hinduastan.

The chief speakers at this occasion were following

  1. Mr. A.V.Swamy- Member of parliament Keynote Speaker
  2. Mr. Rampal Singh- General Secretary, NCE (welcome Address)
  3. Mr. Shigeru Aoyagi- Director UNESCO New Delhi
  4. Ms. Kiran Mehra Kerpelman, Director UNIC, India and Bhutan
  5. Mr. R.C.Dabas- Akhil Delhi Prarthamik Delhi Sangh
  6. Mr. Ambrish Rai, Board Member, NCE India

In his welcome address Mr. Rampal Singh, General Secretary of NCE, said that Education for All Global Action Week platform provides us an opportunity to negotiate our demands for education to policy makers. In a country where 12 lakh teachers are lacking, it is difficult to imagine a strong and educated nation. Almost 7 lakh para teachers have been appointed for educating children. Having an educated nation urgently requires appointment of full time & trained teachers. Both Central and State Governments must take responsibility for education of the people and we cannot fulfil the goal of education through Public private partnerships only.

Mr. Shigeru Aoyagi, Director UNESCO New Delhi, said that without qualified teachers Education for all cannot be achieved. The right to education act was launched in 2009 and the first deadline of RTE was last month and we have a long way to go. India and other member states still have high school dropouts, 8.1 million children do not have access to knowledge & information. The PTR (Pupil Teacher ratio) is a matter of deep concern. UNESCO is equally concerned about absenteeism among teachers as a grave problem amounting to 25% attendance rate. The quality of the teachers is also a huge problem therefore the teachers training become much more relevant.

Mr. A.V.Swamy, Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha started his keynote address with famous quote “Guru hi Brahma , Guru hi Deva” and that every human being is a storehouse of knowledge and the knowledge comes out through an environment of enquiry, this spirit of enquiry has to be encouraged by teachers among students. He shared his experience as  the member of Millennium Development Goals group from India. He was concerned about the governments progress on Education for All and MDGs goals. He however assured that as a parliamentarian he will do all best in his capacity to ensure quality education for all.

Ms Kiran Mehra Kerpelman, Director UNIC emphasized on UN SG’s Education first Initiative and said that Education is a basic fundamental right and not the privilege of a few. Education is the single best investment that nations can make for developed, healthy and equitable societies. Not just education but quality education is the right of every child. Gender, geography, poverty and accessibility should not prevent any child from getting education. This year’s theme of ‘every child needs a teacher’ calls for a review of quality and quantity of education, review of the GAW movement. It is important to mobilize political commitment and funding for education. She shared the highlights of UN Secretary General Global Education First Initiative programme.

SchoolChildren’s Programme : School children from different schools recited beautiful poem in appreciation of their teachers, fifteen girls and boys together displayed placards in Hindi  and English and read the messages  on this occasion. Some of the placards read as ‘Without a Teacher school is just a Building, ‘Without trained Teachers, Schooling is not Education’. Each and every participant appreciated the messages displayed by school children. A demonstration replicating ‘information and technology system’ was made by children and displayed at the fun place specially created for this culmination event by school children. 

 

Ms. Madhu Verma, a parent representative said that our children need better environment for better education. There should be more government schools. The Pupil teacher ratio should be improved in government schools along with proper infrastructure like toilet facilities for girls and women teachers.

Mr. Sanjeev Rai, Save the Children, said that for effecting and result oriented training of teachers, there is huge deficit of fund. Government should provide sufficient fund for teachers training.

Mr. Alisher Umarov, Chief Education, UNESCO New Delhi, shared that every year UNESCO organizes with it’s partners Education for All Global Action Week in 160 countries. We always try to find the topic which is relevant to education. Schools are getting better infrastructure now but quality of teachers is not improving and we need to work from all angles to make quality education available to all. Only talking about teachers issue will not solve the problem. Let’s have good teachers.

The interaction with media was moderated by Mr. Rajiv Chandran, National Information Officer, UNIC and Dr. Huma Masood, National Programme Officer UNESCO New Delhi. During this session Mr. Ambrish Rai, the NCE board member said that the privatization and corporatization of education sector by Government will not lead to improvement in the education of children. The urgency is to regularize para teachers, fill the vacant posts and provide regular in-service teacher  training for quality education. The privatization of teacher training should also be discouraged, resources to be made available for overall improvement of quality teaching and learning. In response to a question Mr. Rampal Singh, General Secretary of NCE said that media should also be an important partner in advocating for child education.

The major demands that came out of this culmination event were:

  • To ensure quality of education, immediate filling of vacant posts through trained teachers. Untrained and Para teachers should be replaced by regular and trained teachers and Para teachers recruited so far should be trained and regularized.

 

  • Allocate a minimum of 20 percent of national budgets, or 6 percent of GDP, to education, and ensure that at least 50 percent of this is dedicated to basic education, with a much higher percentage where necessary.