Private schools in rural India provide similar education at much lower cost than govt schools

Karthik Muralidharan and others have an interesting research paper on the differences between private and public (i.e. government run) schools in rural India, where they discover, over the course of a large, 4-year, controlled study they discover that private schools comparable (actually, slightly better) education, but at costs much lower than the government schools.

This was the setup (in Andhra Pradesh):

The AP School Choice Project provided children who were enrolled in free public primary schools with a voucher that allowed them to attend a private school of their choice.

And here are the main finding:

We find that the main operating difference between private and public schools in India is that private schools pay substantially lower teacher salaries (less than a sixth of that paid to public school teachers), and hire teachers who are younger, less educated, and much less likely to have professional teaching credentials. However, they hire more teachers and have smaller class sizes and less multi-grade teaching than public schools. Using official data as well as data collected from direct observations conducted during unannounced visits to schools, we find that private schools have a longer school day, a longer school year, lower teacher absence, higher teaching activity, and better school hygiene. We find no significant change in household spending or in time spent doing homework among voucher-winning students, suggesting that the impact of the program (if any) is most likely to be due to changes in school as opposed to household factors

So, private schools have cheaper teachers, but spend more time teaching. What about the performance of the students?

However, in spite of the superior performance of the private schools on most measures of school processes, we find at the end of two and four years of the school choice program that lottery winners do no better than lottery losers on tests of Telugu (native language of AP) and Math. Our data from school time tables suggest that a likely explanation for these results is that private schools spend significantly less instructional time on Telugu and Math, and instead spend more time on English, Science, Social Studies, and Hindi. We conduct tests in these subjects at the end of four years of the program and find positive (but insignificant) effects of winning the voucher on test scores in English, Science, and Social Studies (of around 0.1ı each), and positive (and highly significant) effects on test scores in Hindi (of 0.5ı). Averaging across all subjects, we find that students who won a voucher scored 0.13ı higher, and students who attend private schools score 0.23ı higher.

What does all this mean? Here is the bottom line – private schools provide slightly better education at much lower prices:

the combination of test score results and school time table data already show that private schools are more productive than public schools because they are able to achieve similar Telugu and Math test scores for the lottery winners with substantially less instructional time, and use the additional time to improve outcomes on other subjects – especially Hindi. But the cost-effectiveness comparison is rendered stark by the fact that the annual cost per student in the government- school system is over three times the mean cost per student in the private schools in our sample. Thus, students who win a lottery to attend private schools do as well on some subjects and better on others even though the private schools spend substantially lower amounts per student

Check out this short article by the author where he asks this question:

Since private schools achieved equal or better outcomes at one-third the cost, the fundamental question that needs to be asked is “How much better could private management do if they had three times their current level of per-child spending?” Thus, in addition to focusing on improving the effectiveness of government schools at the current level of spending, the results suggest that policymakers should be open to experimenting with models of education provision with public funding (to ensure universal access) and private provision (for better school management).

and:

Overall, policy discussions need to move away from debates of ‘public’ versus ‘private’ provision of education, which are (a) too simplistic because averages hide enormous variation within both public and private schools, and (b) not very useful because both systems are unlikely in their current form to deliver significant improvements in outcomes. Rather, the focus should be on the design of better education ‘systems’ that aim to deliver superior outcomes by leveraging the strengths of both the public and the private sector while mitigating the weaknesses of the other. Clause 12 of the RTE provides the ideal context in which to have this discussion of education systems.

Read the full paper, or this short article by the author where he asks this question:

Source: Marginal Revolution Blog

Online-only self-service education will never work? -Fredrick DeBoer

Fredrik DeBoer, a professor at Purdue has an interesting article on how there needs to be some realism injected into the debate on online education and MOOCs (massively online open courses) and the world-changing exuberance that usually accompanies these debates.

He points out that the only way he’s found to get students to learn is to meet with them every day physically and drive discussions with them. Here are his arguments:

Excerpt:

I’ve tried all number of ways to do that outside of class meetings – marking papers extensively, using Track Changes, real-time online collaboration – and it never, ever works. Most them don’t look, and most of them don’t care, unless there’s the basic human accountability of sitting down with them at a table and going through the changes together. That’s how I drag them to the skills they want.

The idea that students need to be “dragged” to learning is something that most real teachers will understand, while most other people will dismiss, saying, “the good ones don’t need to be dragged.”

Fredrik goes on:

I will have lost some of you with that verb. “Drag them! How presumptuous! That’s so insulting.” I assure you: no, it’s not. No, it’s not insulting to use the word “drag” to describe educating undergraduates. I promise you it’s not. Of course, there are in most classes one or two or three students who are both very bright and self-motivated. They’re wonderful to work with. But most students require a frankly endless amount of pushing, pulling, cajoling, motivating, and yes, dragging to competence. Some actively resist. I’m not complaining: this is what I love to do, and it’s why they pay me.

The system has been set up in such a way, that learning is not really a goal for most students:

I’m just relaying reality, in context with an education media that simply doesn’t want to hear it: our college students are not an army of young autodidacts who are pursuing knowledge out of a love for learning. They just aren’t. They’re here, in very large measure, to collect a degree that they identify as being a largely or purely economic instrument. Who could blame them? That’s what their culture is telling them education is for: making money. So they proceed rationally from that premise.

So, what’s the solution?

So you work, and you work, and you work, and you sit with them in conferencing and you revise their papers again and again and you chase them down when they don’t submit by deadline and you make your instructions explicit again and again and you hope that they’ll bother to come back to class after spring break and you work, work, work to get them to a reasonable level of ability. And then when you give them a B+ they write outraged emails to the dean about what a horrible injustice that is. But of course they do. Again, it’s natural: their culture teaches them that everyone is equally capable of everything, and that any problems in education are necessarily the fault of educators and not of students, so they rage when they get a grade that is commensurate with their work. They’re a product of their culture.

And just in case you feel that this really reflects the (poor) quality of the students, note this:

And trust me: my students here at Purdue are not unusually unmotivated or unintelligent. Just the opposite; they’re remarkably bright, attending a competitive public research university, in a period where getting into good colleges has never been harder or more competitive. Yes, they’re a restricted range. They’re restricted near the top, not the bottom. Still, it’s a struggle to educate them. I’m just trying to be honest with you.

Read the full article

InnoVidya Event: How findings in basic research lead to useful products

InnoVidya and IUCAA present a talk by Dr. Virender Sheorain on “Enlarging Knowledge Horizons” on Saturday, Sep 21, 2013, at 11am, at Bhaskara 3 Hall, IUCAA. This is the next talk in the InnoVidya/IUCAA SPARK lecture series.

About the Speaker – Dr. Virender Sheorain

Virender Sheorain received his PhD from Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, (PGI) Chandigarh. He did his post doctoral Research at Vanderbilt University Medical Centre, Nashville, TN (USA). He was also Howard Hughes Medical Institute fellow and instructor in Physiology at Vanderbilt. His doctoral and subsequent research was on regulation of metabolic pathways responsible for manifestation of diabetes and related complications such as cardiovascular disease. He returned to India and worked nearly 15 years in R and D centres of three major companies i.e. Boots Pharmaceutical, Mumbai, Hindustan Lever Ltd., Mumbai and Seagram, Pune. Global sale of Seagram, in 2001, took him to Jamaica (West Indies ) where he was responsible for running of Diageo plc’s rum plants.

Abstract of the talk:

Most basic researchers pursue their research to satisfy their curiosity and publish their findings in scientific journals. But there are some who think of applying these findings to create useful products. Therefore, objectives of almost all industrial R & D centers are to commercialize either their own research or research published, but not patented, in scientific journals. The presentation will cover three such examples which will illustrate how an idea or scientific observation can lead to very useful products. The examples are : Statins, a class of drugs used for lowering blood Cholesterol, Fair and Lovely, a fairness cream, and Starumol, a source of non protein nitrogen for ruminants. All three products are classical examples of how basic research can be commercialized for the benefit of humans and at the same time create wealth for companies.

About the InnoVidya IUCAA Spark Program

The SPARK program is a series of events jointly conducted by InnoVidya and IUCAA. These are special events that <spark> imagination & curiosity of our young, build bonds between participants of different disciplines, catalyze interactivity & promote peer links

If you’re interested in the state of education in India, please subscribe to get updates by email

Event Details

The event is on Saturday, September 21, 2013, at 11am, at the Bhaskara 3 Hall, IUCAA, at University of Pune campus.

Fees and Registration

This event is free and open for anybody to attend. Register here. There is ample parking at the venue.

InnoVidya Event: The Idea of Growth by Anupam Saraph

InnoVidya and IUCAA present a talk by Dr. Anupam Saraph on “An Agenda for a Resurgent India” on Saturday, Aug 17, 2013, at 11am, at Bhaskara 3 Hall, IUCAA. This is the next talk in the InnoVidya/IUCAA SPARK lecture series.

About the Speaker – Dr. Anupam Saraph

Anupam Saraph holds a PhD in sustainable systems design from the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, the Netherlands. He has made important contributions in domains such as systems, governance, environment and civil society and has done pioneering work in economic carrying capacity modeling & use of systems as a pedagogy in education. He teaches systems – information systems, environmental systems – and sustainable development at universities in Europe, Asia and the Americas. He also advises the World Economic Forum through its Global Agenda Council for Complex Systems and the Club of Rome Indian National Association as a founder life member.

Abstract of the talk:

Growth is all about getting Bigger. Individuals, corporations, governments – all of us wish to grow. What is their IDEA of GROWTH? Is there a limit to how much one can grow? What are the practical constraints behind such growth? Is there a conflict between <earning> & <learning>? Does the economics of growth drive all life forms and the dynamics of growth itself? Do the complex systems we create and are a part of decide the pace of growth and its impact on the system itself? What are the fallouts arising from Growth? How does Growth impact our Quality of Life? Some scenarios of our Growth and the Key elements contributing to Growth shall be defined & the ideas behind them shall be examined.

About the InnoVidya IUCAA Spark Program

The SPARK program is a series of events jointly conducted by InnoVidya and IUCAA. These are special events that <spark> imagination & curiosity of our young, build bonds between participants of different disciplines, catalyze interactivity & promote peer links

If you’re interested in the state of education in India, please subscribe to get updates by email

Event Details

The event is on Saturday, August 17, 2013, at 11am, at the Bhaskara 3 Hall, IUCAA, at University of Pune campus.

Fees and Registration

This event is free and open for anybody to attend. Register here. There is ample parking at the venue.

InnoVidya Event: Introduction to Inquiry-oriented Education by Prof. K.P. Mohanan

InnoVidya and IUCAA a talk by Prof. K.P. Mohanan on “An Introduction to Inquiry-Oriented Education” on Saturday, July 20, 2013, at 11am, at Bhaskara 3 Hall, IUCAA. This is the next talk in the InnoVidya/IUCAA SPARK lecture series.

About the Speaker – Prof. K.P. Mohanan

K.P. Mohanan received his PhD from MIT (the Massachusetts Institute of Technology), under Noam Chomsky, and taught at the University of Texas in Austin, MIT, Stanford University and National University of Singapore. At NUS, he initiated the General Education Program for undergraduate students, and as part of this program, created a web course on Academic Knowledge and Inquiry (http://wiki.nus.edu.sg/display/aki).

In January 2011, he moved to IISER-Pune to set up and develop the Centre for Integrative Studies. At IISER, he has created a three-course package on rational inquiry, covering scientific, mathematical, and conceptual inquiries. He is currently engaged in developing courses and programs on different types of inquiry based learning for high school and college students.

Abstract of the talk:

Scientific inquiry is a form of rational inquiry that seeks knowledge by formulating our ignorance as questions and arriving at answers on the basis of data/observations. Most forms of science education focus on helping students to understand a body of knowledge — the conclusions resulting from scientific inquiry — and to apply that knowledge to solve problems. As an alternative, I have been pursuing an inquiry-oriented form of science education that goes beyond understanding and application, to help students acquire the capacity to engage in scientific inquiry, to function not only as consumers of knowledge, but also as producers of knowledge.

The youtube video clip on What Ruca Likes and Dislikes will give a brief taste of what an inquiry-oriented classroom is like.

In this talk, I will briefly outline what my colleagues and I have been doing to bring scientific inquiry into classrooms, textbooks, and examinations. It should be of interest to both students and educators.

About the InnoVidya IUCAA Spark Program

The SPARK program is a series of events jointly conducted by InnoVidya and IUCAA. These are special events that <spark> imagination & curiosity of our young, build bonds between participants of different disciplines, catalyze interactivity & promote peer links

If you’re interested in the state of education in India, please subscribe to get updates by email

Event Details

The event is on Saturday, July 20, 2013, at 11am, at the Bhaskara 3 Hall, IUCAA, at University of Pune campus.

Fees and Registration

This event is free and open for anybody to attend. Register here. There is ample parking at the venue.

Heredity, Genetic Information & Its Manipulation – Dr. Sohan Modak – 16 March

InnoVidya and IUCAA invite everyone to a lecture on Heredity, Genetic Information and Its Manipulation, By Dr. Sohan Modak

Abstract

Living cells require proteins, fats, carbohydrates and nucleic acids for their structure and function. DNA, the master molecule, is embedded in chromosomes
and contains a linear array of thousands of Genes that encode information for proteins. Each Gene represents an informational unit for one protein. Before a
cell divides, DNA is duplicated so that the each of two daughter cells receives identical sets of Genes. Many chemical and physical agents damage DNA, and a
faulty repair changes the informational quality or even loss, which can be lethal or cause carcinogenesis, metabolic disorders or reduced life-span. Genes
can be modified in a test tube, or inside a cell. Genetic manipulation involves deletion of a gene or insertion of a new Gene. Gene insertion may be
beneficial or disrupt the Gene order leading to as yet unknown dangers.

About the Speaker – Dr. Sohan Modak

Sohan Modak has a doctorate from the University of Geneva and did post-doctoral work at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and University of Kentucky, Lexington
(USA). He served as staff scientist at the Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research (1970-77), Visiting Professor at the Ohio State University and
Scientist-Engineer at French Center for Nuclear Energy Grenoble(1978-79). In 1979, he joined  the University of Poona as Professor. He founded the
Biotechnology Training Programme, NCCS, Bioinformatics-DIS. Sohan was Professor Emeritus at the Karnatak University, Dharwad (2001-03) and G.N.
Ramachandran Sr. Res.Fellow at the IGIB Delhi (2005-2008). He published research in Developmental Neurobiology, Molecular Biology and Genomics. He now
mentors studies on Molecular Evolution.

About InnoVidya

InnoVidya is a group of educators and industry professionals who want to reach out to students, teachers, trainers and working professionals and catalyze significant improvements in their learning ecosystems. In addition to the InnoVidya website and the InnoVidya mailing list, we also hold public lectures on the 4th Saturday of every month. Lectures usually involve talks by senior educators, industry visionaries, or social and/or for-profit entrepreneurs working in the space of higher education.

We are currently based in Pune, but we expect that this initiative will expand all over India.

If you’re interested in the state of education in India, please subscribe to email/RSS updates at: http://innovidya.org.

Event Details

The event is on Saturday, March 16, 2013, at 11am, at the Chandrashekhar Auditorium, IUCAA, at University of Pune campus.

Fees and Registration

This event is free and open for anybody to attend. There is no need to register. There is ample parking space at the venue.

Alternate Energy Systems – Myths, Facts & Challenges – Padmashree Paul Ratnasamy – 23 Feb

InnoVidya and IUCAA invite everyone to a lecture on Alternate Energy Systems – the facts, the myths and the challenges, by Padmashree Dr. Paul Ratnasamy, who was the directory of NCL (National Chemical Laboratory), from 1995 to 2002.

Abstract

Currently over 80% of our energy comes from fossil fuels. However these fuels are the major sources of the green house gas pollutants which lead to severe environmental degradation including climate change. Energy from non-polluting sources – like biomass, solar and wind – is under development worldwide. Due to the recent exciting research and technological advances, it is now technically feasible to produce conventional transportation fuels like diesel and gasoline from biomass like sugarcane bagasse and municipal / forest wastes. Solar energy, in addition to generating electricity directly (photo-voltaics), can also produce liquid fuels, like diesel. Waste gases like CO from steel/cement/power/chemical plants can be catalytically converted to transport fuels like ethanol & diesel. Presentation describes some of these technologies and their potential adoption in large commercial plants.

About the Speaker – Dr. Paul Ratnasamy

Dr .Ratnasamy has a PhD from Loyola College, Chennai, and did his post-doctoral works at Clarkson College of Technology, New York, at Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium, and at University of Munchen, Germany. He was the Director of the National Chemical Laboratory, Pune, from 1995 to 2002 and Professor (Biofuels) at the  University of Louisville, Kentucky, USA, from 2009 to 2011. He received the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award for Engineering Technology in 1984, Viswakarma Medal of the Indian National Academy in 1994 and a Padmashree in 2001.

About InnoVidya

InnoVidya is a group of educators and industry professionals who want to reach out to students, teachers, trainers and working professionals and catalyze significant improvements in their learning ecosystems. In addition to the InnoVidya website and the InnoVidya mailing list, we also hold public lectures on the 4th Saturday of every month. Lectures usually involve talks by senior educators, industry visionaries, or social and/or for-profit entrepreneurs working in the space of higher education.

We are currently based in Pune, but we expect that this initiative will expand all over India.

If you’re interested in the state of education in India, please subscribe to email/RSS updates at: http://innovidya.org.

Event Details

The event is on Saturday, Feb 23, 2013, at 11am, at the Chandrashekhar Auditorium, IUCAA, at University of Pune campus.

Fees and Registration

This event is free and open for anybody to attend. There is no need to register. There is ample parking space at the venue.

InnoVidya meeting: Changing Higher Education – 26 Nov

The gap between what our engineering colleges produce and what our industry would like to consume is widening, and will become an increasingly severe problem for the health of the software industry in India. Everybody realizes there is a problem, and there are lots of people working on this issue from various angles. Entrepreneurs are rushing in to fill the gaps, educators, especially those in independent institutes are trying interesting new experiments, and social media has the potential to change everything. InnoVidya is a platform that aims to bring together the people at the forefront of this revolution.

On November 26, we invite you to the first InnoVidya event – where the speakers will include Dr. Anil Sahasrabudhe, Director of CoEP, Mohit Gundecha, CEO of hot and recently funded startup, YourNextLeap, and Arun Prabhudesai, CTO of My Open Campus, a startup that aims to change how students interact with everybody. But the excellent line-up of speakers is not the main reason to attend this meeting – come for the audience: trustees of colleges, directors and HODs of educational institutes, heads of software companies who are desperately searching for solutions, and other Pune entrepreneurs who are looking to get rich as the Indian education system is forced to transform itself by inexorable global changes.

This is a free and open event, on Saturday, November 26th, from 10:30am to 12:30pm, at Venture Center, NCL Innovation Park, Pashan Road. Please register here.

Agenda for this Meet

  • 5-minute InnoVidya Introduction by Raja Bellare
  • 30-minute talk by Dr. Anil Sahasrabudhe, Director CoEP + 15 min Q&A
  • 20-minute pitch by Mohit Gundecha, Co-Founder & CEO YourNextLeap + 10 min Q&A
  • 20-minute pitch by Arun Prabhudesai, CTO MyOpenCampus + 10 min Q&A
  • followed by free time for hallway conversations.

Higher Education in India – Changing Scenarios – Anil Sahasrabudhe, Director, COEP

Anil is the Director of College of Engineering Pune (COEP). Anil joined COEP as the director in 2006. He holds a vision to take COEP to the next level with a view to enriching the life of every student who enters COEP.

Anil will talk about the changing scenarios in higher education in India.

Anil did his BE Karnataka University (Gold Medalist) and has a PhD from IISc Bangalore. In the past he has been a researcher at IISc, faculty at NERIST, Itanagar, and Professor at IIT Guwahati.

YourNextLeap – Smart Career Counseling and College Decisions

YourNextLeap is a recommendation engine which acts as a virtual career counselor to help students make smarter career and college decisions. It involves a suite of applications, which use psychometric evaluations and math models on past admission patterns, to give out personalized suggestions. Team YourNextLeap is excited about its mission to enhance the way millions of students and young professionals treat their careers. The team comprises of students from top US and Indian universities like BITS, NID, COEP, PICT, USC and Stanford University. More at http://yournextleap.com

About the Speaker – Mohit Gundecha

Mohit is the CEO & Co-founder of YourNextLeap. He was an early team member and head of India Operations for mig33, a mobile community with more than 50 million users. Prior to mig33, Mohit studied at Stanford University, where he co-founded Mobile Momentum with Prof. Tom Kosnik. Mohit has also co-authored a widely referenced mobile industry report, ‘Future of Mobile VAS in India’.

My Open Campus – Online Community for Faculty, Students, Employers and others

My Open Campus brings seamless collaboration to colleges, communities and closed user groups . MOC aims to bring all stakeholders (for e.g: students, faculties & administrators in a college) on single easy to use unified platform, where they can communicate and carry out all regular activities online.

MOC offers secure messaging, online assessments & exams, Information repository, student & Alumni groups, event management, Student database management, discussion forums, placements along with host of other features..

The vision of My Open Campus is to create employable intelligent students. There cannot be knowledge enhancement in an isolated and restrictive environment. Hence MOC brings together all stakeholders on a single platform to make learning a fun & social activity.

About the Speaker – Arun Prabhudesai

Arun is the CTO of Enhanced Education, the company behind MyOpenCampus. Having worked for over 15 years in I.T Industry across the globe, Arun returned back to India to pursue his dream of starting on his own. He has been quite active in Startup and Entrepreneur community is always in forefront in advising upcoming Entrepreneurs.

About InnoVidya

InnoVidya is a group of educators and industry professionals who want to reach out to students, teachers, trainers and working professionals and catalyze significant improvements in their learning ecosystems. In addition to the InnoVidya website and the InnoVidya mailing list, we also hold public lectures on the 4th Saturday of every month. Lectures usually involve talks by senior educators, industry visionaries, or social and/or for-profit entrepreneurs working in the space of higher education.

We are currently based in Pune, but we expect that this initiative will expand all over India.

More at: http://innovidya.org

And please join the mailing list: http://groups.google.com/group/innovidya

Venue Sponsor – Venture Center

Entrepreneurship Development Center (Venture Center) – a CSIR initiative – is a not-for-profit company hosted by the National Chemical Laboratory, Pune. Venture Center strives to nucleate and nurture technology and knowledge-based enterprises by leveraging the scientific and engineering competencies of the institutions in the Pune region in India. The Venture Center is a technology business incubator specializing in technology enterprises offering products and services exploiting scientific expertise in the areas of materials, chemicals and biological sciences & engineering.

Fees and Registration

This event is free and open for anybody to attend. Please register here. And join the InnoVidya mailing list (optional).