Advertisement

Are Schools “Ready for Children”? Assumptions and Ground Realities

  • Suman Bhattacharjea
Chapter

Abstract

The concept of “ready schools” implies that schools recognize and engage with the characteristics and needs of the children they aim to educate. But as school systems grow in size and reach populations with little or no prior experience of schooling, the notion that schools should aim to understand, communicate with, and respond to individual children and their families seems to be moving further and further out of reach. This chapter uses data from the India Early Childhood Education Impact (IECEI) Study and the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) to examine two basic assumptions about how the school system is structured, not only in India but around the world and the extent to which these are valid in the Indian context. The first assumption is that children in a given grade are roughly the same age, and the second is that children in a given grade are at roughly the same learning level. Based on this evidence, the chapter concludes that schools in India are far from “ready” to help children learn.

Keywords

Ready schools Early childhood education Transition to school Early years 

References

  1. Abadzi, H. (2009, August). Instructional time loss in developing countries: Concepts, measurement, and implications. The World Bank Research Observer, 24(2).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alcott, B., Banerji, M., Bhattacharjea, S., Nanda, M., & Ramanujan, P. (2018). One step forward, two steps back: Transitions between home, pre-primary and primary education in rural India. Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education.  https://doi.org/10.1080/03057925.2018.1527214
  3. ASER Centre (2006–2017). Annual status of education report (Rural). New Delhi, India: ASER Centre.Google Scholar
  4. Ball, S. J., Junemann, C., & Santori, D. (2017). Edu.net: Globalisation and education policy mobility. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bhattacharjea, S., Wadhwa, W., & Banerji, R. (2011). Inside primary schools: A Study of teaching and learning in rural India. Mumbai, India: Pratham Education Initiative.Google Scholar
  6. Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979). The ecology of human development: Experiments by nature and design. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Clarke, P. (2003). Culture and classroom reform: the case of the District primary education project, India. Comparative Education, 39(1), 27–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Dhuey, E., Figlio, D., Karbownik, K., & Roth, J. (2017). School starting age and cognitive development. In NBER Working Paper 23660. Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research.Google Scholar
  9. Education Initiatives. (2010). Student learning study: Status of student learning across 18 States of India in urban and rural schools. Ahmedabad, India: Education Initiatives.Google Scholar
  10. Glewwe, P., Hanushek, E., Humpage, S., & Ravina, R. (2011). School resources and educational outcomes in developing countries: A review of the literature from 1990 to 2010 (NBER Working Paper 17554). Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Glewwe, P., Kremer, M., & Moulin, S. (2009). Many children left behind? Textbooks and test scores in Kenya. American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 1(1), 112–135.Google Scholar
  12. Government of India. (2009). The right of children to free and compulsory education act. New Delhi, India: Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India.Google Scholar
  13. Government of India. (2013). National early childhood care and development: Curriculum framework. New Delhi, India: Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India.Google Scholar
  14. Government of India. (2014). Educational statistics at a glance. New Delhi, India: Ministry of Human Resource Development, Department of School Literacy, Government of India.Google Scholar
  15. Hanna, R., & Linden, L. (2009). Measuring discrimination in education. NBER Working Paper No. 15057.Google Scholar
  16. Kaul, V., Bhattacharjea, S., Chaudhary, A. B., Ramanujan, P., Banerji, M., Nanda, M. (2017). The India early childhood education impact study. New Delhi: UNICEF.Google Scholar
  17. Kaul, V., Gupta, D., Bala N., Barbhuiya, A. (1995). Readability assessment of primary level textbooks. Indian Educational Review (special issue), 250–272.Google Scholar
  18. National Association of State Boards of Education. (1988). Right from the start: Report of the NASBE task force on early childhood education. Alexandria, VA: National Association of State Boards of Education.Google Scholar
  19. National Council for Educational Research and Training. (2005). National Curriculum Framework. New Delhi, India: NCERT.Google Scholar
  20. National Council for Educational Research and Training. (2017). Learning Outcomes at the Elementary Stage. Retrieved from: www.ncert.nic.in
  21. Perry, B., Dockett, S., Petriwskyj, A. (Eds.) (2014). Transitions to School – International Research, Policy and Practice. International Perspectives on Early Childhood Education and Development. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: SpringerGoogle Scholar
  22. Pritchett, L. & Beatty, A. (2012). The negative consequences of overambitious curricula in developing countries. CES working paper series Vol. 4040.
  23. Pritchett, L., & Beatty, A. (2015). Slow down, you’re going too fast: Matching curricula to student skill levels. International Journal of Educational Development, 40, 276–288.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Rawal, S., & Kingdon, G. (2010). Akin to my teacher: Does caste, religious or gender distance between student and teacher matter? Some evidence from India. DoQSS Working Papers 10–18. Department of Quantitative Social Science, UCL Institute of Education, University College London.
  25. Robinson, K. (2006). Do schools kill creativity? Talk presented at the TED conference, retrieved from: https://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity?
  26. Rose, P., Sabates, R., Alcott, B., Ilie, S. (2016). Overcoming inequalities within countries to achieve global convergence in learning. Background paper for the report, The Learning Generation: Investing in education for a changing world. Research for Equitable Access and Learning (REAL) Centre, University of Cambridge.Google Scholar
  27. Schaffer, E., Nesselrodt, P., & Stringfield, S. (1994). The contributions of classroom observation to school effectiveness research. In D. Reynolds et al. (Eds.), Advances in school effectiveness research and practice. New York: Pergamon.Google Scholar
  28. Shore, R. (1997). Rethinking the brain: New insights into early development. New York: Families and Work Institute.Google Scholar
  29. Srinath, P. (2013). The age of India. Retrieved from http://catalyst.nationalinterest.in/tag/working-age-population/
  30. Stallings, J. (1977). Learning to look: A handbook on classroom observation and teaching models. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Company.Google Scholar
  31. UNICEF. (2012). School readiness: A conceptual framework. New York: United Nations Children’s Fund.Google Scholar
  32. Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, UK: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Suman Bhattacharjea
    • 1
  1. 1.ASER CentreNew DelhiIndia

Personalised recommendations