It's back to school time again! For some of you, the schools have just started or about to early next week. Many of you are likely feeling excited to get back to school and perhaps a bit sad that your summer vacations are now over. Some children also feel nervous because it will be the first day a school, with new teachers. In some cases, your section might have been changed too, and thus you will have a new set of friends to make. Luckily, these reasons for apprehension are very temporary.
On the first day, usually teachers start off the school year by introducing themselves and helping children introduce themselves. She would talk about what you will be doing for the rest of the year, and provides a bit of an orientation. She might also involve the class in an activity to let each child tell about her /himself to the rest of the class.
Your teacher might also introduce you to the class room rules about what you should do, and what you should not. Pay attention to all these, and ask should you have a question.
If you are in a new section, this is a great chance to make new friends. Another reason to be excited about while going back to school are for your new set of books, notebooks, craft material, new shoes and uniform, your new school bag and so many other things that you will be carrying now.
In the recently concluded 58th meeting of the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) meeting earlier in June, it was decided to form a committee to promote accountability and transparency to benefit school students and parents. The primary decision was to bring about a policy decision through the Ministry of Human resources to impose penalties on school asking for capitation fees, donations and any other monetary considerations from students and their parents.
The decision from CABE comes in at an opportune time where donations for admissions are rampant across the country, especially in urban areas. In metros admission related donations range anywhere between Rs 10,000 to an astronomical Rs 5 lakhs. Donations are asked for at different points of time in an academic year, and in some cases
Our exhibitions gave us some interesting insight into consumer behavior. At a high level:
- Environment makes a difference
- Fathers buy differently from mothers
- Technology awareness is still low
- Customer discretion plays an important part
- Customer centric assortment and merchandising is more important than ever
- Television influences purchasing patterns
Click on the slide (below) to read and know more from our preliminary findings.
We ran a small physical store at the Christmas carnival of Royale Concorde International School in Bangalore on the 17th December. This was our first live experience, with limited merchandise of some stationery from Faber Castell, books from Scholar's Hub and CDs from Edurite (Manipal K-12).
Given the fact that people did not expect to see a Retail store selling our type of merchandise, we did perhaps not too badly. The experience got us a bunch of learning in terms of visual merchandising, managing the store itself and attempting to block shrinkage. And some amount of shrinkage did happen when crowds came in and we got a bit short-handed.
Shrinkage might be getting choked in the US, but certainly is a living nightmare in Retail in India. Also, of course we were doing manual billing and thus it became rather impossible to do quick reconciliations multiple times in the day. We lost at least two high value CDs, and probably some books and a bit of stationery but fortunately all in very small quantities.
India recently passed a Right to Education (RTE) legislation which ensures various measures for betterment of children and their rights.However Awareness remains low which CRY has tried to ameliorate by organizing a Festival in Bangalore. Children from different schools will act in various plays in different parts of Bangalore to raise awareness about the clauses of the Act amongst the citizenry
Beginning from Sunday, the theater festival will see children staging street plays in every nook and corner of the city and act out the importance of RTE Act. Busy thoroughfares and malls will be the target of the children’s campaign. The plays will also be performed on November 27 and 28 at three different places of Bangalore. About 90 children in the age group of 11-18 will be participating in the festival.
The schools participating in the festival include Bishop Cotton Girls’ School, Cathedral High School, CMR High School, Frank Anthony Public School, Genius Kids and Royale Concorde International School. “Though the RTE Act came into force on April 1, 2010, it is yet to be implemented. Many parents and teachers are not even aware of the Act and its clauses. Through the plays, we will highlight how the Act has to be implemented to change the very face of the Indian education system,” said Sahaya Teresa
- from our guest author
You will hear parents complaining more often than not about lack of playgrounds in the neighborhood, or that the parks are too crowded for children to play to their hearts content. You also perhaps can not blame urban infrastructure completely for children staying indoors most of the time. School timings these days barely leave children with time to do anything other than come back home almost after 10 hours of being in school and commuting to and fro. It takes so much out of a child, that to expect him/her to put on his/her sport shoes and step outdoors would be asking for too much. A child who does not get to eat his/her lunch on time in a homely environment is certainly missing out on simple pleasures of life.
Our education system in schools has really left children with no choice but to become extremely competitive and result oriented from day one. If children in kindergarten can have assessments and not one but three during the course of a year, then obviously we are going wrong somewhere. Ask a four year old if he/she went to the huge playgrounds that schools more often than not boast of. Chances are good that the child will report that they didn’t have the time since there was too much to do in class.
If you were to look at this from a school’s perspective then not so long ago, a locality would not have more than one school and the boards (State/ICSE/CBSE/IB) didn’t really matter that much. Now, you have schools literally at every corner and each of these schools is competing with the other. In a situation like this, if schools were not to become purely result oriented then admissions would drop and schools would slowly wipe out. Can they afford to do that? Maybe not.
CBSE recently passed a circular to its affiliated schools informing them about UNESCO and Times Foundation's joint initiative "Donate a Book" (Read More). This initiative is meant to strengthen school libraries by receiving voluntary donations from students, teachers and parents.
Though the initiative is appreciated, and the goals noble, I believe its a step in a relatively lower priority direction. With Right to Education Act (RTE Act) related direction setting happening, and initiatives being chalked out, the Donate a Book initiative should have targeted a higher priority problem which will result from the admission of economically under-privileged children (belonging to a weaker section or a disadvantaged group) into the private schooling system. The Act asks the school to provide the learning material. Guess, how will this get funded in real life? Other children (who are not under-privileged) will bear the subsidy brunt.
How about getting older text books (and related material) from the non-under-privileged children donated to a pool and then distributed to the children who benefit from RTE? Sure, these children will not end up with new books thus somewhat violating the RTE principle of discrimination (perhaps), but surely better being resented! So, instead of filling libraries, it really might be a better idea for children (who can afford to do so) donate to their juniors instead.
This might be something that KOOLSKOOL will help facilitate in the future at least at the schools that it operates in.
Education-World, a Bangalore based publication published the results of its latest perception survey of schools across India. Their three main categories (as reported in the Times of India) were Day Schools, Boarding Schools and International Schools. The rankings were as below:
|DAY SCHOOLS||BOARDING SCHOOLS||INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS|