Private Schools should be seen as Partners not competitors: Baijayant Panda
India’s leading public policy think tank, Centre for Civil Society (CCS) in partnership with National Independent Schools Alliance (NISA) organized the 8th edition of School Choice National Conference (SCNC 2016) this year. The most awaited event of the year was organized at India Habitat Centre on 03 December 2016 thematised on New Education Policy: Budget Private Schools. Members of Parliament- Dr Udit Raj and Shri Baijayant Panda attended and addressed the conference with the agenda and vision of transforming the education landscape of the country. The powerful session was attended by over 200 noted government officials, policy makers, educationists, school leaders, journalists, students, planners and activists.
Delivering the opening remarks, Mr Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda, Biju Janta Dal Party member and Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha said, “The government should separate its role as a provider, financier and regulator of education. Over the years, the government has looked at private schools as competition. What we have today in education is not delivering and we require more participation from the private players. Our government should act as contributors and should work in tandem with private players to deliver optimal results. Budget private schools are filling the space and government should work in tandem with the private sector to provide access of quality education to all. I am a proponent of the voucher system and believe that the choice should be given to parents to choose and send their children to the schools of their own choice.”
The session speakers included illustrious names right from policy makers, educationists, legal heads to school leaders and journalists- Centre for Civil Society President Dr Parth J Shah, Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation Director Dr Anirban Ganguly, Nishith Desai Associates Head Vivek Kathpalia, City Montessori School Head Susmita Basu, National Independent Schools Alliance (NISA) President Kulbhushan Sharma, Economist Geeta Kingdon, Central Square Foundation’s Bikkrama D Singh, Muni International School Founder Ashok Thakur, Centre for Civil Society Associate Director Amit Chandra and iJustice Advocate Prashant Narang who shared some of their personal experiences and anecdotes from real life situations to suggest and propose ideas to meet the challenge of the changing needs of the newer generation for the upcoming new education policy.
The three sessions focussed primarily on the budget private schools. The sessions critically examined the education policy issues and deliberated on the possible, practical and innovative solutions. The panelists discussed the regulatory challenges, research evidence and innovations in the classroom at length.
Speaking at the 8th edition of School Choice National Conference, Dr Parth J Shah, President, Centre for Civil Society appealed for a separate examination board for low cost and budget private schools. It is out of their purview to cater to the demands of CBSE and other boards which leads to their closure.
The second edition of the EduDoc competition was showcased at the conference. The Edudoc competition is an international short film competition and students painting competition. The Bharatiya Janata Party MP Dr Udit Raj awarded the short films and the painting competition winners. The films- ‘Fall in line,’ Transforming Civics Education, Transforming Communities’ and ‘Blackboard’, were given first, second and third prizes winners respectively and the winners received INR 25,000, INR 15,000, INR 10,000 and certificates. The students painting competition winners were given cash prizes- INR 10,000, INR 5,000 and INR 2,000 to the top 3 painting winners respectively. The conference screened the top 5 best films and top ten best paintings were exhibited capturing the creativity of the young kids and their vision of ‘My Dream School.’
About Centre for Civil Society: Established on 15 August 1997, the Centre for Civil Society (CCS) is an independent, non-profit public policy think tank devoted to improving the quality of life for all citizens of India by reviving and reinvigorating civil society. Through its award-winning programs, CCS is a resource for the innovative community and market-based ideas for sound public policy solutions, particularly in the areas of education, livelihood, governance and environment. By bringing these ideas to current and future leaders, CCS is advancing opportunity and prosperity for all Indians.