Monday, September 12, 2016

CfPs: 17th IASSI Annual Conference 2016 on Education and Development: Issues, Challenges and Opportunities | 9-10 Dec | CRRID, Chandigarh

17th IASSI (Indian Association of Social Science Institutions) Annual Conference 2016

Theme: Education and Development: Issues, Challenges and Opportunities

9-10 December 2016

Venue: Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID), Chandigarh

In Indian economy services sector accounts for 53% of national income. Services sector being human resource intensive, it is the quality of human resource that holds the key for economic development. Education is an important determinant of the quality of human resource. Education not only equips an individual with skills, it also allows an individual to choose among the
larger set of opportunities and thus becomes a tool of empowerment. As such it is important that all sections of the society are provided the opportunities of equal access to education and thereby substantive opportunities to join the labour market.
The literacy rate in India is 74%, far away from the universal target of literacy. An average Indian spends just 5.1 years in school, even below the number for Bangladesh (5.8 years) and Pakistan (5.6). To achieve the target of universal elementary education, the Government of India implemented the Right to Education Act in 2010. However, if 100 children enroll for primary schooling, only 71 make it to the secondary school and 43 to the higher secondary school, pointing towards high dropout at the level of school education. The gross enrolment ratio in higher education is 23.6 per cent in 2014-15 which is much below the world average.
Thus, it can be inferred that India has to go a long way to achieve universal literacy as well as universal elementary education. High rate of transition from elementary to secondary and from secondary to higher education needs to be achieved in order to increase the mean years of schooling to raise the quality of human resource in India. Expansion, therefore, at the level of secondary and higher education should be the important goal of education. Expansion has to go along with the high quality of education. An important challenge of education in India is to achieve the twin objectives of - expansion of education and improving its quality.
Further, there are large scale disparities along social and economic lines so far as the access to education is concerned. The policy of protective discrimination to the deprived sections needs to be continued to achieve the equitable educational opportunity. Equitable education, therefore, adds a third dimension to the objective of education. The three objectives, expansion, equity and quality, have to be kept in mind in any endeavour on the part of education policy makers.

Call for Papers
Some Suggestive Issues for Paper Contributions: The perspective contributors may consider the following aspects on which papers can be written.
  • Issue of Privatization: The issue of expansion with equity demands resources of much higher magnitude. The government alone does not seem to be in a position to garner enough resources, in spite of the constitutional obligation to achieve the target of universal elementary education. The contribution of the private sector at all levels of education is inevitable. The dilemma is that increasing privatisation will promote commercialization of education. This contradicts the basic approach of education as not-for-profit activity. Hence a suitable strategy needs to be evolved for control of the private sector so as to prevent commercial practices. Besides, the recent discourse on public-private partnership needs to be assessed so as to seek cooperation of the private sector.
  • Issue of quality in government schools and colleges: It is being argued that government schools and colleges suffer from quality education. An important determinant of quality education is able and competent teacher. At the level of school education large appointments of temporary teachers at much lower emoluments than regular teachers have been taking place at all levels of education. The quality of teacher education institutions and in service training has been questioned time and again. At the level of higher education, the University Grants Commission, responsible for the maintenance of standards, has issued regulations after regulation to address the issue of attracting talent, improving the quality of Ph D and ensuring the accountability of teachers. However, a host of policy reforms at the level of school and higher education have not been successful to make any meaningful improvement in the quality of teachers. The situation on the front of infrastructure support system has not been satisfactory. There is, therefore, need to improve the public system of education so as to address the issue of quality in government schools and colleges.
  • Centre state Co-ordination: As education is in the concurrent list, coordination in the Centre state relations becomes important to give a uniform direction to the policy. For example, at the level of higher education many state governments promoted the route to privatisation to expand institutions. Without barriers to entry, it becomes difficult to regulate higher education institutions by central government agencies to maintain the standards. Therefore, Centre state coordination by the Central government needs to be ensured so that expansion goes along with the quality. At the level of school education, too, the failure by the state government to maintain standards of its schools could not be coordinated by the Central government. Though there is a political forum in terms of Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE), yet uniformity could not be achieved in the policy intervention between the Central and state governments. How can a much better centre-state co-ordination be maintained is an important policy challenge?
  • Higher Education Reform and Challenges: At the level of higher education there has been hyperactivity through regulatory measures to initiate reform process. In recent years reforms were aimed at curricular change, introduction of credit and semester system, comprehensive evaluation, etc. Accreditation and rankings have become standard policy tool to ensure accountability. There is an Academic Performance Indicator to incentivise teachers in career progression. Ph D regulation is aimed at improving its quality. Top down regulatory measures have by and large failed to resurrect the system as higher education could not manage itself with freedom and responsibility at the level of institutions. In this respect there is a need to discuss ways of introducing reform process in a meaningful manner.
  • Issue of Skill Development and the Employability of Graduates: Indian education system suffers from developing large-scale avenues for skill development at the level of secondary as well as higher education. As a result higher education institutions suffered from overcrowding. The result of overcrowding in higher education has created the problem of unemployable graduates due to the loss in quality. In spite of the firm resolve of the national policy on education to promote vocational education, the achievement on this front is far from desired result. Promotion of vocational education at school and higher level of education is an important challenge that needs further deliberation in terms of institutional expansion, resources, strategies and implementation plan. Employability of graduates has also acquired a serious concern to be discussed.
  • Concerns relating the Right to Education Act: There are many clauses in the Right to Education Act which has so far not been implemented. To admit 25% of the children from weaker sections in the private schools, only recognised institutions with certain minimum infrastructure will impart school education in the country, issue of shortage of teachers and infrastructure in government schools and many more issues relating to the quality of teachers are grave concerns. A systematic discussion on the implementation of right to education act calls for urgent attention.
  • Early childhood development and Pre-school education: It has been established by several researchers that early childhood development and preschool education act as a springboard for school education later on. The Government of India approved the National Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Policy in 2013. The Policy framework also includes the National Curriculum Framework and Quality Standards for ECCE. Despite the recognition of the importance of ECE, many challenges remain in implementation of the programmes. This area is of particular importance to first generation learners, who can attain school-readiness via a good pre-school education.
These are only suggestive issues and by all means papers on other relevant themes are welcome.

Key Dates:
Deadline for paper submissions: November 7, 2016
Deadline for participant registration: November 30, 2016

Researchers and other professionals, both IASSI members and non-members, are invited to contribute papers on the Conference theme. Papers not exceeding more than 6000 words (including tables and appendices) along with a summary of about 500 words may be sent to the Organising Secretary of the Conference, Professor Sucha Singh Gill, CRRID, 2-A, Madhya Marg, Sector 19, Chandigarh-160019 ( with a copy to Co-Organising Secretary, Prof. S.K. Gupta at IASSI office ( The papers should reach latest by 7 November, 2016. The authors of the accepted papers would be informed by 15 November about the acceptance of the papers and would be invited to present their papers in the Conference.

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