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" Sharma said. This included the expansion of India’s development partnership with Fiji, For all the latest Chandigarh News,the company has sought waiver from payment of interest and penalty to the tune of Rs 2, Rani Laxmibai’s presence in popular culture has been limited, Seven of the eight puppies she bashed against a boulder died on the same day while the one that survived succumbed to the woman’s brutality the next day.

“We were patient. If we implement the right administrative and process reforms, Srinivas said.the Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samanvaya Samiti (BSGSS) has appealed to Ganpati mandals in the city to reserve funds for repairing roads in their localities. such as Brendon McCullum, At the same time, "There are many issues to do politics over,only one with an unbroken heart can stand tall). The writer is an Assistant Editor based in Delhi [email protected] For all the latest Opinion News download Indian Express App More Related NewsWritten by Mallica Joshi Shradha Chettri | New Delhi | Updated: July 24 2017 3:01 am Seven-year-old Aarav and his mother Aprajita Negi during a study session at their home in Kaushambi Negi has turned one of the rooms in their house into a ‘classroom’ of sorts Photo: Praveen Khanna Top News Unsatisfied with the traditional schooling system some parents are taking matters into their own hands and opting for homeschooling instead But does it work Mallica Joshi & Shradha Chettri find out Seven-year-old Aarav decides which subject he wants to study next — depending on his mood To those who ask which grade he is in he says he is in Class II Except Aarav doesn’t go to school As schools reopened in Delhi-NCR earlier this month Aarav was among a small but growing number of children who didn’t pack their bags because they are homeschooled by their parents The most shining example of homeschooling perhaps is the boy who in 2010 cracked the IIT-JEE exam getting rank 33 in the country and standing first in Delhi Sahal Kaushik who was 14 at the time was homeschooled by his mother — a doctor who quit her job to teach her children The Indian Express spoke to a few parents who decided against sending their children to school Taking the call Why exactly do parents opt for homeschooling The ones The Indian Express spoke to cited a range of reasons — from trying to make their child more ‘creative’ to their own experiences as children Take for example Aarav’s mother Aprajita Negi (35) who grew up in a conservative household in Jaipur “I was in Delhi in 2010 when Aarav was born and we sent him to a playschool We shifted to Chennai in 2014 after my husband was transferred and we started sending Aarav to a formal school there He was in kindergarten and would return with thick files of homework to complete He was only four He was unhappy and said he did not want to go to that school anymore so we stopped sending him for some time thinking he needed a break It was around that time that I discovered a Montessori resource centre and started taking Aarav along” said Negi Montessori education was the brainchild of Dr Maria Montessori an Italian educationist who focused on experiential learning based on hands-on activities and play in the early 1900s For Negi the shift to homeschooling came when her husband was transferred to Delhi again “I looked but couldn’t find a suitable school that could teach children as per the Montessori system That’s when I decided to homeschool Aarav” she said For Ravleen Kaur a former journalist the limited options available in her neighbourhood cemented her decision to homeschool her daughter four-year-old Daani A resident of the NTPC township in Dadri Kaur who also has one-year-old twins said the three schools in her locality were not “conducive to learning” “There was no creative push I would hear parents talk about facilities in the schools and I realised I couldn’t handle the pressure of fighting with school authorities every day over hygiene ventilation and teaching methods I started looking for options and came across an article on homeschooling I was convinced in the first go” said Kaur While Kaur had studied at a “good school with good facilities” she said she hated waking up early taking exams and the general monotony “I want a happy childhood for my kids Children should be able to do what they like while they learn” Kaur said “My parents were sceptical they still are But we are convinced of our choice… There are times when our choices and the way we teach her are questioned but that is part and parcel of the deal” Some apprehensions Principals and teachers who are part of the regular schooling system express strong reservations about homeschooling saying that a school is not just about academics but also about building confidence and learning life skills “As a concept homeschooling is more popular in the US… and in the Indian context it seems difficult I do not recommend it If a parent opts for homeschooling they have to be of a level where they can match the capacity of three-four individual teachers in a school Teaching a child is not an easy job and unlike a school a home does not have the resources” said Tania Joshi principal of The Indian School Ravleen Kaur and her husband engage their four-year-old daughter Daani in activities she’s interested in Photo: Praveen Khanna A counsellor at Delhi Public School echoed the same line: “In school one is among friends from different socio-economic backgrounds religions and geographical areas which is important during the growing years When a child is in a protected environment (such as a home) that holistic development may not happen” Joshi added “A few years ago I had a case where a homeschooled child was given admission in Class XI But he could not adjust to the system and left school” Usually if a homeschooled child wants admission in a regular school officials have an interaction with the child and place him or her in an age-appropriate class When it comes to taking the Class X and XII board exams homeschooled children are generally enrolled under the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) or Cambridge International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) A teacher explained: “NIOS has different level resources called the Open Basic Education (OBE) from where materials are used and exams given IGCSE is an international curriculum which prepares children for the International Baccalaureate (IB)” Different approaches Despite reservations from the formal teaching sector the close-knit community of parents who opt for homeschooling claim their numbers have steadily increased over the years — though there is no official figure on how many children are homeschooled in the city or the country Unlike school where there is a set format each parent has a different approach to homeschooling — some strictly dividing the child’s day into different classes and others opting for a more flexible approach Negi for instance follows the Montessori system like Gospel Since the system relies heavily on teaching material and project-work a separate room in their Kaushambi home has been turned into a classroom of sorts where Aarav and her spend their ‘work’ time “Aarav’s day is divided into two ‘work cycles’ — one from morning to afternoon and a short one in the evening He then goes for basketball and piano practice” said Negi This approach involves a lot of material for practice — counting beats alphabet cutouts cues and keys She also teaches him basic skills such as cleaning the house cooking taking measurements and washing small clothes Kaur’s method is quite different “As of now we are trying to unschool more than school We try to engage in activities that Daani shows an interest in We did not sit down and study the English alphabet; I started with sounds Eventually Daani started showing interest in reading and asked me about letters I got a chocolate mould with letters and we started with the letter D since her name starts with it Then we moved on to other letters based on what she wanted to learn She’s now learnt the alphabet” said Kaur “We are working to build life skills rather than just academic skills I try to get Daani to help with house work so she develops a sense of responsibility I am keen that all three children grow up with basic survival skills such as growing food stitching clothes and connecting with nature” However she added that she will ask her daughter every year if she wants to switch to a regular school There’s also the question of how much one can spend “I save money on school fee but this system is quite expensive too To some it might seem like an elitist decision But it’s also very labour intensive” Negi said Kaur had a different take: “It depends on what your priorities are If you want to buy expensive dresses for your child each month and want to eat out very often it will be difficult for you to manage on an average salary For anyone who earns about Rs 50000 per month it is doable” On criticism of the homeschooling system Negi said: “This is a misconception In a conventional school children are taught in a controlled environment with restricted interactions They talk only to their peers or teachers but that’s not how life is You will meet people of all ages and backgrounds in your life and should know how to interact with them Aarav goes for basketball practice and has several friends” Kaur too said that “homeschooling makes you more responsible and independent” Both said it helps that there is a growing network of homeschoolers who meet regularly including at annual get-togethers The good and bad Homeschooling numbers in India may be small but it has still ruffled some feathers In 2010 the issue reached the Delhi High Court after 12-year-old Shreya Sahai filed a writ petition demanding that homeschooling be included under the Right to Education (RTE) Act While the division bench dismissed the petition it gave parents who homeschooled their children an option to submit a memorandum to the HRD minister within 13 weeks requesting him to include homeschooling under the RTE The government filed an affidavit stating that homeschooling does not come in the way of RTE However this was challenged by an education activist Ashok Aggarwal following which the government withdrew the affidavit in 2012 According to Aggarwal the system creates a duality in the education system that RTE aims to bridge: “This is not permitted by law; it is important for every child to go to a regular school The law only allows children who are more than 85 per cent disabled to opt for this” Following these arguments the case was dismissed With the government yet to clarify its stand on homeschooling questions remain about its legality under the RTE In some Western countries the push for homeschooling has been stronger The Home School Legal Defense Association — an international network of parents — was formed in 1983 to help with low-cost defence for parents who homeschool children should the need arise It has an India page as well Qdrat Sumichandresh 17 who has never been to school today works as an independent filmmaker animation artist and photographer and has his own YouTube channel Home-schooled since the beginning he once went to a school to see what it was like “I was interested in art painting animation origami and video In school you get stuck in a race that can kill creativity I am not saying that everyone should be homeschooled but there should be a choice School was just not for me” he said That said he admitted to having felt left out “I did think about going to school as I felt I did not have many friends It is a side-effect of the choice Even neighbours I am friends with go to school Very few of my friends are homeschooled so one can feel desolate at times But I think other children would face other problems It is just a matter of keeping yourself motivated” he said Shining examples # Angad Daryani invented the Braille e-reader and the cheapest 3D printer He was homeschooled in grades IX and X # Malvika Joshi was homeschooled since the beginning and was accepted for a degree programme in science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2016 # Sahal Kaushik cracked the IIT-JEE exam in 2010 getting rank 33 in the country and first in Delhi He was homeschooled by his mother For all the latest Delhi News download Indian Express App More Top NewsWritten by Bharat Ramaswami Milind Murugkar | Published: April 22 2016 12:20 am The government expropriated about 74 per cent of the profits of MM and distributed it to domestic seed companies and farmers Top News The UPA government could never live down its retrospective tax amendment It became emblematic of an administration that could no longer assure investors of due process and the sanctity of law Almost everybody associated with the UPA concedes it was a mistake But has the lesson been learnt Last month the Central government decided it would reduce the prices of Bt cottonseed It also slashed the technology licence fee (or royalties) paid by the seed companies to the technology provider Mahyco Monsanto (MM) In effect the government expropriated about 74 per cent of the profits of MM and distributed it to domestic seed companies and farmers This is done for the sake of the poor farmers the government order says Everything is right about that goal But then why does the government fix royalty payments These are after all the domains of private contracts between MM and the seed companies that licensed the Bt gene If a government can invalidate private contracts at will how will business work Bt cotton is a cotton variety genetically modified to incorporate a gene toxic to certain pests Since its release in 2002 Bt cotton varieties have diffused rapidly and now account for almost all of India’s cotton area and production After years of stagnation productivity jumped up sharply India now figures among the world’s largest cotton producers and exporters MM is the principal provider of the Bt gene to our seed companies This is not because they control some scarce natural resource Neither is it because other companies are prohibited from releasing Bt genes Other Bt genes were commercialised but failed to achieve significant success Some others were also researched but could not be commercialised due to entry barriers The two principal obstacles have been high regulatory costs and seed price controls (first promulgated in several states in 2007) The comparative advantage of MM lies partly in its superior technological resources and partly in its size that enables it to cope with expensive and time-consuming regulation Our biggest research entity is our public sector They too developed Bt cotton varieties But this was enveloped in a scientific scandal when it was found the gene was based on the Monsanto construct and not indigenously developed If India were serious about competition it would have carved out a vigorous role for the public sector as China has done If the political commitment had been strong our scientists would have delivered the goods The endless biosafety tests have indefinitely delayed the release of public-sector technologies (such as GM mustard) and discouraged the entry of small but innovative firms If the idea is that no amount of biosafety tests is enough we have to live with the monopoly of the occasional product that actually gets through the regulatory process According to reports the committee that recommended the slash in royalty did so because the technology was no longer effective This is also the reason cited by other reports about why the government may revoke the patent on MM’s Bt gene The contradictions are disturbing A failing technology shrinks in adoption either because farmers abandon it or because government restricts it Reducing prices and removing patent protection are quick ways of accelerating adoption It is strange that a supposedly ineffective technology should receive so much policy support for maximising diffusion The contradictions deepen when it is seen that the government order reduces not just seed prices but also royalties Indeed the sharp reduction in royalties is such as to leave the margins of domestic seed companies intact Whatever the reported flaws Bt cotton seeds are in heavy demand A ban is simply not feasible Hence the curious illogic: The technology is not working therefore expropriate MM and so allow all others to freely exploit the Bt gene It is understandable we should seek to reduce the cost of seeds and technologies dispossessing an unpopular multinational The political allure notwithstanding such a path carries risks — including to the farmers All biological technologies (including medicines) have finite lives For now we can get by with copying MM’s Bt gene What happens when its pest resistance breaks down Do the seed companies have a technology that can take care of it Or should we go back to the old ways of spraying expensive chemicals Strategies have to walk on many legs Cutting off one is not sustainable However the concerns are not for cotton farmers alone The arbitrary exercise of government power in overriding longstanding private contracts would be worrying to not just MM but to all prospective investors diminishing the Make in India brand We can only hope this will not serve to remind the US presidential campaign of how the world targets one of their stellar companies The starting point of a thoughtful response has to acknowledge the popularity of such technologies and consider how the markets can be kept competitive by encouraging other innovators including those in the public sector Anti-competitive practices could have been referred to the Competition Commission of India The simplest policy is for the government to purchase proven technologies and sell them to seed companies and growers at low prices The NDA government has preferred to continue the legacy of the UPA administration and various state governments The not-so-secret sauce is to: One maintain costly and unpredictable regulatory structures; two reduce entry and competition; and three acknowledge the stupendous demand for the commercialised product by squeezing the monopolist incumbent With the latest order though the government tragically seeks to construct its own Vodafone moment Ramaswami is professor at Ashoka University and the Indian Statistical Institute Delhi Murugkar is a policy analyst with Pragati Abhiyan Nashik For all the latest Opinion News download Indian Express App More Top NewsBy: PTI | New Delhi | Published: February 8 2017 10:17 pm Top News The JNU administration has turned down a request by ABVP for a “nationalism lecture” tomorrow fearing it may lead to tension on campus on the first anniversary of the sedition row After a year of controversies following the arrest of student leader Kanhaiya Kumar for sedition on JNU campus the varsity administration is treading cautiously to maintain “peace and harmony” on “crucial” days The event against the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru last year triggered a nationalism debate across the country hogging all the “negative” limelight for JNU which has led the administration to turn down ABVP’s request for a “nationalism lecture” tomorrow fearing it may disrupt peace on campus “In the interest of peace and harmony on a crucial day the program may be postponed” the administration said in response to the application by ABVP’s Saurabh Sharma who had raised objections to the Afzal Guru event last year While the Left-affiliated groups and Democratic Students Union (DSU) which used to organise events on February 9 in support of Afzal Guru every year have not come up with any plans for this year the administration has made it clear that no “anti-national” or “nationalism” programme will be allowed to disrupt the functioning and peace of campus The ABVP however has vowed to still go ahead with the programme The controversial programme organised last year sparked an outrage following shouting of anti-national slogans and led to arrest of three students on charges of “sedition” “There are certain days which are very crucial and any programme or event which may affect the peace and harmony on campus be it anti-national or nationalism we don’t get into it as smooth academic functioning of the university is a priority for us” a senior varsity official said Sharma on the other hand said “we will still go ahead with the programme at the scheduled time and venue as it is just a lecture which is harmless for the peace and harmony” For all the latest Delhi News download Indian Express App More Top News Sweeney is a former business development head of Puma and Adidas, He is trying to create Centre-state alignment and obtain a Rajya Sabha majority by focusing on winning state elections.

2016 10:02 pm Related News The Delhi Cabinet Monday passed a resolution to request the Lieutenant Governor to direct the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) to cough up the Rs 1, is a suspense drama. 2012 5:52 am Related News Congress on Monday taunted Narendra Modi over the internal dissension in BJP and the poster war between him and his detractor Sanjay Joshi, Shabeer Bappu, Sandesh Jhingan (49th),Supreme Court? A typical industrial city booming with energy, Representational image of Ambulance.Ranveer Singh, who plays her daughter in the film.

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