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Home > Student First! Dialogue Series

July 2010 Dialogue

Panel Discussion on School ratings: Guide to parental choice

Dialogue Series on Quality Education for All
School ratings: Guide to parental choice
Is rating schools a good way to make informed choices for parents and public?
How is it done?

School Choice Campaign
and India Habitat Centre

invites you to an open forum discussion on
Wednesday, 7 July 2010 | 6 - 8 PM
Casuarina Hall, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi, India
Shradda Jha, Analyst, Micro Credit Ratings International Ltd. (M CRIL)
Dr. Rukmini Banerji, Director Programs, Pratham
Amitav Virmani, Country Director, Absolute Return to Kids (ARK)

About the School Choice Campaign
School Choice Campaign (SCC) advocates policy reform ideas to improve quality and access to education especially for the poor. STUDENT FIRST! Dialogue Series on Quality Education for All is a monthly forum for debate in collaboration with India Habitat Centre by the nation’s foremost experts on national education policies and solutions to problems of quality in the education sector.

India Habitat Centre
To confirm participation:
Email: [email protected]
Mobile: +91-9953059097

An open forum discussion was organised on School ratings: Guide to parental choice on 7 July 2010 at the India Habitat Centre. Ms Shradda Jha, Analyst, Micro Credit Ratings International Ltd. (M CRIL), Mr Sudarshan Gopalan, Director, Policy Innovations Pvt Ltd, India, Dr Rukmini Banerji, Director Programs, Pratham and, Mr Amitav Virmani, Country Director, Absolute Return to Kids (ARK) were the panellist of the program. Moderating the discussion was Mr Jan SJ Rao, Associate Director, School Choice Campaign.

Ms Shraddha Jha of Micro-Credit Ratings International Limited (M-Cril) which has conducted an innovative first-of-its-kind pilot for rating schools in spoke in detail about the methodology used by them for assessing schools and elaborated on how ratings would enable informed decision making by parents, third-party assessment of school quality and would help schools obtain finance. She also shared some of the findings of the pilot on governance, strategy, learning achievements and teacher test results and highlighted the various challenges such as affordability and lack of benchmarking data.

Mr Sudarshan Gopalan from Policy Innovations spoke about the study conducted by them in Hyderabad on how parents choose private schools. The study provided interesting insights on parental mental models i.e. what factors influence parents the most while choosing schools for their children. He also spoke of the research methodology used which combined qualitative, design and quantitative research. 

Amitav Virmani from ARK (Absolute Return for Kids) spoke about the need for rating systems and ways of going about the same. He cited examples on the pervasiveness of ratings in various other sectors such as hotels, airlines, companies etc and therefore the need for a similar system for schools and gave examples of school accreditation rating models in other countries such as UK, South Africa and Pakistan. He made an interesting comparison between the self-declaration form for private schools under the RTE Act and criteria for ratings used by other agencies and found a considerable overlap. He also shared the lessons learnt by ARK from its own evaluation of schools such as the need to have standardisation, minimise subjectivity and to provide feedback.

Dr Rukmini Banerjee from Pratham shared interesting observations from her years of experience in assessment of student learning levels. She remarked on the fact that parents and teachers often over-estimate their own children's learning levels. She emphasised the need to provide information about school ratings to parents and the community and to not restrict school ratings to budget schools.

A lively discussion followed which manifested the audience’s deep interest in the issue of school ratings. The event provided a platform for various experts in the field of school ratings to share their experiences and views on the same, and an opportunity for those interested in education to broaden their horizons on this subject.

Speaker’s Presentations:

SF Dialogue SF Dialogue
(L-R) Dr Rukmini Banerji, Ms Shradda Jha and Mr Amitav Virmani Mr Sudarshan Gopalan
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Mr Amitav Virmani Dr Rukmini Banerji
SF Dialogue SF Dialogue
Mr Jan SJ Rao Audience at the dialogue
SF Dialogue SF Dialogue
Open forum discussion


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