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Tribal parents bring issue of quality education to centre stage
In a study done by Jaipur-based NGO, the Centre for Unfolding Learning Potentials (CULP), in small tribal schools in the government sector in Rajasthan, it was found that the parents were sending their children to these schools since there were no alternative options available. Despite in these government sector schools, being run in the project mode, there is free education along with free meals and longer school hours.

According to the study, a good majority of parents (around 70 per cent) gave priority to quality education rather than free poor quality education with incentives of freeships.

"The government schemes in education will fizzle out due to lack of attention to quality. It requires commitment and hardwork for ensuring total quality management of a school with activity-based learning in the classroom and a teacher support system to maintain quality of education," said Prabha Kishore, a retired teacher settled in Jaipur.

According to some studies conducted by UNESCO, quality education is meant to address the child's cognitive, emotional and creative development. "It (quality education) is based on the four pillars of education for the 21st century - learning to know, to do, to be and to live together. This starts in the classroom. The curriculum has an instrumental role to play in fostering tolerance and promoting human rights and is a powerful tool for transcending cultural, religious and other differences. An inclusive curriculum takes gender, cultural identity and language background into consideration," says a UNESCO document.

According to a document of UNICEF, quality of education depends on the processes through which trained teachers use child-centered teaching approaches in well-managed classrooms and schools and skilful assessment to facilitate learning and reduce disparities. Moreover, professional training of teachers, follow-up of training, their content mastery, and skilful use of pedagogy determine the quality of teachers. Teacher quality is central to quality education.

I feel quality teacher preparation with a robust support system can lead to quality in education. There is a need to revive and strengthen the cluster and block resource centers along the District Institutes of Education and Training since quality flows out of the teacher preparation institutions and in-service training.

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