ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles by Rashmi SharmaSubscribe to Rashmi Sharma

Alarm Bells for India’s Elections

Electoral Democracy? An Inquiry into the Fairness and Integrity of Elections in India edited by M G Devasahayam, Paranjoy Guha Thakurtapp xxix + 292, `699.

The Evolution of the Election Commission of India

This paper traces the evolution of the Election Commission of India through five phases since its formation. Its effectiveness is studied across four parameters—inclusiveness, rule of law, efficiency, and accountability of the election process. Within the changing sociopolitical and legal context, the institutional characteristics of the ECI (role, powers, independence, structure, and functioning) have allowed it to ensure free and fair elections with varying success. Variations in the ECI’s success during the five phases offer clues as to how it can address more complex problems, and the direction to take in structuring and supporting other apex oversight institutions.

Kerala's Decentralisation

This paper attempts to comprehend and analyse the successes and shortcomings of the People's Campaign in Kerala. Although Keralaâ??s socio-economic context and political culture have placed it in a unique position to realise the goal of democratic decentralisation, and the campaign itself is a remarkable example of the state's capacity for intelligent public mobilisation, it was found that the plan implementation faced some major hurdles. On the basis of a case study conducted in Palakkad district, the author also looks at the actual follow-up events and the impact of political affiliations, staffing issues, and lack of technical expertise on the course of project implementation. The paper argues that the discourse on decentralisation in Kerala also has relevance for the whole country, as the People's Campaign has offered a new paradigm for participatory planning. The issues it has thrown up can help to focus attention on what needs to be done to make decentralisation a meaningful exercise in other states.

Decentralisation, Professionalism and the School System in India

This paper identifies and analyses institutional gaps and constraints that keep the Indian school system from acquiring a professional orientation. This in turn affects the quality of the whole schooling process. The school system in India has been hampered from obtaining a professional orientation by institutional gaps and constraints. A school system rooted in the Indian childs' needs, accompanied by political and administrative decentralisation, would be the key to professionalise the school system in India. The paper argues that recent initiatives in democratic decentralisation that have impacted the school system need to be accompanied by a parallel professional development.

Universal Elementary Education-The Question of How

The Question of 'How' Rashmi Sharma The question of how elementary education can and should be made universal has not received the attention' it deserves. Two issues need to be highlighted. Firstly, studies show that an alarmingly targe number of children do not become literate even after four years of schooling. Therefore school effectiveness and actual learning have to be central rather than secondary concerns for universal elementary education. Secondly, how effective schools are and success in learning depend not only on school level inputs but also on factors outside the school. For genuine universal elementary education, the impact of the wider context on schooling has to be understood better, Measures that mitigate the worst effects of poverty on children and creation of rural infrastructure are necessary for education that is effective and empowering.

Dynamics of Learning Three R s in Madhya Pradesh

This paper attempts to show how socio-economic context affects achievement in rural elementary schools on the basis of a study of seven rural schools of Bhopal district in Madhya Pradesh. The proficiency level of fourth and fifth grade children in basic arithmetic and Hindi was assessed and children's performance on these tests examined against their socio-economic background, and the characteristics of their village and school. How well or poorly the village School functions is determined by (a) how modernised a village is, particularly how well it is connected to the city and (b) the percentage of SC/ST population in the village. The wider implication of this result is that development of rural infrastructure such as road networks may be an important factor in improving the quality of elementary school education.

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