The Jawaharlal Nehru University Student Union president is not only making headlines but seems also to be perceived as such a threat that his name is being invoked when announcing changes in school curriculum.
To ensure that "no one like Kanhaiya Kumar is born", major changes are being made in Rajasthan's school curriculum, Vasudev Devnani, minister of state for education in the Bharatiya Janata Party government, was quoted as saying in the state assembly on Thursday.
Devnani said that biographies of freedom fighters are being added to textbooks in schools and that “major changes” are being made in the curriculum to “inculcate the feeling of patriotism in students”.
This is the latest in a series of steps that the state government has taken to alter the school syllabus under Devnani's watch. Earlier, he had been in news for replacing works of famous English writers such as John Keats, Thomas Hardy, William Blake, TS Eliot and Edward Lear from Class Eight textbooks withmostly lesser-known authors, whose works have "a regional flavour". In an attempt to purify and purge, Urdu texts were also withdrawn from Hindi books and a text on women’s emancipation was also replaced.
What the minister did not talk about was the steps he is taking to remedy the falling standards of education in Rajasthan. Only about 45% of students of Class Three in the state could actually read words while 20% of those in Class Two were unable to recognise letters, according to the latest Annual Status of Education Report [PDF] published in 2014.
The above chart shows how the reading and comprehension ability of primary students has actually decreased over the years.
One could argue that English language doesn’t come naturally to students but they seem not to be performing better at numbers either.
According to the same ASER report, one in four students in Class 2 couldn’t recognise numbers 1-9 while 50% of those in Class 3 couldn’t recognise larger numbers between 10 to 99. The chart above points to a sustained decline in learning outcomes in the state as 66% of the Class 3 students surveyed in 2010 could recognise numbers till 99.
That the state is grappling with deteriorating learning outcomes is in contrast to the nationwide figures highlighted in the survey report. More than 80% of the students in Class 3 across the country were able to recognise words as opposed to Rajasthan’s tally of 55% in 2014.
It’s not just that the students are not learning enough, the claims of full primary education achievement also sound hollow when one considers that the students enrolled in schools are not actually present in classes. Attendance has come down from 71% in 2010 to 68% in 2014 in primary schools while it has fallen from 74% in 2010 to 69% at upper primary level.
Not just this, Rajasthan’s record in keeping children enrolled in schools is also dismal. A 2013 study carried out across 21 cities at the behest of the Ministry of Human Resources Development found out that school leaving rates in the state are almost double the national average in some cases.
In Rajasthan, one in five or about 20% Class 1 students were reported to be school leavers while the national average is around one in ten or 10%. A student whose name is struck off the rolls from the school register in an academic year is considered a school leaver if they don’t return to finish their studies at the same institution.
The latest budget presented for the upcoming financial year has also been questioned by experts for its inadequate funding to education which experts claim could make it tough for the state to achieve enrolment targets in higher education. Rajasthan’s enrolment ratio is 19% in higher education, which ranks it among bottom 10 states in the country.
This comes at the heels of recent reports that the government is spending its energies on tasks which have little to do with improving education in schools. The state has been trying to rename state run schools, presumably to inculcate more patriotism, circumventing Right to Education law by scrapping “no-detention” policy that is believed to help keep students motivated to complete their education while the education ministry has been charged with giving false replies to questions asked in the legislative assembly.
Top picks, best deals and all that you need to know for the Amazon Great Indian Festival
We’ve done the hard work so you can get right to what you want amongst the 40,000+ offers across 4 days.
The Great Indian Festival (21st-24th September) by Amazon is back and it’s more tempting than ever. This edition will cater to everyone, with offers on a range of products from electronics, home appliances, apparel for men and women, personal care, toys, pet products, gourmet foods, gardening accessories and more. With such overwhelming choice of products and a dozen types of offers, it’s not the easiest to find the best deals in time to buy before your find gets sold out. You need a strategy to make sure you avail the best deals. Here’s your guide on how to make the most out of the Great Indian Festival:
Make use of the Amazon trio – Amazon Prime, Amazon Pay and Amazon app
Though the festival officially starts on 21st, Amazon Prime members will have early access starting at 12 noon on 20th September itself, enabling them to grab the best deals first. Sign up for an Amazon Prime account to not miss out on exclusive deals and products. Throughout the festival, Prime members will 30-minute early access to top deals before non-Prime members. At Rs 499/- a year, the Prime membership also brings unlimited Amazon Prime video streaming and quick delivery benefits.
Load your Amazon pay wallet; there’s assured 10% cashback (up to Rs 500). Amazon will also offer incremental cashbacks over and above bank cashbacks on select brands as a part of its Amazon Pay Offers. Shopping from the app would bring to you a whole world of benefits not available to non-app shoppers. App-only deals include flat Rs 1,250 off on hotels on shopping for more than Rs 500, and flat Rs 1,000 off on flights on a roundtrip booking of Rs 5,000 booking from Yatra. Ten lucky shoppers can also win one year of free travel worth Rs 1.5 lakhs.
Plan your shopping
The Great Indian Sale has a wide range of products, offers, flash sales and lightning deals. To make sure you don’t miss out on the best deals, or lose your mind, plan first. Make a list of things you really need or have been putting off buying. If you plan to buy electronics or appliances, do your research on the specs and shortlist the models or features you prefer. Even better, add them to your wishlist so you’re better able to track your preferred products.
Track the deals
There will be lightning deals and golden hour deals throughout the festival period. Keep track to avail the best of them. Golden-hour deals will be active on the Amazon app from 9.00pm-12.00am, while Prime users will have access to exclusive lightning deals. For example, Prime-only flash sales for Redmi 4 will start at 2.00pm and Redmi 4A at 6.00pm on 20th, while Nokia 6 will be available at Rs 1,000 off. There will be BOGO Offers (Buy One Get One free) and Bundle Offers (helping customers convert their TVs to Smart TVs at a fraction of the cost by using Fire TV Stick). Expect exclusive product launches from brands like Xiaomi (Mi Band 2 HRX 32 GB), HP (HP Sprocket Printer) and other launches from Samsung and Apple. The Half-Price Electronics Store (minimum 50% off) and stores offering minimum Rs 15,000 off will allow deal seekers to discover the top discounts.
Big discounts and top picks
The Great Indian Festival is especially a bonanza for those looking to buy electronics and home appliances. Consumers can enjoy a minimum of 25% off on washing machines, 20% off on refrigerators and 20% off on microwaves, besides deals on other appliances. Expect up to 40% off on TVs, along with No-Cost EMI and up to Rs 20,000 off on exchange.
Our favorite pick on refrigerators is the large-sized Samsung 545 L at 26% off so you can save Rs 22,710.
There are big savings to be made on UV water purifiers as well (up to 35% off), while several 5-star ACs from big brands will be available at greater than 30% discount. Our top pick is the Carrier 1.5 Ton 5-star split AC at 32% off.
There’s good news for Apple fans. The Apple MacBook Air 13.3-inch Laptop 2017 will be available at Rs 55,990, while the iPad will be available at 20% off. Laptops from Lenovo, Dell and HP will be available in the discount range of 20% to 26%. Top deals are LenovoTab3 and Yoga Tab at 41% to 38% off. Apple fans wishing to upgrade to the latest in wearable technology can enjoy Rs 8,000 off on the Apple Watch series 2 smartwatch.
If you’re looking for mobile phones, our top deal pick is the LG V20 at Rs 24,999, more than Rs 5000 off from its pre-sale price.
Home printers are a good investment for frequent flyers and those with kids at home. The discounted prices of home printers at the festival means you will never worry about boarding passes and ID documents again. The HP Deskjet basic printer will be available for Rs 1,579 at 40% off and multi-function (printer/ scanner/ Wi-Fi enabled) printers from HP Deskjet and Canon will also available at 33% off.
The sale is a great time to buy Amazon’s native products. Kindle E-readers and Fire TV Stick will be on sale with offers worth Rs 5,000 and Rs 1,000 respectively.
For those of you who have a bottomless collection of movies, music and photos, there is up to 60% off on hard drives and other storage devices. Our top picks are Rs 15,000 and Rs 12,000 off on Seagate Slim 5TB and 4TB hard drives respectively, available from 8.00am to 4.00pm on 21st September.
Cameras (up to 55% off) and camera accessories such as tripods, flash lights etc. are available at a good discount. Home surveillance cameras too will be cheaper. These include bullet cameras, dome cameras, simulated cameras, spy cameras and trail and game cameras.
For home medical supplies and equipment, keep an eye on the grooming and personal care section. Weighing scales, blood pressure monitors, glucometers, body fat monitors etc. will be available at a cheaper price.
The sale is also a good time to invest in home and kitchen supplies. Mixer-grinders and juicers could see lightning deals. Don’t ignore essentials like floor mops with wheels, rotating mop replacements, utensils, crockery etc. Tupperware sets, for example, will be more affordable. There are attractive discounts on bags, especially laptop bags, backpacks, diaper bags and luggage carriers.
While Amazon is extremely convenient for need-based shopping and daily essentials, it is also full of hidden treasures. During the festival, you can find deals on telescopes, polaroid cameras, smoothie makers, gym equipment, gaming consoles and more. So you’ll be able to allow yourself some indulgences!
If you have children, the festival is good time to stock up on gifts for Diwali, Christmas, return gifts etc. On offer are gaming gadgets such as Xbox, dough sets, Touching Tom Cat, Barbies, classic board games such as Life and more. There are also some products that you don’t really need, but kind of do too, such as smartphone and tablet holders, magnetic car mounts for smartphones and mobile charging station wall stands. If you’re looking for enhanced functionality in daily life, do take a look at the Amazon Basics page. On it you’ll find USB cables, kitchen shears, HDMI cables, notebooks, travel cases and other useful things you don’t realise you need.
Check-out process and payment options
Amazon is also offering an entire ecosystem to make shopping more convenient and hassle-free. For the festival duration, Amazon is offering No-Cost EMIs (zero interest EMIs) on consumer durables, appliances and smartphones, plus exchange schemes and easy installation services in 65 cities. HDFC card holders can avail additional 10% cashback on HDFC credit and debit cards. Customers will also get to “Buy Now and Pay in 2018” with HDFC Credit Cards, as the bank offers a 3 Month EMI Holiday during the days of the sale. Use Amazon Pay balance for fast and easy checkouts, quicker refunds and a secured shopping experience.
Sales are fun and with The Great Indian Festival offering big deals on big brands, it definitely calls for at least window shopping. There’s so much more than the above categories, like minimum 50% off on American Tourister luggage! To start the treasure hunt, click here.
This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Amazon.in and not by the Scroll editorial team.