The Truth About Our Physical Education History

Remember high school gym class? You played volleyball, ran a mile on the track, and ducked before being hit in the face during a vigorous game of dodge ball? Physical education has been part of the educational scene for nearly 200 years. It is vital that students participate in physical education to keep their mind and body in peak learning condition. Currently, the childhood obesity rate is dangerously climbing to epidemic levels. Therefore, the focus on physical education is more important then ever before.

The question is how should physical education be conducted? First, take a look at physical education history. Physical education has evolved over the years. Physical education is defined as “instruction in the development and care of the body ranging from simple calisthenics exercises to a course of study providing training in hygiene, gymnastics, and the performance and management of athletic games (Merriam-Webster Dictionary).” This definition is broad because you can learn several topics ranging from the rules of basketball to sex education. It depends on the school policies of your state educational system.

Physical education was officially recognized in the United States in the early 1800’s. Colleges and Universities began to offer physical education programs throughout the 1800’s. Finally, in 1866 California was the first to mandate physical education. Many states followed this mandate within the next 30 years. The importance of training the body as well as the mind became prevalent in the educational system.

The 20th century brought varying levels of physical education to each state. Presidents such as Eisenhower and Kennedy promoted physical education and fitness. Children took the Presidential Fitness test each year to assess their physical fitness level. This arose from the need for U.S. students to be as physical fit as their European counterparts.

Controversial issues have played an integral role in physical education history. For example, in 1972 Title IX banned sexual discrimination in schools regarding sports and academics. This allowed female athletes to actively participate in team sports other than cheerleading with the financial and emotional support of the school system.

Another controversial issue is sexual education. It has been the subject of intense debate for many decades. Each state has specific guidelines about what will be taught and whether students can opt out of the sexual education program. Some states allow students to watch a video of a child being born while other states only discuss abstinence.

The official employment of physical education programs has a 200 year history which has become home to controversial issues, social reform, and overall child well being. Physical education will continue to evolve as the needs of the student population changes, societal attitudes fluctuate, and the flow of educational funds towards physical education is maintained.

Cost of College Education Is Strangling Students and Parents: Conquering the Cost of Education

College education is costing more every year making it very difficult for a student to attend both public and private colleges/universities:

A staggering statistics from the National Center for Educational Statistics stated that between 2001 and 2011 the cost of education went up 42% in the United States for public education. The percentage was a little less for the private not-for-profit institutions with an increase of 31%. The increase was dramatically lower for the private for-profit institutions with only a 5% increase from 2001 to 2011.

This cost was the average tuition, room and board inflation-adjusted prices for the full-time student.

These are cold hard facts when one is considering higher education in this day and age. Depending where you live in the United States, the cost of college education can be affordable or it can be very expensive for the middle class. I say this because if you are poor, you will get more help from the government provided you have done well academically and you can demonstrate a lot of need. The middle class is constantly being strangled financially in this economic environment.

Can the middle class and poor students get a college education to better their situation in this country? Conquering the cost of college education

The answer is emphatically, yes. No matter how expensive the cost of education gets, it is worth the investment in the long run for many reasons that I don’t have to explain. As the cost of college education becomes more expensive, parents and students need to look closely at their home state colleges and universities. If your state system is getting out of control with their price tag, you need to look at states with great public education at a reasonable cost.

These great public institutions with great price tags seems to be located in the southern part of the US, mid Atlantic states, and the mid west.

Most American students attend public colleges and public universities, and I am asking you to approach your college search process with open mind without geographical restriction. An affordable education may be two states away or clearly across the country. You will have to do your research to find these institutions and they tend to be in areas with lower cost of living.

Is there any relief in sight for this population that is being strangled by the high cost of college education along with the high cost living? Conquering the cost of college education
The answer is No. With each generation, the cost of education is naturally going to become more expensive because that is the way it is. As the cost of living rises, so will the cost of education. In the early 1970’s, the cost of education at a public state college was approximately $3,000 a year for everything and by early 1990’s it was around $8,000 a year for everything (in MA). The cost of education rose at a close proximity to the cost of living in the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s but currently for the most part, it is out pacing the cost of living.

This deviation from the cost of living is strangling most middle class families financially when it comes to financing their children’s education.

The latest survey from the College Board tells us that a moderate budget for the school year of 2012/2013 at a public institution was $22,261 for everything and at private institutions it was $43,289 for everything. There is no end in sight for this gradual increase every year and the only remedy is to shop wiser. The cost of college education is mainly tuition and fees but in most cases, it will include housing, meals, books, school supplies, personal and transportation. This all depends if you live on campus or live at home.

The cost of a college education can be overwhelming but college comes at different levels of cost and there are ways to lower your cost of attendance with the use of financial aid and scholarships. Another way to lower your cost of attendance is to attend your local community college for the first two years and finish your junior and senior year at a four-year institution. You can also commute to school by living at home, which will eliminate room and board. Don’t let the price tag of a college/university deter you from applying if the institution is a good fit for you. Apply and see if the financial aid package can bring down the price to where you can afford to attend that particular institution with little help from your parents.

To learn how you can get some help in managing the high cost of college education and managing the minefield of college admissions, click on the website below to access helpful information in conquering the cost of college education.

Mortgage Loan Originator Licensing Education Requirement

When the SAFE Act was passed by the US Congress in 2008, it mandated that all States require that Mortgage Loan Originators meet certain minimum requirements to obtain and maintain a Mortgage Loan Originator License. Once of those requirements was Education. The SAFE Act mandated 20 hours of Pre-License Education in order to obtain an LO license and 8 hours of Continuing Education each year in order to maintain and renew an LO License. Over the next couple years, each state passed legislation to meet this federal education mandate and regulators worked with the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System (NMLS) to implement this requirement.

State-Specific Mortgage License Education
When the states passed legislation to meet this federal SAFE Act Education requirement, many of them decided to also require additional education above and beyond the minimum federal requirement of 20 hours of Pre-License Education and 8 hours of annual Continuing Education. Many states require anywhere from 1 to 15 hours of state-specific Pre-License Education and 1 to 3 hours of annual Continuing Education. And as more states have adopted the Uniform State Test (UST) in lieu of a state-specific NMLS Test, many of those same states have decided to recently add additional state-specific education requirements.

Mortgage License Education Types
When the NMLS started working with the states to implement the LO License education requirements, they came up with 3 ways to meet the mortgage loan originator education requirement. Live, Webinar, and Online Instructor-Led. These three options were developed in order meet certain NMLS requirements that the mortgage education course be timed and that there be interaction between the instructor and the mortgage loan originator. The Live and Webinar versions clearly meet this requirement, but for the Online Instructor-Led Course to meet that requirement, but still give the LO the ability to work at their own pace, the NMLS along with the states created a requirement for the online mortgage education course to include questions and answers between the instructor and the Mortgage Loan Originator. The live course is generally only offered to large groups such as large companies that have many LOs that need mortgage licensing continuing education at the same time. Most mortgage education companies offer the Webinar option, but then the LO has to sit through the entire education course all at one time. So most Mortgage Loan Originators prefer the Online Instructor-Led Education Course. You can do it at your own pace and have much more flexibility.

11 Things You Need to Know About Section 504 and Special Education to Help Your Child!

Do you have a child with autism, or a learning disability that has suffered discrimination in school related to their disability? Have they been harassed, emotionally damaged, or physically hurt in school by another student or school staff that is disability related? Section 504 is a civil rights law that prohibits disability related to a persons disability in any program that receives federal funding. This article will be discussing 11 things about Section 504 that you can use to protect your child.

1. Disability harassment defined. In a letter from the US Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (that investigates Section 504 complaints) describes what is considered disability harassment. The letter states: When the harassing conduct is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive that it creates a hostile environment, adversely affecting the student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the educational program.

The letter further states that harassment based on disability may decrease the student’s ability to benefit from his or her education and amount to denial of a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) under IDEA and Section 504.

2. In the above letter the Department of Education also states that the discrimination can be done not only by school staff, but also by students. Many school districts have taken the position that they are not responsible for student’s actions-though many courts have found that they are.

3. Children with disabilities who receive special education services under IDEA are automatically eligible for the protections under Section 504.

4. Children with disabilities have the right to achieve as adequately as persons without disabilities under this law.

5. Children also have the right to receive services and benefits that are comparable to those given their non disabled peers. For benefits or services provided to be equally effective they must afford students with an equal opportunity to obtain the same result, gain the same benefit, or reach the same level of achievement as other students. This is so important to know because many children’s services are not the same as their non disabled peers, and the child is not expected to reach the same level of achievement as their non disabled peers! Though I have believed for many years that will appropriate related and special education services children with disabilities can achieve the same as their non disabled peers.

6. Reasonable accommodations must be given to meet the needs of students with disabilities.

7. Children with disabilities must be educated with their nondisabled peers to the maximum extent appropriate, and in the most integrated setting appropriate to the needs of the child.

8. Children with disabilities must be taught using state standards that apply to general education, and their non disabled peers. Failure to apply standards to students with disabilities is a failure to provide comparable benefits and services under Section 504.

9. A child being excluded from taking district and state wide standardized tests may be a violation of the laws comparable benefits. Why? Because standardized testing makes school districts accountable for teaching children according to the academic standards set by the state for all children. Testing is accountability and should be used for most children.

10. Some parents have been successful in getting services for their children under this law that they have been unable to get under IDEA. The Early Complaint Resolution Process is a good way for parents to give input on how their complaint can be resolved, to benefit their child.

11. It is possible to file a Section 504 claim in IDEA cases, but the parent must prove that the school employee showed either bad faith or gross misjudgment before they can prevail.

Consider using Section 504 to help get your child needed special education services as well as stopping bullying and retaliation!

4 Parenting Tips to Help You Enforce Special Education Law

Do you have a child with a disability who is receiving special education services?

Are you frustrated because it is hard to get needed educational services, for your child? Would you like a few parenting tips, to help you make sure that special education personnel follow IDEA? This article will discuss 4 parenting tips, that will help you in enforcing, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

IDEA enforcement by law is to be the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), which is part of the Department of Education. They are responsible in making sure that states, are in compliance with special education law. States are responsible for making sure that individual school districts comply with IDEA.

The reality is that parents are the main enforcement mechanism of special education law. Below are 4 tips to help you ensure that your school district is complying with IDEA, for the benefit of your child.

1. Develop a working knowledge of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. By doing this, you will know where to look when you need a particular section of the law. For Example: If you would like to look at what is required for a free appropriate public education (FAPE), you would look under 300.101. Or Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) at 300.115.

2. Develop a working knowledge of your state regulations on special education (This is how the state is going to comply with IDEA). Some states regulations are actually better for children and parents, than federal law. By understanding these, you will be able to use them to ensure that your school district is complying with the educational law. You can get a copy of your state regulations from your state board of education.

3. Bring copies of the laws with you to any IEP meeting for your child, and place them on the table. You will be able to look up certain sections during the meeting, in case you need them.

By bringing up the special education laws that apply, you will make sure that you school district is following them. You also want to make sure, that the special education personnel in your district understand that you know the laws, and that you will be making sure that they follow them.

Also, when you write letters to school personnel, always quote IDEA or the state regulations, for special education when you can. This will help bolster your case, for whatever you are asking for.

For example: IDEA states, that my child has the right to a free appropriate public education, which I believe that she is not receiving at this time. In order for my child with a learning disability to receive FAPE, she must receive the appropriate amount of reading remediation, using simultaneous-multi sensory reading program such as Orton-Gillingham.

4. If your school district is in non compliance with the procedures of IDEA, consider filing a state complaint. The state complaint is filed with your state board of education; special education department.

The complaint should state the violation, the number in IDEA that is being violated, what your evidence is of the violation, and also the proposed resolution of the violation. Also, you can put more than one violation in a complaint, but number them for easier reading and tracking.

By doing these four things, you will be able to understand when special education personnel are not following special education law. It is sad that parents are the main enforcement arm of IDEA, but it is reality! Good luck, and stay focused, for the benefit of your child!

5 Things You Can Do to Prevent Cuts to Special Education From Hurting Your Child!

Are you the parent of a child receiving special education services from your school district? Are you concerned about schools around the country stating that they are broke? Would you like to know how to prevent cuts from hurting your child? Then this article is for you! The article will be discussing ways that you can ensure that your child continues to receive needed special education services!

Special Education services are considered an entitlement under Federal law and cannot be cut due to lack of funding. Children with disabilities have the right to be provided with all special education services they need and they must be provided free of charge. Some school districts also tell parents that there are waiting lists for certain services. Waiting lists also are not allowed under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 2004 ( IDEA 2004). So the truth is that children with disabilities are to receive all of the special education services they need regardless of cost or ability of the school district to pay for the services.

Below are a few ways that you can fight for the continuance of your child’s needed services:

1. Gather data that your child continues to need the services. Save school papers, standardized testing, teacher comments, school psychological evaluations; anything that proves that your child needs the services. Also if your child is not making educational progress they may actually need more intense special education services and not less, which you can advocate for!

2. Educate yourself about IDEA 2004 so that you will have the ammunition you need to advocate for your child!

3. Consider taking your child for an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) so that you will have the ammunition that you need, to fight school personnel, when they try and cut your child’s services! An IEE with a qualified professional who will not only test your child, but also write a comprehensive report, of all services that your child needs. You may take this report to an IEP meeting as your evidence that your child continues to need the services, they are receiving.

4. You may want to consider filing a state complaint with your State Department of Education for denying your child needed special education services or cutting needed services. Send all of your evidence in with your written complaint, because even though State Departments of Education are supposed to investigate the complaint they rarely do.

5. If you have a lot of evidence that your child needs the services and school personnel refuse to give them to your child, or continue stating that they will cut the service; consider filing for a due process hearing. This type of hearing is very formal and is heard in front of a hearing officer not a judge. If the parent files though the school district is required to hold a resolution meeting within 15 days to see if they can settle the dispute. The parent should bring a list of acceptable solutions to the dispute with them to the resolution meeting, and if at all possible a special education advocate! If a resolution is agreed upon it needs to be put in writing and signed by both sides.

Do not panic if special education personnel state that your child’s services will be cut due to lack of money! There are things that you can do as your child’s advocate! I would also recommend contacting a local newspaper and see if they would be willing to write a story on your child and the proposed cuts! Good luck because your child is depending on you!

Continuing Insurance Education – Completed Online

The majority of professions these days require their agents/employees to keep up to date on industry trends, laws and regulations, and best practices. In one form or another, they are required to complete continuing education. Every profession is different, depending on what their state requires. In a very highly regulated industry, insurance and financial professionals must abide by certain rules their state enforces. There are rules and regulations in place for a reason. Everyone is better off if the agents are more knowledgeable in their field. The insurance company, the agent, and the client all benefit from insurance continuing education.

Most states allow the professional to choose how to complete their education, while others enforce certain rules. For instance, the state of Utah makes their insurance agents complete at least three credits of ethics sitting in a classroom. On the other hand, the state of California will allow their agents to complete all of their continuing education online. You must check with your state’s rules and regulations to make sure you are cooperating with state guidelines. Online continuing education is usually the fastest, easiest, and most convenient way to complete your education. It can be done from anywhere where in the United States with internet access.

Online insurance continuing education courses vary from state to state. Some will allow you to read a textbook and then take an open-book multiple choice test on whichever subject you choose. Others actually require a monitor present while completing the online exam. Once you finish the exam, the monitor must fax in an affidavit stating that you did not cheat or use the textbook while completing the exam. The third type of online courses are interactive courses. Interactive courses are usually considered classroom equivalent. Students must read a chapter out of the book, take a short quiz, and then move on to the next chapter. They must do this for every chapter in the book. Then, once the agent completes the quizzes, they must take a final exam to complete the course. Many students take online interactive courses so they do not have to sit in a classroom. They have become more and more popular over the years.

As you can see there are many different options when taking online insurance continuing education courses. It is advised to contact your state to see exactly what they require when completing online education. If you cannot reach your state, call an approved provider for more information.

5 Reasons Not to Give Consent For Special Education Personnel to Bill Your Private Insurance

Are you the parent of a child with autism or dyslexia? Is your child receiving special education related services? Have you been asked to give written consent, so that your school district can bill your private insurance company? This article will give you 5 reasons not to consent to having your private insurance billed for related services and evaluations.

Related services are special education services that your child needs to benefit from their education. They can be: transportation, physical therapy (PT), occupational therapy (OT), speech/language therapy. Private insurance can also be billed for psychological testing (though many will not pay for this), testing for OT, PT, and Speech/language.

Below are 5 reasons why every parent in the US should refuse to have their private insurance billed for special education services:

Reason 1: The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act states that all children with disabilities have the right to special education and related services to meet their educational needs. Most parents have to fight so that their child can receive appropriate services in the correct amounts to meet their needs; but special education is an entitlement!

Reason 2: School districts receive state and federal funding for related services. While federal funding does not pay all of the costs, states also chip in.

Also, every state in the USA has returned money to the federal government, for IDEA funds that have gone unused. Between 2000-2002 state board of educations sent back 1.7 billion dollars of unused IDEA funds! Find out how much your school district sent back by contacting your state board of education!

There is money, it is just that many special education personnel have other priorities, rather than giving related services to needed children.

Reason 3: The children in the district receiving Medicaid, often have their parents give consent for school districts to seek reimbursement for related services. This is another funding stream that school districts receive, that they rarely discuss. This could amount to millions of dollars in some school districts, so do not worry about your schools pocketbook!

Reason 4: Many insurance companies have caps on benefits. If you allow your insurance to be billed, your child may reach their cap, which means they would have no insurance. Also this may prevent your child from getting insurance in the future, if they have major bills for related services and evaluations.

Reason 5: If you allow your insurance company to be billed for psychological testing or other testing, special education personnel may ask for testing that your child does not need. Reimbursement should not be the reason for testing your child; educational needs and services needed should be the reason.

Form: The form that you may be asked to sign would probably state: Parent consent for reimbursement of health related services. Read this form very carefully. It should state that this permission is voluntary. Also on the form should be 2 boxes: 1. I give consent for billing of my private insurance company for related services and evaluations or 2. I do not give consent for billing of my private insurance company for services and evaluation.

By understanding these 5 reasons, you will know why it is in your child’s best interest to not give consent for your private insurance to be billed, for related services and evaluations.

State Education Grants: Making Dreams Come True

It is the dream of all people to have a better life, and they believe this can be achieved if they acquire the highest level of education possible.

State education grants are meant to help students who are planning to enroll for a college degree at a reputable college or university. Instead of worrying how and where they can raise money to pay for tuition and other fees, a grant pays for the education costs, either fully or partially.

In the United States, various types of funding programs are made available in every state, particularly for those individuals who are interested in pursuing higher education after graduating from high school, whether it is a university, college, community college, technical school, or a career-specific school within the area.

Let the search begin

To look for funding opportunities, grant seekers can go online and search through the Internet. If they are lucky enough, they can find financial assistance available nationally or within the state where they live in.

Most states offer varied programs that can fit to the individual’s needs. Fund seekers will never know anything about a potential financial aid unless they seriously do something. They do not want to let rare opportunity to get a state education grants pass by.

Apart from the federal government, the states are a great source of aid. State-funded grants are given on the basis of need. They have more than one kind of program that offers support and compensation for individuals who need it the most.

In some states across the country, though, revenues generated by state lottery program are allocated to augment the entire budget for education programs. A portion of these funds is actually converted into educational funding assistance.

Focus

Generally, funding assistance is designed for disadvantaged students from low-income families. The California Student Aid Commission’s Cal Grant Program, for instance, is regarded as a successful state-based education funding in the country today. Recipients are accepted based on the student’s grade point average and financial need. This program is well-funded, and is supporting thousands of disadvantaged students.

Another exemplary program is the state of Texas’ Toward Excellence, Access and Success or TEXAS. Under this education program, the government pays for all tuition costs if students opt to enroll in educational institutions run by the state. In addition, the students must be able to prove not only a financial need but also “academic motivation” as well as “proper college preparatory work.”

There are programs that cater to the needs of ethnic minorities such as Hispanic students, African-American students, as well as Asian students. Meanwhile, there are awards designed for women and people with disabilities.

There are also state education grants helping students who pursue a highly-needed field of work or career, such as nursing or teaching. In exchange for the funding received to pay for the tuition costs, the student recipients can agree to work at underserved communities for a certain number of years.

Erin Millano has always been passionate to improve the quality of life of marginalized, low-income individuals, and families. She is a lobbyist, freelance photojournalist, and proposal writer.

Elementary Education in Orissa

“For fifty years we have been a developing nation. It is time we see ourselves as a developed nation.” This is the part of the speech of Dr Abdul Kalam in Hyderabad. Whenever we are talking about Developed nation, suddenly education comes to picture with other major indicators like the growth rate of the economy, birth rate, death rate, infant mortality rate (IMR), and literacy rate. These indicators are all interconnected with each other and the literacy rate has been the major determinant of the rise or fall in the other indicators. There is enough evidence even in Orissa to show that a low literacy rate correlates with high birth rate, high IMR, and decrease in the rate of life expectancy. The recognition of this fact has created awareness on the need to focus upon literacy and elementary education programmes, not simply as a matter of social justice but more to foster economic growth, social well-being, and social stability.

The Constitution of India casts an obligation on the State to provide free and compulsory education to all children up to the age of 14. The literacy rate in Orissa during 1951 was 15.8% against the all India average of 18.3%, which increased to 63.6% in 2001 against the all India average of 65.4%. While the male literacy rate of 63.1% in the State in 1991 increased to 75.9% in 2001, the female literacy rate increased from 34.7% to 51.0%. There has been a steady improvement in the literacy rates of the State over successive decades, which is a result of expansion of educational infrastructure both quantitative and qualitative.

In 1950-51, there were 9,801 Primary Schools with 16,525 teachers and 3.15 lakh students. There were 501 Upper Primary Schools with 2,569 teachers and 40,000 students. Also there were 172 High Schools with 2,247 teachers and 16,000 students. Since 1950-51, there has been a considerable expansion in the number of educational institutions, enrollment and number of teachers at all levels during successive plan periods. In 2003-2004, there are 44,416 Primary Schools with 52.54 lakh enrollment and 97 lakh teachers in the State. There is one Primary School for every 3.5 Sq.Km area. The state government has established 14, 233 Upper Primary Schools for each 10.94 km area in the State.

Issues of Concern

Education is the key to social & economic development of any society. It encompasses every sphere of human life. Level of literacy has a profound bearing on the level of human development. There are major issues, which are directly or indirectly concerned with the education in Orissa. First, the dropout rate in primary and upper primary schools is become a major issue of concern. In the same time dropout rate become a major setback in the increasing literacy rate which was at the primary stage 33.6%. But if you compare girls dropout rate with boys, the dropout rate for girls was 35.4% and for boys 31.9%. Dropout rate at upper primary stage was 57.5% in 2003-04. Out of them 56.5% boys dropped out in upper primary stage while 58.6% girls dropped out in the same year. Second issue is infrastructure of school buildings, which are in bad conditions. And the old or unsafe school buildings of our state are inadequate to meet the needs of school children. Many of them one-room (or even open-air) operations with poorly paid teachers.

Steps taken by the State Government

Orissa government has always made concerted efforts to provide education to all. Some major initiatives were taken to offer quality education for a brighter future not only for Oriyas but also for the state, at last for the nation. Some steps were directed towards the reform and renewal of state’s education system. In the same time there has been a considerable expansion in the number of educational institutions, enrolment and number of teachers at all levels during successive plan periods.

The central and state governments have been expanding the provision of primary formal and non-formal education to realise the goal of Universilisation of Elementary Education (UEE). Elementary education is recognised as a fundamental right of all citizens in India. The directive principles of state policy envisage UEE as one of the major goals to be achieved and mandated in a timeframe. As per guidelines adopted at the national level, the State aims at providing access to Primary Schools within one kilometer and Upper Primary Schools within three kilometers from habitations having 300 or more and 500 or more respectively. In order to achieve the goal of Universalisation of Elementary Education and to improve the quality, steps have been initiated to engage more 9,563 para teachers under State Plan.

Government of India’s flagship programme ‘Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan’ was launched on nation-wide scale to universalize elementary education by providing for community ownership and monitoring of the school system. The objectives of the programme are compulsory Education to all the Children of 6-14 years age group by 2007. Under the programme, there were 780 new primary schools, 2,771 new upper primary schools were opened and. 25,594 Swechasevi Sikhshya Sahayaks were appointed in 2003-04. The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan programme calls for community participation through effective decentralisation – involvement of Village Education Committee (VEC), Members of Panchayat Raj institutions and Womens’ group. It ensures transparency and accountability of the school system to the community. To lesson the burden of Directorate of Higher Education, the state government has been established three regional Directorates in Bhubaneswar, Berhampur and Sambalpur. Regional Directors of these Directorates have been vested with similar powers of Director of Higher Education. Today, access to the qualitative education is reducing in Orissa. The reason is a lack of budget, weak governance and decline of physical infrastructure, shortage of teachers and their low salary, obsolete teaching plans, poverty and malnutrition, and absence of parents and society participation.

Hurdles to achieve the Goal

Funds become major hurdle for every developmental programme in Orissa. In some cases, it is surplus and government cannot utilize the fund within the required timeframe. In the other side, it is deficit. In every step and in every stage, we extend our hand in front of the Central government, financial institutions for funds. How do you education keep the education aside? The government does not have money for primary education. Well, the fiscal deficit is surely a problem, but that could not be excused during a downturn if it is used for opening up the way to developed nation. The Government of Orissa fully endorses the approach on universalisation of elementary education and the scheme ‘Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan’ should be given the highest priority. But when we are heading towards success of the programme, we do not have fund to provide the study materials to the students. With the assistance from Central Government, the Orissa Government has been providing the study materials every year. For a state like Orissa, the government needs 3.5 crores books for the students up to VII class.

Generally, the government was sanctioned eight crores every year. In the current year budget, only four crores has sanctioned, whereas approximately 30 crores required for the printing of study materials. Now, It is become routine issue for the government to sanction inadequate fund and demand more money at the neck of the moment when the books should reach at the end user. This is not only creating an obstacle in the time bound programme but also spoil the valuable time of the students for struggling with the course without courseware. Here I have highlighted one issue, which is occurred in every year at the beginning of academic year. Government has been compromising the issue without thinking the future of the small kids.

Though it is a routine issue, then why Government is not considering this issue seriously?

Some other issues like educational infrastructure and appoint good teachers with good salary are also taken into consideration. When we are appointing good teachers for this programme, we should think about the other side of the coin (i.e good remuneration). The state government appointed 40,846 Shiksha Sahayaks under several schemes including District Primary Education Programme (DPEP) and Sarba Siksha Abhijan (SSA). Due to deficit budget the Shiksha Sahayaks are compromising with the situation and ready to work in less salary (i.e. Rs 1500 per month), which is less than the wage of a bonded labour. In spite of that the State Government is unable to provide their share at least in time to the Shiksha Sahayaks. How would we expect quality education from a teacher who is struggling to survive in this expensive society? Recently, the State Government has decided to hike the monthly honorarium of the Siksha Sahayaks from Rs 1500 to Rs 2000. This decision was taken at a high-level meeting presided over by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on October 20. This will cost the State Exchequer an additional Rs 25 crore per year. Obviously, zero percent credit goes to the State Government. Though Central Government is supporting 75 percent of the estimated expenditure, this additional hike will be added to the aided account. If Sarba Siksha Abhijan is become a flop programme, then the credit goes to the state government. The major barrier is deficiency of fund.

Conclusion

We are compromising in every step of our life. How many days will we live with ‘compromise’? Let us stop compromising with our future and with our future generation. At least the State Government should give up elementary education. Education makes man a right thinker. It tells man how to think and how to make decision. When the absolute number of literate people in the state is steadily rising year after year, then where are those instincts of a literate person? Where is your voice against the backward step of the government? But moving beyond educational programmes requires much political will and public pressure. Unfortunately, elementary education continues to receive low priority from those in power. While State Assembly discusses trivial issues, issues related to elementary education gathers dust. If government will not take any rigid step then all children of 6-14 years age group in school by 2003, all children to complete 5 years of schooling by 2007and all children to complete 8 years of schooling by 2010 will become a utopian dream for us.