Unreliable Assessment of Student Marks in Indian Education System

An extremely simple and effective, though controversial tool, to help maintain standards at the high school level, in several developed countries like the United Kingdom and the United States, is the school league table (or its equivalent). It is a simple form of information liberalization, which puts data about academic standards of schools directly into the hands of parents, to help them make more informed decisions about which school to admit their wards. This feedback loop also compels schools to motivate their teachers to improve teaching and assessment standards.

While an official aggregation or tabulation is generally unavailable for Indian schools, here is the tabulation for over 16000 schools in India affiliated to the CBSE, CISCE and  the Rajasthan State Board. Among other things, an analysis of this data points to an extremely unreliable assessment system, with little repeat-ability or reliability, and a blatant misreporting and inflation of scores.

A Step-by-Step Plan to Improve CMO-COO Collaboration – HBR

Delivering a consistent experience on the most common customer journeys is an important predictor of overall customer experience and loyalty. We have also found that improving customer experience from average to “wow” is worth a 30 to 50 percent improvement in “likelihood to remain/renew” and “likelihood to buy another product.”

Despite these opportunities, companies have been slow to respond to the customer journey imperative in an organized way. Executives focus on optimizing discrete touchpoints rather than improving the complete customer experience. This is like treating a symptom without bothering to find the cure.

The CMO and COO are the natural partners for turning this around. As Jo Coombs, Managing Director at OgilvyOne, London, observes, “I don’t think it can just be one or the other. If it’s all about the operations then you lose sight of the customer. If it’s all about the customer, then you may not have the infrastructure and back-end to support what you’re trying to do.”

While the CMO and COO have a good track record of collaborating in certain areas, a certain tension has long defined the relationship.

via A Step-by-Step Plan to Improve CMO-COO Collaboration – HBR.


9 Takeaways on US-India Ties After Obama’s India Visit | The Diplomat

After arriving in India over the weekend, U.S. President Barack Obama concluded a series of bilateral agreements with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Obama, who was invited to India as the chief guest for India’s annual Republic Day celebrations, broached the once-uncomfortable topic of climate change with Modi, making surprising progress on the issue. The two leaders followed up on themes addressed during Modi’s September 2014 trip to the United States and addressed some issues that had been on the U.S.-India bilateral back-burner for several years now. What follows below is a quick distillation of nine highlights out of the released joint statement, joint strategic vision document, and the visit overall. I’ll likely follow this up shortly with more detailed analysis on at least a couple of these points. I put together a similar summary of the previous U.S.-India bilateral joint statement after Modi’s U.S. trip, which focused primarily on defense and security issues that may help contextualize some of the below.

via 9 Takeaways on US-India Ties After Obama’s India Visit | The Diplomat.

via 9 Takeaways on US-India Ties After Obama’s India Visit | The Diplomat.

Peter Martin | Narendra Modi’s Soft Power Strategy | Foreign Affairs

India has long seemed unable or unwilling to become a major player on the world stage. But the country’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, is looking to change all that. In order to compensate for a small and weak foreign service, he is tapping into India’s considerable soft power: its emigrants, intellectuals, and yogis.

Modi began his premiership last year with a dramatic spurt of diplomatic activity. He has ratcheted up India’s engagement with its neighbors. His first overseas trip was to Bhutan; he visited Nepal twice in four months; and he worked to resolve territorial disputes with Bangladesh. He has courted China, Japan, and the United States through a series of high-profile bilateral visits. And he has energetically represented India at multilateral forums, most notably the BRICS meetings, the G-20, and the United Nations General Assembly.

But there are limits to what conventional diplomacy can achieve, especially given its weak institutional underpinnings in India. The Indian Foreign Service (IFS), the bureaucracy that staffs India’s top diplomatic institutions, is tiny for a country with global ambitions: a mere 900 people. Indeed, representing India’s 1.2 billion people is a foreign service that is roughly the same size as that of New Zealand (population 4.4 million) or Singapore (5.3 million). By comparison, the United States’ is around 15,000 and China’s around 5,000.

via Peter Martin | Narendra Modi’s Soft Power Strategy | Foreign Affairs.

via Peter Martin | Narendra Modi’s Soft Power Strategy | Foreign Affairs.

India and America: Come, meet Mum | The Economist

ADMIRE Barack Obama’s endurance on January 26th, when he becomes the first American president to be guest of honour at India’s annual Republic Day parade in Delhi. For two long hours he will inhale the capital’s smog as he and India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, review a procession of military hardware, trick-motorcycle riders and troupes of dancers. A chilly winter morning on Rajpath, New Delhi’s main ceremonial boulevard, can be an eternity.

Mr Obama is coming to India on a three-day trip to improve an already strong bond with the country’s barrel-chested leader. He will become the only sitting American president to visit India twice, and he arrives barely four months after Mr Modi went to Washington. The two men also got together on the sidelines of an Asian summit in Myanmar in November.

via India and America: Come, meet Mum | The Economist.

via India and America: Come, meet Mum | The Economist.

The Politics of Economic Stupidity by Joseph E. Stiglitz – Project Syndicate

In 2014, the world economy remained stuck in the same rut that it has been in since emerging from the 2008 global financial crisis. Despite seemingly strong government action in Europe and the United States, both economies suffered deep and prolonged downturns. The gap between where they are and where they most likely would have been had the crisis not erupted is huge. In Europe, it increased over the course of the year.

Developing countries fared better, but even there the news was grim. The most successful of these economies, having based their growth on exports, continued to expand in the wake of the financial crisis, even as their export markets struggled. But their performance, too, began to diminish significantly in 2014.

In 1992, Bill Clinton based his successful campaign for the US presidency on a simple slogan: “It’s the economy, stupid.” From today’s perspective, things then do not seem so bad; the typical American household’s income is now lower. But we can take inspiration from Clinton’s effort. The malaise afflicting today’s global economy might be best reflected in two simple slogans: “It’s the politics, stupid” and “Demand, demand, demand.”

via The Politics of Economic Stupidity by Joseph E. Stiglitz – Project Syndicate.

via The Politics of Economic Stupidity by Joseph E. Stiglitz – Project Syndicate.

The Indian Dream? World Bank Says Social Mobility in India Comparable to U.S.

A recently released World Bank report has claimed that the chance of escaping poverty is now roughly the same in India as it is in the U.S.

The report, called Addressing Inequality in South Asia,  compares the share of consumption among three developing countries – Vietnam, Bangladesh and India – and the United States, divided along transitioning class lines – moving out of poverty, those moving from poverty into the middle class, falling back to poverty, falling out of middle class. The findings of the analysis were that “within the same generation, mobility in earnings – measured by the ability to move out of poverty and into the middle class – is comparable to that of the United States

The report says that India between 2004-05 and 2009-10, 15% of the total population also moved above the poverty line. By these measures, the report claims “upward mobility within a generation in…. India was comparable to that of dynamic societies such as the United States.”

via The Indian Dream? World Bank Says Social Mobility in India Comparable to U.S..

via The Indian Dream? World Bank Says Social Mobility in India Comparable to U.S..