Aptitude test to filter students for JEE put on hold

Idea of having a National Authority for Testing also has been put on hold.

HRD ministry has shelved its plan to reform the Joint Entrance Examination by introducing an aptitude test that would filter students for a single entrance test for admission to IITs/NITs and engineering institutions.

 Government had to drop the idea after HRD’s department of school pointed out that an aptitude test might not find favour with students from rural and semi-urban backgrounds. “We were told that the aptitude test will go against the principle of equity in education. Students belonging to marginal classes would suffer,” an official said.
 The ministry also tried to convince IITs to conduct a single entrance test without the aptitude test but they refused. “IITs do not want to conduct the single test, in which more than 12 lakh students appear. They wanted to conduct something like JEE (advanced) in which fewer students appear after clearing JEE (main),” the source said.

Idea of having a National Authority for Testing also has been put on hold. One IIT director said, “It is a misconception that students from rural background would have lagged behind in aptitude test. They are not so good in language but superior to urban students.” “It is unfortunate that it has been shelved even without trying once.”

 The new system proposed to create a National Authority for Testing that would have conducted an aptitude test to shortlist 4 lakh students who would have appeared for JEE. From JEE, ranks were to be issued to 40,000-plus students who could get admission in IITs and NITs.

RTE mandate fails to achieve even half-mark

Delhi did best and filled 44.61% spots with deserving students who could attend a private unaided non-minority school.

Mumbai: They were supposed to go to school with everyone else. But the move towards equal education has been marred by contorted reasons and handicaps like slow admission process and lack of awareness among families. Schools too have often been unwelcoming in accepting students from all pin codes into one class. At the close of the 2015 admission season, of the 22.9 lakh seats available under the 25% quota for socially and economically disadvantaged children, only 3.46 lakh (15%) were filled.

The mandate though beautiful, said experts, failed to achieve even the half-mark. Delhi did best and filled 44.61% spots with deserving students who could attend a private unaided non-minority school. Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh and Uttarakhand followed. Of the 1.56 lakh seats under this quota in Maharashtra, 28,028 (17.9%) were filled.
 A report by the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad and other agencies found that states had unclear rules and guidelines to implement Section 12(1)(c) of the Right to Education (RTE) Act, which mandates 25% reservation for children from economically and socially disadvantaged sections in private unaided non-minority schools.
 Ashish Dhawan, founder and chairman, Central Square Foundation, a philanthropy, said, “Awareness is still patchy, especially in rural areas. Once children enter the school system, the provision of supporting and child-tracking is almost non-existent.”
 Ambrish Dongre of the Accountability Initiative, Centre for Policy Research, said, “Out of Rs 1,466 crore that states requested for implementation, only Rs 250 crore was approved by the Centre. Only Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Odisha, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand got assistance from the Centre, indicating that states need to do a lot more.”


India, US launch Fulbright-Kalam Climate Fellowship

India and the US have launched the Fulbright-Kalam Climate Fellowship, in a new initiative to advance bilateral cooperation on climate change, that will enable Indian research scholars to work with American institutions in the field.

The first call for applicants was announced yesterday for the fellowship jointly funded by both the governments and will enable up to 6 Indian PhD students and post-doctoral researchers to work with US host institutions for a period of 6-12 months, according to a press release.
 The fellowship, named after the late Indian President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, is part of a commitment made by the US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi to build long-term capacity to address climate change-related issues in both the countries.

The fellowship will be operated by the binational US-India Educational Foundation (USIEF) under the umbrella of the prestigious Fulbright programme.

 Kalam, a scientist and statesman, had long advocated for increasing ties between the people of India and the US.

‘India among countries using innovative teaching techniques’

School education in rural India is a mixed bag of improving parameters but declining learning outcomes, a survey by Pratham shows.

India is among the countries in the developing world that are successfully experimenting with innovative teaching techniques in an effort to spread learning across the nation, according to a new report.

The Washington DC-based Brookings Institution used areas in rural India covered by education charity ‘Pratham’ as part of its research for the ‘Millions Learning: Scaling Up Quality Education in Developing Countries’ report, unveiled at the Global Education and Skills Forum (GESF) here this weekend.

The report, to be officially launched in Washington DC next month, found that Pratham’s ‘Read India’ programme was proving an effective model that could be replicated around India.

“Pratham piloted the Read India programme aimed at students who are unable to keep up with the level of teaching in their classrooms. They organised extra tutoring for these kids and have come up with different ways of organising this. It has become very effective in increasing reading levels,” said Rebecca Winthrop, director of the Center for Universal Education at the Brookings Institution.

The influential think tank also used examples from African countries to try and throw up strategies needed to scale up effective teaching practices in parts of the developing world.

“The good news is that from the slums of New Delhi to the rainforest in Brazil, transformational change in learning is happening at a large-scale in many places around the world. How this change has happened and what governments, civil society, and the private sector can do to more actively scale up quality learning is the focus of this report,” the think tank said.

Winthrop estimates there is a 100-year gap between education levels in developing and developed countries and with business as usual in the education sector this gap is not projected to change.

 “Today, 250 million children around the globe — many of them having spent at least four years in school in a developing country — lack the most basic literacy and numeracy skills.
 “Additionally, countries around the world are struggling to help young people develop 21st century skills, such as critical thinking and collaborative problem solving, which are increasingly demanded by the labour market,” she warned.

The ‘Millions Learning’ research concludes that scaling quality learning initiatives requires open, adaptive, and flexible education systems that fully leverage the range of skills and comparative advantage that various state and non-state partners bring.

 Governments have the central responsibility for ensuring all children have a quality education but beyond that all stakeholders, from social innovators who can experiment and take risks to government agencies that are essential for any education effort to spread nationally, need to work in tandem.

Delhi government increases reimbursement to private schools

Representative image

All private schools in Delhi will now get Rs 300 more per child from the Delhi government as reimbursement for admissions under the economically weaker section (EWS) category from the upcoming academic session.

 The decision to increase the amount comes after deputy education minister Manish Sisodia received complaints from various private schools against “minimal amount” reimbursed by the government to them for allowing students under EWS category.
 “The government presently reimburses a fixed amount to private schools in lieu of taking admission of students who belong to this section. However, numerous complaints were received about the amount being less,” a senior Directorate of Education (DoE) official told PTI.

“It has now been decided that the amount will be raised to Rs 1598 from Rs 1290,” the official added.

 During the ongoing admission for entry level classes, the government has allotted over 26,600 seats through computerized draws under the EWS category, an experiment that has been introduced by the Delhi government for the first time.

Aligarh movie to be screened in Aligarh Muslim University

Aligarh movie to be screened in Aligarh Muslim University

Aligarh movie to be showcased in Aligarh Muslim University. Students and teachers body said that some AMU students had misconception about the name of movie that now has been sorted out. Many students of CEC Amu (cultural education centre) have also organized a short play in support of movie. Student leader Satyarth Saxena has planned to organize screening of movie in kenedy auditorium along with the team of movie.

 Political storm is gathering over the film ‘Aligarh’ that was released recently, the Noida wing of Mulayam Singh Youth Brigade (MSYB), the youth outfit of the ruling Samajwadi Party, declared it would book a theatre in Aligarh to screen the film, following the homosexuality-themed movie was blocked from theatres in the university town at the instance of its BJP mayor. The SP said it will not allow “a section to kill free thought”.
 On explaining the details, Perwez siddiqui, president of Sir Syed minority foundation of India (SSMFI) of Aligarh Muslim University said that any conflict of opinion between AMU students and the movie may hamper the creativity of actors who are trying to portray the real scenario of society by substantial storyline. He further added that this movie is supported by many leading intellectuals. “This movie shows how the homosexuals people are forced to live a life of alienation and seclusion in India and how these certain sensitive actors try to bring a change. Some AMU students had misconception about the name of movie , that now has been sorted out. Many students of AMU’s CEC (cultural education centre) have also organised a short play in support of movie,” he added that he and student leader Satyarth Saxena has planned to organise screening of movie in Kenedy auditorium along with the team of movie that comprised of director Hansal Mehta, actor Manoj Bajpai and many more in consultation with AMU’s VC Zameeruddin shah.
 “We have planned to organise in the end of March. Preprations are on,” he further said.
 Siddiqui has thrown his weight behind the film, appealing to the youth to watch it. The SSMFI was established on July 12, 2012, and consists of student and teachers of AMU. On behalf of SSMFI, Siddiqui said the youth should not fall for rumours floating around about the film.

Irom Sharmila scholarship awarded to Rohith Vemula and Kanhaiya Kumar

Rohith Vemula.

The 2016 Irom Sharmila Scholarship has been jointly awarded to Rohit Vemula (posthumously) of Hyderabad Central University and Kanhaiya Kumar of Jawaharlal Nehru University.

The award goes to them as student representatives seeking to strengthen India’s constitutional democracy by upholding the constitutional ideals of fraternity, equality, right to life, and inspiring many others across the country.

 The award will be handed over to a representative of Vemula and Kumar on behalf of JNUSU at the JNU administration block on Monday.
 A formal announcement of the award will be made at a seminar in Delhi School of Economics.

The Irom Sharmila Scholarship was started in 2012 by Delhi University professor Nandini Sundar. The award is based on factors like financial need, academic merit, contribution to society and suffering as a result of armed conflict. The scholarship is a lump sum of Rs 50,000 (Rs 60,000 if shared).

A 22-year-old Kashmiri student became the first person to receive the scholarship in 2013. Iymon Majeed, a student of MA political science from Jamia Millia Islamia has been writing about experience of Kashmir with Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act 1958 and militarism for various publications.

‘Very lengthy’ CBSE mathematics paper stumps students

<p>The Class 12 CBSE mathematics paper made students stumble for the second year in a row.<br></p>

The Class 12 CBSE mathematics paper made students stumble for the second year in a row. Principals at exam centres say many students were weeping by the end of it because the paper — even some one-mark questions — was unexpectedly lengthy and they couldn’t complete.

“As I was walking down the corridor, I heard my classmates were talking about how they’ve left 15 to 20 marks worth of questions unanswered,” says Sanya Ahuja, student of Presidium School, Ashok Vihar. “The paper was slightly hard. Even the one-mark questions weren’t straight forward. But the length made it incredibly hard. When the invigilator announced that one-hour and thirty-minutes were up (half time), I broke down and started crying.” Ahuja found the paper had “too much vectors” and the four-mark integration question was hard too.

 Tania Joshi, principal, The Indian School, says it was both “slightly tough and took too much time.” Two six-mark questions from matrices and determinants and one four-marker were all lengthy. “Some finished, some didn’t. With a lengthy paper, morale drops and kids find themselves not being able to keep up,” says Joshi.
 Isha Patel who studies at Delhi Public School, R K Puram, found the calculus part especially difficult. “I have left about six-seven marks. We’ve been told when CBSE sets a tough paper, checking is usually lenient. Let’s see,” she says. Another student, stunned by how badly maths has gone, says that as many as 21 questions in the paper “were indirect.” “We solve 10-year papers and those are all direct questions. This time, 80% of the questions were indirect,” she says.
 Ahuja adds that she was expecting over 90. “It’s a paper people expect to score 97-98 in. The Delhi University cut-off percentages are over that,” she points out.
 Maths teachers at Mount Abu Public School, Nitish Gupta and Nisha Bajaj agree. “It was a balanced paper, though it demanded the students to face some tricky and twisted questions. Students could not get sufficient time to revise the paper as it was a bit lengthy and required much calculation. Scoring a 100% would’ve required good time management and fast calculation,” they write.

IIT-Kharagpur wins laurels at innovation awards

IIT-Kharagpur has outperformed 276 institutes from across the country which participated in the Gandhian Young Technology Innovation (GYTI) awards in Delhi by bagging maximum number of laurels.

 “After four rounds of evaluation, 19 teams have been selected for innovation awards and 24 for appreciation. Of the 19 awards, 15 awardees in Medical and Biotech innovations category will get Department of Biotechnology sponsored (BITAC-SRISTI) grant of Rs 15 lakh each to further their prototypes,” an IIT release said.
 Held at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Monday, GYTI 2016 was a pan-India competition with over 2,363 innovation entries in 50 technology domains from 276 institutes from 26 states and two Union Territories.
 All awards IIT Kharagpur bagged are medical and biotech innovations while the appreciations were

UGC sets up committee to look into off-campus centres

The UGC has set up a committee to look into all aspects of off-campus centres established by some institutions deemed to be universities without its prior approval or that of the HRD ministry.

 The committee would comprise UGC members Prof H Devaraj, Prof Mohammad Miyan, Prof Sanjay Govind Dhande and Dr KN Shanti apart from a member convener, as per the minutes of a meeting held last month.

Several leading institutions, which are deemed universities had set up off campus centres without prior approvals, for which they have been issued notices by the UGC.

 As per the minutes of the meeting held last month, another decision taken was to set up Chairs in various Universities in Indian classical languages of Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam and Odia.