02:07 pm New Delhi:Arbitrary hike in private school charges came to the spotlight on Friday at the Rajya Sabha, with many participants raising the problem. Shwait Malik of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) requested an investigation into the unusual charges charged by private schools, stating "traders" were now opening schools for the sole purpose of making cash. He said colleges only force parents to purchase clothes, books and stationery from them or at exorbitant prices designated stores. "Schools ask for building fees in addition to donations. Parents are compelled to purchase books at four times the usual cost. They are compelled to purchase uniforms from schools while ideally they should get them from tailors. Parents are exploited on multiple pretexts such as tours and science experiments," said Malik. Samajwadi Party Surendra Singh Nagar claimed that college charges had risen nearly 150 percent since 2005 during the Zero Hour. The parents were over-charged for different operations besides this. He said the govt of Uttar Pradesh had introduced a law to regulate private colleges, but it was not yet fully implemented in the state.
10:07 pm New Delhi, Higher education institutions that have failed to meet the quality standards of the National Assessment Accreditation Council (NAAC) can now get mentorship from the top universities and colleges. Under the Paramarsh scheme of the University Grants Commission (UGC), launched by HRD minister Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' here on Thursday, initially 71 universities and 391 colleges with NAAC score of 3.26 and above will mentor five colleges each. Expressing his satisfaction, the minister said, "The first step of the mission that we had started to improve the quality and standards of education has been initiated by the UGC with the launch of Paramarsh and Deeksharambh schemes." Under the Paramarsh scheme, the leading institutions will provide regular mentoring to help colleges achieve high quality standards. The scheme also proposes to provide financial assistance to the mentoring institutions and the option of appointing an expert, who can be paid a fellowship amount of Rs 31,000 per month. Terming Paramarsh as an important scheme, he said the ministry's thrust was on improving the global ranking of the Indian higher education institutions. As a part of this scheme, hundreds of top universities and colleges will be selected to lead the institutes, which failed to achieve the NAAC grade. The eligibility guidelines laid down by UGC say the mentor and the mentee can be government, aided, private or self-financing institution. "The mentor institution should be NAAC accredited with an A grade, having an overall score of 3.26 and above. Any such institution recognised under 2(f) & 12B of the UGC Act 1956 will be eligible to receive UGC grants for the purpose. Since these grants will be used for mentoring the institution and not for creation of any infrastructure, the private institution can also receive funding as they do for student teacher centric schemes," the guidelines stated. The scheme will lead to enhancement of the mentee institutions' quality and its profile as a result of improved quality of research, teaching and learning methodologies. The mentee institution will also have increased exposure and speedier adaptation to best practices. The Paramarsh scheme will also facilitate sharing of knowledge, information and opportunities for research collaboration and faculty development in mentee institutions. As part of the scheme, the mentor institutions can secure financial assistance up to Rs 30 lakh from UGC and can also hire experts. "This scheme will be a paradigm shift in the concept of mentoring of institution by another well performing institution to upgrade their academic performance and enable them to get accredited by focusing in the area of curricular aspects, teaching-learning and evaluation, research, innovation, institutional values and practices etc," an official said. Officials said since the scheme had been launched, the proposals would be invited from the leading institutes that would like to mentor colleges. "Once the proposals are accepted by the UGC, the institutes can start the mentoring programme within a month," said an official. The NAAC ia an autonomous body that assesses and accredits higher education institutions (HEIs) in India. It assesses the higher learning institutes on the basis of seven parametres. The parametres include teaching-learning and evaluation, infrastructure and learning resources, research, innovation and extension, curricular aspects, governance, leadership and management, student support and progression and institutional values and best practices.
02:07 pm New Delhi, The Delhi High Court on Wednesday turned down a plea which alleged large-scale discrepancies in the cut-off marks for Christian Scheduled Tribes (CST), Christian Others (COTH), and Christian Physically Handicapped (CPH) applicants for admission to undergraduate courses in St Stephen's College. A bench, headed by Chief Justice D.N. Patel and including Justice C Harishankar, dismissed the plea filed by Nandita Narain, a faculty in the college. Narain, in her petition, had contended that the cut off marks for candidates from Christian reserved category for admission to various courses in 2019-20 academic year are "artificially high and illegal". "... The cut off marks were kept at a very high level for CSTs, CPH non-Christian SC/ST/PH candidates by not calling for the interview and written exam the prescribed number of candidates who would normally fall within the zone of consideration as specified in clause 11 of the Guidelines set out above," the petition stated. "Clause 11 of these guidelines specifies that the candidates called for the interview and the written exam should be in a certain ratio to the number of seats available. The effect of clause 11 is that the candidate with the lowest marks in the zone of consideration determines the cut off marks. Thus if the number of candidates called for the interview and the written exam are lower than the prescribed ratio, the cut off marks would be higher," the plea said. The petitioner has also alleged discrepancies in the interview and written exam scheduled for admission to the B.A Economics (Hons) course. "The unlawful actions of the college and its principal are in breach of Article 14 of the Constitution of India and the actions are arbitrary, irrational and harshly impact on the lives of the students who have been unlawfully excluded from the admission process," the plea read.
05:07 pm New Delhi: India trails behind several countries including Brazil and China in terms of student-teacher ratio in higher education segment, a government report has revealed. The 24:1 ratio of India is lower than 19:1 in Brazil and China. Among the eight countries compared, India's student-ratio has turned out to be the lowest - against Sweden's 12:1, Britain's 16:1, Russia's 10:1 and Canada's 9:1. This not only results in overburdening a small group of teachers but also adversely affects the quality of academic research taken up by them, says a Human Resource Development Ministry report. "A low student-teacher ratio indicates the burden on a single teacher of teaching multiple students as well as the lack of time that each student gets. Apart from this simplistic effect, in an institution of higher learning, a smaller number of overburdened teachers are also unable to pursue any research or encourage their students to do so. "Consequently, the culture of questioning and reasoning cannot be inculcated as a part of higher education in most institutions," the Education Quality Upgradation and Inclusion Programme (EQUIP) report said. The faculty shortage have worsened over the time due to increasing enrolment rate of the students and low faculty recruitment in the higher education institutes. As per the ministry's All India Survey on Higher Education statistics, while the student enrolment in higher education institutes have increased from 32.3 million in 2013-14 to 36.6 million in 2017-18, the total number of teachers have declined from 13,67,535 to 12,84,755. According to estimates, the country's higher education sector - central, state and private universities - is facing a shortfall of over 5 lakh teachers. "India is short of professors, with 6,600 posts vacant in central universities, a shortfall of 33 per cent. In IITs and state universities, 35 per cent and 38 per cent vacancies need to be filled respectively," the report stated. It added that the faculty vacancies have negatively impacted the quality of teaching and research. "Available data shows that this shortfall in faculty is being bridged by using large numbers of ad hoc or part-time faculty. However, institutions with a high number of ad hoc or part-time faculty perform poorly in terms of teaching quality." The report also points out that the number of female teachers at the tertiary level of education is also low. "At the all India level, there were 72 female teachers per 100 male teachers. Similarly, in SC category, there were 56 female teachers per hundred male teachers, and in the case of ST and OBC, it was 66 and 68 female per 100 male teachers, respectively," it stated. Enlisting the reasons for low student-teacher ratios at the higher education level, the report has noted that apart from not filling up the sanctioned strength, most institutions hesitate in creating new faculty positions. "In addition to the low number of sanctioned faculty positions, faculty vacancy even in sanctioned strength is an extremely serious problem. Due to various reasons such as a ban on recruitment, lack of funds, and the reluctance of states to bear the long-term salary burden, a large number of faculty positions are not filled. Attracting faculty is a big challenge for rural and backward areas because of the lack of infrastructural support and reluctance of teachers in moving to non-urban areas," it stated. In June, the University Grants Commission had issued guidelines asking the government-operated higher education institutions to fill up 3 lakh vacancies within six months. Union HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' has also been emphasising on filling up faculty positions on war footing in various meetings with the higher education institutions.
12:07 pm New Delhi: Networks representing over 7,000 higher education institutions from across the world on Thursday declared a climate emergency and agreed to undertake steps to address the crisis. In a joint letter, they talked about a three-point plan that includes going carbon neutral by 2030 or 2050 at the latest, mobilising more resources for action-oriented climate change research and skills creation, and increasing the delivery of environmental and sustainability education across curricula, campus and community outreach programmes. The letter -- coordinated by the UN Environment's Youth and Education Alliance, The Alliance for Sustainability Leadership in Education, and Second Nature - a US-based higher education climate action organization -- marks the first time education institutions made a collective commitment to address climate emergency. Signed by universities including Strathmore University (Kenya), Tongji University (China) and KEDGE Business School (France), the call is also backed by major global education networks such as the Global Alliance and the Globally Responsible Leadership Initiative, which have made commitments to meeting the suggested carbon neutrality targets. "What we teach shapes the future. We welcome this commitment from universities to go climate neutral by 2030 and to scale-up efforts on campus," UN Environment Executive Director Inger Andersen said. "Young people are increasingly at the forefront of calls for more action on climate and environmental challenges. Initiatives which directly involve the youth in this critical work are a valuable contribution to achieving environmental sustainability." Examples of best practices for sustainability on campus include Kenya's Strathmore University, which runs on clean energy and has set up its own 600KW photovoltaic grid tie system, as well as Tongji University in China, which has significantly invested in delivering a sustainability education curriculum and is encouraging other education institutions to do the same. In the US, the University of California has committed to a system-wide goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2025, while others, such as the American University and Colgate University, have already achieved carbon neutrality.
11:07 am New Delhi:The Delhi High Court held that colleges would not be able to withhold a student's Transfer Certificate (TC) if charges were not paid. On Thursday, a bench led by Justice D.N. Patel issued the order acknowledging a letter narrating the plight of Kartik and Priyansh, who were unable to seek admission to another college because their present college in the domestic capital refused to issue them. Converting the letter into a PIL, the tribunal ordered the private school to issue certificates of transfer within one week to parents of Kartik (Class III) nine year old and Priyansh (pre-primary)5 yer old. Lawyer Ashok Agarwal, who was designated as amicus curiae to help the tribunal, stated that under Rule 167 of the 1973 Delhi School Education Act, a school could strike off a student's name. Following the conclusion of the arguments, the tribunal ruled that a private school had no power under the Delhi School Education Act to withhold the issuance of a Transfer Certificate to a student for non-payment of exceptional fees.
05:07 pm London: The positive effects of a rich home learning environment during a child's early years continue into adolescence and help improve test scores later in life, says a study. Published in School Effectiveness and School Improvement, the research shows pre-schoolers whose parents regularly read and talked about books with them scored better on math tests at age 12. "Our results underline the great importance of exposing children to books for development not just in literacy but numeracy too: early language skills not only improve a child's reading but also boost mathematical ability," said the study lead author Simone Lehrl from University of Bamberg. For the findings, researchers studied 229 German children from age three until secondary school and participants' literacy and numeracy skills were tested annually in their three years of preschool (ages 3-5) and again when they were 12 or 13 years old. They found that children gained from home stimulation in their preschool years in literacy, language and arithmetic skills which, in turn, led to higher outcomes in reading and mathematical skills in secondary school, regardless of the home learning environment then. "Encouraging caregivers to engage with their children in direct literacy activities, shared book reading and advanced verbal interactions during reading and to include language and mathematical content during these activities, should promote children's reading and mathematical abilities in secondary school. Such experiences lay a strong foundation for later school success," Lehrl said. According to the researchers, the effect also worked the other way with the quality of parent-child interaction regarding mathematics also improving children's language skills.
12:06 pm BENGALURU: The Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu has called for the revamping of our entire education system to equip our youth with the knowledge, skills and attitudes required for the 21st century. He was inaugurating the Golden Jubilee Celebrations of Sri Satya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, in Bengaluru. Terming the completion of 50 years, as a ‘crucial milestone’ in the journey of the institution, Naidu said that the achievement was an eloquent testimony to the enduring vision of Sri Satya Sai Baba, an extraordinary guru and a transformational leader, who inspired millions of people across the globe to actively participate in the service of humanity. The Vice President asserted that education is one of the major catalysts of growth and added that nations prosper only when its citizens become educated. Quoting the Kothari Commission’s report of 1964-68 which laid down the country’s education policy, Naidu said that the destiny of our country shaped in our classrooms. Referring to the draft National Education policy 2019 that covers a whole range of issues in great detail, the Vice President spoke about the need to aim for excellence and equity and strikes a balance between the national needs and ethos and the need to prepare our students to be among the best in the global context. Naidu called for a pragmatic language policy in which mother tongue and other languages are given due importance in order to help our youth excel in a multilingual world. Highlighting India’s improving literacy rate, the Vice President said that in the next few years, we must ensure that our population can read, write, compute, articulate and participate with greater self-confidence in the developmental processes.
03:05 pm The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has requested Medical Council of India (MCI) to consider an extension of the last date for PG medical admission in States from 18th May to 31 May 2019 to fill up the remaining vacant seats in the academic session 2019-20. As per the time schedule notified by Medical Council of India, the last date for filling up of Post Graduate Medical seats by the States is 18th May 2019. The Ministry is in receipt of representations from Institutions / State Governments for extending the last date for filling up of vacant PG medical seats beyond 18th May 2019 and upto 31st May 2019. The Health Ministry has thus requested the Board of Governors (BoG), MCI to examine the matter and make suitable recommendations. The BoG is meeting today to consider the matter.
12:04 pm Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu has called upon universities and institutions to constantly reform the system and ensure that higher education institutions deliver high-quality education. Addressing the 9th Annual Convocation of VELS Institute of Science, Technology and Advanced Studies (VISTAS), in Chennai, Naidu referred to the transient nature of technology in a fast-evolving world and advised the students to regularly update their knowledge and skills to carve a niche in their chosen fields. Stressing that quality higher education was necessary for accelerating the progress and development of our country, the Vice President wanted institutions of higher learning to open new horizons of knowledge and research at their institutions. Observing that one must not ignore rural India in our quest to scale new heights of growth, he called for an inclusive and all around the development. Stating that technology was a great democratic leveller, Naidu asked students and the youth to take care of the technological needs of our villages, agriculture and allied industry. He called for leveraging technology's potential for rural development and bridging the rural-urban divide. The Vice President said that the technology must provide solutions to the issues of rural life and economy. He further said that India lives in its villages and the development of our country depends on rural India. You have a promising faculty in Pharmacy your institute should think of starting programs in Agriculture, Horticulture and Veterinary Science, he added. Naidu asked the students and the youth to not to fall prey to the distractions of modern lifestyle and he advised them to shun junk food to stay healthy. While expressing concern over the prevalence of non-communicable diseases, he advised everybody to change their lifestyles and food habits.