Friday, April 29, 2016

Irani unveils web platform for inclusive higher edu

The HRD ministry has unveiled an ambitious plan to facilitate web-based learning, involving applying for courses and accessing material online, to increase the reach and quality of higher education.

HRD minister Smriti Irani in a tweet outlined the structure of Study Webs of Active-Learning for Young Aspiring Minds (Swayam) which promises linkages and assistance for web-enabled learning. 

The massive open online courses (MOOCS) platform will aim to create a student experience that begins with creating learning plans and providing information to prospective students about the courses that are available. The Swayam flow chart will allow students to check their eligibility and then proceed for preview and availability of teaching in fields of their interest.

The next step is contact with course coordinators for more detailed information. Application and successful registration lead to access to course materials as the learning process gets under way and now, as students begin following schedules, they can network with other learners to set up a shared work space. These workspaces can be homes or any available public space and the interaction can go up with online communication with other course-takers.

Mid-module assessments and guidance from supervisors are intended to keep students on track and up to the mark in their academic work that includes self-assessment. Successful course completion will lead to earning credits followed by a course review exercise and the next level of learning in the programme will get under way. Completion of requisite number of modules will lead to qualification at par with regular learning.

The e-learning programme has been structured to deliver results and improve inclusion as the admission processes to colleges and schools are unable to accommodate a growing number of applicants.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Panel to review ranking mechanism of educational institutions

To analyse the feedback received regarding its first ever rankings of the country's educational institutions, the Union HRD ministry constituted a nine member expert committee that would review parameters and suggest improvements.

The Smriti Irani led HRD ministry had earlier this month released rankings of the country's educational institutions and the committee headed by secretary of higher education Vinay Sheel Oberoi would analyse the feedback.

"A lot of feedback is about classification of the institutions. We have to think whether there can be more categories for other disciplines like say law. To look holistically at the entire exercise we have decided to form this panel," a senior official said.
Apart from Oberoi, Prof Surendra Prasad, chairman of National Board of Accreditation, UGC chairman Ved Prakash, AICTE head Anil Sahasrabudhe, additional secretary R Subrahmanyam and other senior officials would be a part of the nine member panel.

The committee would invite representatives from educational institutions to get a more comprehensive outlook of the issues.
Among the terms of reference for the panel are review of ranking structures, rationalization of parameters, setting up a national institutional ranking framework (NIRF) cell at NBA and also examine the possibility of loading all data related to educational institutions, on the All India Survey of Higher Education and a parallel website.

"The committee would work so the feedback received after NIRF 2015 can be used to improve the rankings for the next year," the official added.

Allocation of funds for higher education less than half of proposed amount

 Parliament's standing committee on HRD has expressed concern with the rising trend of huge gap between the proposed demand and the actual allocation of funds for higher education. In its report tabled on Wednesday, the committee said "the actual allocation is less than half of what the ministry had proposed."

In another report on school education, standing committee asked HRD ministry to carry out a ground assessment of schools that are not giving 25% admission to children belonging to economically weaker sections. In case of mid-day meal, the parliamentary panel said that the amount paid to cooks is meagre and compensation should be brought to the level of MNREGA wages.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

NIO to launch diploma course in marine archaeology

Panaji: India boasts of a coastline that is over 7,500km long and has more than 5,000 years of maritime history packed, into it. But, the country has a just a little more than half a dozen marine archaeologists to explore the depths of the ocean for excavation and research.

Now, thanks to an initiative by the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), this vacuum is sought to be filled with the commencement of a diploma course in marine archaeology to generate the manpower required for the research, said marine archaeologist, Sundaresh.

Beginning this academic year, the Pune-based Deccan College Post Graduate and Research Institute, in collaboration with the NIO, will offer the year-long diploma course from July.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Higher education is trapped in a competition fetish- Rajani Naidoo15 April 2016 Issue No:409

Higher education is trapped in a competition fetish

Competition has colonised our world. Everywhere we go, every step we take we hear the siren call of competition. In higher education, too, we are trapped in a competition fetish.

Drawing on insights from anthropology, political economy and psychoanalysis, I deploy the term fetish to describe a belief in something that has the power to make our desires come true. It can also protect us from harm. 

From political economy, the fetishisation of commodities refers to screening the underlying relations of production and translating relations between people into connections between things. From psychoanalysis, we find a two-fold displacement that conceals while giving meaning to a substitute object. The fetish has the power to deny, to invoke fear and to enthral.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

HRD ministry follows activities on campuses with geo-sat app

"Go live" is the red-hot app mantra at the HRD ministry. As more and more colleges and universities get funding, the Centre is keeping tabs on activities on campus through geo-satellite imagery.

Whether it is uploading horizon-to-horizon photos or zoomed-in images, a new application developed by Isro for the ministry schematically displays all the works carried out and purchases made: a brick laid, machinery bought or a pit dug.

CBSE issues advisory to schools to use NCERT textbooks

Central Board of Secondary Education has put up an advisory to schools affiliated to it to use the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) books for all classes as it has received reports and complaints from parents that they were pressurised by schools to buy an excessive number of textbooks published by others.

Calling prescription of too many books and coercing parents and children to buy the same as unhealthy, the board reiterated that schools needn't look beyond NCERT books as the material forms the base for not only board exams but competitive exams like JEE as well.

Currently, the mechanism is such that while schools need to use only NCERT books for Classes 9 to 12, other publications could be used for Classes up to 8. "But we are recommending that more schools start using NCERT books for lower classes as well," said K Srinivasan, regional officer-CBSE, Chennai, adding that it is only an advisory and not a hard and fast rule.

Schools, on their part, said they had reasons to opt for other publications for lower classes. Ajit Prasad Jain, senior principal, Bhavan's Rajaji Vidyashram, said with the nearest NCERT godown/sale counter being based in Bengaluru, there is nearly a wait of six months to procure books and it is convenient to buy other publications that don't sway away from the prescribed CBSE syllabus.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Online training, summer camp part of Delhi govt's education action plan

Government school teachers will get an online "individualized learning platform" and during the vacations, sixth-grade students will attend summer camps run by willing school management committees this year. A mobile application for SMCs to report school issues on and training of nearly every group involved in the schooling process -- from administrators to local community -- are also in Delhi Government's action plan for education in 2016-17.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Duty of institutions to instill in their students a love for motherland: President Pranab Mukherjee

President Pranab Mukherjee said it is the duty of institutions to instill in students a love for their motherland, a sense of responsibility towards society and compassion.

"It is the duty of our institutions to instill in their students a love for their motherland, a sense of responsibility towards their society, and a compassion for all," Mukherjee said while addressing the first convocation of Swami Rama Himalayan University here.

Friday, April 1, 2016

10-day training module on Employability Enhancement and Life Skills in April 2016

Making students repeat all exams for failing in one paper unreasonable: Kerala HC

 Making students who fail in one theory or practical exam to reappear for all the examinations once again is unreasonable and arbitrary, the Kerala high court said on Thursday. Such practice would only result in unfairness to the extreme and doesn't help in achieving higher quality, the court said.

Jamia to introduce nine new courses

Jamia Millia Islamia has decided to introduce nine new courses in Arab-Islamic Culture, Chinese language and Social Inclusion and Inclusive Policy among others from the upcoming academic session.