Monday, May 28, 2018

Balancing theory with practice

Kriengsak Chareonwongsak Issue No:507 (University World News)

Preventing mismatches between academic qualifications and job requirements is crucial to curb the rising trend of unemployment among new graduates across Asia. 

As can be observed from how the marks are weighted, many university examinations in Asia still place a lot of emphasis on theoretically oriented responses (although there is now a greater tendency for questions to be looking for more common-sense, practical responses or to be more open-ended), something that is more marked than in Europe or the United States.

As such, it can be assumed that good practical knowledge will not guarantee good grades, given that it will not be reflected in the overall mark.

There is no denying that theoretical knowledge has its merits – it can often lead to a deeper understanding of a concept through seeing it in the context of the greater whole and understanding the reasoning behind it.

But wouldn’t it make sense in today’s technology-driven world for both theoretical and practical know-how to be allowed to complement each other?

While theories are often taught in a vacuum, the practical side of knowledge could lead to a deeper understanding of a concept through the act of putting ideas to the test and gauging the validity of theoretical claims.

Curriculum overhaul

The need to balance theoretical and practical knowledge was acknowledged by the Asian Development Bank as long ago as November 2011 in a report entitled Higher Education across Asia: An overview of issues and strategies.

The report pointed out three sensible observations:

  • First, as more students complete higher education, the relative advantage of having a university degree decreases.
  • Second, university curricula and instructional practices have not always kept pace with changing employer demands as countries move towards more market-oriented economies. Employers increasingly favour graduates who possess both up-to-date technical and soft skills for the new workplace (which include analytic thinking, collaboration and individual initiative as well as computer skills and fluency in international languages).
  • Third, the forces of globalisation have led to more regional labour markets in which graduates of each country now compete with those of other countries for available jobs. One aspect of the changing needs of the workplace is the increasing emphasis on potential employees’ technical skills as evidenced by the value now being assigned to technical and vocational education and training.

Striking a balance

The good news is that various higher education boards in Asia have recognised the importance of deploying teaching staff with relevant industry experience to cascade down job-ready knowledge and skills, thus making their students marketable in the eyes of their potential employers.

Professionally qualified faculty can be an important asset, given they are able to impart relevant learning experiences that reflect current industry practices or are able to link their practical know-how to research and theory.

On this note, established tertiary institutions – both public and private – have made great strides in bringing in industry-employed staff as part-time or guest lecturers. The deployment of professionally qualified faculty should be viewed as an appropriate way to support high-quality academic programmes.

Complementing the deployment of professionally qualified lecturers is the incorporation of real-world examples and case studies into course material.

This will alleviate the tendency of academic staff without industry experience to dish out theoretically based course materials – especially in the context of business, commerce or mass communication courses – as opposed to depicting real-life scenarios that might be useful to their students in the future.

Another brilliant strategy is to make internship or on-the-job training a compulsory part of the syllabus across all courses. Job placement has proven to be advantageous to graduate job-seekers as more employers are treating it as partial work experience that gives candidates a good insight or exposure into work life challenges.

The Good Universities Guide, which claims to be Australia’s largest course comparison website, has identified five benefits of completing an internship:

  • You can make industry contacts;
  • They look good on your résumé;
  • You can convert your academic knowledge into industry skills;
  • The experience will narrow down your list of potential careers, and
  • You can gain an unforgettable life experience.

Engineering and architectural schools have succeeded in infusing practical knowledge through compulsory work experience during semester breaks, providing a test-bed for students to implement their theoretical knowledge.

Likewise, faculty members in engineering or architectural schools have the opportunity to be accredited by the various professional engineering boards. This will further ensure that they are constantly in touch with the latest developments or technology changes related to their fields.

The end result is having a pool of academicians with relevant real-world experience who can impart practical experience to students during classroom teaching.

In all fairness, the benefits of striking a balance between theoretical and practical knowledge are endless. Blending theoretical and practical wisdom should be seen as producing bookworms who possesses adequate industrial exposure in addition to being street smart.

After all, there is no denying that many of those from the school of hard knocks have made great strides in their fields.

Dr Kriengsak Chareonwongsak is currently a senior fellow at Harvard University in the United States and president of the Bangkok-based Institute of Future Studies for Development.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

IGNOU exempts fees for SC and ST students

BHUBANESWAR: Indira Gandhi National Open University(IGNOU) has launched three new certificate courses like Certificate in First AidCertificate in Tribal Studies and Diploma in Event Managementfrom the coming academic session beginning in July 2018.

The IGNOU has decided to exempt admission and readmission fees for the scheduled caste (SC) and scheduled tribe (ST) students for the admission of certificate courses, under graduate courses and post graduate diploma courses. Those SC and ST students who are availing any kind of fellowship of fee exemption from other agencies are not eligible for fee exemption.

The students who are desirous to take admission in the newly introduced certificate courses or any other courses may contact regional centre in the city. The last date for applying certificate, diploma and PG Diploma courses is June 30 and last date for applying undergraduate and postgraduate courses is July 15, official sources said.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

IGNOU announces admission to Masters and Bachelors Programmes for the Academic Cycle commencing from July, 2018

Indira Gandhi National Open University has announced admission to Bachelors and Masters degree programmes. Last date of submission of ‘online’ admission form for these Programmes is 15.07.2018.


MA (Philosophy); MA (Gandhi & Peace Studies); MA (Development Studies); MA (Anthropology); MA (Gender & Development Studies); Master of Social Work (MSW); Master of Social Work(Counseling); MA (Distance Education); MA (Economics); MA (English); MA (Hindi); MA (History); MA (Political Science); MA (Psychology); MA (Public Administration); MA (Rural Development); MA (Sociology); Master of  Tourism and Travel Management(MTTM); Master of Commerce (MCom); Master of Computer Applications (MCA); Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS); MSc (Dietetics and Food Services Management); MA (Translation Studies); Msc (Counselling and Family Therapy); MA (Adult Education); MA (Women’s and Gender Studies)


Bachelor of Science (BSc); Bachelor of Arts (BA); BA (Tourism Studies); Bachelor of Commerce (BCom); Bachelor of Computer Applications (BCA); Bachelor of Library & Information Science (BLIS); and Bachelor of Social Work (BSW)

IGNOU is also offering B.Com (A&F) and M.Com(F&T), B.Com(CA&A) and M.Com(BP&CG), B.Com(F&CA) and M.Com(MA&FS) in collaboration with the INSTITUTE OF CHARTERED ACCOUNTANTS OF INDIA, Institute of Company Secretaries of India and Institute of Cost Accountants of India.  Cost of the Prospectus : Rs. 750/- (add Rs. 50/- for getting by post). 

The scheme of fee exemption to the SC/ST students would also be effective in July,2018 admission cycle for all academic programmes at Certificate level (advanced, under-graduate and post graduate; all academic programmes at Diploma level (advanced, under-graduate and post graduate) which are not part of undergraduate and master levels academic programme; Bachelor Preparatory Programmes (BPP); freshly registered in BDP (B.A.,B.Com,B.Sc.); freshly registered in BSW;BTS;BLIS and BCA.

First time applicants are advised to click the available programme tab on the homepage of the Online Admission System and select the desired programme and carefully read the details of programme including eligibility criteria, fee details, duration, etc.

MA (Education) and Bachelor of Business Administration (Retailing)(BBARL) programmes are also on offer in 'offline' mode. Applicants can also download the complete details of all the above programmes from the IGNOU website. For more information about IGNOU Programmes and admission, an email may be sent to

Hall Ticket Term End Examination June 2018

Dear Learner,

Please download you Hall Ticket / Admit Card for the Term End Examination Starting 1st June 2018 from the following link :

 Please carry your IGNOU Identity Card along with Hall Ticket / Admit Card to your examination centre and reach the examination centre on time.

Best Wishes for examination.


Naveen Raj Bhatia
(Centre In-Charge)
IGNOU SC-0742 (D)

Monday, May 21, 2018

'Spoken English' course for students in Delhi

The Delhi government is inviting applications from government school students for enrolment in the 'Spoken English' course to enhance their language speaking skills.

The programme has been organised in collaboration with the British Council, India-McMillan Education, Academy for Computers Training (Gujarat) and Trinity College London.
The course is open for full-time regular students who have taken part in Class 10 board exams and have passed the pre-board exams in three subjects with English as a subject. The course will begin in June.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted: "Government school students mostly come from economically poor backgrounds. When I meet them, this was their biggest demand - Sir, 'hame English bolna sikhwa dijiye.' (Sir, help us to learn spoken English). I am so happy this course is now starting for government school students."

Sunday, May 20, 2018

The road to sustainable world-class universities

R Ponnusamy Issue No:506 (University World News)

India is the world’s seventh-largest economy and has advanced in several fields of technology and science. But it has failed to achieve its decade-long dream of having world-class universities to showcase its technical and economic power to the world. 

The government has recently allotted several thousand crore (tens of billions of rupees or hundreds of millions of dollars) to make this dream a reality, but will this work? In traditional world-class universities, there is a culture of research and practice that encourages innovation and entrepreneurship. How is that best cultivated?

The Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2018 lists only a few of India’s institutions. Yet the country has potential. There are two Indian institutes in the 251 to 400 range of the THE ranking. One is the Indian Institute of Science and the other is the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay. There are another 40 universities and institutes that have the potential to attain a top 500 ranking. 

IGNOU Admissions 2018: Online registration for IGNOU courses begin

PUNE: Admissions for the July session are open in Indira Gandhi National Open University. Students can take admissions in any of the courses available namely certificate, diploma, post graduate diploma, bachelors, masters, PhD etc.

Interested students have to go the IGNOU home page at and then click on the tab which says online admissions open for July 2018. “Click on "LOGIN" button from the homepage of Online admission system and then login with your Username and password by clicking the "LOGIN" button given on the login screen. Fill personal details, programme details, qualification details, course details, and correspondence details,’ said the official notification.

Remember, while filling qualification details that ‘If your subjects are different than the subjects mentioned; click the "others" check box. For those with qualification of graduation and above, in the field "Board Code" select "9999".’

Students are advised to keep relevant scanned documents before applying online with them. The required scanned documents involve scanned photograph (less than 100 KB), scanned signature (less than 100 KB), scanned copy of age proof, scanned copy of relevant educational qualification (less than 400 KB), scanned copy of experience certificate (if any less than 400 KB), scanned copy of category certificate, if SC/ST/OBC (less than 400 KB), scanned copy of BPL certificate, if below poverty line (less than 400 KB).

Students can pay the fee online. The students are advised to save or print out the form for future reference.

DU announces free preparatory classes for PG entrance exams for economically weaker students

NEW DELHI: The Delhi University has announced two weeks of free preparatory classes for post graduate entrance examinations for students from economically weaker sections and minority communities.

The classes will be held for eight disciplines - Commerce, Law, Journalism (Hindi and English), Chemistry, Physics, Maths, Computer Science and Zoology.

"For the third consecutive year, the varsity is conducting such classes to help students clear entrance exam for various postgraduate programmes. The purpose is to prepare students for the academic approach to be adopted to clear the entrance," the university said in a statement. 

Thursday, May 17, 2018

NIOS to conduct D.El.Ed exam for untrained in-service teachers from May 31

NEW DELHI: The National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) is going to conduct the D.El.Ed examination for in-service teachers from May 31 to June 2, 2018.

Diploma in Elementary Education (D.El.Ed) programme is aimed at enabling the target group to develop in them skills, competencies, attitudes and understanding to make teaching and learning more effective. NIOS has designed and developed Diploma in Elementary Education (D.El.Ed.) Programme in ODL mode for un-trained in-service teachers at elementary level. It consists of 10 papers, five papers in two semesters of 9 months.

Registration deadline for Swachh Bharat Summer Internship extended till June 15

The government of India has extended the registration deadline for the Swachh Bharat Summer Internship till June 15, 2018. Earlier, the last to apply was May 15, 2018.

Prime Minister Narendra Modihad announced the internship during his 'Mann Ki Baat' address on April 29.

"Students of higher education institutions and members of Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan can now register for the internship till June 15. Earlier, the last date for registration was till May 15.

"The extension has been given to facilitate the youth across the country, particularly those in colleges who would be pre-occupied with academic matters and examinations," a government statement read.

Students and NYKS youths can sign up for the Swachh Bharat Summer Internship by logging on to the portal

The interns would be required to complete at least 100 hours of sanitation-related work in villages which would qualify them for 'Swachh Bharat Certificates'.


  1. Log on to the official Swachh Bharat Summer Internship website:
  2. Choose to enroll between Academic/Institutions or Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan
  3. A new page will open on your screen, click on 'Login here'
  4. Enter your details like Name, Email, Mobile number to register on MyGov
  5. Enter OTP received on your email or mobile phone
  6. Fill up the enrollment form
  7. Submit it
  8. Take printout for future use.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Fee waivers bid to draw top students from Asia, Africa

Author :Shuriah Niazi Issue No:0

The government has begun a drive to attract more foreign students to India’s leading higher education institutions, allocating 15,000 places a year at the top 160 universities and colleges for at least two years and introducing a new system of fee waivers to attract top talent from Asian and African countries.

Currently around 8,000 foreign students are admitted each year, although not just at the top 160 institutions. The 15,000 places will be reserved for international students – and will not go to local students if they are not filled up – and are supported by a generous fee waiver scheme.

The aim is to make India a preferred destination, based on promoting the country as a “hub of affordable education for foreign students”, in the words of India’s Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar.

Internationalization of HE through distance learning

Authors :Hakan Ergin and Bruno Morche Issue No:505

Over recent decades, the international dimension of higher education has become an essential part of the agenda of higher education institutions and governments all over the world. While countries compete with each other to host international students, supranational organisations, such as the OECD and UNESCO, compare the numbers of international students in several countries in order to shed light on the level of internationalisation of different higher education systems. 

But it is worth asking whether the internationalisation of higher education should be solely dependent on the physical mobility of students across national borders. As stated by Hans de Wit, director of the Center for International Higher Education at Boston College: "Internationalisation of higher education over the past decades is moving more from a focus on 'abroad' towards a focus on 'at home', placing less stress on physical mobility for a small group." 

The general idea of ‘internationalisation at home’ is a relevant topic explored recently by commentaries on this website and in other publications.

Internationalisation has traditionally been embraced by higher education stakeholders for its academic, economic, social/cultural and political advantages. To access these benefits, universities, on the one hand, host international students at their own institutions and, on the other hand, send their own students to study abroad. 

Nevertheless, physical mobility-oriented internationalisation cannot meet stakeholders’ expectations on its own, because it enables just a minority of students to internationalise. 

Campus Placement Drive with “Get Hired Services India” for IGNOU students on May 18, 2018 at IGNOU Campus

CPC, IGNOU Announces Campus Placement Drive on May 18, 2018 at 10.00 AM. at Convention Centre, IGNOU Campus, Maidan Garhi, New Delhi- 110068 for Aegies Services Pvt. Ltd., Avivia India, and Quicker.Com. The salary for the offered positions is between 1.5 to 4.5 LPA.  If you have good communication skills, please come with your latest CV. In case of any query, contact: Mr. Vishal Raina +91 9953324929, (011-66083481)/ MS. Reena Sharma (29536867) or email at For more details, visit  

Thanks and regards,
(Prof. B. B. Khanna)
Director, Campus Placement Cell
IGNOU, Maidan Garhi,
New Delhi- 1100168

Sunday, May 13, 2018

New Commonwealth initiative to boost digital education skills

To create an enabling environment and culture of lifelong learning, an intergovernmental organisation created by the Commonwealth Heads of Government has launched an online platform that can help both teachers and students to improve their digital education skills.

The platform, launched by the Commonwealth of Learning (COL), is designed to assist teachers and students to assess their digital education skills, learn digital education skills based on areas that need improvements, and receive a certificate according to their depth of understanding - beginner, intermediate or fluent.

Named Commonwealth Digital Education Leadership Training in Action (C-DELTA), the platform allows students and teachers to develop communities and demonstrate their effective use of digital education tools, and thereby influence others as leaders in digital education skills, COL said in a statement on Friday.

"Digital Education skills will be the primary skills for success in the 21st century. Through this platform, COL intends to strengthen the digital education skills environment in the Commonwealth," said Sanjaya Mishra, COL's e-learning specialist.

To support the adoption of C-DELTA, the British Columbia, Canada-headquartered organisation said it would work with the governments and educational institutions of the Commonwealth member-states.

The curriculum framework for C-DELTA has been developed in collaboration with the Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching and the University of Cape Town, South Africa.

The modules have been developed by experts and peer-reviewed by an advisory group from across the Commonwealth, the statement added.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Swachh Bharat internship program launched; here's all you need to know

In a bid to promote the objectives of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched on October 2, 2014, the central government has launched the Swachh Bharat Summer Internships - 2018 aiming at enrolling students for promoting swachhata (cleanliness) in villages, states a circular issued by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD).

The University Grants Commission (UGC) through a letter issued late last month qualified this internship as being eligible for two academic credits like an optional paper.

Under this, the students are invited to select a village of their choice, and work with the village community for building a lasting system for improving the overall sanitation and hygiene in the village. It is expected that each student would devote at least 100 hours to swachhata, and carry out specific measures for improving the sanitation and hygiene in the village.

IGNOU 2018 admission for July session begins; apply @

NEW DELHI: The Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) has begun admissions for its Bachelor Preparatory Programme, PG diploma, diploma and certificate programmes for July-2018 session.

The last date for admission is June 30, 2018. The admission process and payment can be made online, the IGNOU said in a statement.

First time applicants are advised to click the available programme tab on the homepage of the online admission system and select the desired programme and carefully read the details of the programme, including eligibility criteria, fee details, duration, etc, it said.

Bachelor Preparatory Programme (BPP) is a non-formal channel to be eligible for BA/B.Com in Social Work/Bachelor in Tourism Studies of the university.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

How online coaching is driving UPSC dreams

Aspirants constrained by finances or social norms are turning to apps and websites for video tutorials

A day after he was declared this year’s all-India UPSC exam topper, Anudeep Durishetty told TOI that “YouTube is the best tutor” to prepare for the civils.

Durishetty is proof that the internet has democratized IAS coaching, otherwise monopolized by expensive academies in metros like Delhi. Aspirants from all over the country move to the Capital, often staying in congested shared quarters and commuting long distances, to crack one of the toughest competitive exams in the world. Now, online coaching, YouTube tutorials and live streaming of lessons make it possible for them to do it from the comfort of their homes.

Saumya Sharma, ranked ninth in UPSC 2017, relied entirely on online resources. Despite a hearing disability, she cleared the exam in the first attempt. “English subtitles on the online content helped me prepare better,” says the 23-year-old.

For women who find it difficult to relocate to another city due to social and family constraints, online coaching has been a boon. Dr L K Beejal, co-founder of Neostencil, shares the example of Ilma Afroz from Moradabad district, this year’s 217th rank-holder. “She hails from Kundarki, a small town near Moradabad. There was no good IAS academy in or near her town. With online coaching, she managed to crack IAS from the safety of her home,” says Beejal. live streams lectures from 40 IAS coaching institutes.

Roman Saini, ranked 18th in UPSC 2014, says online content has grown remarkably in the last five years. “I wrote the exam when internet was expensive and there was hardly any content available online. If I were to write the exam today, it would take a lot less time to prepare,” says Saini, who prepped for the exam while pursuing MBBS at AIIMS in Delhi. He cleared it in the first attempt. But he quit next year and set up an online tuition portal, Una cademy, along with co-founder Gaurav Munjal.

Today, it has close to 2,500 videos on IAS preparation by qualified faculty, many of whom have cleared the exam or prepared for it.

Enrollments for the IAS programme of BYJU’s have grown by over 100% in the last one year, reveals Mrinal Mohit, COO of the learning app. “As many as 232 of our students were selected for UPSC this year,” says Mohit.

Most online coaching modules are priced between Rs 5,000 and Rs 10,000, with a content duration varying from 24 hours to seven days or more. However, some live streamed lectures can go up to Rs 90,000. But it still works out cheaper than offline, say online coaches. “Preparing for the civils takes at least two years. The tuition plus the cost of living in Delhi can go up to Rs 10 lakh,” says Beejal.

Four IASBaba subscribers secured ranks in the top 20, and about 80 cleared the exam, up from 64 last year. The portal set up by Mohan Kumar, Yeshwant Gurukar and Tauseef Ahmad in Bengaluru in 2015 has five lakh subscribers. “We provide guidance and preparation for prelims, mains and interview. Except for one programme, all other content is free,” says Mohan Kumar., run by Mrunal Patel in Gujarat, provides access to free videos and guidance. His YouTube channel has more than 4.5 lakh subscribers, and is sought after for its economics videos.

Coaching institutes, however, point out that online tutorials have a low success rate. “Only extremely driven candidates can self-learn. The rest need structured guidance and curriculum,” says Amrit Singh Chopra, director, Unique Shiksha, an IAS coaching institute in Delhi.

Also, the mains paper is a written one, and aspirants don’t get writing practice when studying online, he adds.