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Friday, 24 July 2015

New education policy will be ready by 2015 : Smriti Irani

Smriti Irani has a precise goal: to spruce up the education sector in India. The Union Human Resource Development Minister is clear about what she wants – accountability from the teachers and to serve the interests of students across India whose future depends on the quality of education they receive. But in her endeavour, Irani – the feisty minister – has ruffled many feathers.

And so she believes, she has been selectively targeted by these vested interests who accused her of saffronising the education sector. Irani, however, is unperturbed: she is determined to pursue her mission.

“I have been selectively targeted. There has been a selective outrage against what I have been doing as it is convenient. It is also convenient sometimes not to challenge cosy clubs. After a very long time I am asking the academics to be accountable. They are just reacting against it. You are bound to be attacked when you challenge the status quo,” Irani said while addressing the Mail Today Education Conclave-2015 on Monday.

Singapore based educational institute is planning to set-up its campus in India

Indian education market, it looks like, is all set to spread its wings as foreign educational institutes are looking forward to setting up shop here. As reported by Economic Times, a Singapore-based educational institute is planning to set-up its campus in India.

The institute, in collaboration with India's Vels Institute of Science, Technology and Advanced Studies will set-up its campuses in Chennai. With a plan to invest Rs 46 crore in the project, the University will offer programs in business and management.

Management Development Institute of Singapore (MDIS), in its statement has said that it'll start taking in admissions from October and will offer a variety of programs varying from diploma to masters in business and management. The institute is hoping to start more programs from next year.

As per the reports, construction of the 70,000 sq ft campus in Chennai will begin from July next year and cost of 10 million Singapore Dollar (Rs 46.69 crore) has been estimated.

Dr R Theyvendran, Secretary-General of MDIS has said, "Singapore's education has a stellar reputation not just in the region, but globally. There is demand from students from around the world to pursue programs with the Singapore brand, evident from the vast number of countries that students at MDIS in Singapore come from."

"Our existing two overseas campuses are doing well and is a further testament of the Singapore brand. This is the reason why we are taking bold steps and investing in this third overseas campus in India. We hope to fly the Singapore name high in these markets," he further added.

The Chennai University will be the third overseas campus for the Singapore-based private educational institution after Malaysia and Tashkent.

Resolved to constitute a Directorate of Legal Studies and Law Reforms

The Bar Council of India Vide their Resolution No.115/2012 have resolved to constitute a Directorate of Legal Studies and Law Reforms as well as Legal Education Committee. The aforesaid Directorate shall discuss and lay down the procedure for conducting, holding and administering the following functions :-

(i) To monitor the All India Bar Examination;

(ii) Continued Legal Education;

(iii) Educational programmes in various centers of Legal Education and court premises;

(iv) Moot Court competitions at National and international levels;

(v) Scholarships to students;

(vi) Discussions/ seminars on various issues; and

(vii) Reforms in Legal Field, and to discuss any other issues assigned to it by the Bar Council of India. The gist of the discussion and the resolutions of the Directorate are to be placed the Legal Education Committee of Bar Council of India or before Bar Council of India for necessary action and final decision.

The BCI has informed that the Directorate and Legal Education Committee is constituted, consisting of a sitting Judge of Hon'ble Apex court who happens to be the director-in-chief of the Directorate; 3 Hon'ble sitting Judges of different High Courts including that of a Delhi High court, are the members of the Directorate; Attorney General for India and Solicitor General of India, apart from them, Vice- Chancellors of 3 National Law Schools; reputed Senior Advocates of Supreme Court of India; some retired Judges and the Secretary, Ministry of Law and Justice, Department of Legal Affairs, are the members of the Directorate.

Other academicians of the country are also invited as a special invitee of the Director at the time of its meeting. The Directorate and Legal Education Committee discuss and deal with the continuing Legal Education, Teacher's Training, advanced specialized courses, education programme for students, seminars and workshops, legal research and all other issues, revision of curriculum for the law Courses etc.

The Bar Council of India itself is taking care of Legal Education, Continuing Legal Education for development of professional skills, it undertakes training programmes and workshops for young lawyers frequently.

This information was given by Union Minister of Ministry of Law & Justice, Shri D. V. Sadananda Gowda in a written reply in Lok Sabha today.

Monday, 13 July 2015

The future of education is indeed being shaped by digital technology

Digital Education, in the last few years, has facilitated the movement of the paradigm for education beyond hardcopy books and conventional chalkboard classrooms. Over the past decade, the education industry has gone through an array of functional changes in learning methodologies, teaching techniques and in the approach to education itself.

The efficacy of new tools and techniques used in education have been repeatedly proved in this time period. Researchers have found that performance of students using digital learning platforms outperforms those using conventional methods by 30 to 80 per cent. Apart from having an impact on performance of students, technology assists in reducing the cost of education. A study on cost effectiveness of digital platforms found a reduction in institutional cost by 10 to 35 per cent by using technological features.

The future of education is indeed being shaped by digital technology. Moving through the progression of technological developments, education is on the way to be truly universal. Digital learning has undoubtedly led to a revolution in the education industry and the era is dynamically moving to the next level. The emerging traits in technology will establish itself as the pivot of new age education.

MOOCs – Learning over the Internet

MOOC (Massively Open Online Courses) is among the premium offerings of technology to the era. It has rendered a new face to distance education ingrained with features such as open access to learning content, online interaction among teachers and students and most importantly, making education more inclusive.

The New York Times proclaimed 2012 to be the “Year of the MOOC”, as several top providers such as Coursera, Udacity and edX came to the mainstream. Open online Courses enabled distribution of innovative courses at a large scale. From inception itself, MOOCs have been using innovative pedagogies with distributed learning materials apart from conventional audio and video learning. The courses offered are more relevant to modern needs of the generation. For instance, course such as Introduction to Artificial Intelligence (AI) was launched in 2011 by Stanford MOOC.

As of May 2014, more than 900 MOOCs have been launched by private colleges and universities in the US. More universities and education providers from both public and private sectors will launch their own open courses and set an established platform of education on the internet. Furthermore, an emerging trend is the partnership of education boards with MOOC providers.

In mid 2014, SAT, the Scholastic Aptitude Test which is widely used by college admission authority initiated collaboration with Khan Academy, an established MOOC provider. More institutions are likely to collaborate with MOOC providers to form an integrated system of online education. Hence, the shift of conventional education to the Internet will be more intense in coming times.

India, one of the forerunners in Information Technology, has launched a national initiative for online distance education. SWAYAM, the MOOC program initiated by Ministry of Human Resource Development is all set to roll out as the official portal for online education in India. SWAYAM stands for Self Webs of Active-learning for Young Aspiring Minds. The platform is a collaboration of top Indian educational institutions such as IIT, IIM and other central Universities. The Ministry of Finance announced a Rs. 100 Crore funding for online learning and virtual classrooms in 2014.

Digital Classrooms – Connecting Students

A new-age education trend is conventional classrooms transforming into digitally enabled ones. The advantages of digital classrooms are many in contrast to traditional classrooms. The teaching and learning methodologies aided by Information and Communication Technology support intensive, collaborative and interactive education.

Among other advantages, digitally enriched content and personalized learning are some of the major ones. These classrooms are enabled to deliver instruction through multiple forms of media suitable for different modes of learning. They facilitate gathering of immediate feedback and offer solutions to improve student performance. Digitally enhanced class rooms automate practice of basic skills and offer a collaborative way of learning by encouraging peer group learning.

In India, initiative such as Pratham, has been launched in partnership with Vodafone Foundation India. The basic objective of the initiative is to enhance teaching and learning in low income schools using technology as primary tool. The project aims to bring low cost digital learning solutions to 1000 schools in 12 states of India. It is projected that over 50,000 students will be benefited by the initiative.

Pratham is customized to fulfill the requirements of primary Indian education landscape. The program also encompasses conducting holistic training that enables teachers to integrate teaching with technology for optimal benefit of students. It will also provide ongoing technical and lesson planning support to teachers.

The integration of technology in the classroom, especially in developed countries has led to a blended teaching approach. For instance, new trends such as BYOD (Bring your own device) integrate smart devices such as tablets and phones featuring educational apps with the subject matter expertise of the teacher. Notable examples include initiatives by Google for Education such as Google Classroom and Google Computer Science First.

In fact E-Books could soon replace textbooks for an interactive and potentially personalized learning experience in schools. Assessment online platforms nowadays allow for creation of tests that focus on learning outcomes and quick feedback helping chart the progress a student is making. More importantly digital tools promote competency based learning which helps the student to be the focus in the education ecosystem and drive one’ own learning at one’ pace and according to one’s interests.

Bharat’s desire to realize its aspirations through access to better quality education

If there is one single thing that can completely rewrite the Indian social landscape, then it has to be education. It is, as Nelson Mandela famously remarked, “the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Unfortunately, over the last six decades, despite impressive progress in literacy levels and full enrolment at the primary school level, the quality deficit in education has only widened.

Official data released earlier this month is cause for both hope and despair. The latter because it only reaffirms that India has a long way to go before it comes close to achieving desirable outcomes in education. At the same time, it does hold out hope because it confirms that education is a key component of the aspiration matrix of Indians, and that citizens are no longer willing to wait and will go the extra pecuniary mile to realize

Data released by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) this month reveals that a fourth of India’s students were availing of private coaching in 2014. This proportion was a fifth six years ago.

In states such as Tripura and West Bengal, the proportion of students taking private coaching is nearly 80%—more than thrice the national average in 2014. A colleague in Mint wrote a larger piece around this trend and the table with that report ranks the states on spending.

To labour this point further, the NSSO data is revealing in that the share of private coaching in total education spending, for both rural and urban areas, has grown significantly. It rose from 10% in 2008 to 14.1% in 2014 for rural areas and 13% to 16.5% for urban areas over the same period. This desire for private coaching may be inspired either to make up the deficit in education standards or to gain an extra edge for students. Going by anecdotal evidence, it is more likely than not that this trend is motivated by the desire to bridge the deficit in education.

And, of course, we have the humbling findings of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), coordinated by The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which in 2011 ranked India all but last among 74 participating countries in learning—mathematics and reading skills—standards. While China topped it, Kyrgyzstan was last behind India.

It is this massive deficit in education capacities which drives what Professor Amartya Sen described as capability deprivation—which in turn defines inequality of opportunity. Sen believes capability poverty to be more significant than income poverty. The former refers to deprivation of opportunities, in this case, of good quality education.

An obvious corollary is that if you invest in education (something for which the Aam Aadmi Party should be given credit, doubling the annual spending commitment on education in its first state budget presentation for Delhi) you address capability deprivation. Other states will hopefully take the cue from AAP, as the onus of spending on social programmes in future, after the implementation of the recommendations of the Fourteenth Finance Commission, is on them.

Since the NSSO survey reveals that this is a key means of fulfilling aspirations, especially in a population where 65% is younger than 35 years, it will be politically prudent too, something that AAP has seized upon. It is all fine to blame the Union government, but eventually, the state’s citizens will hold them accountable.

The good news for states is that new tools are available to ensure there is more bang for the buck. Recently, the Union government released part of the data on the Socio Economic Caste Census (SECC). Most of the attention has been reserved for its failure to release the caste data, little on the rich socio-economic data.

SECC provides a deprivation profile of the rural populace using parameters such as education, skills, housing, employment, health, nutrition, drinking water, sanitation, social and gender mobilization. And since this data is publicly vetted by the village council, the state government can actually tailor its spending to address deprivation—like education.

At present, the approach is largely of one-size-fits-all. Since the onus of spending is now on states, they have the means to adopt suitable spending priorities and using the deprivation matrix of the SECC to target expenditure.

Clearly then, recent data signals Bharat’s desire to realize its aspirations through access to better quality education. Presumably, politicians will read the writing on the wall.

Monday, 6 July 2015

99 per cent success registered in the Telangana State Education Common Entrance Test (TSEdCET)
HYDERABAD: A whopping 99 per cent success rate has been registered in the Telangana State Education Common Entrance Test (EdCET), the results of which were announced here Thursday. This year, 57,775 candidates appeared for the test, out of whom 57,220 qualified for admission into the Bachelor of Education (B.Ed) courses.

Every year, EdCet records one of the highest success rates, owing to the exemption awarded to several categories of students. Candidates belonging to the Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) don’t have any eligibility mark for admission to all methodologies. Adding to that, all women candidates, irrespective of their score, will get directly qualified in physics and mathematics methodologies.

The highest number of candidates from these categories usually pushes the success rate to the top, explained Prof P Prasad, convener, TS EdCET-2015. Interestingly, most of the top rankers in all methodologies were women candidates. This year, 25 per cent of the total marks have been set as the qualifying score.

There are 25,000 seats available in 250 B.Ed colleges across the State. From this year onwards, B.Ed will be a two-year course instead of one. The National Council for Teachers’ Education (NCTE) made several changes to the teacher education courses including modifications in syllabus.

Prof T Papi Reddy, Chairman of Telangana State Council of Higher Education (TSCHE), said admission schedule for B.Ed courses would be announced soon. After discussing with State universities, the TSCHE will release the dates for counselling, he added.

Story in State
57,775 No. of candidates who took the test

57,220 Successful candidates

250 B.Ed colleges in State

25,000 Seats available

How digital lockers to E-education, E-health in Digital India

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday launched his most ambitious Digital India programme, which aims at transforming the country into a digitally-empowered knowledge economy. The programme aims at bringing as many as 2.5 villages under broadband connectivity. The highlights of the Digital India programme, worth Rs 1 lakh crore, are digital locker, E-education, E-health and National Scholarship Portal. Here's a guide to each initiative

Launched under the Digital India programme:

Digital Locker:

PM Narendra Modi launched his most ambitious Digital India programme, which aims at transforming the country into a digitally-empowered knowledge economy.

Digital locker is a dedicated personal storage space for e-documents as well as Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) of e-documents issued by government departments. The system will have an e-sign facility, which can be used to sign stored documents. Each locker is linked to the resident's Aadhar number.

The move is aimed at minimising the use of physical documents and provide authenticity to e-documents, thereby, giving secure access to documents issued by government. It will also reduce administrative overhead of government departments and agencies and make it easy for the residents to receive services.


As the name suggests, the programme is aimed at providing high-tech education using state-of-the-art technology to all. This programme can also be used to provide education in far-flung areas where it may not be possible for teachers to be present in person. The education can be imparted through virtual means as part of the programme.


The E-health initiative, which is a part of Mission Digital India of the government, aims at providing timely, effective and economical healthcare services to all citizens. E-health is particularly relevant for masses that have little access to healthcare services in India. The programme looks at helping people maintain health records in a cost-effective manner. This is expected to be linked to the Aadhar number of citizens.

With this initiative, getting an OPD appointment, lab reports and blood availability in any government hospital becomes easy. Online Registration System (ORS) is a framework to link various hospitals across the country for Aadhaar based online registration and appointment system, where counter based OPD registration and appointment system through Hospital Management Information System (HMIS) has been digitalised.

Portal facilitates online appointments with various departments of different Hospitals using eKYC data of Aadhaar number, if patient's mobile number is registered with UIDAI. And in case mobile number is not registered with UIDAI, it uses patient's name.
New Patient will get appointment as well as Unique Health Identification (UHID) number. If Aadhaar number is already linked with UHID number, then appointment number will be given and UHID will remain same.

While visiting a hospital for the first time, one can skip the hassles of registration and other formalities by merely identifying self through the Aadhaar Number, select hospital and department, select date of appointment and get the same through SMS.

National Scholarship Portal:

The National Scholarships Portal is a one-stop solution for end-to-end scholarship process. From submission of student application, verification, sanction to disbursal to end beneficiary for all the scholarships provided by the government, this is an important tool of the Digital India initiative.

This move simplifies the process for students by providing common application form and one-time registration. SMS and e-mail alert would be sent to students at every step of scholarship process.

Digital India more opportunity for health, education: Anil Agarwal

Agarwal, who heads the mining giant Vedanta Resources Plc, is the Non-Executive Chairman of Sterlite Technologies Ltd (STL) which is involved majorly in laying the optical fibre network to connect 2.5 lakh gram panchyats.

"I am very excited about it (Digital India programme). This is one thing which will connect India. It will bring in education, healthcare, the whole urbanisation of villages. It will connect India together," Agarwal told reporters. The initiative aims to digitally deliver all the essential services to citizens and transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy by leveraging IT.

"Five hundred million people will come together on the Internet. This has never happened before anywhere in the world. If people can get education through Internet, healthcare through Internet, it will be amazing," Agarwal cited exuding confidence that the drive will be a major hit.

The programme will also help cut down crime, he added. "The crime will come down. This is the massive thing and this is easy to do," Agarwal stated, adding in a lighter vein that “There is no environmental approval required..."

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

The launch of ‘Digital India Week’ by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on July 1st 2015

The Department of Electronics and IT (DeitY), which is implementing the government’s ambitious Digital India programme, is expecting commitments of investments to the tune of Rs. 2 lakh crore from domestic and foreign firms at the launch of ‘Digital India Week’ by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday.

“Initial indications are that we will get commitments for Rs. 2 lakh crore of investments…,” a source in the Department said.

While Taiwanese firm Delta Electronics is likely to announce the setting up of an electronics manufacturing facility at an investment of half-a-billion dollars, the home-grown mobile phone maker Lava will commit Rs.1,200 crore for opening a factory. “The Lava unit is expected to manufacture 10 lakh phones annually and create employment for about one lakh people,” the source said.

Top industrialists such as Tata Group chairman Cyrus Mistry, RIL chairman Mukesh Ambani, Bharti Enterprises chairman Sunil Mittal and Reliance Group chairman Anil Ambani are also likely to make similar announcements.
Top industrialists

Airbus India CEO Peter Gutsmiedl, Wipro chairman Azim Premji, Sterlite Technologies chairman Anil Agarwal and Adiya Birla Group chairman Kumaramangalam Birla will also be present at the event.

Earlier this week, Telecom and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the government expected “billions of dollars” in investments at the event. “A number of memoranda of understanding for investment proposals will be signed,” he had said.

The Prime Minister, while sharing the road map for Digital India, will unveil e-governance schemes such as Digital Locker, e-education and e-health.

Best Colleges in India 2015: India's Top Education Destination, Says Survey

The importance of education isn't something that needs any kind of awareness these days, but certain questions like where to study or what course to pursue must be decided with the best options available.

India Today has released a recent survey on the best educational institutes in India, where students can pursue their higher studies on their favourite courses. These include Arts, Science, Commerce and Mass Communication institutes across the country.

The survey reveals that New Delhi has now become the best place for education in the country as the institutions in the capital, including St Stephen's College, Lady Shri Ram College for Women, Shri Ram College of Commerce and Hindu College among others have been ranked on the top.

Check out the list of best colleges in India below:

Top 10 Commerce Colleges in India:

  1.     Shri Ram College of Commerce, New Delhi
  2.     Lady Shri Ram College for Women, New Delhi
  3.     Loyola College, Chennai
  4.     Christ University, Bangalore
  5.     Hindu College, New Delhi
  6.     Hansraj College, New Delhi
  7.     Stella Maris College, Chennai
  8.     Symbiosis Society's College of Arts & Commerce, Pune
  9.     St Joseph's College of Commerce, Bangalore
  10.     Mithibai College, Mumbai

Top 10 Science Colleges in India:
  1.     St Stephen's College, New Delhi
  2.     Loyola College, Chennai
  3.     Christ University, Bangalore
  4.     Miranda House, New Delhi
  5.     Fergusson College, Pune
  6.     Madras Christian College, Chennai
  7.     Hindu College, New Delhi
  8.     Sri Venkateswara College, New Delhi
  9.     Hansraj College, New Delhi
  10.     Stella Maris College, Chennai

Top 10 Arts Colleges in India
  1.     St Stephen's College, New Delhi
  2.     Lady Shri Ram College for Women, New Delhi
  3.     Loyola College, Chennai
  4.     Christ University, Bangalore
  5.     Hindu College, New Delhi
  6.     Miranda House, New Delhi
  7.     Fergusson College, Pune
  8.     Madras Christian College, Chennai
  9.     Hansraj College, New Delhi
  10.     Ramjas College, New Delhi

Best Mass Communication Colleges in India
  1.     Symbiosis Center of Media & Communication(Under Graduate), Pune
  2.     Lady Shri Ram College for Women, New Delhi
  3.     Christ University, Bangalore
  4.     Indraprastha College for Women, New Delhi
  5.     Amity School of Communication, Noida
  6.     Madras Christian College, Chennai
  7.     Institute of Mass Communication & Media Technology, Kurukshetra
  8.     Kamala Nehru College for Women, New Delhi
  9.     Sophia College for Women, Mumbai
  10.     Institute of Mass Communication Film And Television Studies, Kolkata