Archive for June 27, 2013

Andhra Pradesh to Partner with MIT to Better its Education

According to the latest news from the Indian education sector Andhra Pradesh and Massachusetts Institute of Technology have entered into an agreement according to which the latter will be helping the former in imparting quality education to students across the state. With the move the main aim of the local Government is to tap the resources that are available in the United States. It is important to underline here that Andhra Pradesh has become an educational hub in India and there are more than 700 Engineering Colleges are present in this wonderful city of India. However, one of the major problems with these institutes is that the quality of education was compromised due to lack of infrastructure and resources.

Andhra Pradesh is set to sign an MOU with the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology to tap its vast resources to help give the state’s educational system a face lift, the state’s information technology and communications minister Ponnala Lakshmaiah said here today.

The minister said the finer details are being worked out and the memorandum of understanding (MOU) will be signed within a few months.

The MOU will help tap the edX platform and open courseware of the prestigious institute located in Boston, to develop alternative learning mechanisms in the wake of serious dearth of qualified teaching professionals, Lakshmaiah said.

The proposed partnership will help Andhra’s small and rural colleges to have access to the expensive labs using the iLabs technology of the MIT. The tie-up will also help in the development of utilisation of Open Software Interface Definitions.

“The MIT faculty was pleasantly surprised to learn that Andhra Pradesh has about 700 engineering colleges and assured their cooperation in skill development,” the minister said.

Lakshmaiah said the global potential of electronic hardware industry is estimated at USD 2.4 Trillion by 2020 and the demand for the Indian market that stood at USD 45 Billion is expected to touch USD 400 Billion by 2020.

To explore this market, India’s first electronic manufacturing cluster is to be set up in Hyderabad, the minister said.

There is no short cut to success: Chetan Bhagat

While addressing a group of youth in the Gaya District of Bihar, Chetan Bhagat one of the renowned names in the Indian business and entertainment fraternity told that there is no short-cuts for success and hard-working, dedication and commitment is required to excel in any sphere of life. No matter which area you are in people will have to put continuous effort to materialize their dreams in practice.

Bhagat was delivering a motivational talk to Gaya youth on Sunday. The event was jointly organized by Yuva Prayas, the activist group engaged in road safety awareness creation to save young lives and a Jaipur-based educational group. Explaining the adoption of road safety as its ‘theme song’, Yuva Prayas leaders told Bhagat that most of the road accident victims are youth and as such road safety was all the more important.

Exhorting the youth to be extremely careful in the selection of career options, celebrated writer Chetan Bhagat said there was no ‘rewind button’ in real life and as such, one mistake can derail the entire venture.

Giving tips to hundreds of youth, Bhagat asked his audience to be always positive and go ahead in the ‘I can do it’ spirit. Those with a humble background need not be unnecessarily bogged down by their ‘auqat’ (capacity) bogey as there are innumerable examples of people with humble background doing extremely well in life. Bhagat told his audience that he scored a moderate 76% marks in the Class X board examinations but did not allow the relatively low marks to haunt his future and made a place for himself by leaving behind the less memorable moments of life.

However, he also admitted that luck plays a role in the success of a person but each one of us has the capability to go against the script written on the hands of individuals. Only thing that is required is your zeal to work hard and endeavoring efforts.

He told his Hasrat Mohani auditorium audience there was ‘no short cut’ to success and one has to work very hard consistently to achieve the goal. “Do something that you love and do not go by other people’s career perceptions,” was Bhagat’s advice to the Gaya youth. Giving his own example, Bhagat said people discouraged him from quitting a lucrative job in search for ‘something different and satisfying’. He also revealed that his books were initially rejected by several publishers, but he did not give up rather his resolve to make it went up with each rejection.

“Institutions and the family can only give you facilities, the real work has to be done by you,” he said. Bhagat asked the young boys and girls to develop book reading habits as books develop imagination. “Well read men need not introduce themselves, their approach to life reveals the depth acquired through reading,” he said.

Reports Say Close to 55% New Entrants to IIM-Kozhikode are Women

Indian women have rocked every sphere of life and same goes for field of education and teaching where they are doing better than men. The notion becomes evident with the fact that recent induction of students in IIM-Kozhikode reveals a greater percentage of female candidates compared to male. Continuing with its impressive track record on bridging the gender divide, IIM-Kozhikode has inducted 54.29% women students for its postgraduate program for the 2013-15 batches.

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According to recent news from various sources the recent inducted batch of the institute consists of 361 students include 165 men and 196 women. The batch comprises of 84.21% of students with bachelor’s degree in engineering and technology, 11% from commerce and economics stream and 4% from medicine, pharmacy, science and agriculture background.

Induction of women in IIM-Kozhikode has been on the rise for the past few years. In 2010, 100 women students were taken in a batch of 371 which rose to 121 women in 2011 of a batch of 341. There has been a steady rise of this number from 31.5% in 2010 to 35.48% in 2011. In 2012, it fell to 27.52% as only 98 out of 356 students were women.

The new batch that has just got the admission consists of students with 0-24 months’ work experience. The batch consists of students from all corners of the country – Southern India (27%), Western India (26%), Northern India (19%), Eastern India (12%), Union Territories including Delhi (11%) and Central India (5%). IIM-Kozhikode said it did not alter its admission procedure to accommodate higher number of women students, but factored in the consistent academic performance. IIMK was also among the first to slash its tuition fee by Rs. 30,000 for its post graduate program making the two year fee Rs 9.7 lakh, lowest of all IIMs.

IIMK director Debashis Chatterjee said, “We at IIM-Kozhikode aspire to create a unique academic space that will challenge convention. This year we have not only led in ensuring gender diversity but have also admitted national talent from the field of sports, music, martial arts and the social sector. Our goal is to churn out not just a competent manager but a well-rounded and a compassionate human being. In this endeavor, the current batch of students will be our assets.

Ed.CET-2013 Exam Result Declared by Andhra University

According to the latest news from the Indian Education sector one of the renowned names in Indian Education fraternity Andhra University, Visakhapatnam has announced the Result of Education Common Entrance Test-2013 (Ed.CET-2013) on 20 June 2013. Candidates who appeared in the exam conducted on 3rd June 2013 and have been waiting anxiously for the result may now check their result status by using Hall Ticket Numbers. The Ed.CET 2013 Results are available on the official website of AP Ed.CET. Here is the result link:

Aspiring candidates can also access their Ed. CET results through SMS mode, for which they have to type EDCET space Hall Ticket Number and send a SMS to 56767999.

Education Common Entrance Test (Ed.CET) is a Common Entrance Test conducted every year by the CONVENER, Ed.CET-2013, Andhra University, Visakhapatnam on behalf of the Andhra Pradesh State Council of Higher Education (APSCHE) for admission into B.Ed. Regular Course in the Colleges of Education across Andhra Pradesh state of India.

Source: Jagranjosh.com

CBSE Introduces an Assessment Concept for Class IX & XI

According to the latest news from the Indian education fraternity the authorities of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) have decided to introduce the concept of open text based assessment (OTBA) for classes IXth and XIth. With this the goal of the organization is to incorporate analytical and theoretical skills, thus moving away from memorization, OTBA would be introduced in March, 2014 examination of these two classes.

Objective of this new element

• It will introduce Value Based Questions and extend all main subjects to 15-20 percent. The textual material will be provided to the schools prior to the commencement of the Summative Assessment II.

• For class IX this will apply to all subjects whereas this concept will apply in few Class XI subjects including Economics, Biology, Geography.

• This Open Text Based Assessment will comprise of different questions related to higher order thinking skill which include creative, subjective and open ended.

• The textual material only contains the important concepts of the syllabus. This student can get this material in the form of a diagram, a concept/mind map, a case study, a picture or cartoon, an article or problem/situation based queries.

• This will be followed from the second term.

According to news from the sources the text material/ case-studies for both the Classes IX and XI will be supplied to schools in December, 2013. Commenting on the issue, Shalini Dikshit, Principal KV New Cant said, “We have been given the instructions to follow the decision of the board as it has been introduced after much deliberation and every pro and con has been weighed upon”.

The students who are presently in class IX and XI would be giving their SA-II exam based on this new concept, she added.

The textual material may be in the form of an article, a case study, a diagram, a concept/mind map, a picture or a cartoon, problem/situation based on the concepts taught to the students during second term.

It will cover around 15-20% of the course in all the main subjects and may also include the value based questions.

The instructions further mentions that the textual material will be related to chosen concepts taken from the syllabi as OTBA will have questions of higher order thinking skills and some of which may be subjective, creative and open ended.

Source: timesofindia.com and jagranjosh.com

Himachal Pradesh HC Quashes Petitions Challenging closure of 8 Colleges

According to the latest news from the Indian Education Fraternity the Himachal Pradesh high court has upheld the government’s decision to close down eight government degree colleges that had reportedly been opened in haste, without proper infrastructure and budgetary provisions, by the outgoing government last year, and dismissed a bunch of petitions challenging the new government’s decision.

After hearing both sides, the division bench of Chief Justice A M Khanwilkar and Justice Kuldip Singh observed that the first issue that needs to be examined is whether the impugned decision of the state government is legal or not.

Writing for the bench, Justice Khanwilkar noted, “There can be no difficulty in conceding to the state government move to undo its earlier decision after a review of the situation.”

In all, eight petitions filed by affected parents or students, pertaining to the eight colleges opened between June 23, 2012 and September 6, 2012 at Rewalsar, Nihri, Ladbharol, Baldwara, Sarahan, Nankhari, Kasauli and Kotla, were set aside by the court, which did not accept the contention that the decision to shut down these institutions was taken out of political vendetta.

“It is neither a case of casual decision taken by the new government nor because of any political vendetta, but purely on the basis of records considered during the cabinet meeting in which the said decision was taken,” the judges observed.

Before adjudicating on the petitions, the court recorded that for the 2012-13 academic session, there were only 104 students admitted in the eight colleges, which were opened hurriedly in makeshift accommodations of three to five rooms.

For 2013-14, the government had set aside a budget of Rs 192 crore for higher education that would cater to the needs of the existing 67 government degree colleges, 1,327 senior secondary schools and 848 high schools. A new college involved a minimum investment of Rs 5 crore just for civil works, which had not been contemplated in the budgetary provisions, the court recorded.

Before de-notifying the opening of new colleges on March 2, 2013, the court, after examining the original file, noted that the cabinet on February 19, 2013 took a conscious decision in public interest.

Inputs, provided by a review undertaken by higher education department to the cabinet, clearly revealed the inadequate strength of students and lack of infrastructure in new colleges opened, the judges observed.

62 JEE Applicants Seek Re-Evaluation

Four days after the answer sheets of candidates who had taken the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) 2013 were put on a website, only 62 students have applied for re-evaluation. Last year, the JEE office had received as many as 258 applications for re-evaluation. But the numbers of papers were 9 lakh as 4.5 lakh students had appeared in 2012.

“We have got around 62 applications for re-evaluation. The number may be even less as some applications could be faulty. Considering the fact that there were 3 lakh papers (two for each candidate), this is a very small number,” Dr. H C Gupta, organizing chairman, JEE (Advanced) – 2013, said

Last year, it was for the first time that IIT uploaded the corrected optical response sheets of all the candidates on the JEE website to maintain transparency and maintain any errors. This year the evaluated answer sheets were made available online from June 13 to June 17. The student had to pay 500(Indian rupees) for each question to be reviewed.

“The initiative of providing solutions and uploading the answer sheets of the aspirants before declaring the result has been a great success. This year we have done double scanning and even used image integration for minimizing any error in evaluation,’’ Dr. Gupta said. Compared to last year when IIT had admitted to two questions being incorrect and had given no marks to candidates in both, this year no question has been declared incorrect. “After getting feedback and proper examination, we have simply allowed flexibility in options in two questions, one in paper I (maths) and another in paper 2 (physics),’’ he added.

Nearly 1.5 lakh students had appeared for the exam.

Source: HindustanTimes

CBSE All Set to Stop Publishing Sample Papers for XI and XII Standards

Amid growing number of high scores in Board Exams, the regulatory authority Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has decided to stop publishing the popular sample papers to help students prepare for their exams. According to reports from the sources the Board assumes that the sample papers have contributed a lot to this trend of gaining high scores on just having the surface level of knowledge. And, the increase in high scores at class XII level also push high cutoffs for admissions at undergraduate level in topmost colleges across the country.

As per the board, many students limit their studies to the solved sample papers, and yet score high marks without really having knowledge of the complete syllabus. The board presumes that without the sample papers, students will go through the detailed studies instead of selective mode, if they want to score high in exams.

The number of high scorers has been increased significantly since 2011. In fact, in 2013, 44,676 (5.03%) students scored 90% and above as against of that 15,839 (2.5%) five years back. Even the number of students obtaining 95% and above have been increased from 1020 (0.16%) in 2009 to 7231 (0.81%) in the current year.

The issue was discussed in the last meeting of the board and then it was decided by the governing body of the board that the sample papers will no longer be provided to the senior secondary students. The solved sample papers for CBSE subjects have been on print for over 20 years, aimed at giving the pattern of expected questions. In fact, there are a number of private publishers in the market who publish their own versions of sample papers following the trend of CBSE sample papers.

As per the CBSE Chairman, Vineet Joshi, students are increasingly getting selective in their studies and the sample papers are found to be the main reason behind this. As students are expected to study in a comprehensive manner, being selective in studies is just not the healthy academic practice. Hence forth, the sample papers will no longer be made available to the students.

Source: http://www.jagranjosh.com

AICTE and UGC Lock Horns over Regulatory Powers

All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and University Grants Commission (UGC) lock horns over the order from the apex court that reiterates that the approval of AICTE is not required to obtain permission and run MBA courses by private institutions since it does not fall under the definition of technical education.

According to reports from the sources the apex court had also said AICTE’s role vis-a-vis universities was “only advisory, recommendatory and one of providing guidance and has no authority empowering it to issue or enforce any sanctions by itself”. Instead, the apex court had said regulatory function was with UGC or the university.

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To fill the vacuum, UGC has written to all universities with affiliating colleges that no new courses should be approved by them. UGC also said it would not approve any new course. A senior UGC official said, “This has been done to fill the vacuum. AICTE had already finished the process for 2013-14 by the time the SC order came. For 2014-15, new process would be announced later.”

However, AICTE officials said UGC’s letter to universities should not have been sent. “It will lead to confusion. UGC is aware that HRD ministry is preparing an ordinance to undo the SC order,” an AICTE official said. UGC officials said its letter was just to make it clear that some regulatory mechanism was in place.

Meanwhile, ministry sources said efforts were underway to ensure HRD ministry’s ordinance was taken up by the Cabinet this week. The ordinance redefines ‘technical institution’ and includes “colleges, maintained or admitted to the privileges of university, affiliated colleges, constituent colleges, autonomous colleges, colleges recognized by any university, department of private or deemed universities”. The SC had said only MCA fell under the definition of technical education.

Since the SC had pointed out that amendments in regulations of AICTE Act were not placed before Parliament, the ordinance says provisions of AICTE Act shall have effect notwithstanding any court order and any other law for the time being.

Source:http://www.timesofindia.com

Student Detects Vulnerability in Indian Certificate of Secondary Education Website

The news could be unsettling for students as well as professionals who are associated with Indian certificate of Secondary Education Board as reports from sources confirms that the Board’s website is vulnerable to security frauds and there are lacunae that could be manipulated to access various sensitive data. The claim was made by a class XI student from Rajkot who tried to hack the website to determine if the website is secured enough to access confidential information. According to the report the website of the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE) website is inflicted with cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability that can easily be manipulated to access the confidential information.

Monark Modi, the young web security enthusiast, told TOI that he was checking the central board results for class X earlier this month. “At that time, I came across a glitch that I could exploit with a simple authentication bypass technique. Once I entered the dashboard, I could see pages containing the results of 13,000 students. I was shocked as with the proper knowledge, it could have been manipulated by someone,” He said According to a report by an online security major, cross-site scripting was found to be a reason for security vulnerability in 84% of cases. Experts say that better coding and monitoring cookies and scripts active at the time of functioning can reduce the risk.

Modi said that he has so far reported XSS related glitches to more than 12 sites of various industries. “More often than not, the company officials invest in designs and features and ignore the security aspect. In major websites where hundreds or thousands visit every day, it can lead to instances ranging from identity theft to financial fraud,” he said.

Source: The Times of India