Archive for September 21, 2013

Soon, CBSE Schools to be Graded..!

In an attempt to ensure quality education to Indian students, the federal agency Central Board of secondary Education (CBSE) is all set to introduce a new grading system for all the schools that are affiliated with the governing body. Some of the few parameters on the basis of which the schools will be graded are:

  • Academics
  • Basic infrastructure,
  • Sports and extra-curricular facilities
  • Qualification of teachers
  • Overall performance in results and many more

While on the one side parents are overwhelmingly welcoming this move teachers and school authorities are of the opinion that it may spark a sense of competition among schools as each school will want a higher grade for their organization.

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  A Report from Times of India says “It has both positive and negative aspects. It will certainly end confusion and difficulties for parents, who go through a tough time while searching for a good school for their kids’ admission. But I also feel it would increase our problems too. Every parent and student would like to go to A graded school and it won’t be very tough to get admission in these school,” said Isha Malhotra, a parent and resident of Kitchlu Nagar.

Mona Singh, principal of Guru Nanak Public School, Sarabha Nagar, said, “It will ultimately lead to an unhealthy competition. As CBSE will examine performances of schools, students would certainly be under pressure to perform and give their best. CBSE has been making efforts to give a stress-free environment to students, but such initiatives will add to the stress factor.”

According to reports from various sources a minimum marks of 15% for each category and an aggregate mark of 75% is mandatory for a school to achieve the higher rungs in the ladder and grading of schools will be done in every five years.

Schools Defy CBSE Directions…..!

The news could dissapoint those parents and individuals who are looking for a transparency in the administration of schools in India as despite being told repeatedly by the CBSE Schools aere defying its request of uploading data to their website. It is important to underline here that last month CBSE had mandated that every school should have a website and the website should be accompanies with relevant information related to teacher’s fee, total expenditure, income and so on.

cbse-logo

The deadline for the same was 15th September 2013 however not many schools have complied with the norms. According to reports from sources Sacred Heart Convent School, BRS Nagar;Sacred Heart Convent School, Sarabha Nagar;  Kundan Vidya Mandir; Bharti Vidya Mandir and Bal Bharti Public School are some of the prominent schools which have not updated their websites as per the instructions of the CBSE.Some schools that have updated their website found to have updated bague and complex details that is tough for parents to determine the exact salary of their teachers.

Parents from across the city said they were waiting for the day when they can check and compare the facilities and fee structures of all the schools.

Manish Sharma, a resident of Civil Lines, said, “I was curious about fee structure, salaries of teachers, but the information updated on school websites is not at all clear. Many schools have just done the formality by updating pay scale of the teaching facility. It seems like schools have updated their websites for the CBSE, not for the parents.”

Lok Sabha Gives Nod to Aviation University Bill…!

In a latest move in the Indian education sector the lower house of Indian Parliament(Lok Sabha)on Friday passed the Rajiv Gandhi National Aviation University Bill, 2013, which aims to set up the institution as an autonomous body to train a skilled workforce for the sector’s growth.

The institution will be set up in Rae Bareli district of Uttar Pradesh, the parliamentary constituency of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi. Civil aviation minister Ajit Singh moved the bill which was passed after a short discussion.

aviation

The university will cost around Rs 200 crore. According to the bill, skilled and competent workforce is essential to create a safe and efficient aviation industry.

The university aims to facilitate and promote aviation studies, teaching, training and research with focus on emerging areas of studies such as aviation management, aviation regulation and policy.

It will also focus on aviation history, aviation science and engineering, aviation law, aviation safety and security, aviation medicine, search and rescue, transportation of dangerous goods, environmental studies and other related fields, and also to achieve excellence in these and connected fields in emerging areas and such areas as may emerge in future.

The university will also be a knowledge partner to safety and security regulators by providing required academic inputs to help them execute their enforcement responsibility better.

‘United Kingdom Looking to Collaborate with Universities in Punjab’

 While the debate in India continues over the United Kingdom’s visa norms getting stricter by the day and widespread criticism over its proposed “visa bond” scheme remains, British deputy high commissioner to India Davit Lelliott said his country wished to see more of Indian students. “The UK is looking at a range of collaborations with universities in Punjab,” Lelliott told TOI. The British diplomat said the commission was in talks with institutions like the Guru Nanak Dev University in Amritsar, which he visited along with a delegation of Indian and British students, to tie up for collaborative projects and student exchange programmes. “Just as we love to see British students spending time in India, we would like to see more of Indian students coming to the UK,” he said. Lelliott also said that the UK was open to business tie-ups with India and collaborations with Punjab on clean energy programmes. On the UK’s stringent visa norms that have recently led to a decline in the number of Indian students migrating to Britain, the diplomat said the “visa bond” scheme only aimed to target “illegal immigrants”. “The visa bond is a pilot project that applies to only a small proportion of students migrating to the UK. It is only to check high risk visitors and not meant to deter the Indian student population,” Lelliott said. He added that a majority of visitors – the “right” student population – would not have to pay the bond. UK’s recent proposal to levy a £3,000 security bond to visitors from ‘high-risk countries’ to obtain visas has drawn harsh criticism from south Asian countries. Comparing the two nations, Lelliott said being in India was entirely about experiencing the hospitality. “While visiting UK means being outdoors and exploring, it is more of being in homes and experiencing the culture in India,” he said. On his third visit to Panjab University, Lelliott also delivered a talk on business prospects in UK to an audience of British and Indian students. The deputy high commission office in Chandigarh caters to the UT, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Rajasthan.

Hunt For the Origin of Life: Scientists Recreate Big Bang in Lab

In a  new endevor to find the origin of life Scientists have successfully simulated the radiation created by the Big Bang – in just ten milliseconds – in a lab, to better understand how structure evolved in the early universe.

Physicists at the University of Chicago reproduced a pattern resembling the cosmic microwave background radiation using ultracold cesium atoms in a vacuum chamber.

“This is the first time an experiment like this has simulated the evolution of structure in the early universe,” said Cheng Chin, professor in physics.

Extensive measurements of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) – the echo of the Big Bang – provided cosmologists with a snapshot of how the universe appeared approximately 380,000 years following the Big Bang, which marked the beginning of our universe, researchers said.

It turns out that under certain conditions, a cloud of atoms chilled to a billionth of a degree above absolute zero in a vacuum chamber displays phenomena similar to those that unfolded following the Big Bang, lead author Chen-Lung Hung, now at the California Institute of Technology, said.

“At this ultra-cold temperature, atoms get excited collectively. They act as if they are sound waves in air,” he said.

The dense package of matter and radiation that existed in the very early universe generated similar sound-wave excitations.

The synchronised generation of sound waves correlates with cosmologists’ speculations about inflation in the early universe.

“Inflation set out the initial conditions for the early universe to create similar sound waves in the cosmic fluid formed by matter and radiation,” Hung said.

The sudden expansion of the universe during its inflationary period created ripples in space-time in the echo of the Big Bang, researchers said.

One can think of the Big Bang, in oversimplified terms, as an explosion that generated sound, Chin said.

The universe simulated in Chin’s laboratory measured no more than 70 microns in diameter, approximately the diameter as a human hair.

“It took the whole universe about 380,000 years to evolve into the CMB spectrum we’re looking at now. But the physicists were able to reproduce much the same pattern in approximately 10 milliseconds in their experiment,” Chin said.

The study was published in the journal Science Express.

Madras High Court’s Mantra for Reining in Unscrupulous Colleges…!

Publish recognition and affiliation details of medical, engineering and other professional colleges, and punish or award damages to students who are misled by unscrupulous managements into joining colleges that do not have statutory sanction to take students.

This is the Madras high court’s prescription to usher in better accountability and responsibility in the education sector, where instances of students ending up in unrecognised courses or being admitted in excess of the permitted intake are on the rise.

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Justice KK Sasidharan, dismissing a writ petition filed by St John’s College of Nursing seeking regularisation of students admitted in excess of the permitted intake, said cancellation of recognition or denial of affiliation or reduction of student intake in professional colleges should not be a ‘secret affair’.

Pointing out that there were no appropriate regulations to punish managements involved in such irregularities, the judge also laid down a set of stringent guidelines and said statutory bodies such as MCI, AICTE, nursing and dental councils must consider adopting the norms with appropriate modifications.

Every year, before the admission process for medical, engineering, nursing, pharmacy, teaching, law and other courses begins, the statutory body concerned should publish within three days of publication of Plus Two results the list of colleges entitled to admit students along with the sanctioned intake.

Justice Sasidharan also favoured a mechanism for awarding damages to students whose careers are seriously jeopardized by unscrupulous management of colleges/schools that admit students without statutory recognition/affiliation in violation of rules. Details such as pending applications, grant of approval and the final list of approved institutions, too, should be published by the regulatory authorities concerned before the last date prescribed for submission of applications, he said.

The judge was passing orders on a writ petition of St John’s College of Nursing which had admitted 50 students though its intake had been reduced to 30. Admitting that 20 students had been admitted in excess of the sanctioned limit, it wanted the court to regularise their admission and allow them to write their examination.

Rejecting the plea, Justice Sasidharan said students joined the institution without knowing that the intake limit had been slashed. “The illegal admissions would come in the open only when the university declines to permit students to write the public examination. The students would realise only at that point of time that they had been cheated. The students ultimately would lose money as well as their valuable time by studying in such unrecognised institutions,” he said.

Slamming college managements that had turned a noble cause into a lucrative business, Justice Sasidharan agreed with a senior counsel’s submissions that the statutory bodies were primarily responsible for this sorry state of affairs and poor students were being made scapegoats.

He dismissed the writ petition of the nursing institution saying, “there is no question of showing any kind of indulgence in a matter of this nature.”

Times View

The Madras high court’s punitive guidelines for rogue managements have not come a moment too soon. The verdict echoes the popular concern that there is no law to award compensation to students who lose money and time by first joining a college/course without statutory sanction, and then fight court battles in vain. Colleges flout law during admissions and then use the illegally admitted students as human shields to win court sympathy to continue the fraud. The high court has called their bluff finally.

SSC, HSC Pupils Can Mention Minority Status in Exam Forms

In a latest move in the indian education sector from next academic year, application forms for the SSC and HSC exams will have a separate column where candidates can mention if they belong to a minority community.

The move was initiated by the respective authority at the meeting held between state minorities minister Arif Naseem Khan and school education minister Rajendra Darda at Mantralaya on Monday. “Students have the option of specifying their caste (SC/ST/OBC) in the current application system. But there is no such provision for candidates from minority communities.

The new system will not only help in collating accurate data on how many minority-community students appear for SSC and HSC exams, but will also help in streamlining admissions to junior and degree colleges. I urged the school education minister and department officials to include the option of specifying minority community status in board examination forms,” Khan said. “School education minister Rajendra Darda has agreed to the suggestion and has promised to make technical changes in the system.”

Colleges with a minority tag (linguistic and religious) have to reserve 50% of the total seats for those belonging to the minority quota.

Course-correction scheme to Benefit Students at Vellore Institute of Technology

Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT) has announced a migration scheme in which a student can move from one engineering stream to another in any year during the course.

The scheme will be a boon for students who want to shift to courses that may have specific subjects to cater to their interests.

“It’s a welcome move provided students are wise in their choice of courses during migration,” said former Anna University vice-chancellor E Balagurusamy. The system will be advantageous to those who shift to courses that are connected but more specialised than the ones they are pursuing, he said.

“Even second or third year students can migrate, but they should make sure that they don’t miss out the core papers,” said Balagurusamy.

Many universities in the US have this system as they want to be more liberal in academics. “I joined MS computer engineering at a university in the US. The course was more about hardware and so I shifted to a software course later,” said VIT vice-president Sekar Viswanathan.

The scheme, which has been introduced on a trial basis, is aimed at first year students but there are no restrictions for senior students either, said Viswanathan.

All that a student would have to do is score 60% overall marks during the current year and 40% in two basic papers of the course they want to shift to in the second semester of the year they are in. Students will be chosen for the migration based on a merit list prepared on the marks scored, and 2% of seats in every department will be allotted for the scheme.

This option is already available for first-year students in some institutions, including SASTRA University. Usually, students who join a course available at the time of admission migrate during the second year.

“All first year students have common subjects. Depending on their first year marks and the availability of seats in other departments, first years can shift courses,” said S Vaidhyasubramaniam, dean-planning and development, SASTRA University. “I don’t think it’s advisable for senior students as they won’t be able to complete the course.”

Officials at VIT University said the scheme is aimed at the first year students but there are no restrictions for senior students either.