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Author: Kritika Sharma

Lok Sabha Bill seeks to curb big, fat Indian wedding

A ‘big fat Indian wedding’ might be what many people dream of, but not everyone is able to afford one. A Member of Parliament wants the government to control people’s wedding expenses as well, by way of a law.A private member bill seeking, “prevention and prohibition on the extravagant expenses incurred on marriages” across the country was introduced in Lok Sabha on Friday.Gopal Chinayya Shetty, MP from Mumbai North introduced the bill. The bill seeks “to provide for the prevention and prohibition of sheer extravagance and unlimited expenditure being incurred on marriages and related ceremonies in various parts of the country and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto”.Talking to DNA over phone, Shetty said, “The intention behind introducing such a bill is to initiate a conversation on the subject. It might not necessarily become a law, but at least people will think about the issue when it is discussed in Lok Sabha. There are some people who spend huge amount of money and then there are others who hardly have any money to even get married. There should be some equality at that front also.””In my constituency I have been urging those who are having extravagant weddings to help a poor person get married as well, and some of them have even helped. I am not saying that those who have money should not spend, but some kind of equality should be there,” he added.As many as 98 private members’ bills were introduced in the Lok Sabha on December 29 including the one to constitute a board for protection and control of stray cows.The rate of private member’s bill being passed in the Parliament is significantly low. As per an analysis, only 14 private member’s bills have passed since Independence.Private member’s billGopal Chinayya Shetty, MP from Mumbai North introduced the bill to control wedding expenses. As many as 98 private members’ bills were introduced in the Lok Sabha. Since independent, only 14 private member’s bills have passed

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Vidya Balan: It has to be something like Ijaazat with Shah Rukh Khan
Here’s how “well-behaved” Shashi Kapoor was different from Raj Kapoor & Shammi Kapoor, writes Shobhaa De
Bigg Boss 11: Shilpa Shinde rebukes Akash Dadlani for touching her inappropriately
“Stop behaving like Aaradhya,” says Amitabh Bachchan to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Watch viral video!
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Telugu actor Vijay Sai found dead in his apartment; Did he commit suicide?
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Will Alia Bhatt say yes to Priyanka Chopra?
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Allahbad University spends all its money fighting 300 legal battles

A month after the Ministry of Human Resource Development requested for a Visitor inquiry against Allahbad University Vice Chancellor Professor Ratanlal Hanglu, an audit report of the university has found that it has been fighting as many as 300 court cases and all the funds go into fighting legal battles rather than focusing on academic development.The committee appointed by University Grants Commission (UGC) was one of the committees conducting audits of ten central universities across the country. The audit team that visited the university between November 13-15 has recently submitted its report to the ministry. In the report, the committee has mentioned that the university administration is “wasting all its time, energy and funds in fighting the numerous court battles that have arisen as a result of the internal politics in the university”.”There is a group of retired teachers in the university, which has been conspiring against the Vice Chancellor and his work is getting affected because of it. There are many cases of corruption and financial irregularities levelled against the VC,” the committee in its report said.Because of the current situation, the university has been facing serious lack of funds and everything from academic development to salaries of employees is getting affected due to this. There is no co-ordination between the registrar and finance officer of the university and the university has no plans for its future, the committee said.The committee also said that law and order situation in the campus is very bad, in fact “it cannot be worse in any other university campus”, it said in its report.

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Vidya Balan: It has to be something like Ijaazat with Shah Rukh Khan
Bigg Boss 11: Shilpa Shinde rebukes Akash Dadlani for touching her inappropriately
Bigg Boss 11: Hiten Tejwani gets evicted from Salman Khan’s show
Here’s how “well-behaved” Shashi Kapoor was different from Raj Kapoor & Shammi Kapoor, writes Shobhaa De
“Stop behaving like Aaradhya,” says Amitabh Bachchan to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Watch viral video!
Telugu actor Vijay Sai found dead in his apartment; Did he commit suicide?
Varun Dhawan buys a plush new apartment; girlfriend Natasha Dalal attends housewarming party
Aditya Chopra is one of the first ones to know about Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli’s Wedding!
STOP spreading rumours! Deepika Padukone-Ranveer Singh’s special gift for Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli REVEALED!
Salman Khan cheers up teary-eyed Katrina Kaif during ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’ promotions
Not just Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli: Here are other B-Town beauties who bowled over cricketing stars
SHOCKING! ‘Wonder Woman’ Gal Gadot’s fake porn video goes viral, here’s what happened

1,600 to retake exam to legitimise engineering degrees

More than a month after the Supreme Court disallowed technical education through distance mode, 1,600 people whose degrees became invalid after the order have registered for re-examination with the government. Most of the applications are from working professionals with over 10 years of experience.The institutes affected through the apex court’s order are JRN Rajasthan Vidyapeeth, Institute of Advanced Studies in Education (IASE), Rajasthan, Allahabad Agricultural Institute (AAI) and Vinayaka Mission’s Research Foundation, Tamil Nadu. Students who pursued their engineering degrees through distance mode in the academic term 2001-2005 are the ones at the receiving end.The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) had launched a portal to help those who have been affected by the court order in taking a re-examination. As per the data shared by the council, 1,600 people who are from the affected institutions have registered themselves on the portal so far.The number however will go up as the registrations are open till January 30. And apart from the online registration through AICTE portal, the affected people have been sending their information through individual institutes as well.“So far, on the AICTE portal, 1,600 people have registered There is another month to go for it,” said an official.According to government sources, the re-exam which aims at validating the degrees of those affected will be done through a single exam.

Join the discussion<!–end of artlbotbor–>
Vidya Balan: It has to be something like Ijaazat with Shah Rukh Khan
Bigg Boss 11: Shilpa Shinde rebukes Akash Dadlani for touching her inappropriately
Bigg Boss 11: Hiten Tejwani gets evicted from Salman Khan’s show
Here’s how “well-behaved” Shashi Kapoor was different from Raj Kapoor & Shammi Kapoor, writes Shobhaa De
“Stop behaving like Aaradhya,” says Amitabh Bachchan to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Watch viral video!
Telugu actor Vijay Sai found dead in his apartment; Did he commit suicide?
Varun Dhawan buys a plush new apartment; girlfriend Natasha Dalal attends housewarming party
Aditya Chopra is one of the first ones to know about Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli’s Wedding!
STOP spreading rumours! Deepika Padukone-Ranveer Singh’s special gift for Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli REVEALED!
Salman Khan cheers up teary-eyed Katrina Kaif during ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’ promotions
Not just Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli: Here are other B-Town beauties who bowled over cricketing stars
SHOCKING! ‘Wonder Woman’ Gal Gadot’s fake porn video goes viral, here’s what happened

Newer IITs beat older ones in terms of campus placements

New and lesser known Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) situated in smaller towns have left behind the old, established ones in the race of campus placements this year.IIT Gandhinagar — a second generation IIT (established in 2008) — has topped the placement list with 88.31 per cent placements recorded in the academic year 2016-17, the final placement data across IITs has revealed.As per the data available with the Ministry of Human Resource Development, 3 new IITS —Ropar, Indore and Gandhinagar — feature in the top five IITs that recorded maximum placements this year. Of the older ones, IIT Delhi ranked at two and IIT (previously ISM) Dhanbad stood at four.In fact, IIT Mandi and IIT Patna also performed better than a number of established IITs like Bombay and Madras. According to the official data, IIT Mandi recorded 73.96 per cent placement this year and Patna recorded over 74 per cent placement, whereas Bombay and Madras recorded 73.39 and 70.39 per cent respectively.Increasing placements in newer IITs has become a trend over the last three years, in 2015-16, IIT Indore had recorded 100 per cent placement. Officials attribute this to the older, established IITs focusing more on filing patents and focusing on research rather than placements.”One of the main reasons that placement at new IITs is on a rise is because they are adding more seats at undergraduate levels and focusing only on placements, since they do not have enough infrastructure to focus on research and start-ups,” a placement official from IIT Delhi said.With the government pushing education institutes to get a place in international rankings, older institutes are busy filing patents, which is one of the important criteria for scoring in international ranks.”In the last three years, number of patents filed by IITs have increased from 494 in the year 2014, to 563 in the year 2016. Maximum contributors to this have been the older IITs. Madras filed the maximum number of patents at 325, followed by Bombay, Kharagpur and Kanpur,” said a senior official in HRD Ministry.”This is as per government’s plans of making the older IITs focus more on research and catapulting them in world rankings,” he added.There are 23 IITs in the country, including the older, established ones — Madras, Delhi, Kharagpur, Bombay, Kanpur, Roorkee and Varanasi, the second generation IITs including — IIT Ropar, Bhubaneswar, Gandhinagar, Hyderabad, Jodhpur, Patna, Indore and Mandi., that came up in the year 2008 and 2009.

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India’s own institute on defence studies to be a reality soon

The Indian National Defence University (INDU), which is a proposed institute for defence studies, is likely to become a reality soon, as it can come up for Cabinet clearance. The institute is being developed as center to generate research on strategic affairs, a concept unheard of in India so far. INDU will have its campus on Bimola, Gurgaon.Theministry of Human Resource Development has recently sent its suggestions to the Ministry of Defence regarding the university saying that itshould be developed as a centre which generates new knowledge and promotes research in strategic affairs. Sources said that the suggestions have been approved and final proposal on INDU is likely to come up in the Cabinet for clearance soon. The Ministry of Defence had in the year 2015 put up the draft bill to come up with an institution dedicated to defence studies, online for public comments .”While the exact nature of courses in the institute has not yet been finalised. The idea is to develop it as a center which is meant for midcareer defence professionals and those who are interested in studying about strategic affairs, at the Post Graduate level. We have suggested that the institute should be able to generate new knowledge and increase research in the area of defence,” said a senior official.”The defence personnel who enroll for higher education in the institute can be an asset for the forces later on, help them in planning and strategizing,” said a senior official.The concept of an institute like this has been prevalent internationally but not in India, like the National Defense University (NDU) in Washington. As per the official website of NDU, it aims to “create strategic advantage by developing joint warfighters and other national security leaders and forging relationships through whole-of-nations and whole-of-government educational programs, research and engagement”.INDU will be the first of its kind institute in India, which will focus on the academics side of defence, other institutes like the National Defence Academy and Indian Military Institute mostly focus on preparing personnel to join the force.

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Not for granted! More checks for rural funds

The Central government will no longer give direct funds to higher education institutions under the Unnat Bharat Abhiyan (UAB), a plan meant to connect them to villages and find solutions to rural India problems. Institutions like IITs and NITs will now have to fight for funds by coming up with implementable technology to address issues like sanitation, water and electricity.The Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) issued a circular on December 18 to all education institutions, asking them to manage the scheme with their own funds and with the help of the local administration.UAB is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s idea, launched by the NDA government in 2014 as a flagship programme of the HRD Ministry. The scheme is meant to address the twin objectives of transformative rural development and introduction of greater social relevance in the higher education sector.The policy under UAB has been changed after the government realised that institutions, which are the main centres for technological research, were not utilising funds properly for working with villages.”We found that many institutions, including IITs, were not serious about UAB, so we have decided to stop giving funds to them at the initial level.We don’t want them to use the money for their excursions to villages,” a senior HRD Ministry official said.”We want only those institutions that are seriously interested in working for the rural sector to register for the programme. This will weed out all non-serious participants,” he said.”The entire financial assistance for funding solutions would flow from district authorities, with UBA funding a small portion of the financial gap. UBA component of the resources for customising or installing an existing technology would be provided through challenge method,” the circular said.”There shall be an open call to all higher education institutions to participate, rather than the adoption of pick and chose method. Selection of institutions shall be based on challenge method, according to the fulfilment of criteria like adequacy of qualified faculty, campus, facilities and academic merit, adequacy in number of students, work done in rural areas by institution, proven aptitude of faculty for rural development etc.”

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Cases of child beating rise in government schools

Complaints of corporal punishment — like a teacher slapping or beating a child — in government schools across India have increased by more than 271 per cent in the last three years, official data shows.A total of 144 cases have been reported from various parts of the country in the last three years, the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) has informed Parliament.There were 28 complaints in 2014-15. The number was 12 in 2015-16. It has gone up to 104 in 2016-17.Most cases have been reported from the state of Uttar Pradesh: 25 in 2016-17 and 13 in 2014-15.While the spike raises concerns about the safety of children in schools, officials attribute it to better reporting of cases. “Children have been made aware… to report when they are beaten up or slapped by teachers. Such cases were not reported before,” said a senior government official.The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has issued guidelines to schools to ensure safety of children in schools. This has been communicated by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to schools affiliated to it.”The Board has regularly issued circulars/guidelines to its affiliated schools to curb corporal punishment and mental harassment. For corporal punishment, the Board has incorporated a provision in the affiliation by-laws to prevent cruelty towards children. Under Rule 44.1 (d) of affiliation by-laws of the Board, the school managing committee has been empowered to place an employee under suspension if he/she is charged with cruelty with any student or any employee of the school,” Minister of State for HRD Upendra Kushwaha said in a written reply in Parliament.

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History books to teach about independence struggle that happened before 1857

Ministry of Human Resource Development has decided to teach students about the struggle against British rule that happened before the 1857 revolt— the Paika Rebellion, which occurred in 1817 in Odisha.A chapter on Paika Rebellion will be added in Class 8 books of National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT). Minister of State for HRD, Satyapal Singh shared this information in the Parliament in a written reply, calling it the beginning of rebellion against British rule.”Keeping in mind that Paika Rebellion was the beginning of a rebellion against the British, it has been decided that a chapter on it will be added in Class 8 History textbooks. It will be added in form of a case study which is related to the 1857 revolt,” Singh said in a written reply.”It was one of the first struggles off independence against the British rule, which started in 1817 and ended in 1825. It brought all communities together to fight against the British rule. However, later the 1857 revolt saw a much larger struggle. From the historical point of view, one can say that Pain Rebellion set examples which were later followed,” he added. The Paika Rebellion, also called the Paika Bidroha, was an armed rebellion against the British in 1817. The Paikas, which were the traditional landed militia of Odisha rose in rebellion and spread across the entire state.Changes in History books of NCERT has been a subject of discussion ever since the NDA government came to power in the year 2014. Bharatiya Janata Party’s ideological concern RSS has been giving a number of suggestions to the government to be included or removed from the syllabus. However government has always maintained that the syllabus will only be updated as per the rules, following advice of education experts. Recently, government took an overall review of NCERT textbooks, correcting errors if any and updating the syllabus.

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GST brings jobs boom for Indian CAs

After the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in India in July this year, the demand for Chartered Accountants (CAs) well-versed in the new tax regime has been on a global rise, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) revealed. GST or similar tax regimes are now applicable in nearly 164 countries, including India.After GST’s implementation, the ICAI changed its syllabus and trained the existing CAs to suit the new tax regime. According to officials, since July till now, 500 CAs have already migrated to Dubai for jobs and at least two a month have been going abroad to join international firms.”The reason for this is that Indian CAs are well-versed in tax regime as they have to go through many levels of examinations. With the knowledge of GST, which is an international tax law, they have become best of the lot. If they want to practice abroad, they would already be more qualified than those in other countries. Their syllabus is much more complex with different kinds of tax laws but GST is simpler, so they have to concentrate their energy on just one thing,” a senior ICAI official said. Currently, there are more than 20,000 ICAI qualified CAs and the number is expected to rise further in future. “We cannot tell as to how much this number will rise, but the demand for Indian CAs abroad has definitely been on a rise after the implementation of GST,” the official added. ICAI is an autonomous body under the Ministry of Corporate Affairs and is responsible for regulating the profession of Chartered Accountancy.The new curriculum for CAs, which is mandatory for the next batch, will kick in from the 2018 academic session. For the existing students, the new syllabus is optional and most of the students have opted for it.Meanwhile, the number of women CAs has also increased from 8 per cent in the last decade to 22 per cent now, and is expected to go up to 33 per cent in the next 3 years.

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Centre introduces ‘Challenge Method’ for introducing new Kendriya Vidyalayas

The central government has introduced “Challenge Method” for opening up of new Kendriya Vidyalayas. A Committee under the chairmanship of Secretary Education will be formed which will examine the proposals received by Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS) for opening up of new KVs.Challenge Method would mean those interested in opening new KVs will have to bid for it and the committee will examine the proposal. So far, it was only KVS that would approve opening up of new schools, but with the Challenge Method, a bidding process will be done and approval will come from the committee. There are around 1,125 KVs in the country, and these schools are directly under the HRD Ministry.Official notification regarding this was released by the Department of School Education, Ministry of Human Resource Development on December 4. “In Pursuance of the guidelines issued by the Cabinet Secretariat for selection of sites/locations for projects/institutions/schemes through “Challenge Method”, it has been decided to constitute a Committee under the Chairmanship of Secretary for examination of the proposals received by Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan for opening of new KVs.”Also readIn a first, HRD ministry to rank over 1,000 Kendriya VidyalayasThe committee will examine proposals which have been prime facie found to be fulfilling the norms of KVS for opening of new schools and make recommendations thereon having regard to the guidelines issued by Cabinet Secretariat for selection through “Challenge Method” and submit its recommendations for placing before the Board of Governors and process further for EPC/CCEA approvals.The committee will consist of Secretary Education, members of NITI Ayog and members of KVS.
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Yogi Adityanath

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Govt to launch ‘Study in India’ to attract foreign students

The central government, in a bid to attract more foreign students to India, is going to launch a year-long project called ‘Study in India’. The project is aimed at taking the number of foreign students coming to India to over one lakh by 2020.According to official records, 35,000-40,000 foreign students come to India every year on an average. In order to increase this number, EdCIL — an autonomous body under the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD), which is responsible for keeping the record of foreign students — is working on ‘Study in India’. The HRD Ministry will support the organisation financially to implement the idea.”We have submitted a detailed plan to the Ministry on what we plan to do to increase the number of foreign students, and the Ministry is fully supporting the plan. The idea is to promote Indian universities in foreign countries by doing roadshows, using social media, and through public interactions to inform students about good education institutions in India, and what we can offer them,” an EdCIL official said.”We have made a list of countries that we want to target under the plan — places where we think students will be interested in coming to India, specially in SAARC countries,” the official added.Out of the total number of international students across the globe, only 0.6 per cent come to India. Officials in the Ministry feel that apart from security concerns about coming to India, lack of information about Indian institutions available abroad is also one of the primary reasons for this number.As per the latest report of Association of Indian Universities, students from 208 countries came to study in India in the year 2014-15. The majority of them were from Asia, followed by African countries, and only 1.61 per cent came from European countries.”There are so many schemes that the government runs for international students including relaxation in terms of the minimum eligibility for admission, but many are not aware about it. Therefore the plan of promoting institutions abroad would work well for us,” said a senior official in HRD Ministry.AIMING HIGHAccording to data, 35,000-40,000 foreign students come to India every year. The central govt is aiming at increasing this number to one lakh by 2020.
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Yogi Adityanath

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NTA to hold NEET, JEE from Dec 2018

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The National Testing Agency (NTA) — Centre’s one-point agency for conducting all entrance examinations — will conduct first tests from December 2018, for the academic year 2019. The task of setting up the agency has been assigned to Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur which has already begun work on hiring subject experts.To begin with, they will conduct NEET and JEE next year, the entrance exams that were so far conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). After the formation of NTA , JEE will be conducted twice a year.The Union Cabinet recently gave its nod to setting up of the agency which was announced in this year’s budget by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.”IIT Kanpur has already been assigned the task of setting up the agency and they have started with forming a team of subject experts in various fields and technical experts to design the question papers. The agency will be able to conduct first examination in December next year,” said a senior official.According to sources in the ministry, the agency will have people from the private sector as well including experts in particular subjects and IT experts to make sure that the tests are conducted online, in a hassle-free manner.Subject experts will create a question bank that will be used for the exam. “Creating a question bank, ideating and managing the online system are the key points that we are will be done by NTA,” the official added.

Former BHU VC is likely to be the next chairman of UGC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former Vice-Chancellor of Banaras Hindu University DP Singh, who is currently the chairman of the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), is in the race to become the next University Grants Commission (UGC) chairman, sources in the government said. The appointment has been due since April.According to sources in the Ministry of Human Resource Development, five names, including that of DP Singh, were sent to the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) last week. Other names include ADN Bajpayee, who was removed from the post of Vice-Chancellor of Himachal Pradesh University over corruption charges and BA Chopade, current Vice-Chancellor of Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University. Sources said the chances of DP Singh being selected by the ACC are high. Once the ACC, which has the Prime Minister and Home Minister as members, decides on a name, appointment will be made official. Singh was the VC of BHU from 2008 to 2011, he was also a part of a number of UGC committees on various issues as well as a governing body member of the Association of Indian Universities (AIU). He also happens to be a classmate of RSS leader Krishna Gopal.Yoga therapist HR Nagendra-led search-cum-selection committee (SCSC) had shortlisted 10 candidates for the post in May, which was then forwarded to the HRD ministry. Girish Chandra Tripathi, who recently demitted office as BHU VC, was also among those selected by the panel. However, after the recent controversy, his name was not considered further.Ved Prakash retired as UGC chairman on April 3 and the process of selection of the new chairman has been going on since then. The appointment assumes significance in the light of the latest policies of the ministry of giving more autonomy to colleges and restructuring the council.

Govt ignored solution on stubble burning: JNU team

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A team of researchers at Jawaharlal Nehru University had found a workable solution to stubble burning — which is conducting pyrolysis of the stubble waste in absence of oxygen, inside a closed place to create a fertilizer-like substance called Biochar out of it, instead of burning the waste in open. The project was assigned by Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, but the government itself has failed to act upon this solution. The team had submitted the report on the plan last year itself but there is no progress on implementing the plan. Explaining the process, Professor Dinesh Mohan from JNU, who was a part of the team, told DNA, “If the stubble waste is burnt inside closed furnaces in absence of oxygen, it will produce a substance called Biochar, which is extremely useful for the soil in many ways. It canw improve soil quality, act as an agent to retain water and even cut down harmful effects of chemical fertilizers. By discarding the waste this way, there will be a dual advantage – there will not be any pollution and we can get a usable substance.”“We came up with this solution to stubble burning and have already submitted our report to the Department of Science and Technology, but they have not acted upon the solution at the policy level so far,” he added.“We suggested that the government can give incentives to farmers for conducting pyrolysis of stubble, instead of burning it in the open. They can either take the waste to factories where the process happens in furnaces at a large level. Industries will have to come forward for this. The other way of doing it is by constructing a completely covered mud hut-kind of structure under which the waste is burned without oxygen. Either way, it is not a very difficult thing to do, but needs some initiation from the policy makers,” said Professor Mohan.Upon burning one tonne of straw, 3kg particulate matter is produced which contains 60kg carbon monoxide, 1460kg of carbon dioxide and 199kg ash, the team found while researching on the bad effects of stubble burning.According to the research, stubble burning also deteriorates the nutritional value of soil and leads to 100 percent carbon loss, 90 percent nitrogen loss, 25 percent phosphorus loss and 60 percent sulphur loss. Formation of biochar is known for restoring the nutrient loss in soil as well, which is why scientists are considering it as the best solution.REMEDIAL STEPSBiochar can be made either at an industrial level inside furnaces or by farmers with a structure of mud.
Stubble needs to be burnt inside a closed chamber in absence of oxygen, which will convert the stubble into Biochar instead of ash. Biochar helps improve soil quality

Centre pushes for culture test in schools

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As a part of its vision to impart cultural and value-based education at the school level, the government is pushing for an exam that tests students’s knowledge on Indian culture and values.Bharatiya Sanskriti Gyan Pariksha, an examination conducted by the spiritual organisation in Haridwar called Shantikunj tests knowledge about Indian culture. It will be conducted in all Navodaya Vidyalayas; these come under the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD).A circular in this regard was sent to all Navodaya Vidyalayas by Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti (NVS) on October 5, an autonomous body under the HRD Ministry. Value education for children also finds place within the framework of National Education Policy that the team under K Kasturirangan is currently finalising.An official source said that while it has not been made mandatory, all schools are expected to take part in the exam.An official from the Bhartiya Sanskriti Gyan Pariksha wing of Shantikunj told DNA, “Our seniors had met government officials and discussed the idea of conducting Sanskriti Gyan parkisha in all schools. We are hoping that the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan and other state government schools also start conducting these exams.”The official website of the exam describes it as, ‘A holistic education programme, testing the student on moral, cultural of India’.

Pollution due to stubble burning, Odd-Even won’t help: JNU study

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A study by researchers at Jawaharlal Nehru University’s (JNU) department of environmental sciences has stated that measures like the Odd-Even scheme will not help in controlling pollution levels that the Capital is currently witnessing, as it is not the vehicular pollution but stubble burning in fields in neighbouring states that is causing the air quality to worsen.Researchers studied pollution patterns between October 1 and November 10, 2016, when air quality had touched similar severe levels as last three-four days and found that it was mainly stubble burning from farm fields in Punjab and Haryana that contributed to the air quality going bad while other things like crackers and vehicular pollution did not have much effect.Last year, Diwali fell in the beginning of November when the air quality was already at ‘severe’ levels worsened after. The research, however, shows that crackers contributed very little to pollution levels.”We conducted a study on pollution patterns in Delhi and NCR for a similar period of 2016. We studied the material present in pollutants and found that it was mainly carbonaceous material,” said JNU professor AP Dimri who headed the research team.”Things like nitrogen and sulphur, present in crackers were not present in a significant amounts. On further study, we found a large amount of biomass and residue of cow dung in the pollutants, which is not emitted by diesel burning, which means vehicles are not causing that kind of pollution,” he addedAs a way, for controlling the severe pollution in the Capital, the government had on Thursday announced that Odd-Even vehicle scheme should be implemented in Delhi for a week starting on Monday. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is going to hold a meeting on Saturday to discuss its implementation.RESEARCHERS SAIDDespite the ban on crackers during Diwali, there is no change in pollution levels Mainly due to farm residue burning in neighbouring states that worsened air quality Pollutants affected by weather conditions make particles settle in the air

AICTE shuts 1,400 ‘bad standard’ tech courses

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a bid to improve the standard of technical education in the country, All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has closed nearly 1,400 courses that did not meet required standards in various technical institutions in the academic year 2017-18.The number of courses is the highest in last five years.The maximum number of institutes where courses have been closed are in Maharashtra with over 400 situated in the state. Madhya Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka also have a high number of such institutes.Maximum courses that have been closed are on engineering and information technology, while a minuscule percentage are courses on pharmacy and management. Authorities have advised students to check details about courses as well as the institute before applying.After various surveys on engineering education in India pointed that majority of the graduates in the country have become unemployable, the Ministry of Human Resource Development started taking initiatives to improve the quality of technical education, specially engineering. As a part of this, the government regulator has also decided to close 800 engineering institutions that are not getting any admissions. These institutions will be shut over the next two years.The courses that have been shut by AICTE did not meed required educational standards. According to data obtained from AICTE, 468 courses were closed in 2012-13, 912 in 2013-14, 604 in 2014-15, 1,093 in 2015-16, 670 in 2016-17 and 1,389 in 2017-18.”A high number of course closures shows that we are going after improving the quality of technical education in the country. Courses that either do not have any students of are not meeting the required standards of curriculum have been closed. There are many institutions where popular departments like civil and mechanical engineering have also been closed because they were not performing well,” said a senior official in AICTE.”We want to advise students to check credentials about the course, apart from the institute before seeking admission in an institute,” the official added.India has, over the last three years, seen a dip in number of students opting for engineering. After failing to secure a seat in the top technical institutes like IITs, NITs, students have steered clear of private engineering colleges.FALLING STANDARDSMaharashtra has the highest number of institutes (400) where courses have been closed
A total of 1,398 courses did not meet required standards

UGC backtracks on giving AMU audit to RTI activist

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The University Grants Commission (UGC) has backtracked on providing the audit report of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) to an RTI applicant, Paras Nath, after agreeing to the same and asking the applicant to deposit additional money required for the documents.A panel constituted by UGC has conducted audits of 10 central universities, including AMU, to assess the functioning of these universities. According to sources, the panel had found inbreeding in AMU, which was affecting the diversity of the university, suggesting that Vice-Chancellor’s quota in admissions be done away with. Some other recommendations were also made by the committee.It is the same report that was sought through an RTI application from UGC. The Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) of the commission on October 16 had replied, “The requisite information which contains 43 pages, therefore you are requested to send Rs 86 as RTI fee for providing the required information. After the receipt of the RTI fee, the required information will be provided.”However, on Tuesday, CPIO Sushma Rathore replied in a letter, “I am directed to inform you that the RTI questions are related to Ministry of HRD. The application is therefore being transferred to you under section 6(3) of the RTI Act with a request to provide requisite information.”The RTI applicant is now alleging that the Commission is consciously denying information. “This is shocking and smack of malafide on the part of the CPIO. This is a clear case of succumbing to extraneous pressure,” said Nath, the applicant.The CPIO was unavailable for comment on Tuesday.

DNA EXCLUSIVE: Former CEC to head panel for Prez awards in regional languages

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswami who headed the panel to promote Sanskrit education in the country, has been made the Chairman of Committee that selects Presidential Awards in nine regional languages.These awards that are given on the eve of Independence Day recognise work in regional and ancient languages.The nine regional languages in which awards are given include Sanskrit, Pali, Prakrit, Arabic, Persian, Classical languages including Oriya, Kannada, Telugu and Malayalam. The committee that consists of 11 members has to include two members who are experts in Sanskrit but the current panel approved by Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) has at least four members including the Chairman who are experts in Sanskrit language.As per the document accessed by DNA, the other members in the panel include BHU’s former HoD of Sanskrit Department Gopalbandhu Mishra, VV Jaddipal who was with Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeth, Tirupati, Dharam Chand Jain former professor Sanskrit and Prachyavidya Sansthan, Kurukshetra University and experts from other languages.”N Gopalaswami’s appointment as Chairman has been done keeping in mind his expertise in Sanskrit since two of the members necessarily have to be experts in Sanskrit language,” said a source from HRD Ministry.HRD Ministry had in the year 2015 formed a panel to promote Sanskrit education in the country and Gopalaswami headed it. Among other things the committee suggested measures to integrate study of the language with other disciplines like Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Medical Science and Law. The 31-member panel was also tasked to prepare 10-year plan for promotion of Sanskrit.RECOGNITIONAwards that are given on the eve of Independence Day recognise work in regional and ancient languages. The 9 languages in which awards are given include Sanskrit, Pali, Prakrit, Arabic, Persian, Classical languages including Oriya, Kannada, Telugu and Malayalam.

Institutes in 100 backward districts to go digital

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a bid to reach out to students in technical institutes in backward areas, the central government plans to use its digital learning initiative ‘Swayam’ to connect colleges in 100 districts in states like Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh.The districts have already been identified by the Ministry of Human Resources Development and the institutes have been asked to arrange for infrastructure to make digital learning available for students. Under this initiative, lectures will be held through video conference. Infrastructure like TV and internet will be managed by a centrally-funded scheme.In a letter to the selected institutions, the HRD Ministry’s National Project Implementation Unit has asked them to convert their classrooms audio-visual rooms with a 55″ LED television and DTH connection.”All institutions linked with TEQIP (Technical Education Quality Improvement Programme) are requested to establish the infrastructure and register for SWAYAM Prabha. The expenditure for the infrastructure may be booked under TEQIP,” the letter says.In a related development, HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar has also written to the vice-chancellors of all central universities to adopt digital initiatives of learning like the National Digital Library, Swayam, and Swayam Prabha, among others.The universities are expected to implement by the end of this year a 17-point list shared with them.The ministry is also coming up with an online portal to track digital learning initiatives by various institutes.

Kasturirangan panel include 25 themes in New Education Policy

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Giving final touches to the New Education Policy, the panel under eminent scientist K Kasturirangan is working on 25 different themes including quality education, value education and others to possibly bring out the policy draft by the end of the year.The New Education Policy is a highly awaited and discussed change in the education sector, for which the team under scientist Kasturirangan is the second team to be working on the policy.The panel has replaced the TSR Subramanian committee, which has already given its suggestions to the government and on the basis of suggestions, a basic policy framework has been prepared.According to sources in the ministry, the themes that the team is working on, include digital learning, physical education, life skills in education, value education and experiential learning among others.”The idea is to make the policy holistic, which is why we have identified 25 different relevant topics to finalise the policy draft. In a recent meeting of the panel, the team members informed the minister that they are confident of bringing out the policy by the end of the year,” said a source in the Ministry of Human Resource Development.The Kasturirangan committee has been mandated to make Indian education contemporary, improve its quality, and internationalise it. It could also provide a roadmap for the entry of foreign universities into India.A chintan shivir is also being organised by the Ministry of Human Resource Development in November to discuss some of the education themes for New Education Policy and the inputs given will be used to include in the policy draft.The workshop will be organised on November 6 and 7 in the national capital.

Delhi University colleges apply for national ranking

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a bid to save face for central government’s institutional ranking, National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF), the government has persuaded top education institutions to apply this year.Top Delhi University colleges like Hindu, Hansraj, Ramjas and St. Stephens that had not applied for NIRF last year, have come on board this year to apply in the college category.According to sources, it was after much persuasion from the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) and the concerned unit – National Board of Accreditation (NBA) conducting NIRF, that the institutions have applied this year. The ministry felt the need to persuade these colleges and others that had not applied as 2017 list of colleges was not impressive which raised a question mark on the government ranking itself.”Many good colleges had not applied for NIRF last year, and hence we could not rank them. This, in turn, ended up giving a list which was not very impressive. People started questioning as to why colleges like St. Stephens were not in the top list. We could not go on explaining to everybody the reason for the absence of these colleges, hence this year we decided to persuade them and bring them on board for applying,” said a senior official in HRD Ministry.”There was a lot of discussion in the ministry about the kind of colleges that could be ranked in NIRF because we all know the reality. We were quite sure that a college like Atma Ram Sanatan Dharam (ARSD) from Delhi University could not have been at number 5 in the overall list of colleges in the country, but we could not place any other good college there because not many had applied,” the official added.The official informed that the colleges themselves recognised the need of being ranked in NIRF as the government is linking a lot of facilities, like funding and granting of “Institute of national eminence” tag to these rankings.The official, further, informed that participation has gone up this year.”October 16 was the last day for registration and we can say that the number of applications has almost gone by up by 50 per cent this year.”In a related move, the government is planning to end public perception criteria while ranking the colleges. Till this year, perception, which is one of the categories to rank colleges, also included public perception. But it was found out that colleges are using agencies to fill up public perception for them to score more in that criteria, hence this will be done away with for the next rankings, an official informed.Starting government’s own ranking was an idea conceptualized by former HRD Minister Smriti Irani in 2015.REALISATIONAn HRD ministry official said that the colleges themselves recognised the need to be ranked in NIRF as the government is linking a lot of facilities, like funding and granting of “Institute of national eminence” tag to these rankings.

Common scheme to make education affordable

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a move to provide infrastructure to the government schools same as that of the private institutes, the central government is planning to merge the two of its major school education schemes — Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA).DNA had earlier reported that the Ministry of Human Resource Development is working on a plan to merge SSA and RMSA to create a single more effective policy for school education. While SSA caters to Classes 1 to 8, RMSA caters to only classes 9 and 10, due to their slightly different mandates, the schemes are being merged.The merger is also being done because of a large number of primary (1 to 8) schools in the country as compared to upper primary (1 to 10), which skews up the attention given to upper primary classes. Stand-alone primary and upper primary schools constitute respectively around 55 percent and 10 percent of the total schools in the country.With this plan, the government wants to make quality education accessible for all by the year 2030. “Pooling together all resources including that of SSA and RMSA at national and state level and clear commitment to school education during the next seven years will make the goal achievable,” an expert committee formed to review the possibilities of the merger saidThe committee also recommended a number of measures which have been agreed upon by the ministry. The report suggested that “need-based planning” should be done for schools which will be more cost-effective in terms of teachers salary, residential schools will be established, transport facilities would be made available to girls upto secondary. “There should be a single strategic district and state plan covering grades 1 to 10/12 where schools rather than any given level of school education become the unit of planning,” it further added.”The benefits of merging the two schemes will reflect in the strengthening of existing school in terms of civil works, hardware support, major repairs and residential quarters for teachers. Need-based composite residential schools may be established, this will be economic, efficient and effective,” the report said.”Given the structure of school education in India, characterised by a large proportion of stand-alone small primary (55%) and upper primary schools (10%) there is a need to go for a paradigm shift in the approach for strategic management of school education in the country,” the committee suggested.MAKING IT EASYCommittee recommended measures which have been agreed upon by the ministry.
The report suggested that “need-based planning” should be done for schools which will be more cost-effectiveprimary classes.

No more marks moderation: HRD tells all boards

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Following the CBSE marks moderation fiasco in April this year, all states and boards have been asked to stop spiking marks from the coming session. The decision has been taken by the Inter Boards Group constituted early this year.All boards including CBSE had in April this year in a meeting with officials from Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) had decided to do away with marks moderation just ahead of the board results. The decision, however, was challenged in court by parents of students taking exam. After the court’s decision, CBSE had to follow the marks moderation policy which led to a dealy in publishing the results. Marks moderation is a policy in which boards increase marks upto a certain level to bring all results to a certain level.Following the fiasco, this time a decision on the issue has been taken in advance. HRD Ministry has on Friday sent a communication to all states and central boards including CBSE and ICSE to do away with the policy of marks moderation. The ministry has, however added that moderation can be done in certain cases.”Practice of awarding moderation marks should be done away with, except in cases of ambiguity in the question paper, inter-set variation in difficulty level (if multiple sets system exists in the Board) and vagaries in the evaluation process based on statistical analysis. Bunching of marks and their spiking should be completely avoided,” the ministry said in its letter.It added that the practice of giving grace marks should continue to pass borderline cases and the policy should be disclosed on their website.The weightage of extra-curricular activities should be same across all the Boards. Boards should show performance of students in extra-curricular activities separately on the marks statement rather than adding them in their scholastic performance, the letter said.Secretary school Education Anil Swarup, in the letter written to all boards has asked them transparent implementation of the policy. “This will help in bringing uniformity in evaluation process, parity of results and improve quality of education with emphasis on learning outcomes,” he said in the letter.All boards have been asked to implement the policy and submit a report in this regard by the end of this month.Delayed stepAll boards had in April this year decided to do away with marks moderation in a meeting with HRD Ministry. The process was postponed after facing court challenges from parents and students.

A man was raped on BHU campus

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Even as the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) is weighed down by protests by girl students alleging molestation on campus, police records have revealed that a male student was raped inside the university premises last year. Students who stood by the survivor say the incident did not generate much noise “because of BHU’s homophobia.” In fact, many students are not even aware such a crime took place on their campus.According to station house officer at Lanka police station, the incident took place on August 17 last year. A chargesheet was filed in November and the accused, who was an administration staff at the university, was arrested in December. He served six months in prison.In his complaint, the survivor, a 22-year-old student of law who is still pursuing the course at the university, said he was taking a stroll inside the campus when he was dragged into the car by a man who forced unnatural sex on him. Soon, more men joined him in the car. The complainant alleged he was drugged by the accused.A friend of the student says though the complaint had mentioned the involvement of multiple men, police registered a rape case and not a gang-rape case.Charges against the accused were framed under sections 377, 328, 342 and 506 (unnatural sex, drugging, wrongful confinement and intimidation).Requesting anonymity, the friend says, “He lives outside the campus now. No one other than close friends stood by him after the incident. Even the FIR was registered 15 days after the incident. University officials, including the vice-chancellor and registrar, had dissuaded him from going to the police. But we went ahead and put pressure on the police to act on the complaint.”He reasons that topics like homosexuality are not discussed on the campus. The BHU is homophobic, the subject makes everyone uncomfortable. “How can you expect someone in such a place to stand up for male rape victims?” he adds.Speaking about safety on campus, a student of the women’s college says, “I feel more unsafe inside the campus than outside it. Every man who moves around the campus on a bike is wont to eve tease or oggle at women students. There are so many poorly lit lanes where we feel unsafe at night.”When DNA brought up the issue of safety with the university administration, it expressed helplessness, citing it cannot restrict the entry of outsiders.”The campus has a hospital, a temple, faculty residences and so many other units that general public access. Hence, we cannot restrict the entry of outsiders. At any given time, there are around 1.5 lakh people on the campus.We cannot check each and every person,” says Rajesh Singh, public relations officer of BHU.

BHU row: V-C goes on ‘leave’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After intervention from the Prime Minister’s Office, Banaras Hindu University (BHU) Vice-Chancellor Girish Chandra Tripathi went on leave citing “personal reasons” on Monday. The move comes nine days after a large number of female students were lathicharged for raising their voice against inaction in a case of molestation on the campus.The campus reopens on Tuesday and students had planned another round of protests. They have cancelled their plan. BHU sources said that UP Chief Secretary Rajeev Kumar and Secretary Education (HRD Ministry) KK Sharma met students on Monday and sent their report to the PMO. The V-C was then directed to go on leave.The V-C had earlier said that he would send his resignation if he is asked to go on leave. Calls and messages to the V-C went unanswered.The Registrar will oversee the functioning of the university in the absence of the V-C. T”We met officials from HRD Ministry and CM’s office. They heard our demands and assured that action will be taken. Our biggest demand was that the V-C should go and that has happened. Hence we decided to cancel Tuesday’s protest,” said a BHU student who was part of the delegation that met the officials on Monday.Meanwhile, a police team recorded the statements of female students. It also issued notices to the V-C, then Chief Proctor, Proctorial Board members and teachers about the violence and their failure to act in time.(With inputs from Srawan Shukla in Lucknow)

Centre to merge school education schemes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Central government plans to improve the reach of education at the school level for children from Classes 1 to 10 by merging two of their schemes meant to guarantee universal education.The Ministry of Human Resource Development plans to merge Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) — two similar schemes of the government for education to be universalised. Currently, while SSA is applicable from Class 1 till Class 8, RMSA is only for Class 9 and 10 only.A meeting to deliberate on possibilities of merger of these two schemes was held in the ministry last week and a group of secretaries working on it will submit its report in the coming days. “During the discussion, it was agreed upon by everyone that it will be a good idea to merge these two schemes as they have similar mandate. We are now working on how to work on the merger and will come up with a detailed report soon,” a senior official in the ministry of HRD said.He added that the plan to merge these schemes was proposed because it was found that there was a lot of non-utilisation of funds. Both SSA and RMSA gets different budget. The separate schemes were created because the Right to Education did not extend upto Class 10 and the government needed a plan to bring children to school after Class 8.”We saw that funds in these schemes were not being utilised properly. If a state has taken care of its primary education and does not need to spend so much for children up to class 8, they should be able to use the same fund for the older children. However, under the current mandate it was not being possible. Hence, we have decided to merge them,” the official added.

Will not go on leave. Will resign instead, says BHU VC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With speculation mounting that the HRD Ministry was considering asking Banaras Hindu University (BHU) Vice Chancellor (VC) GC Tripathi to go on leave, a fallout of the brutal lathicharge on female hostel inmates protesting growing instances of molestation in the university, Tripathi was insistent that he wouldn’t proceed on leave.”I would prefer to send my resignation instead of going on a leave,” he said. Meanwhile, sources in government also denied any such possibility.Official sources in the HRD ministry said that there was no plan to send the VC on a leave as he does not hold any executive powers and is due to demit office in the next two months. “The process of appointment of the new VC is a routine process which will be started soon,” sources said.Sources said sending the VC on a leave would further spark controversy, which is why they do not plan on doing anything like that. Sources in BHU also said that there is no communication from the ministry so far.

More than 10% Indians lie on resume to get jobs

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>More than ten percent of the Indians lie on their resume while applying for jobs. These include details on education, criminal records, and even residential address.While this number is very low as compared to other countries like the US, which has 25 per cent discrepancies, experts say this could be because the number of checks carried out in India are low.Out of the total numbers of people who give false information before applying for a job, 10 per cent turned out to be faking about completing a course, 5 per cent were from fake universities and almost 50 per cent had submitted fake documents. This data has been collected by First Advantage, a global background screening agency, largest in India.Background screening, which is the practice of verifying background information of a prospective employee is a 10-year-old practice but not followed much in India. “In India, background screening is done only by IT industries, finance firms and banks. Off late, we have also seen traction developing in sectors like hospitality and manufacturing,” said Purushotam Savlani, SVP and Managing Director of First Advantage India.”There are various checks while verifying the resume of a candidate, like education, past employment and criminal history. Educational discrepancies are taken very seriously, specially in fields like IT and Finance because if a person lies about having a skill that he/she does not have, technical work, which needs to be done by a specialist will suffer,” Savlani added.As per the data shared by the agency, the discrepancy versus verified percentage for 2011, 2012 and 2013 was at 10 per cent. In 2014 it had risen to 10.5 per cent. In 2015 it has further risen to 11.6 per cent. During 2016 it fell to 11.1 percent and further to 10.6 percent, in the first half of 2017.”Developed countries like the US, New Zealand and Australia have a high discrepancy rate because of the awareness among employers there. In India, background verification is a nascent industry with growing need and awareness. The number of checks carried out in India are significantly lower, some employers believe that background screening as an additional unnecessary expense,” he added.GROWING TRENDIn India, background screening is done only by IT, finance firms and banks.
The trend is now spreading to hospitality and manufacturing sectors.

HRD Ministry to work on training tech teachers

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With questions being raised about the competency of those teaching engineering students, the Ministry of Human Resource Development is now working on a roadmap to improve training for technical teachers.The National Institutes of Technical Teacher Training and Research (NITTTRs), which train technical teachers, on Tuesday approached the ministry, saying the teachers have become less efficient and therefore unemployable, and sought ways to enhance their employability.”Officials from NITTTRs approached us saying that the quality of teachers coming in the field of technical education has been going down for the last few years and this has impacted quality of engineering graduates that are passing out from the colleges. We had a long presentation in the ministry and will now work on a roadmap to improve teacher education,” said a senior official from the ministry.There are four NITTTRs in the country, in Bhopal, Chandigarh, Chennai and Kolkata. The institutes gave their own presentations on how they want technical education to be improved and asked for suggestions from ministry officials.Among some of the suggestions that emerged from the presentation were regular training sessions for teachers while they are teaching at the institutes so they are abreast of latest developments in their fields. “What most teachers do after they start teaching is to stop updating themselves with latest development, this makes them less efficient,” the official added.Based on the suggestions received from NITTTRs, the ministry will now further work on a roadmap to transform technical teacher training in the country.Around 10-12 lakh students take admission in various engineering institutes across the country every year, given such a large number of students in this field, the ministry wants that the faculty should be up to the mark.

Teach students about Indian who invented plane: Satyapal Singh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The newly inducted Minister of State, Human Resource Development Satyapal Singh wants engineering students to learn about Vishwakarma, a Hindu deity, worshipped by craftsmen and engineer community and the first Indian who flew an airplane, alongwith Wright Brothers, in their institutes.Singh is a former IPS officer who was posted as the Mumbai Police Commissioner from 2012 to January 2014.The minister who was speaking at an award function organised by All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) in the name of Vishwakarma also emphasised about the importance of learning about the ancient scientific discoveries and inventions in India right from the Ramayana period.”When students in India are taught about the invention of airplanes, they are taught that Wright Brothers invented the plane in 1903 but how many of them know that before Wright Brothers, first plane was invented by an Indian Shivakar Babuji Talpade in the year 1895? Are students taught these things at IITs or engineering institutes? They are not, but they should be,” Singh said.He added that along with the Wright Brothers, students should be taught about Talpade and Pushpak Viman, which is a flying chariot described in Hindu texts.”We are currently lagging behind in research and innovation. Our researchers need to be told about our rich culture and our civilization which dates back many thousands of years. We have seen such amazing examples of scientific inventions in the past, we should learn from them,” he added.The minister also spoke about a scientific method dating back to the Ramayan era. “Plants at Raavan’s house had a chandramani (moon stone) in them, because of which they did not need to be watered. Students should study about all these things,” he added.The minister who has taken charge as the junior minister for higher education in the central government said that he will ask all education officials and researchers to compile more information about such ancient discoveries and scientific inventions, which students can learn in their institutes.The AICTE event, Vishwakarma Awards for students where the minister was speaking, was organised to recognise excellence in the field of engineering.

Centre to use Nirbhaya Fund for school safety measures

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As a fallout of the Ryan International School incident, where a 7-year-old child was found murdered in the school’s washroom, the Centre will now utilise a corpus from the Nirbhaya fund to train drivers and other non-teaching staff in schools to ensure safety and security of children. This is the first time that money from the Nirbhaya fund will be used for children. Official sources said that the decision has been taken looking at the increasing number of crimes against children in schools. The decision was taken at a high-level meeting of officials from the Ministry of Human Resource Development and Ministry of Women and Child Development on Monday. Officials from CBSE, NCPCR, KVS and other organisations were also present in the meeting. A six-member committee consisting of secretaries from Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Minority Affairs, WCD, HRD, Social Justice and Water and Sanitation will look into the implementation of schemes. Among the major initiatives that the government plans, is establishing POCSO booths in each school equipped with the Childline helpline number (1098) where a child can lodge complaints of any deviant sexual activity or any form of sexual harassment. Details of the eBox facility, an online platform where children can lodge complaints online about sexual harassment, will be printed by the NCERT on textbooks, along with details of POCSO to make both children and their parents aware about the existence of a POCSO committee in schools. “The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has in the past also sent various circulars to schools to maintain POCSO committees and display it properly in school corridors so that they know that such a committee exists. The same rule will be re-asserted in view of latest incidents,” said a senior official from CBSE. Apart from this, the NCPCR will issue guidelines for routine security and safety audit of schools. The role of parent-teacher associations will also be increased inside the school management to strengthen the security and safety inside the school.Komal, a movie developed by NCERT on child sexual abuse, will be shown to children in schools as a part of educating them about good touch, bad touch. The movie, which is available on the official website of NCERT as well, shows what child sexual abuse is through the life story of a young school girl abused by her neighbour. Gender champions, children above 16 years of age screened by the school committee to create awareness of gender-sensitive campaigns, will also be deployed. As per a set of directives sent by the NCPCR to schools in 2016 for the safety and security of schools, the verification of all staff members, affidavits by newly selected candidates that they have not been accused of any offence under POCSO, gender sensitive curriculums, etc were part of the safety audit. A two-member committee constituted by CBSE had fixed responsibility of the 7-year-old child’s death on Ryan International School, Gurugram. It said that the death could have been averted had the school been more ‘cautious’.

CBSE serves de-affiliation notice to Ryan International School

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Based on the report of the two-member panel formed to investigate the death of 7-year-old student in Ryan International School, CBSE has sent a showcase notice for de-affiliation notice to the school. The panel in its report submitted on Friday held the school responsible for the child’s death and said that it could have been avoided had the school been more cautious. “The death of Pradyumn Thakur could have been avoided had the school discharged it’s responsibility and duty with care,” the report, a copy of which is with DNA says. Based on the findings of the report CBSE has on Saturday morning served a de-affiliation notice to the school and given them 15 days time to explain why their affiliation should not be withdrawn as per CBSE by-law. “Manager of the Ryan International School, Sohna Road, Gurgaon, Haryana is served with notice to show cause as to why Provisional Affiliation for Secondary and Senior Secondary level may not be withdrawn for willful violation of the provisions of the Affiliation Bye-laws of the Board” the notice reads.
ALSO READ Ryan student murder: Post-mortem report cites ‘shock and haemorrhage’ as cause of death”His/Her reply to this notice should reach to the undersigned within 15 days from the date of issue of this Notice failing which it will be assumed that School Authorities have nothing to represent in the matter and ex-parte decision shall be taken as per rules of the Affiliation Bye-laws of the Board,” it adds.

21% Indians likely to face job threat by 2022: FICCI report

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Given the changes in the job scenario in the country and globally, twenty-one per cent of the workforce currently employed in India would face a job threat by the year 2022 due to lack of required skills and would need re-skilling, a FICCI report on future job projection in India reveals.The 132-page detailed report released on Friday looks at the various aspects of changes in the job sector in the country and how skill-based education will be needed to tackle it. It also suggests various measures to government agencies, academia and industry to identify ways to deal with the problem at an early stage.The report states that by the year 2022, nine per cent of the workforce will be working in fields that do not exist currently, 37 per cent will be working in sectors with radically changed skill sets, and 54 per cent will fall under unchanged job category.As per the report, professionals of the IT sector run the maximum risk of losing their job by 2022 and largely require re-skilling. Twenty to thirty-five per cent of people working in the sector would face an exponential threat to their jobs, the report estimates. Future jobs in IT sector would be VFX artists, wireless network specialists, data scientists, data architect, android developer, and other similar jobs.Other sectors like textile, automobile, and retail will also change rapidly. An e-textile specialist would be in demand in the future, and in the automobile sector, a 3D printing technician and vehicle cyber-security experts would be sought after.”The internet and exponential technologies are creating an exciting space, in which potentially numerous gainful employment opportunities are emerging,” the report states. India has the largest number of online workforce in the world — 24 per cent. This mode of employment called the Gig Economy is expected to grow significantly in coming years.The second big area that is generating employment opportunities is the technology aggregator model that enables the organising of highly inefficient markets — like the ‘Uber’ model, the report adds.The changing job scenario in India is based on various factors including demographic changes, globalisation and adoption of exponential technology by Indian industries.The report recommends that the government and policymakers should utilise the time window of two-three years to effect large-scale reforms in the general, technical, and vocation education system in mission mode and establish centres of excellence in emerging exponential technologies. It suggests industries to incorporate ‘gig economy’ resources as a part of the HR department’s manpower planning strategies and develop workforce re-training programmes across various levels.Realising the need for skilled workforces, the Ministry of Human Resource Development has been trying to introduce more skill-based education in the curriculum, especially engineering, which is one sector where the graduates face the highest risk of losing their jobs.

Over 19 crore schoolchildren under one govt database

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With an aim to make every schoolchild eligible for various schemes such as free uniform distribution and midday meals, the central government has brought over 19.5 crore kids under one database. Out of them, eight crore children have also been linked to Aadhar.Ministry of Human Resource Development had asked all states to share their data so that genuine information of all students is available, and the children are able to avail benefits from the government. It will also help the government keep a tab on the dropouts.According to sources in the Ministry of Human Resource Development, all the states except West Bengal, have already shared their data with the central government. Despite reminders in the past, West Bengal has refused to do it, the ministry is now planning to send another reminder to the state government.The data for students from Class 1 to 12, which includes their basic information like date of birth, school enrollment number has been collected by various states and shared with the central government. Even as West Bengal has collected the data, they have refused to share it with the ministry, sources in HRD ministry said.”The plan to connect all the children across states through a single platform and monitor schemes in the state will be affected if we do not get cooperation from all states. We are planning to send a reminder to the West Bengal government to provide data related to children,” a senior official in the ministry said.States like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh have provided all the data needed by the government. The data, which is being collected through Student Database Management Information system (SDMIS), will be used for uniform and books distribution, providing transport facilities, hostel accommodation and midday meals for students.According to sources, the government is planning to finish the job of data collection as soon as possible and is also taking the help of NEUPA and have organized camps at district levels. As per the nominations of last year, the government needs to collect information about 25 crore children.

In a first, NCERT develops curriculum for pre-schools, likely to be followed by 2018-19

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pre-schools in the country will now be able to follow a well-designed, fixed curriculum for teaching 3 to 6-years-old children, as the National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has developed a curriculum for pre-schools to help prepare children for Class 1.This is for the first time that a government agency will be giving a fixed curriculum for pre-schools, which otherwise do not have any fixed curriculum. The elementary education department of NCERT has been working on developing a curriculum in five centres — Bhopal, Bhubaneshwar, Mysore, Ajmer and Delhi.”Our pre-school centres had been researching on developing a curriculum for pre-schools, and we are hoping to implement it by 2018-19 academic session. We will provide the curriculum to all private schools across the country,” a senior official at NCERT said.”Most pre-schools do not follow a fixed curriculum, some start with teaching alphabets and numbers to students while others only teach them to sing rhymes and play games. This new curriculum has been designed keeping in mind the cognitive and emotional level of children,” he added.The NCERT curriculum will have more of activity and less of cramming up alphabets and numbers; an exercise the experts at NCERT say will be helpful for the psychological development of the child.The curriculum spans over two years, which could either be used for Nursery and lower KG or upper KG and lower KG — which is basically aimed at preparing children for Class 1.So far, government schools used to admit children beginning from Class 1 but they are also working on a plan to link Anganwadis to schools to start their own pre-schools. Some states like Telangana and Rajasthan already have pre-schools, but the ministry of human resource development alongwith ministry of women and child development is working on a pan-India plan.Ministry of Women and Child Development has developed National Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) policy for children from 3-6 years of age. The policy encompasses elements of care, health, nutrition, play and early learning within a protective and enabling environment. As per the policy, there should be an age and developmentally appropriate, child-centric curriculum translated in mother tongue/local vernacular.

MP cop saves 100 kids from bomb

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A 40-year-old Madhya Pradesh Police Head Constable saved lives of 100 children and many other villagers when he carried a bomb found in the backyard of a school over his shoulder and disposed it off far away from human habitation.The incident took place in Chitora village of Sagar district, nearly 170 kilometres from the state capital. The unexploded bomb, which apparently got there from the nearby firing range in Chitora weighed about 10 kgs. However, Head Constable Abhishek Patel, without worrying about his life carried the heavy bomb, placed it over his shoulder and disposed it off away from the village. It was only after this that he followed the usual drill of informing his seniors and calling the bomb disposal squad.Talking to DNA over phone, Satyendra Shukla, SP Sagar district said, “Head Constable Abhishek Patel was on Police Control Van duty when he got a call about a bomb in the backyard of a school in Chitora. He immediately rushed to the spot. He picked up the bomb and ran with it as fast as he could. He disposed it at a place far away from the village.”Even as Patel’s seniors in the department are appreciating what he did, they are not happy with the way he handled the situation. “He should have first informed the bomb disposal squad and followed the proper drill. There was a lot of risk involved in taking the bomb away with bare hands,” the Superintendent of Police said.Talking about the incident, Patel told DNA that his intention was only to take it away from the residential area and had the bomb exploded, buildings and people within an area of at least 500 meters would have been affected. He said, “My only objective was to carry the bomb as far away as possible from the school and the residential area.”As the unexploded bomb was from an army range nearby, standard protocol was followed later on and the bomb was finally diffused on Sunday.According to the police officials, the bomb must have been placed there by some villager who went in search of metal from the exploded bomb but instead found this unexploded one, which would have been useless for the villager. Villagers in the area usually look for exploded bombs so that they can extract metal from it and sell them of in the market.

Engineering no longer a ‘coveted’ stream as enrollment drops

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An analysis of the last six years of higher education data, circa 2010, shows how engineering as a career choice has been losing its charm.The percentage of students opting for engineering has gone down. In 2010-11, 18 per cent of students pursuing higher education opted for engineering. The percentage of students choosing this field has been dipping constantly, hitting 15 per cent in 2015-16. The country-wide data provided by the Ministry of Human Resource and Development shows how commerce and humanities are taking over engineering as a career choice. However, despite the dwindling figures, it continues to be one of the top five choices.Experts claim that the main reason the stream lost its charm was an excess of engineering colleges coming up. The institutes affiliated to All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) have gone up from 1,511 in 2006-07 to more than 3,288 in 2015-16. The IITs, too, have increased from just seven in 2005 to 23 today.According to government data, over 27 lakh seats across various engineering institutions were vacant in the last three years. The government has taken this seriously and plans to shut down institutes that have recorded less than 30 per cent admissions in the past five years. “In the past few years, the AICTE has been actively working on reducing the number of engineering institutes across the country due to poor demand and falling quality of education,” said Dr Anil Sahasrabuddhe, Chairman, AICTE.This trend could also be attributed to shrinking job offers and layoffs in jobs for engineers. With the change in industry demands, the choice of stream has also changed over the last six years. While in 2010 most students opted for electronics and computer engineering, in 2015-16, mechanical was the top choice. Experts cite increasing automation in the industry as the reason behind this.”Engineering was never a lucrative career option. Even 10 years ago, B Tech were doing calling jobs in MNCs. I think people are gradually realising that they don’t need to spend so much money on a bad quality college just for these kind of jobs. The number engineers will go down further in future,”said Professor Dheeraj Sanghi, Member, Academic Senate, IIIT Delhi.

UGC approves plan for graded autonomy to edu institutions

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The University Grants Commission (UGC) on Thursday approved the plan to grant graded autonomy to institutions on the basis of their performance. This means that the institutions performing extremely well will be completely free of government control and the poor performers will get least autonomy.The plan was approved by members of UGC in a meeting held on Thursday, where secretary higher education and other members of the council were present. “Discussion on graded autonomy was one of the main points on the meeting agenda. The council members decided to go ahead with the plan and include suggestions that are received on this from public on framing of the guidelines,” a council member present in the meeting told DNA.The Ministry of Human Resource Development has received a number of suggestions on the UGC portal and on the basis of that, guidelines will be framed in the coming days.According to the plan, UGC-recognised public, private and deemed universities will be divided into three categories, and according to those categories, each institute will be awarded different degrees of autonomy.Universities either accredited by NAAC with a score of at least 3.5 or ranked in the top 50 institutions of National Institutions Ranking Framework (NIRF) for two consecutive years will be under the ‘Category I’. Universities under this category will be free to start a new course.ELIGIBILITY RULESUniversities either accredited by NAAC with a score of at least 3.5 or ranked in the top 50 institutions of National Institutions Ranking Framework (NIRF) for two consecutive years will be under the ‘Category I’.

Center plans to link schools across states

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The central government is now working on a plan to link all schools, teachers and students across the states in the country on a single data mapping system to frame better policies.U-DISE (Unified District Information System for Education) is the database where all schools are mapped. There are currently 1.5 million schools that are mapped on the system. The schools are given an 11-digit number that gives them an identification code and helps the government keep a track on the number of schools in the country. However, despite earlier instructions from the ministry of human resource development to all states to link their schools to U-DISE many schools have not done so.The government is now making it mandatory for all schools to get the U-DISE number, making it the only official system of tracking number at the school education level in the country.”U-DISE is a mine of data that we have and we want to make good use of it. We have instructed all government agencies to only refer to U-DISE for data. Schools that are currently not under the system have also been asked to get registered. In fact, untrained teachers who are supposed to get trained by the year 2019 are also supposed to be a part, only of schools that have a U-DISE number,” said a senior official in HRD ministry.Further, there is a plan to link all students and teachers on the U-DISE system using their Aadhar numbers. The government has currently asked all states to link students through their Aadhar numbers but only 60 percent of students were linked till July this year. Looking at the dismal rate of Aadhar linkage, the deadline has been extended to September this year by which government hopes to achieve 100 percent linkage rate.”Once we are able to link all three elements – schools, teachers and students – together, we can use the data for various policy making. Officials in the department of statistics are currently studying the data that is available currently on U-DISE to understand how it can be used for policy formation,” the official added.Other than keeping a track of the number of children availing mid-dal meal and other government related schemes, the government wants to use this data to keep a track of students who drop out of the school mid-way. A large number of students drop-out after Class 8, but more drop out after Class 10.The other plan is to keep a track of the ghost teachers through their Aadhar numbers that will be linked on the U-DISE portal. Once schools teachers complete their training by the year 2019, only those who are trained will be eligible for teaching.

JEE advanced to go completely online from 2018

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Joint Entrance Examination Advanced, which governs entry to Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), will be held completely online from next year.The decision was taken by the Joint Admissions Board (JAB) of IITs, a body responsible for exam-related policies of the institutions, in its meeting held in Chennai on Sunday. Students who want admission in IITs have to clear the JEE Main first, after which they are eligible to take JEE Advanced which opens avenues for admission to the 23 institutes across the country. While JEE Main is already being held online, students had to write the advanced test on paper. In order to save logistics and make improve the evaluation process, officials decided to extend the option of online to JEE Advanced as well.Currently, options to give the JEE Advanced exam online exists in only a few centres.Confirming the development, a senior official in the HRD ministry said, “Making the JEE Advanced online was the main proposal on the JAB meeting agenda, which has been cleared by the board. Apart from being logistically viable, this move will also ensure greater transparency and avoid chances of a paper leak.”Another proposal that was cleared by the board is that of designing the question paper scientifically by keeping questions at the difficulty level of 1 to 10.Prof Bhaskar Ramamurthi, Director, Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, and Chairman of JAB said, “The Apex Body for the conduct of JEE Advanced, at its meeting today, has decided that JEE (Adv) will be conducted in online mode from 2018 onwards. Further information regarding the examination will be provided by the JAB in due course.”

Seminar in Andaman to discuss Savarkar’s idea of nationalism

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After deciding to organise the first-ever seminar on Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) ideologue MS Golwalkar, the Indian Council for Philosophical Research (ICPR) is planning to hold a seminar on freedom fighter VD Savarkar, popularly addressed as Veer Savarkar.ICPR, which is an organisation under the ministry of human resource development and is responsible for research in philosophy, plans to organise the seminar in Andaman later this year. The seminar of Golwalkar, popularly addressed as ‘guruji’ by RSS members will be held on September 6 by the council, where they plan to discuss his ideas of nationalism. This is also a first by any government agency.ICPR source say a meeting of their research project committee will be held on September 11 during which the seminar plan will also be discussed and once it’s approved, the seminar will be organised in the month of November.Confirming the development, a senior official in ICPR said, “Seminar on VD Savarkar is on the meeting agenda of our research project committee and the committee is most likely to give a green signal to it.”The council plans to hold a session of the seminar inside the Cellular Jail in Andaman as Savarkar was lodged there for over 10 years during the independence struggle. The other sessions will be held in Jawaharlal Nehru PG College in Port Blair, Andaman. The idea is to discuss Savarkar’s contribution to freedom struggle and his idea of nationalism.”Holding the seminar in Andaman will be a way of commemorating his memory, since he spent more than a decade in the jail there” the official added. On Savarkar’s death anniversary in February, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called him “true patriot.”On the agendaThe seminar of Golwalkar, popularly addressed as ‘guruji’ by RSS members will be held on September 6.ICPR to discuss plans to hold a seminar on VD Savarkar inside the Cellular Jail in Andaman where he was lodged for over 10 years during the independence struggle. The idea is to discuss his contribution to freedom struggle.

How to ban porn access in schools? CBSE says jammers not an option

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A month after the Centre told Supreme Court that it may install jammers in schools to prevent students from accessing adult sites, the CBSE on Friday said that it won’t be possible to do so.The Central Board of Secondary Education says that the jammers, if installed, would also block access to the internet-based educational programmes run by many schools.Instead, the educational board has issued set of guidelines for schools to prevent access to child pornography.The guidelines which have been prepared after consultation with cyber safety experts are aimed at protecting children from cyber bullying and preventing them from accessing pornographic content. “Schools need to promote a safe and secure educational environment for effective teaching and learning and to discourage students from actions detrimental to themselves, their peers and the value system. Schools are, thus, advised to take measures to pre-empt any inappropriate and illegal activity through IT enabled devices in schools,” the circular sent by CBSE to all schools on Friday said.The board wants schools to educate students for the safe and effective use of the internet, install effective firewalls, filtering and monitoring software mechanisms in all the computers and regularly review filtering and blocking policies and procedures. The CBSE circular also said that student can’t carry iPads, smart phones and other devices with unfiltered internet connection without permission from school authorities.

UGC fund for equal opportunity not enough, say universities

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With the University Grants Commission (UGC) assigning only Rs. 2 lakh to the Equal Opportunities Cell of central universities, under which they expect students with disability and those from marginalised sections to be catered, the institutions are forced to make most of the expenditure on their own. The EOC, was established by the government to provide equal opportunities to disadvantaged groups including SCs, STs, women, OBC (non-creamy layer), minorities and physically challenged persons. The UGC has gave a one time grant of Rs. Two lakh to all universities under the twelth plan to establish the cell and there is no clarity on funding after that. Even as the function of EOC is very different in different universities, their main aim is to work for the benefit of marginalised students. DNA reviewed three universities situated in the national capital — Delhi University, Jamia Milia Islamia and Jawaharlal Nehru University to see how their EOC is functioning. In case of Delhi University, where a large number of students are persons with disability, the university has spent over two crore in the last five years in providing various facilities like hearing aid, wheel chair, transport facilities and other things to students with disability. The university has an average of 250 students with disability every year. “Delhi University probably has the largest number of students with disability in the country. With such a large number, it is impossible to manage their needs with the funds given by UGC. We are expected to do much more than the grant that we are given. All the work that has been done by the university in these years is from the its own funds,” said an official in the EOC, Delhi University on condition of anonymity. “When EOC was setup by UGC and they expect us to work for marginalised sections, they should also see how financially viable the schemes would be,” the official added. Professor Anil Aneja, nodal officer PwD and ODS ECO, Delhi University said, “There should be a separate earmarked grant for disability for providing various support which universities are expected to provide to fulfil their commitment towards persons with disability.” Even though UGC grants separate fund for students with disability under HEPSA scheme, the fund is not provided at the university level, where the number of students to deal with is much large. When it comes to Jamia Milia Islamia, a civil services coaching center has been running under EOC from the fund it got from UGC. “We received a one time fund from UGC under the equal opportunity cell but that was not enough for setting up anything. We got additional grant from ministry of minority affairs, which helped us set up a coaching center from SC/ST and minority students,” said an official associated with the special coaching center in Jamia. While JNU, which has a closed campus and completely barrier free access for students with disability does not face major issues in managing funds for students. The officials however do agree that the one time grant that they received from UGC did not do much for providing facilities to various sections of students, they were meant for and the fund has to be managed either on their own or through various other government schemes. National University of Educational Planning and Administration (NUEPA) had also conducted a workshop on equal opportunity cell, a while back. Universities that participated in the workshop also mentioned about not getting sufficient funds for the scheme and facing difficulties in carrying out their task.

Over 27L engg seats vacant over last 3 years

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Over 27 lakh engineering seats have been lying vacant across various engineering colleges in the country over the last three years, an All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) data said on Thursday.According to AICTE, 9,07,632 seats were vacant across various colleges in the country in the academic year 2016-17. The figure at 8,97,914 was comparably low for the year 2015-16 .There are 10,361 engineering institutions in the country, that are approved by AICTE, with a total intake of 37,01,366.While the number of seats for undergraduate students have declined, there has been an increase in the number of vacant seats for the post-graduate courses. “If you look at the figures for the last three years, there has not been much change in the number of undergraduate seats as compared to that of the post-graduate seats,” said a senior AICTE official.The ministry of human resource development has been trying to inspire the engineering graduates by introducing mandatory internships and making the course more industry relevant. AICTE has devised a 10-year plan for reviving engineering education, including expansion of technical education from socio-economic perspective, inclusiveness in technical education, increasing the role of information and communications technology in education and accessing the needs of the industry.

Increase in demand for NCERT textbooks likely this session

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT), which publishes academic books, is expecting the demand for their books to go up more than three times by the next academic session, with the central government pushing schools to use more of NCERT textbooks.The government, however, has been maintaining that they are “not making NCERT books mandatory but making sure that no child is deprived of books because of high priced private publisher books”. The council currently publishes about 4.63 crore books, the number they expect would go up by close to 13 crore in the next academic session when more schools switch to NCERT books.To meet the growing demand, the council launched an online portal on Wednesday, which will help schools and individuals access books before the commencement of the coming session. The Central Board of Secondary Education has written to 19,000 schools affiliated to it to send their demand of books on the portal.”The portal will be open for a month. We will accept demands for books from schools and individuals and then work out a print order for the upcoming academic session so books are printed and delivered well before the commencement of the new session,” said Hrushikesh Senapathy, Director of NCERT.

BARC develops preservative-free ready meals

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Preservative-free, ready-to-eat food will soon be a reality. Scientists at Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) have developed a technology to make food items consumable for a longer period of time, while retaining nutritional value.While a number of ready-to-eat options are available in India already, they are laden with preservatives and tend to lose their nutritional value and taste due to the method through which they are processed, which is by exposure to heat. BARC scientists use irradiation technology. Products are treated under gama rays at very low temperatures — minus 40 degrees to prepare frozen food.They have transferred this technology to a meal manufacturing company that will soon launch ready-to-eat items such as chicken tikka.Dr Archana Joshi, Scientific Officer at BARC, says, “We have used this technology with raw products such as ginger, semolina and pulses. When food is treated at low temperatures under gamma rays, it retains its nutritional value and prevents the growth of microbes.”The research centre has also been irradiating mangoes to increase their life and increase export. “Indian mangoes are very popular in other countries, but carry insects. The irradiation process helps kill them,” said Dr Joshi. This year itself, BARC has irradiated 1,150 tonnes of mangoes.This is one of the many innovations by Indian research institutes and research and development (R&D) centres currently on display inside the Parliament as part of the ‘Innovations in Science’ exhibition.

Govt dilutes UGC’s power, to set up empowered panel

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Diluting the University Grants Commission’s (UGC) power, the government is set to put in place a panel of eminent personalities, which will take important education related decisions. The committee, which will be called the ’empowered committee’, will constitute of educationists and scientists.The Ministry of Human Resource Development has decided to leave minimum powers to the UGC and run educational institutions on autonomy mode. In this task, the first step of the empowered committee would be to select 20 institutes of national eminence, 10 each in public and private sector, which will further compete for global rankings.HRD Ministry’s idea to set up 20 world-class institutions was cleared by the Cabinet on Wednesday; the bill is likely to be produced in Parliament in the coming week.According to senior officials in the ministry, the panel of eminent persons will be chosen by the Cabinet Secretary, Higher Education Secretary, and the UGC Chairman. “The panel of eminent personalities will be decided by government officials and will constitute of academics, researchers, scientists, and people who have done good work in the field of education.”Only those institutions that are under top 50 ranks in the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) will be allowed to apply.

NBT to organise Panchayat book fair to inculcate reading habits in small towns

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>National Book Trust, a body under the HRD Ministry, which organises the World Book fair, is going to start Sanskrit Book fair and Panchayat Book fair.While there have been book exhibitions on Sanskrit by various agencies in the past, the Panchayat book fair, which will be organised in tehsils and small towns, will be a first-of-a-kind attempt by a government organisation to encourage reading habit in small towns.According to sources in NBT, the authorities are already in talks with Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Chhatisgarh for organising the fair and it is likely to happen around January of February next year.”The idea is to encourage good reading habits among people in small towns and villages, basically places where resources are not available. Through the Panchayat book fair, we also plan to engage children with the panchayat heads and Aanganwadi of the area, to get them other benefits meant for school children,” an official in NBT said.The trust had a few days ago organised a distribution camp in some of the remote and tribal areas and realised that people are interested in reading but they do not have enough resources available. Which is the reason, the trust is now organising various book fairs to facilitate reading material.Apart from the Panchayat fair, Sanskrit fair is also in the pipeline for the trust. Though not on a large scale, this fair will display all the old Sanskrit books, specially vedas and upanishads. Those that are translated from Sanskrit in other languages will also be at display at the fair, which is most likely to be organised alongside the International book fair in the national capital.The trust had recently published its first ever book in Sanskrit on its 60 year completion and it plans to publish 10 more books in the language to mark the occasion.NBT, is meant to produce and encourage literature In English, Hindi and other Indian languages and to make such literature available to public at moderate price. It also organises seminars and fairs to promote reading culture.

Teachers’ photos on school walls to curbabsenteeism, proxies

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Adorning school walls with photographs of teachers is one of the ideas that the Centre is considering to fix the problem of teachers remaining absent from duty and sending proxies to do the job. Absenteeism among teachers, aided by use of proxies, has for long disrupted education in government schools, especially in rural areas.”Many states are working on various ideas to check teachers’ absenteeism from schools. Rajasthan has done something very interesting, putting photographs of teachers on school walls with ‘our respected teachers’ written under them,” HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar said in Parliament on Friday.”Now, these are just photos of teachers in schools and not those of criminals in police stations, so nobody will have any problem. This idea can be replicated in other states as well,” he said.Ministry sources said that the government is keen on replicating the idea in government schools, especially in rural areas and places where teachers don’t come to school for days but take salary.”When there are photographs of teachers in schools, students and school administration will at least know the real teachers and fake ones. It should not be difficult for schools to implement the idea. Even if there are 10-15 teachers in a school, the photos won’t take much space,” said an official.”Writing our respected teachers under the photographs will also evoke a sense of respect for them among students,” he said.Primary schools in Uttar Pradesh will also have photographs of teaching staff affixed on notice boards, a move that follows complaints of teachers remaining absent from duty and sending “proxies” for the job, a government circular said last month.”The photographs will make the guardians aware of the identity of teachers. Thus, they will be in a position to raise an alarm if a teacher plays truant,” said an official.

DU Registrar, 11 others not appointed as per rules: Audit report

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A number of irregularities, including in the appointment of the current Delhi University (DU) Registrar, have been revealed in a Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report. The audit report came out two months ago. The university, however, has not facted upon it, so far.The report, accessed by DNA, stated that the university has maintained, since 2012, 11 positions at the administrative level, which are not according to the university statutes and no approval was taken from the authorities concerned. As per the report, the university has made “unauthorised payment of salary amounting to Rs 432.92 lakh” to these 11 officials.The 11 positions highlighted in the report are Advisor, Programmes and Legal affairs, Deputy Dean (Planning), two Deputy Deans (Academic), Joint Dean Student Welfare/ OSD examinations, two Deputy Deans (Student Welfare), three Deputy Proctors, Deputy Dean (Research), and Coordinator for Science Education and Communication under the CIC. All these officials were appointed on a deputation basis.The report further stated that the vacancy circulars for these posts were neither published in the ‘Employment News’ nor circulated to colleges concerned. It also read that the university violated guidelines of deputation procedure and created various unauthorised posts, resulting in unauthorised payment to officials. One of the Deputy Deans (Student Welfare) and a Joint Dean (Student Welfare) have even overstayed their period of deputation and the audit has now asked for a recovery of Rs 24,000 from them.Interestingly, these designations are not mentioned on the official DU website.In addition to all this, the report also mentioned major irregularities in appointment of the Registrar, stating that the appointment was modified for the “benefit of the individual”.The current Registrar was appointed in 2015. As per the CAG report, the university appointed the Registrar through open selection on the basis of an advertisement. But a year after his recruitment, the terms of appointment were modified.Repeated attempts to contact Vice-Chancellor Yogesh Tyagi failed.

Soon, a change of menu for mid-day meals

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The central government is working on a plan to replace mid-day meals with something that takes less effort to prepare but provides the same nutrition to children. The idea is to take teachers away from meal duties and make them dedicate more time to teaching instead.Rice, dal or porridge is the usual fare given to children for mid-day meals in government schools. In states where the scheme is well-managed, the meals are prepared and distributed either by peons or by an outsourced agency. However, in states like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, school teachers themselves prepare and distribute the meals at a time when they should be teaching.In order to fix this problem, the School Education Department of the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) has asked for suggestions from states on what they can replace the usual meals with.According to sources in the ministry, Minister of State for School Education Upendra Kushwaha had recently noticed this problem during his visit to schools in Bihar and had asked for suggestions from all the states to find an alternative to the meals.”We want to take teachers away from mid-day meal duties. In many schools in Bihar and UP, teachers are preparing food themselves, and managing the logistics for buying raw material and other things to manage the scheme as they do not have enough staff to do it. This wastes a lot of their time and they are not able to give that time for teaching. This is one of the reasons that the education standard in some villages in these states is so poor. The idea is to change this by making changes in the mid-day meal scheme,” said a source in the ministry.”Some states have given their suggestions. We are awaiting more suggestions to see how the idea can take shape. Some people have suggested things like milk and fruits and vitamin tablets for nutrition,” he added.The central government has fixed the nutritional value for meal served to students at primary and upper primary levels. For primary level, the value is fixed at 450 Calories and 12 gram of protein. The value is higher for upper primary levels….& ANALYSISThe plan to change the menu of mid-day meals is a sound one since it is counter-productive for teachers to spend time on preparing them.
But it must be ensured that the new menu provides the right amount of nutrition.

Surprise tests on mobile phones, tablets to be new way of assessment at IIT Delhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Adopting a flip classroom model, where students are assessed on the basis of a video they are shown and surprise tests on mobile phones and tablets are some of the ways Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi is planning to assess students, instead of the traditional method.The idea is to start the change with first year students and see how it develops further. A meeting regarding this was held with all first year teachers and the Director of IIT Delhi on Friday.The institutions plans to give surprise tests to students over their mobile phones. If a student does not have a smartphone, he/she will be given a tablet on the spot to take the test. Another plan is to adopt a flip classroom model, which is a pedagogical model where the typical lecture and homework elements of a course are reversed; short video lectures are viewed by students at home before the class session, while the in-class time is devoted to exercises, projects, or discussions.Confirming the development, a senior professor from the institute said, “We want to change the assessment system in the institution from the one where tests take place every three months to a more continuous assessment. This will improve the quality of learning among students.”We want to adopt the flip classroom model where students will see a video and discuss the same in classroom and be given credits on its basis. If someone does not attend it they will lose credits.””We also want to conduct surprise tests but for that, giving a surprise test to a classroom of 400 students will be difficult, so we plan on giving it to them on tablets and mobile phones. Different sets of tests will be given to different students. Credits from all these tests will be added to their final credit score,” he added.Currently, under the Choice Based Credit System (CBCS) many universities have adopted for a continuous assessment, where they do not take examination in the traditional method but instead give them projects and assignments on a regular basis.

Special schools for minorities, tribals on lines of KV, likely

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) is set to create separate schools for minorities and tribals on the lines of Kendriya Vidyalayas and Navodaya Vidyalayas. These schools, that will be run by the Central government on KV model, will follow NCERT syllabus like all other government schools.The development follows discussion at a recent meeting of NCERT general council which was attended by MHRD officials. The National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has also been asked to work on a curriculum for these schools.A panel on education for minorities had also in a report submitted to the Ministry of Minority Affairs recently suggested the need to revamp education for children belonging to the minority community. In its report submitted to the ministry last Thursday, the panel said there is a need to revamp education for minorities and open new schools that follow NCERT syllabus.The MHRD has constituted a panel, consisting secretaries from Ministry of Minority Affairs and Tribal Affairs, who are working on a paper that will deal with the technicalities of setting up such schools.Confirming the development, a senior MHRD official said: “A group secretaries from different ministries have started working on the plan to develop schools for minorities on the lines of KVs and NVs. In fact, not just minorities, there will a special school for tribals as well. We will create a separate segment of schools that will be run on the lines Central government schools.”While in KVs and NVs, weightage is given to wards of government employees, these schools will mostly cater to children from minority communities, without any reservation for government employees’ children.The panel had also suggested that five higher education institutes be developed for education in specialised sectors like science and technology, health architecture, climate change and others.& AnalysisA panel set up by the Ministry for Minority Affairs has recommended setting up of 211 Central schools on the lines of KV and NV in minority-concentrated districts.The panel cited 2001 and 2011 Census figures to point out how these segments, particularly Muslims, lagged behind in education and skill development.

IIT Delhi to share solved papers on channel for aspiring students

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Students preparing for admission to Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) will be able to obtain virtual guidance on solving papers with the help of IIT Pal, HRD Ministry’s channel meant for coaching aspirants. IIT Delhi is going to solve last year’s question papers with experts and first year students and upload it on the channel for aspiring students.IIT Pal, available on DTH channels, is meant for coaching students who do not have access to coaching classes or other study material to prepare for the entrance exams. The channel primarily has classroom lectures on various subjects, where they teach subject concepts. But, IIT Delhi is preparing a pool of question-solving videos as well as learning tricks to solve questions, considered crucial to cracking the exam.IIT Pal was formally launched by President Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday in the presence of the heads of all IITs, IIMs, deemed and private universities at an event in Vigyan Bhawan. At the event, all institutions were asked to take more initiative to upgrade their digital teaching mechanism.They have been given a 17-point agenda that they need to work upon by the end of 2017.”We already have recordings of classroom lectures on IIT Pal, but in order to improvise our teaching, we are conducting an exercise of uploading question answer sessions on the system, too. We have two approaches for this, one is to solve them using IIT students, the other is with the help of teachers, who set the question papers,” said Professor V Ramagopal Rao, Director, IIT Delhi.”When students solve questions, they employ various tricks to solve them. Teachers who set the question papers have a different approach to solving them. This way, we will be able to provide both approaches to the student,” he said.The question-answer session will be available on IIT Pal of IIT Delhi in the next few weeks.

HRD to consult Health Min on medical college fees

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Central government is trying to bring the exorbitant fee charged by private medical colleges under check. This comes after a Madras High court ruling prompted University Grants Commission (UGC) and Human Resource Development Ministry (HRD) to form a committee for fee regulation.However, there are many technicalities involved in getting all colleges under the same fee regulation. The UGC has written to the HRD Ministry asking them to consult the Ministry of Health and Medical Council of India in this regard since these institutions are responsible for medical education in the country.There are over 34 deemed private institutions in the country that offer medical courses. Earlier they would conduct their own entrance examinations. But after NEET all institutions take admission through a single test. However, some students were unable to get admission in Puducherry-based private institutions after the institution allegedly charged exorbitant fee from them. The students went ahead and filed a petition in the Madras High Court. The court in its order on June 16 has asked UGC to form a committee to look into the matter of fee regulation.A meeting in this regard was held in the HRD ministry, last week. According to sources in the ministry no consensus could be formed on in the issue as a section of officials feel that it is difficult to bind all private institutions by a single rule. “By fixing a fee cap, we will allow an institution not doing so well and charging lesser to charge a higher amount in the name of the rule. Hence we will have to work out the technicalities in detail before we can come up with a fee regulation rule,” said a source.Even though the Medical Council of India keeps issuing letters to private institutions at regular intervals, to adhere to fee guidelines set up by the government, many institutions charge more in the name of capitation fee and other things.

Uttar Pradesh schools to switch to NCERT curriculum from 2018

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Schools in Uttar Pradesh (UP) will switch to NCERT curriculum from the next academic session. This move is a part of the UP government’s agenda to improve the ailing education system in the state, with help from the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD). Going forward, the schools will adapt learning outcomes to NCERT norms, incorporate them in Right to Education Act rules and publicise them with posters in their premises. They will also train teachers in adapting learning outcomes. The Ministry recently prepared a blueprint with some other steps to work on the state’s education system. Nearly 5 crore students study in 2.56 lakh schools in the state. Education officials from the state on Tuesday shared this information in the general council meeting of NCERT held with the HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar, school education secretary Anil Swaroop, NCERT chairman Hrushikesh Senapaty and education officials from different states. “Many states have shown interest in switching over to NCERT books, UP specially, as they are on the route to transforming the state of education. The officials told us that they are going to switch over to NCERT completely from next session,” a senior official in the Ministry said.However, with so many states making an attempt to switch to the NCERT curriculum, the council will have to make extra arrangements to make sure that they reach everywhere on time. Non-availability of books in remote parts has been a big issue which states have been bringing up time to time. “We are going to have a meeting again on July 5 to discuss how we can ensure a steady supply of books to all states. We are creating an online portal from which books can be bought. Printing of books will be done one year in advance,” the official added.In order to ensure a steady supply of books, NCERT has already started work on next year’s supply from now. The central government has been pushing for usage of NCERT curriculum in all schools including private and government. Though it has not been made mandatory but schools are being encouraged to use the curriculum.

How real are CBSE scores?

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Whether it was Sarthak Aggarwal, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) Class 12 topper in 2015, or Raksha Gopal, the current topper, both of whom scored 99.6 per cent, the marks was based on their performance without any effect of the Board’s ‘moderation policy’.Over 63,000 students have scored more than 90 per cent in the CBSE Class 12 board examinations this year, but only 10,100 of them, including the toppers, who scored above 95 per cent are the ‘real scorers’, says the board.As per the CBSE’s marks moderation policy, students who have scored below 95 per cent got their marks increased to 95 per cent to create a balance. Up to 10 per cent marks have been increased across the board.”As per the fifth rule of the Examination By-Laws, the Board needs to create a near pass parity in the marks each year with respect to the previous year. For example, if students scored 90 marks in Mathematics last year, and this year the marks have come down to 80, 10 extra marks will be given to the students to equate the marks,” said a senior official in CBSE.This creates a discrepancy in the process which led the board to reconsider its evaluation process. The board on Tuesday announced that they will form two committees to look into this.In a meeting of all boards including the CBSE and state boards in April, it was decided that the boards will do away with the policy of moderation from this year. CBSE, however, had to continue it following a Delhi high Court order….& ANALYSISIf CBSE’s ‘moderation policy’ continues, it will blur the line between students who score and those who don’t.
It is time to take a strong stand and do away with this faulty rule to ensure a fair evaluation process.

Single edu agency for all disciplines on the cards

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>If central government’s plans of setting up a single higher education authority materialise, institutions of different discipline including engineering, architecture and others will be governed/guided by a single regulator. The plan is to merge University Grants Council and the 15 different councils into one.Currently there are different bodies that guide institutions of different disciplines like Medical Council of India governs medical education institutes, Architecture Council of India manages architecture institutions, the All India Council for Technical Education governs and guides engineering and other technical institutions. Once the single agency is formed all these institutions will be governed by one umbrella body.However, in the run up to the final decision, these councils have already started amending their Acts and statutes to be more friendly towards education institutions.The idea of having a single body for higher education replacing UGC and others is being discussed since UPA government’s time but it has picked up pace during the Modi government as NITI Aayog and Prime Minister’s office has been actively involved in it.According to sources in NITI Aayog, a committee of experts from different departments has been formed to look into the plan. “The PMO has been showing active interest in the plan. A team of experts has been constituted in to the matter and they have been conducting meetings actively,” said a source in NITI Aayog.The idea of this change came from the education institutions themselves after they faced problems in getting clearances and had to approach more than one body for similar issues.“It has come to our notice that it may not be possible to have such a change immediately, so it has been decided that the councils make reforms within themselves. Those changes will be done to empower our educational institutions, so that they are not handicapped because of any regulatory body,” a member of the committee constituted to look into the committee, told DNA.“People should become happy about the regulatory agency is what we are looking forward to do,” the official added.HOW VARIOUS BODIES OVERLAPIf an institution has a 10 acre land and they want to open different institutions in it, for engineering college they will require permission from a different body, if they want an architecture college on the same premise, they will need to get permission from the architecture body.
In case an institution wants a medical college also, it is most difficult because engineering wants separate space from medical institutions.

NTA to conduct competitive examinations from 2018

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The National Testing Agency (NTA), the government’s premier agency for conducting all kinds of competitive exams, will start conducting tests from next year, soon after the Cabinet approval.Tests like JEE and NEET which are currently being conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) will be handed over to the NTA from the coming year.The Ministry of Human Resources Development (HRD) has finalised a blueprint of the agency, its composition, operations, and other necessary details. The final plan has been approved by the ministry of Finance, and will soon be sent to the Cabinet for approval.According to sources in the ministry, the agency will have people from the private sector as well including experts in particular subjects and IT experts to make sure that the tests are conducted online, in a hassle-free manner.Subject experts will create a question bank that will be used for the exam. “Creating a question bank, ideating and managing the online system are the key points that we are looking at when we talk about NTA,” said a senior official in HRD ministry.The official added that once it gets the Cabinet nod and things start moving, the NTA should be able to conduct some tests in the coming year.To start with, the government first wants to create a structure which is reliable and efficient before deciding what work needs to be allotted to the NTA. The announcement of creating such an agency was made in this year’s budget by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.While the agency will gradually take on most of the competitive exams that are conducted in the country, the CBSE will extend help in the initial days. “We want to first build a structure that is reliable so that all institutions are comfortable in joining hands with us. Entrance tests for IITs and IIMs will also be conducted by NTA but at a later stage,” the official added.

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