IIT Kharagpur to introduce Vastu Shastra

As a concept, Vastu Shastra did not figure in the architecture and infrastructure syllabi. But faculty members — while looking at re-orienting teaching-learning for the coming academic session — feel that since students are being taught concepts prevalent in the West, there is no reason why they shouldn’t be conversant with ancient Indian architectural traditions. They believe that Vastu studies are not rooted in religion. Instead, ancient Indian concepts have a scientific basis and introducing students to these will open up new vistas, they say.

The Ranbir and Chitra Gupta School of Infrastructure Design and Management (RCGSIDM) of IIT-Kgp held its first workshop on the subject, ‘Vastu in Global Perspective’, in the city on Sunday, attracting Vastu experts from across the country. “Times are changing and across the globe there is a renewed interest in ancient Indian knowledge. So, it is natural that we will tweak our syllabus to include Vastu in architecture and infrastructure classes,” said Joy Sen, head of RCGSIDM and a faculty member of the architecture department.

Vastu will be introduced in graded modules to UG architecture students, who are taught courses like basic design and history of architecture. At the PG level, solar principles, sacred diagrams, 9 circuit placements or the nabagraha mandal, sacred altars and design semiotics and semantics are some of the things students will be taught. “For PG infrastructure course, we will have BTech students from departments of architecture, civil, electrical, mechanical and even management graduates. So, at this level, we will have a greater variety to address,” Sen said.

Students will also have to write assignments, projects and tests on the Vastu concepts taught. “Vastu Shastra has its beginnings in Rig Veda and is scientific in its tenor. Today, the whole world is looking at green living, thanks to the way we are suffering due to erratic concretization. The concept of Vastu revolves around the healthy relationship of nature and infrastructure, hence its modern relevance,” Sen said.

Source: PTI

Hindi could be compulsory till Class 10 in all Kendriya Vidyalayas, other CBSE schools

The Centre, however, should draw up the policy to make Hindi a compulsory subject in consultation with states, said the presidential order, a copy of which is available on the website of the department of official languages.

Hindi in schools can be an emotive subject as most states in India are drawn along linguistics lines. States such as Tamil Nadu have witnessed violent protests against Hindi, the official language of the Indian government.

The choice of languages to be taught in schools varies from state to state.

The Central Board of Secondary Education, the country’s biggest school board, last year recommended a three-language formula – English and any two Indian languages – to be expanded to classes 9 and 10.

While Hindi is likely choice for north India, in other parts, states are expected to pick from any of the 22 Indian languages recognized by the Constitution. The human resource and development ministry is yet to respond to the CBSE suggestion.

The President turned down a recommendation that wanted a minimum knowledge of Hindi to be one of the preconditions for a government job.

The committee of parliament on official languages made 117 suggestions to encourage use of Hindi, most of these has been accepted by the President.

One of them calls for fixing the duration of broadcast of Hindi programmes on all Doordarshan centers and All India Radio stations.

We may soon see presidents and union ministers deliver speeches in Hindi. The panel said all dignitaries should be requested to deliver their speeches in Hindi if they can read and speak the language.

Mukherjee has also accepted the recommendation that said the government, wherever possible, should give all advertisements in Hindi and regional languages.

Source: PTI

Punjab government to introduce biometric attendance in state technical education department colleges

He said that the biometric system would be introduced both for the staff and students which would be directly connected with the head office.

“The state government would launch a scholarship scheme for meritorious students interested in studying in government polytechnic, engineering colleges and industrial training institutes (ITIs),” Channi said. He said the scheme will also be applicable for outstanding sports students. In a stern message to all the officials, the minister said corruption and favoritism would not be tolerated at any level in the department and all promotions would be based on performance.

HRD Ministry launches Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan app and website

Fund and Reform Tracker app launched

He also launched a `Fund and Reform Tracker` app, which, as the name suggests, will be used to track funding details “from the minute they are sanctioned” and keep track of the work being done under the education policies.

“Our government`s first priority is to give quality primary as well as higher education. Today (Monday), in a unique move, we unveiled 17 facilities in one go in 14 states,” Javadekar told.

“We have already given Rs. 2,800 crore to hundreds of colleges and universities under the RUSA scheme … and we have provisioned for Rs. 1,300 crore in this year`s budget,” he said.

Other projects

According to a statement by the HRD ministry, these projects included “a cluster university in Jammu and Kashmir, a micro ATM facility at the RUSA centre in Pune University, solar power facility in Shri Shankaracharya University of Sanskri in Kalady, Kerala, (and) language laboratories in Ghatsila College, Jharkhand.”

“RUSA has been very successful because under it, quality laboratories are created, smart classrooms are built and it adds value somewhere or the other in the development of the youth studying,” the minister said.

Source: PTI

From climate to data science: 1.6 million pound funding for India-UK research partnerships

Ranging from social sciences, engineering and human health to climate research and data science, these partnerships have been announced under the UK India Education Research Initiative (UKIERI). Projects will be implemented jointly by institutions in the UK and India to strengthen educational links between the two countries.

Speaking at an event at New Delhi’s British Council, Clark said over the last 10 years, new joint UK-India research and academic exchanges had resulted in joint investments worth over £200 million and UKIERI had been an important part of that success. “Over 1,000 UK-India partnerships have been created, leading to 25,000 exchanges of academics and researchers. We are now in the third phase of UKIERI, which is open up to 2021,” he added.

These partnerships have been co-funded by the UK and India’s HRD?ministry through University Grants Commission and Department of Science and Technology. The event was also attended by Dominic Asquith, British high commissioner, and Usha Kumari Parashar, deputy chair of the British Council.

UKIERI is a bilateral education and research programme funded by the UK and Indian government.

The programme enabled both India and the UK to “bring together the best practices from both nations and help strengthen ties between India and UK,” Alan Gemmell, director, British Council India said.

Source: PTI

Government readies to scrap no-detention policy, but students of classes 5-8 to get second chance

As per the existing no-detention policy, students are promoted automatically to higher classes every year till the eighth grade. A key component of the RTE Act, the no-detention policy unveiled by the UPA government came into force on April 1, 2010 with the intention of ensuring that every child aged between 6 and 14 received school education. However, for the past many years concerns have been raised about the negative impact of the policy on the academic performance of the students.

According to HRD minister Prakash Javadekar, an enabling provision is being made in the RTE amendment bill that will allow states to conduct examinations in class 5 and class 8 and detain students if they fail. States will, however, have the discretion to give another opportunity to these students to pass.

Explaining how the system will work, he said in case a student takes the annual exam in March and is unable to pass, he/she will get another opportunity in, say, June. Before sitting for the exams once again, the students will be asked to attend ‘remedial classes’. Once the new system comes into force, the onus would be on the states to decide whether to hold examinations in classes 5 and 8.

These amendments are likely to be taken up by the Union Cabinet this month. Once approved, it will be taken up for parliamentary approval.

Under the Right to Education no child till class 8 can be detained. After holding consultation with states in the Central Advisory Board of Education meeting last year it was decided to give states the right to decide whether they want to have no-detention policy or not. This requires amending the RTE Act. The move will allow states to evolve their own policy of detention from Class 5.

Many states, especially Delhi, have been vocal about the flaws in the no-detention policy that has affected quality of education.

However, Telangana and Tamil Nadu have opposed the proposed amendment to the policy. The policy is likely to come into force from 2018.

Source: PTI

GMAC launches 3rd edition of official test prep tool for NMAT

Buy the exam pack and get two more practice tests of 240 questions with 120 official never-before-seen questions from past NMAT tests for Rs. 499 plus taxes. Answer explanation and scaled scores are provided so that candidates can get the insights on level of their preparedness.

Commenting on the launch, Vikram Shah, Director, Product Management, Graduate Management Admission Council said, “GMAC has introduced the third edition of Online Official Test Prep tool for NMAT by GMAC 2017 with the intent to provide official content to test takers for practice. It aims to provide students with more insight about the test and we hope the prep material will help candidates in acclimatizing with the structure and format of the test thereby reducing the fear and anxiety from their minds.”

The NMAT Prep by GMAC online practice tests is available on the NMAT by GMAC website at www.nmat.org.in

Source: PTI

JNU, DU likely to get financial autonomy by Centre

As per the reports, top ranking educational institutions such as Jawaharlal Nehru University, Banaras Hindu University, Delhi University, Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC) and Lady Shri Ram College which are funded by the Centre could get full operational autonomy including that in financial matters.

Reasons for this move:

  • This move from the Centre is part of wide range of educational reform plan being finalized by a high-powered committee headed by Niti Aayog vice-chairman Arvind Panagariya.
  • If implemented, this move would also help in raising resources independently.

Meanwhile, explaining how the move will lead to privatization, Rajesh Jha, a teacher at Rajdhani College said, “Once colleges become autonomous, the trusts running the colleges will have the right to set up similar institutions anywhere in the country with self-financing courses. Using the brand names of these DU colleges that have a long legacy and history, the government is trying to push privatization, with trusts being the owners of the colleges, and the university no longer being a part of the administration.”

Accreditation of the Centre funded colleges

Furthermore, all the universities and colleges which are funded by the Centre and are ranked in ‘A, A+, A++’ category by National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) will come under the best club of institutions to be granted complete autonomy in near future. The NAAC is an autonomous body established by the University Grants Commission (UGC) to assess and accredit institutions of higher education in the country.

Source: PTI

AICTE: Technical colleges to focus on employability of students

For years, the technical education sector in India has faced criticism for lack of quality training and for its graduates not having the required efficiency to become productive at work from day one.

Though the AICTE revamp is still pending despite a government panel recommending it two years back, the regulator is now trying to be pro-active in implementing some basic but much required changes in technical colleges.

As per the AICTE plan, every technical college will now be required to have an industry consultation committee to rework the curriculum of each subject taught there. Every year, the committee will revamp the coursework by December so that revamped courses can be taught from the next academic year, according to official documents reviewed by Mint. “Each institution, while applying for approval, shall certify completion of this process, which will be mandatory,” it underlined.

The human resource development (HRD) ministry-controlled AICTE regulates more than 10,000 technical colleges, including engineering and business schools. The Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) don’t come under the purview of AICTE.

An HRD ministry official, requesting anonymity, said the effort made by AICTE is to make technical education institutions contemporary and their graduates job-ready. Various studies have showed that less than one-third of technical school graduates are job-ready in the country, which is a hurdle for the industry in hiring them and expecting productivity from the beginning.

In order to improve industry readiness, all students graduating undergraduate courses shall be imparted the required job skills, including “managerial skills, entrepreneurial skills, leadership skills, communication skills and team-working skills”.

The training will start at the time of admission. “Every student, on admission, shall be put through a mandatory Induction training to reinforce the fundamental concepts and the language skills required” in their choice of subject.

After that students in technical schools have to undergo three internships of four to eight weeks each before completing their undergraduate course, as per the documents. Right now students do only one summer training. In fact, in many engineering and management schools, they either don’t undergo any internship or have to use their own contacts to find one. AICTE is now mandating that colleges must help find a suitable industry or organization for students’ internship programs, the HRD ministry official quoted above said.

Besides, AICTE will impress upon technical schools to make their annual exams focus more on clarity of concepts. It will soon share a model exam pattern that each institution can adopt individually.

Besides, AICTE will give five years’ time to each college to achieve accreditation for at least 50% subjects taught in the colleges. The National Board of Accreditation will accredit individual subjects. Institutions that fail to do so will have an impact on getting AICTE’s approval. AICTE-regulated colleges will also make their teaching staff undergo an annual training course and get updated via the government’s massive open online platform.

Source: PTI

‘Book banks’ to come up in schools soon: Punjab

According to reports, these banks will be set up in all the schools in the state.

To implement this, Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in the state which were already running book banks, have joined in the initiative to help out children in need.

Reasons for this move:

As per reports the government is deliberating upon ways to get students involves in the process which would reduce in the number of books being printed and preserve the environment.

Here’s what Education Minister Aruna Chaudhary has to say:

“The Education department will set up book banks in all schools of the state in order to save precious time and money of the students,” state Education Minister Aruna Chaudhary said. Furthermore, Chaudhary also said that she would request all the students to submit their old books to give them to the needy ones free of charge.

“Every year, students purchase new books and huge amount of paper is used in printing those. Besides, precious academic time is wasted in the process of printing books. Not only this, students have to spend a considerable amount of money to buy new books,” added Chaudhary.

Moreover, this initiative will be purely on voluntary basis and no student would be bound to give away their old books, the education minister concluded.

Source: PTI