High Court told UP govt to ensure kids of government employees study in govt schools

The Allahabad High Court on August 18 directed the Uttar Pradesh government to make it mandatory for the government employees including members of the judiciary, government officials, semi-government employees, employees of local bodies and representatives of people to send their kids to government-run primary schools. The Court also asked the state government to take appropriate steps to ensure that these guidelines are implemented from the next academic session. Hearing a group of petitions filed by Shiv Kumar Pathak and others, the single judger court bench of Justice Sudhir Agarwal also suggested strict penalties for those officials/employees failing to follow the new rules. In case the government employees fail to send their kids to the government primary schools, an amount, which they are paying as fee for their wards in private schools, will be deducted from their salaries every month. The Court also directed the Chief Secretary to submit a compliance report in next six months. During the course of hearing, the court pulled up the state government for pathetic conditions of government schools and the quality of education. The court said this would ensure that the officials concerned become aware of the problems at the basic education level. Otherwise, the court said, they would not care as they have access to private education.

Central panel recommends revocation of no-detention policy, bringing back CBSE class X exams

Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE), the country’s premier advisory body on education strongly favoured revocation of no-detention policy up to class VIII and bringing back class X board exams. But the government seems in no hurry to implement them, as it asked the states to present their views in writing. The newly reconstituted CABE on August 19 unanimously resolved for re-introduction of classes promotions in keeping with the recommendations of a CABE sub-committee report, contending the no-detention policy has adversely affected learning outcome. The decision, if implemented, could take it own course to be put in place as Parliament would then have to amend the Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act. Both the no-detention policy and making class X board exams optional were introduced after the enactment of the Act in 2010.

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Policy Watch

Single entrance test for engineering, business schools?

In a major step that could help students and save them from having to sit for multiple entrance examinations, a government panel has recommended a single entrance test for admissions to all engineering institutes under the All India Council for Technical Education and a common exam for all business schools. It also suggested seats which fall vacant after counselling sessions “shall not be treated as a management quota”, but be used to accommodate students on the waiting list.

The panel has suggested a new National Testing Service to conduct the exam and proposed it be an independent body seeking the CBSE’s support or outsourcing the work to other agencies. The Human Resources Development Ministry set up a review committee headed by former education secretary MK Kaw in November 2014 to suggest ways to restructure and strengthen the AICTE.

Over 11,000 institutes, both engineering and management, now come under the AICTE. “Today a student takes a plethora of entrance tests for entry to an institution under AICTE — and these are over and above the board exam. For example, JEE Main for engineering, CMAT for management, etc. Moreover, most states have some form of entrance test. Besides, several deemed universities and private universities also have their own tests and criteria for admission,” the report added.

XII marks may soon not be counted in engineering admission

If the recommendation made by Central Seat Allocation Board (CSAB) are accepted by the HRD Ministry, class 12th marks may not be counted in admissions to all central engineering institutions barring IITs from the coming year or 2017. It means, 40% weightage that is given to Class XII scores for admissions to NITs and other GFTIs (leaving IITs) may be scrapped. This recommendation came post the glitches in the class 12th scores of some students which affected the JEE Main results. The impact of the proposed exercise will be that the students would start granting more importance to the preparations for IIT and not to the school studies. This will also increase the significance of the coaching institutes.

MP Singh, coordinator of the Central Seat Allocation Board (CSAB) from NIT-Patna, who was part of the JoSAA 2015, said: “Many of the 47 higher secondary boards in the country are not sending their scores on time to the CBSE. Some of them are not submitting it in the pro forma given by the board, leading to discrepancies. Keeping in mind students’ interests, we will be asking the apex body to conduct admissions only on the basis of the JEE (Main) scores.”

It was the first time ever that Joint Seat Allocation Authority (JoSAA) conducted seat allocation which got delayed by almost a week’s time due to the delay faced in obtaining class 12th scores of students. A process that was to start on June 25th started on July 1st resulting in a delayed commence of academic sessions.

Moreover, some of the deserving students missed out on their merit seats after the class 12th board results revision. A JoSAA official said, “There were some students whose marks were higher than what they actually scored in their Class XII. Such students managed to get a seat on the basis of the ‘hiked’ score in the joint seat allocation process. This came to light only during the document-verification step, when it was too late to make changes.” He added, “Though the number of such cases was not very high, some of the deserving candidates may have lost out on their merit seat due to such discrepancies.”

The 60-40 weightage given to JEE Main score and class 12th score was introduced in 2012, when the two tier exam of JEE Main and JEE Advanced began. After three years of implementation, the apex board will be reviewing the process introduced to control the proliferation of private coaching institutes in the country.

Centre tells IIT seat allotment authority to refund fees of those who haven’t joined courses

The HRD ministry has told the Joint Seat Allocation Authority (JoSAA) that carried out joint counseling for admission to IITs/NITs/ISM and IIITs to return bulk of non-refundable acceptance fee/ tuition fee to students who haven’t joined courses and also told them to take necessary steps to fill up 3,200 vacant seats expeditiously. The ministry sternly told the co-chairpersons of JoSAA that the practice of “refund of acceptance fee in cases of candidates who have not joined the courses or have withdrawn after joining the course is found to be not in accordance with various judicial pronouncements on the subject. Ministry said that in order to “ensure that a uniform policy is adopted by all the higher educational institutions” JoSAA should follow the new procedure. JoSAA collected over Rs 14 crore from acceptance fee for 3,200 vacant seats. In case a student left after joining the course and if the seat that consequently fell vacant was filled by another candidate by the last date of admission, the institution should return the fee after proportionate deduction of monthly fee and hostel rent. The decision to fill vacant seats could see change in the counseling process.

NSS to be taught as an elective subject from this academic session

The MHRD as part of the discussion held at the 62nd meeting of Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) October 10, 2013, has decided to consider making NSS as elective subject in higher education. Now the Union Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports (MYAS) has designed a template of NSS Curriculum for introduction of NSS as credit based elective subject in the higher education system which is available on UGC website i.e. www.ugc.ac.in. The UGC has now written to all Universities to implement National Service Scheme (NSS) as elective subject in higher education from the current academic year for the benefit students.

Curbing the menace of ragging

The University Grants Commission (UGC) notified the “UGC Regulations on Curbing the Menace of Ragging in Higher Educational Institutions, 2009”. These Regulations are to be mandatorily followed by all Universities and Colleges. The Regulations are available on the UGC Website i.e. www.ugc.ac.in. A nationwide toll free 24×7 Anti-Ragging Helpline in 12 languages (English, Hindi and regional languages Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Punjabi, Marathi, Oriya, Assamese, Guajarati, and Bengali) has also been established. A circular has been issued by UGC to all Universities/Colleges and Institutions of higher education on 24th July, 2015 for curbing the menace of ragging.

UGC Advisories to deal with Gender Based Violence and Harassment on Campuses

The UGC issued directions to all universities to establish a cell to monitor and deal with sexual harassment cases. The Universities/Institutions have also been requested to develop a page on their web-site for loading the complaints of sexual harassment and to take prompt action as soon as such incident comes to their notice. UGC sent an advisory to all the Educational Institutions that the University/Institute/College must have a committee and a separate cell to deal with issues of gender based violence. The cell should also be able to handle gender sensitization programmes in order to evaluate, assist and support Higher Educational Institutes which will make it mandatory on the part of universities to give effect to a policy of zero tolerance on campuses for gender based violence and harassment with a view to eliminating cultures of impunity (and also cultures of silence and complicity).

Development of Teacher Education Institutions through PMMMNMTT

There are 1623 Government and 17216 private recognised Teacher Education Institutions (TEIs) in the country as on 31st May, 2015. Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya National Mission on Teachers & Teaching (PMMMNMTT) launched in December, 2014, envisages to address comprehensively all issues related to teachers, teaching, teacher preparation, professional development, curriculum design, research in pedagogy and developing effective pedagogy. The Mission has long term goals of building a strong professional cadre of teachers by setting performance standards and creating top class institutional facilities for innovative teaching and professional development of teachers. Schools of Educations, Centres for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Education, Teaching Learning Centres and Faculty Development Centres under PMMMNMTT will focus and meet the professional needs of teacher education in the School Education sector.

Chinese Scholarship to Indian Students

The Government of China has provisionally awarded scholarship to some Indian students to undertake studies in China. Government of India will bear the International passage cost from India to China and back. The scholarship will be paid by Govt. of China at admissible rates. The Govt. of India will also pay a supplementary stipend of Yuans 1170 per month. Selected candidates will require to execute a Bond in duplicate with the Ministry of HRD and agree to abide by the terms and conditions of the Bond.

MHRD Formulating New Education Policy

The Government has initiated consultation process of formulating a New Education Policy to meet the changing dynamics of the population’s requirement with regard to quality education, innovation and research, aiming to make India a knowledge superpower by equipping its students with the necessary skills and knowledge. A multiple level consultative process involving all stakeholders, such as, educationists, teachers, and students across all levels is being undertaken. Two themes in School Education, namely, “Accelerating rural literacy with special emphasis on Women, SCs, STs & Minorities through adult education and National Open Schooling systems” and “Enabling Inclusive Education – education of Girls SCs, STs, Minorities and children with special needs and other children out of school” and two themes in Higher Education, namely, ‘Addressing regional disparity” and “Bridging gender and social gaps” are aimed at ensuring equality in educational opportunity to all students.

Heritage status to colleges and Universities

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has launched a scheme during the XII plan to provide Heritage Grants to universities and colleges which are more than 100 years old and accorded the Special Heritage Status by the UGC. The guidelines of the scheme of “Granting Special Heritage Status to Universities and Colleges” are available at http://www.ugc.ac.in/pdfnews/ 4170650_Guidelines¬for¬Heritage.pdf. A total of Rs.2505.58 lakh have been allocated to these colleges. The UGC has granted Special Heritage Status to 19 colleges including Assam (1), Bihar (1), Haryana (1), Himachal Pradesh (1), Jammu and Kashmir (1) Karnataka (1), Kerala (2), Madhya Pradesh (1), Maharashtra (3) Punjab (2), Tamil Nadu (1), Uttar Pradesh (2) and West Bengal (2).

Duration of B.Ed Course

The National Council for Teacher (NCTE), which is mandated with maintaining teacher education standards in the country, revised its Regulations through notification of 1st December, 2014 increasing the duration of the B.Ed. programme from one year to two years from the academic session 2015¬-16. The syllabus of B.Ed. programme has been revised under the NCTE Regulations, 2014 and new course modules on I.C.T., Yoga Education, Gender Studies and Disability Education have been made compulsory in all the 15 teacher education programmes from 2015¬-16 academic session. Provision for 20 weeks of internship has been introduced for rigorous training of student teachers.

Curbing Menace of Fake Universities

UGC has written to all Chief Secretaries, Home Secretaries and Education Secretaries of all states including Union Territories to check the menace of fake universities and initiate a drive against institutions offering degrees without approval of the Statutory Authorities viz. UGC, AICTE and Distance Education Council (DEC) in the States/Union Territories. AICTE informed the MHRD that 343 technical institutes do not have AICTE approval. According to UGC, 21 Fake Universities have been listed. The details of such Universities are available on the UGC website www.ugc.ac.in. In addition, the UGC has also informed that Bharatiya Shiksha Parishad, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh and Indian Institute of Planning and Management (IIPM), Qutub Enclave, Phase ¬II, New Delhi are also unrecognised and functioning in violation of Section 2(f) and Section 3 of the UGC Act, 1956.

Infrastructure of Deemed Universities

Following directions from Supreme Court an Expert Committee was constituted by UGC to inspect 7 Deemed to be Universities namely Bharath Institute of Higher Education and Research, Chennai, Academy of Maritime Education and Training, Kanathur, Chennai, Ponnaiah Ramajayam Institute of Science & Technology, Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, Maharishi Markandeshawar University, Ambala, Haryana, Vinayaka Mission’s Research Foundation, Salem, Tamil Nadu, Institute of Advanced Studies in Education, Sardarshahr, Rajasthan and Manav Rachna International University, Faridabad, Haryana out of 44 Deemed to be Universities. On inspection, these Deemed Universities were found to be deficient in different parameters including infrastructure by the Committee. However, the matter is currently subjudice before the Supreme Court in W.P.(C) No.142 of 2006.

UGC, AICTE and AIU competent to take cognizance of educational malpractice

The UGC has not approved any Joint Degree between a foreign university and private institute in India. According to UGC, the UGC (Promotion and Maintenance of Standards of Academic Collaboration between Indian and Foreign Education Institutions) Regulations, 2012 have been notified in order to ensure the quality and standards of higher education provided by foreign educational institution through collaborations, partnership, twinning arrangements with the Indian Higher Educational Institutions. According to the regulations, it is mandatory for any Indian Educational Institution (IEI) desirous of collaboration with Foreign Educational Institution (FEI) to seek approval of affiliating university prior to entering into any collaborative agreement. The Association of Indian Universities (AIU) has stated that the AIU policy for granting equivalence to such foreign degrees that have been awarded for studies undertaken in India, requires the educational institution to adhere to the UGC Regulation and/ or All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) guidelines in this regard. The question of following Foreign Educational Institution Regulations Act, 2012 does not arise as there is no such Act. The UGC, AICTE and AIU are competent to take cognizance of educational malpractices and issue advisories to safeguard the interests of students.

UGC requests Universities to shift to Grading System

UGC has requested the universities to shift from numerical marking system, followed presently, to the grading system of evaluation. The grading system is considered to be better than the conventional marks system and hence it has been followed in the top institutions in India and abroad. This will facilitate student mobility across institutions within and across countries and also enable potential employers to assess the performance of students. Further, under CBCS, Universities will move from the conventional annual system to semester system. The semester system accelerates the teaching-learning process and enables vertical and horizontal mobility in learning. The credit based semester system provides flexibility in assigning credits based on the course content and hours of teaching.  According to UGC all 39 Central Universities are going to implement Choice Based Credit System from the ensuing academic session. In addition, 21 State Public Universities, 5 State Private Universities and 6 Deemed to be Universities have also expressed their readiness for implementing CBCS.

Committee for selecting meritorious people for teaching profession

The Government on July 24 constituted a committee for evaluation of Academic Performance Indicator (API) Scheme. The Committee would also evaluate the Ph.D-NET qualifications for entry of teachers and to accordingly suggest a policy for selections. Chaired by Prof. Arun Nigavekar, former Chairman, UGC, the Committee has Shri Sumit Bose, former Secretary, Government of India, Prof. Sunil Gupta, former Vice-Chancellor, Himachal Pradesh University, Prof. B. Thimme Gowda, former Vice-Chancellor, Bangalore University, Prof. Ashwini Kumar Mohapatra, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University as members. Shri S.S. Sandhu, Joint Secretary, MHRD is the Member-Convener. The Committee has been asked to submit its report within a period of two months from the date of its constitution i.e. 24th July, 2015.

Nominations invited for UNESCO King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa Prize

Indian National Commission for Cooperation with UNESCO Government of India Ministry of Human Resources Development Department of Higher Education UNESCO Headquarters, Paris has invited nominations for the UNESCO King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa Prize for use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in Education, 2015. Nominations should be forwarded to the Indian National Commission for Cooperation with UNESCO (JNCCU) latest by 15″ October, 2015 (and should not be sent directly to UNESCO) at the following address for further consideration and onward transmission to UNESCO Headquarters, Paris, France. Mr. Saroj Kumar Chaudhary, Section Officer (INC) Ministry of Human Resource Development Room No. 203 ‘C’ Wing Dr. Rajendra Prasad Road Shastri Bhavan, New Delhi -110115 Contact No. Telefax: 011-23384442, Email: inc.edu.nic.in.

3.64 lakh toilets under Swachh Bharat Swachh Vidyalaya Campaign

As on August 3, 2015, a total of 3.64 lakh toilets were constructed under Swachh Bharat Swachh Vidyalaya Campaign. States and Union Territories, Public Sector Undertakings from 15 Central Ministries and more than 10 private sector entities are involved in the construction of these toilets in schools. Funds were made available to States/UTs under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan for taking up the programmes.

Gross Enrolment Ratio in elementary classes increased to 113 %

The Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in elementary classes has increased from 96% in 1999 to 113% in 2012. The Net Enrolment Rate (NER) in primary education (age 6-10 years) was estimated at 84.5 per cent in 2005-06 (U-DISE). The NER has increased to 88.08 per cent in 2013-14 and the NER for girls (89.26 per cent) was higher than that for boys (87.2 per cent). The youth literacy rate between 15-24 year age group has increased from 61.9% in 1991 to 86.14% in 2011 and the trend shows India is likely to reach about 93.4% by 2015, as against the target of 100% with estimated male and female youth literacy rate likely to be at 94.8% and 92.5%.

Essay Competition on Saint Thiruvalluvar

The UGC issued a letter on 30th June, 2015 to Vice Chancellors of all universities, requesting them and affiliated colleges to organise essay competitions, seminars and debates based on the life and works of Saint Thiruvalluvar. The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has incorporated messages of Thiruvalluvar in textbook of Communicative Sanskrit, published by the Board, for Class X. The NCERT has published a supplementary reader entitled “Thirukkural” for students and teachers to assist “activities” taken under the History part of Social Science syllabus. Further, a detailed entry on ‘Sangam Literature’ has been provided in a three ¬language ‘Dictionary of Historical Terms’ of NCERT. These measures aim at spreading Thirukkural’s messages among students for imbibing the values inherent in this text.

Model schools in Educationally Backward blocks

The Centrally Sponsored Model School Scheme envisages inter alia setting up of 3,500 schools in educationally backward blocks (EBBs) through State/UT Governments. The EBBs have been selected based on twin criteria of Female Rural Literacy rate being below the national average and Gender Gap in literacy being above the national average. However, the Scheme has been delinked from the support of the Government of India with effect from 2015-16 and as such the scheme stands transferred to the States/UTs. Since the launch of the scheme in 2009-10 till 31st March, 2015, the Ministry of Human Resource Development has approved 2490 model schools, out of which 1101 model schools have been made functional. The Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) scheme implemented by the Ministry which was launched in year 2009 provides for additional classrooms, science laboratory, library, computer room, art/craft/culture room, toilets, drinking water facilities etc in new secondary schools and existing secondary schools, to reduce dropout rate at secondary stage.

Improving Learning and Educational Standards

The MHRD launched Rashtriya Aavishkar Abhiyan (RAA) programme on July 9, 2015, inter alia, as a sub-component of SSA and Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA), to motivate and engage children of the age group 6-18 years in Science, Mathematics and Technology through observation, experimentation, inference drawing, model building, etc. both through inside and outside classroom activities and processes. In addition under SSA programme, a total of 19.78 lakh teacher posts have been sanctioned, against which 15.59 lakh teacher posts have been filled up by States/UTs, upto 31st March, 2015 to improve student-teacher ratios, imparting of regular annual-in-service teacher training to all teachers to update their skills & knowledge, distribution of free textbooks to children and providing on-site academic support to teachers through Block Resource Centres and cluster Resource Centres. In order to improve the performance and educational standards, the Central Government through Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) has supported all States/UTs including Maharashtra on early grade reading, writing & comprehension, and early mathematics programmes through a sub-programme namely ‘Padhe Bharat Badhe Bharat’, and at upper primary level for Mathematics and Science teaching learning in 2014-15.