World’s Most Innovative Universities | 2017

Stanford University takes first place on Reuters’ list of the World’s Most Innovative Universities for the third consecutive year, holding fast to its ranking by consistently producing new patents and papers that influence researchers around the globe.

In July 2017, the university opened the Stanford Center for Definitive and Curative Medicine, a new research center focused on the development of stem cell and gene therapies to treat the millions of people worldwide with genetic diseases.

Stanford reported a total research budget of $1.6 billion. Recent research highlights include the development of a drug delivery device that monitors drug levels in the body in real time and delivers dosages tailored specifically to the patient. Stanford researchers have also created a vine-like, flexible ‘growing’ robot that operates in seemingly impossibly cramped situations, and a new camera that allows robots to capture 4D images in a 140-degree field of vision. A 4D image allows viewers to refocus the image after the image is captured, allowing for clear manipulation of the image after the fact.

Located in the heart of California’s Silicon Valley, Stanford University has played a key role in the development of our networked world. In the early 1970s, Stanford professor Vint Cerf co-designed the TCP/IP protocols that became the basic communication standard for the Internet, and in 1991, physicists at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center deployed the first world wide web server outside of Europe. The university’s faculty and alumni have founded major tech companies including Google, Hewlett-Packard and Cisco Systems. A 2012 study by the university estimated that companies formed by Stanford entrepreneurs generate so much revenue that if they formed an independent nation, it would rank among the 10 largest economies in the world. Stanford University was founded in 1891 by California senator and railway magnate Leland Stanford in honor of his deceased son, with the promise that ‘the children of California shall be our children

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Lok Sabha passes bill to replace Homoeopathy Council

The Lok Sabha on July 30, 2018, passed a bill, which seeks to replace the Central Council of Homoeopathy (CCH) with a board of governors.

The bill – Homeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Bill 2018 – was passed through a voice vote after the House rejected several unofficial amendments while Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury withdrew his statutory resolution disapproving the ordinance.

The Bill seeks to replace an Ordinance promulgated by the President in May 2018.

Key features of the Bill:

It amends the 1973 Act to provide for the supersession of the Central Council with effect from May 18, 2018.  The Central Council will be reconstituted within one year from the date of its supersession.  In the interim period, the central government will constitute a Board of Governors, which will exercise the powers of the Central Council.

The Board of Governors will consist of up to seven members including (i) persons of eminence in the field of homoeopathy education, and (ii) eminent administrators, appointed by the central government.  The central government will select one of these members as the Chairperson of the Board.  With regard to policy decisions, the directions of the central government will be final.

Permission for existing homoeopathy colleges: It states that: (i) if any person has established a homoeopathy medical college, or (ii) if an established homoeopathy medical college has opened new courses or increased its admission capacity before the Ordinance was promulgated, it will have to seek permission from the central government within one year.  If the person or homoeopathy medical college fails to seek such permission, then any medical qualification granted to a student from such medical college will not be recognized under the Act.

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HRD ministry launches second edition of Unnat Bharat Abhiyan

The HRD ministry launched the second edition of the Unnat Bharat Abhiyan under which students from 750 higher educational institutions from across the country will adopt villages and visit them to get acquainted with the lifestyle of people there and the problems faced by them. The minister advised the students to involve local village people at every stage of problem identification and solving issues relating to health, cleanliness, waste management, plantation, financial inclusion, women and child development.

“The mission involves students from colleges and universities will go to nearby villages to get acquainted with the life of village people and the problems faced by them in day-to-day life. Students are the real agents of change who can develop, empower and brighten the future of the country,”

“India had witnessed the migration of rural population in the past, but now the process of sustainable development through the Unnat Bharat Abhiyan 2.0 will help to reverse this migration,” Minister of State for HRD Satya Pal Singh said. Secretary (Higher Education), HRD ministry, R Subrahmanyam appealed to the student community to take the lead of this programme to make it a national movement.

“750 institutions chosen in the first lot have participated in today’s seminar; however, thousands of institutions have offered their willingness to join this movement. To cover the 45,000 villages of the country under this movement, we need the participation of 8,252 higher education institutions,” he said. Under the Unnat Bharat Abhiyan 2.0, the institutions have been selected on a Challenge Mode and the scheme has been extended to 750 reputed Higher Educational Institutes (both public and private) of the country.

“Also, a scope for providing subject expert groups and regional coordinating institutes to handhold and guide the participating institutions has been strengthened. IIT Delhi has been designated to function as the national coordinating institute for this programme and the ministry intends to extend the coverage to all the reputed higher educational institutes, in a phased manner.

Institutes through their faculty and students, will carry out studies of living conditions in the adopted villages, assess the local problems and needs, work out the possibilities of leveraging the technological interventions and the need to improve the processes in the implementation of various government schemes, prepare workable action plans for the selected villages. The institutes would be expected to closely coordinate with the district administration, elected public representatives of panchayat/villages and other stakeholders and will become a part of the process of development planning and implementation.

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RTE amendment Bill passed in Lok Sabha, no-detention policy set to fail

The Lok Sabha passed a Bill to amend the Right to Education (RTE) Act to abolish the “no-detention” policy in schools. No student can be detained up to class VIII under current provisions of the Act.

Highlights of the Bill:

The Bill amends the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009. The Act was having the provision of no detention policy i.e. no child can be held back in any class until completion of elementary school (classes 1-8).

The Bill amends provision related to no detention policy in the parent Act to empower central or state government to allow schools to hold back the child in class 5, class 8, or in both classes. It mandates conducting, regular examination in class 5 and class 8 at end of every academic year.

In case, the child fails class 5, class 8 examinations, he will be given additional instruction and opportunity for a re-examination (within two months from the declaration of the result). If the child fails again in re-examination, he may be held back in class 5, class 8, or in both classes.

The Bill empowers Union and State governments to decide whether to not hold back the child in any class till completion of elementary education. Further, Union or State governments will decide manner and conditions subject to which child may be held back.

According to this provision, “no child admitted in a school shall be held back in any class”. This translates into automatic promotions to the next class every year until Class VII. Instead of exams, schools are supposed to hold Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluations (CCE) for every child.

Criticism:

The provision had attracted criticism with several states and schools complaining that it compromised on academic rigor and learning levels and quality at schools.

The TSR Subramanian committee for the formulation of the National Policy on Education has also suggested that ‘no detention’ policy should be discontinued after Class V. It had recommended restoration of detention provision, remedial coaching and two extra chances to each student such to move to a higher class.

A sub-committee of the Central Advisory Board of Education also studied the issue closely and recommended a provisional detention clause at Classes V and VIII. In 2013, a parliamentary panel had also asked the ministry to ‘rethink’ on its “policy of automatic promotion up to Class VIII”.

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Committee set up to synergise NCC and NSS

The government has decided to set up a committee under the Chairmanship of Shri Anil Swarup, former Secretary, School Education, with suitable representations from NCC, M/o Youth Affairs and Ministry of HRD to suggest measures to strengthen National Cadet Corps (NCC) and National Service Scheme (NSS).

The Committee will deal with on issues like expansion, strengthening training infrastructure, rationalizing resources, reducing manpower deficiency affecting NCC and NSS.  The Committee will also submit recommendations for building synergies between these two institutions viz. NCC and NSS and further strengthen them for empowering the youth.

At present, there are 13.5 lakh cadets in NCC in the age group of 12 to 26 years with pan India presence in about 703 out of 716 districts.  There are a large number of educational institutions in the country including as much as 8600 on the waitlist in which NCC is yet to be extended.  There is also an existing shortage in the NCC manpower across the categories ranging from 5% to 36%.

About National Service Scheme (NSS):

NSS is a Centrally Sector Scheme. The Scheme was launched in the year 1969 with the primary objective of developing the personality and character of the student youth through voluntary community service. The ideological orientation of the NSS is inspired by the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi. Very appropriately, the motto of NSS is “NOT ME, BUT YOU”.

NSS is being implemented in Senior Secondary Schools, Colleges, and Universities. The design of the NSS envisages that each educational institution covered under the Scheme has at least one NSS unit comprising of normally 100 student volunteers, led by a teacher designated as Programme Officer (PO). Each NSS unit adopts a village or slum for taking up its activities.

Briefly, the NSS volunteers work on issues of social relevance, which keep evolving in response to the needs of the community, through regular and special camping activities. Such issues include (i) literacy and education, (ii) health, family welfare and nutrition, (iii) environment conservation, (iv) social service programmes, (v) programmes for empowerment of women, (vi) programmes connected with economic development activities, (vii) rescue and relief during calamities, etc.

The National Cadet Corps (NCC) is a youth development movement. It came into existence under the National Cadet Corps Act XXXI of 1948.

It is a Tri-Services Organization, comprising the Army, Navy and Air Force, engaged in grooming the youth of the country into disciplined and patriotic citizens.

It has enormous potential for nation-building. The NCC provides opportunities to the youth of the country for their all-round development with a sense of Duty, Commitment, Dedication, Discipline and Moral Values so that they become able leaders and useful citizens.

The NCC provides exposure to the cadets in a wide range of activities., with a distinct emphasis on Social Services, Discipline and Adventure Training. The NCC is open to all regular students of schools and colleges on a voluntary basis. The students have no liability for active military service.

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HRD Ministry grants Institution of eminence status to IIT Delhi, IIT Bombay, IISc Bangalore

Human Resource Development Ministry granted Institution of eminence status to IIT Delhi, IIT Bombay and IISc Bangalore.

The institutions selected are:

Public Sector: (i) Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, Karnataka; (ii) Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, Maharashtra; and (iii) Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi.

Private Sector: (i) Jio Institute (Reliance Foundation), Pune under Green Field Category; (ii) Birla Institute of Technology & Sciences, Pilani, Rajasthan; and (iii) Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Manipal, Karnataka.

Each ‘Public Institution’ selected as ‘Institution of Eminence’ will get financial assistance up to Rs. 1000 Crore over a period of five years.

These Institutions shall be provided with greater autonomy to admit foreign students up to 30% of admitted students; to recruit foreign faculty up to 25% of faculty strength; to offer online courses up to 20% of its programmes.

They will also be allowed to enter into academic collaboration with top 500 in the world ranking Institutions without permission of UGC; free to fix and charge fees from foreign students without restriction; complete flexibility in fixing of curriculum and syllabus, among others.

At the same time, they will get more opportunity to scale up their operations with more skills and quality improvement so that they become World Class Institutions in the field of education.

India lacks world-class universities according to international rankings, and Indian academics, compared internationally, are rather poorly paid. Students also suffer an immense shortage of places in top academic institutions and throughout the higher education system. India today educates only half as many young people from the university age group as China and ranks well behind most Latin American and other middle-income countries.

If India is to succeed as a great technological power with a knowledge-based economy, world-class universities are required. The first step, however, is to examine the problems and create realistic solutions. Spending large sums scattershot will not work. Nor will copying the American academic model succeed.

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Project Kashmir Super 50

Project Kashmir Super 50, a joint initiative by Indian Army, Center for Social Responsibility and Leadership (CSRL) and PETRONET LNG Limited (PLL) was launched on 22 March 2013 to transform the educational status of children from economically weaker sections in the Kashmir region.  As part of the 11-month program, selected students are provided with complete free residential coaching for IIT-JEE, JKCET, and other premier Engineering Institutes.

The outgoing batch is the fifth batch of Kashmir Super 50 which had 45 boys based in Srinagar and five girl students based in Noida.  Out of which this year, 32 students (30 boys and 02 girls) have cleared IIT-JEE Mains and seven students have cleared IIT-JEE Advance.

Project Kashmir Super 50 is a joint initiative by Indian Army, Center for Social Responsibility and Leadership (CSRL) and PETRONET LNG Limited (PLL).

It was launched on 22 March 2013 to transform the educational status of children from economically weaker sections in the Kashmir region.

As part of the 11-month program, selected students are provided with complete free residential coaching for IIT-JEE, JKCET, and other premier Engineering Institutes.

The significance of the scheme:

Kashmir Super 50 has been one of the most successful projects undertaken by the Indian Army in the valley and has directly impacted the lives of a number of youths in J&K by providing them the right guidance and opportunity to make a career for themselves. The project has equally helped the families of these youths in their growth and prosperity. It is a major initiative towards bringing normalcy in the valley.

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Ministry of HRD launches ‘SamagraSiksha’ Scheme

The Union Minister for Human Resource Development, Shri Prakash Javadekar launched the ‘SamagraShiksha’ – an integrated Scheme for school education extending support to States from pre-school to senior secondary levels for the first time in New Delhi today. The Scheme is a paradigm shift in the conceptual design of school education by treating ‘school’ holistically as a continuum from pre-school, primary, upper primary, secondary and senior secondary levels.

About the Scheme:

Samagra Shiksha is a program that unifies learning from the pre-school to class 12 levels and encapsulates elements of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Rashtriya Madhyamk Shiksha Abhiyan and teacher education. The scheme will focus on digital education.

The objectives of the scheme include:

Provision of quality education.

Enhancing learning outcomes of students.

Bridging social and gender gaps in school education and promoting vocationalisation of education.

Strengthening teacher education institutions like SCERTs and Diets to improve quality of teachers.

Annual grant of Rs 5,000 to Rs 20,000 per school for strengthening of libraries.

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UNICEF launches Data Visualisation App

The UNICEF  launched a ‘data visualisation app’ which provides a user-friendly visual representation of complex analytics of the education scenario in the country.

The app has been made with technical inputs from the UNICEF, in collaboration with the National Institute of Education Planning and Administration (NIEPA) and the National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT).

It uses the UDISE (Unified District Information System for Education), the NAS (National Assessment survey) and demographic data and can be used as a visual tool by policy makers, senior government officials, academia, and researchers to address gaps and monitor programmes in the field of education.

“Since the enactment of the Right to Education Act, much progress has been made in areas of systemic readiness, improved access and enrolment of children, providing infrastructure, especially sanitation facilities in schools, recruitment of teachers and training of untrained teachers.

UNICEF India in partnership with HRD Ministry today organised a ‘Shiksha Mela — Education Open Day’ to demonstrate case stories showcasing holistic and equitable quality education achieved through convergent programming across 17 Indian states.

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Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya National Mission on Teachers and Training (PMMMNMTT)

University and college teachers across the country will soon be able to connect with experts in their fields of study and also pose queries on academic questions that they wish resolved through suggestions offered by these experts or other teachers of their discipline.

The National Institute of Educational Research and Planning (NIEPA) is in the process of rolling out the National Resource centre, an initiative that is part of the Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya National Mission on Teachers and Training (PMMMNMTT).

About the National Resource Centre:

The National Resource Centre is envisaged as a one-stop point for Indian academicians to enhance their research and teaching skills.

The centre will enable college and university teachers to access a detailed database of academic resources, including lists of books, top journals and subject experts in their area of interest.

It will also suggest a mechanism to higher education institutions to assess students’ satisfaction with teaching and research in the institutions so that the faculty is able to figure out what students think about their college/university and make improvements.

About PMMMNMTT:

Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya National Mission on Teachers and Teaching (PMMMNMTT) is a Scheme launched by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India.

The aim of the scheme to improve the quality of the school and higher education by addressing comprehensively all issues related to teachers, teaching, teacher preparation, professional development, Curriculum Design, Designing and Developing Assessment & Evaluation methodology, Research in Pedagogy and developing effective Pedagogy.

The Mission proposes to have following components:

Schools of Education (in Central Universities).

Centres of Excellence for Curriculum and Pedagogy.

Inter-University Centres for Teachers’ Education.

National Resource Centre for Education.

Centres for Academic Leadership and Education Management.

Innovations, Awards, Teaching Resource Grant, including Workshop & Seminar, Subject Networks for Curricular Renewal and Reforms.

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