Thursday, 20 November 2014

Education needs overhaul: President

Education needs overhaul: President

NEW DELHI: President Pranab Mukherjee has emphasized the need to revamp the academic system so that bright students don't have to leave the country for further studies. 

"There are 723 universities and over 37,000 colleges in our country. Yet, many of our institutes lack quality that denies students world-class education. Many bright students leave the shores to pursue studies abroad. We cannot lose our talent, and for that, we have to upgrade our educational standards," said the President while delivering the convocation address at Jamia Millia Islamia on Monday. 

The physical infrastructure of classrooms and universities, he pointed out, needs to be bettered. Also, the faculty needs to be trained and chosen with care. There should also be talent that has been brought in from abroad. 

Adding that research is a key ingredient to the country's progress, Mukherjee said, "The Mars Mission is a testimony of our country's growing scientific interest, but research has been neglected in most of higher education in the country. The universities need to become research beds. Research should also be promoted by adopting enquiry based subjects and project work." 

HRD minister Smriti Irani, who was also present at the convocation, said, "I hope that while the engineering students engineer their own lives, they can also take time to engineer this nation. I hope the journalists have so much power in their pen that they can make the nation grow. The lawmakers should be just and help humanity. Wherever these students go, they should carry the culture of India with them." 

A total of 4,280 degrees/diplomas were awarded to the students along with 162 gold medals to the toppers and 223 PhD degrees to research scholars. 

Later, Irani inaugurated the building for Centre for Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation Sciences. 

Monday, 17 November 2014

Aligarh V-C says girls in library will attract boys

Aligarh V-C says girls in library will attract boys

Lucknow/New Delhi, Nov 12, 2014, DHNS

The vice-chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), Lt Gen Zameeruddin Shah, has justified the ban on entry of girls. PTI Photo

The vice-chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), Lt Gen Zameeruddin Shah, has justified the ban on entry of girls in the varsity’s central library saying the “number of boys visiting the library will increase fourfold if girls are allowed”.
In the wake of a storm over the ban, the Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry on Tuesday sought an explanation from the vice-chancellor for his remarks at a function at AMU on Monday evening.

Shah, a retired Army officer, incidentally made the remark while addressing the girls of the varsity after the swearing-in ceremony of newly elected office-bearers of the varsity’s Women’s College.

Girl students had demanded that they be allowed to use the library, one of the biggest in the country. “It (allowing the girls in the library) will not only crowd the library but also distract the boys,” the vice-chancellor had gone on to say.

In the wake of all-round criticism, Shah later said there was “a severe shortage of space” in the library. “Allowing girls will further aggravate the situation,” he said. The college has over 4,000 undergraduate girl students.

Shah also said: “The books in the central library are also available online. Further, we have also given a grant of Rs 11 lakh to the library at the Women’s College.”

The V-C also cited security concerns. “The central library is 2 km away from the Women’s College. There is always the danger of mugging and chain-snatching,” he said.
Incidentally, the principal of the Women’s College, Naima Gulrez, has also justified the ban on the same grounds.

Though the ban is decades old, Shah’s remarks justifying it has drawn widespread condemnation from all quarters, including the girl students as well as the HRD Ministry.

“There are some reports which hurt you as a woman and also agitate you. When we attained freedom, there was a belief that education and constitutional rights were the same for all. And now we get reports that amount to insulting the daughters,” HRD Minister Smriti Irani told reporters in New Delhi, reacting to Shah's remark.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Forging teachers of quality and commitment

Forging teachers of quality and commitment

Nov 13, 2014, DHNS

Just like a sculpture that takes a definite shape in the deft fingers of a sculptor, children can be moulded into responsible, educated and well-groomed citizens of the future by excellent teachers.

A teacher’s role assumes greater significance in an educational institution as it is the most important social organization in a society. Teachers have the capacity to make or mar a child’s potential at this vulnerable age. 

A good teacher is one who responds to students’ needs, is constantly on the lookout to improve his practice, is a good team player, is regular, punctual, cares about the children enough to give them a sense of security, is quick to identify the learning problems and provide programmes that cater to their learning needs, is a patient listener and adopts a proactive stand, blending his philosophy with the goals of the institution.

But the fact remains that teacher commitment also depends to a large extent on the attitude of the organization – the external rewards in the form of salary, position and recognition and the internal rewards in the form of a good work culture, teaching aids, the kind of students and their aims, and students’ values.

Internal rewarding is more important in an educational organization than in any other.

Some of the issues that organizations have to tackle are, the corporal punishment and its impact, the sudden killer rage that certain children possess, mobile menace which seems to destroy the spirit of teaching and learning, the disciplinary measures that are to be resorted to, and the effect of favouritism or enmity by teachers towards students.

But will resorting to corporal punishment help in any way? This means of punishment refers to any kind of physical torture inflicted on a person.

It can have disastrous effects on a child leaving him or her physically and psychologically impaired.
A child is a bundle of emotions and feelings and hence should be treated with care. Giving allowance to the maturity level of the child, patience, advice and guidance would go a long way in handling problematic cases.

Applauding achievements and helping overcome a child’s shortcomings also help the child during this very fragile period of life.

Communicating at the child’s level, frequent parent-teacher meetings, value driven education, anger management, yoga and meditation would go a long way in solving some of these problems.

The excellence of a school is defined by the students’ character, social and emotional skills and academic competencies.
Co-curricular activities therefore would go a long way in promoting leadership skills, goal setting, decision making and problem solving. Physical activities which requires getting out of the classes ensures good health and an exposure to practical tasks, resulting in a well-balanced individual.

The fluency in multiple languages and the grasp of multiple skills through this exposure as well as the service rendered through community service will be assets in today’s world of uncertainties which may require changes in career.  In matters of discipline, a middle path would be the best approach.

After identification of the problem and discussion with the student, the principal should be apprised of the matter, the parents called in and an appropriate plan for discipline and remedial measures worked out.
This could be followed by counselling, mentoring, detention, suspension, academic penalties and even expulsion should the need arise. Favouritism by teachers towards students should be avoided as this may send wrong signals to the less favoured and have negative consequences.

The responsibility of forming future leaders lies on the shoulders of teachers. The teaching profession is a unique one as it requires working with the organisation, stakeholders like colleagues, parents and students.

By setting excellent standards for the students to emulate, they can ensure children who are committed and are qualitative in their work. 

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Govt to launch new policy to help people resume education

Govt to launch new policy to help people resume education

Govt to launch new policy to help people resume education
NEW DELHI: In a major push to the country's education system, the government will launch this month a 'credit-equivalent transfer system' that will help individuals resume their studies if they had left mid-way for employment. 
Besides, the government is looking to come out with a new education policy next year, human resource development minister Smriti Irani said on Wednesday. 
Listing out a slew of education-related initiatives of the new government, Irani said that one of the biggest challenge is the absence of credit transfer system. 
In the absence of such a system, many individuals who take up employment are unable to continue their studies. 

Giving her own example, the minister said, "I was a working professional who fell out of the education system because I wanted to retain job. The biggest challenge is that we do not have a credit transfer system within our country." 
On November 11, which will be observed as Education Day in the country, the government is going to "launch for the first time a credit equivalent transfer system", the Minister said while speaking at the India Economic Summit organised by Geneva-based World Economic Forum (WEF) and Indian industry chamber CII. 
The new system would help transfer of credit from one educational institution to another.

According to her, this credit transfer system would be from class IX onwards to begin with and in January 2015 it would be for up to Ph.D programmes. 
"... we will start such a system so that those who go into the work force can get back into the education system as and when they desire," Irani said. 
Central universities have been advised to have a seamless credit transfer system across the country. 

"We are trying to do everything right (with respect to education system)... We are coming with new education policy next year... We are trying to course correct between school education and higher education," Irani said. 
Talking about other initiatives in the education sector, Irani said the government is rolling out a new teachers' training programme and also provide them with digital solutions to help them train on the job. 

In a bid to ensure that students are made aware of their employment avenues, plans are on the anvil to set up placement cells in every university. 
Among others, the government would be starting a new initiative 'Shaala Darpan' in the next academic year whereby parents can track the activities of a student in school by way of mobile devices, she said. 

Noting that there is a need for change in mindset to ensure reforms in the education system, Irani said there are challenges with respect to research.