Assam girl selected for Commonwealth Scholarship in UK

Assam girl selected for Commonwealth Scholarship in UK

Youths from the northeast region are not far behind their counterparts from the rest of the country. A young student from Assam has recently been selected for the prestigious Commonwealth Scholarship in United Kingdom.

Sneha Khaund, a 22-year-old from Jorhat district, is an english graduate from St Stephen’s College in Delhi. She was recently selected for the award in United Kingdom for the year 2015-2016.

She is one among 22 Indian students selected for the scholarship this year and will now be pursuing her masters degree in Comparative Literature at London University. Expressing delight over her selection, Sneha said that she looks forward to study the subject she loves.

“I am very happy that I have been chosen for this scholarship and I feel honoured. I look upon it as an opportunity for me to study something that I love. There will be world class facilities available there so I feel very grateful and I think it is a great opportunity,” she said.

Sneha was one of the few students whose application was selected by the human resource development (HRD) ministry and forwarded to the commission. Sneha further said that she wants to remain in touch with social issues while pursuing an academic career.

“I hope to have an academic career and get a PhD I don’t want an academic career that is completely divorced from social issues that we face. Even while pursuing an academic career, I want to be involved in other aspects. I hope to write,” she said.

Sneha’s father, Devajeet Khaund, said that lack of awareness among people about scholarship opportunities available has left many eligible students deprived. “If my daughter can make it, then there are so many promising students who are eligible to get this type of scholarship. Because of lack of awareness, many of them are deprived,” he said.

Youth in the northeast region have been able to prove their mettle in various fields and many like Sneha are now aiming high to make their mark in different fields.

Centre allows Jharkhand to retain 100 MBBS seats

The state government has finally succeeded in retaining the 100 MBBS seats, which were cancelled by the Medical Council of India in August last year, with the Union health ministry’s mediation.

The Union ministry’s decision to keep 50 seats intact at Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Medical College (MGMMC) in Jamshedpur and Patliputra Medical College and Hospital (PMCH) in Dhanbad, which was personally overseen by health minister JP Nadda, reached Nepal House late on Thursday evening. A soft copy of the official order reached health secretary K Vidyasagar on Friday.

For the state health department, which was hoping for approval for 50 seats, the order came as a pleasant surprise. Health minister Ramchandra Chandravanshi, after his meeting with Nadda on Wednesday, had said consensus was reached on giving back 25 seats each at PMCH and MGMMC.

Chandravanshi called it a notable achievement on Friday. “We had been fighting hard. As much as 90% of the shortcomings which the MCI had pointed out were complied with,” he said.

Chandravanshi thanked the Union minister for his role in breaking the deadlock, especially after the Jharkhand high court ordered the Centre to take a decision by Friday.

The restoration of 100 seats would pave the way for counselling for all the 350 seats (150 at Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences and 100 each at PMCH and MGMMC).

Though an official notification is due till Monday, preparations have begun for counselling. “The JCECEB (Jharkhand combined entrance competitive examination board) has been asked to get on with counseling from Monday accordingly,” Vidyasagar said on Friday.

Why such huge grants for B-schools, asks Mani Shankar Aiyar

Why such huge grants for B-schools, asks Mani Shankar Aiyar
Former minister Mani Shankar Aiyar

The country has to decide how much it invests in IIMs and how much in primary education, former minister Mani Shankar Aiyar said on Friday. He was questioning the granting of huge funds to elite B-schools as against the meagre sums allocated to primary education.

Speaking at the inauguration of Bzzwings, a business plan contest hosted by IIM-Bangalore, Aiyar said, “We count the number of students, toilets in schools and the number of toilets for girls. What we are not measuring is the only purpose of schools, that is learning.” He was answering a question on the implementation of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. Aiyar pointed out that 45% of class 7 kids couldn’t read a class 2 textbook.

Taking a jibe at minister of human resource development Smriti Irani, Aiyar said, “Instead of discovering our ancient culture and how plastic surgery enabled Ganesha to wear an elephant head, Irani should focus on the problems in primary education.”

Promise safe, quality education for every child

Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani education advocate, on Friday asked world leaders who are here to attend UN General Assembly to promise that every child will have the right to safe, free and quality primary and secondary education.

Malala Yousafzai made the remarks as she was speaking at the UN General Assembly alongside 193 youth representatives from the 193 UN member states, reported Xinhua.

Also on Friday, world leaders adopted the Sustainable Development Goals in the General Assembly, which include the global efforts to improve education opportunities for every child in the world.

“World leaders sitting there, look up because the future generation is raising their voice,” Yousafzai, who was shot in 2012 by the Taliban for attending classes, told hundreds of senior government officials in a stirring address delivered from the highest mezzanine of the General Assembly Hall.

“Today, we are 193 young people representing billions more. Each lantern we hold represents the hope we have for our future because of the commitments you have made to the global goals,” she said as each young person on the scene held up a blue light.

The 17 Global Goals are part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which was adopted by the General Assembly just minutes after the youngest-ever Nobel Laureate addressed the Hall.

They aim to build on the work of the historic Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which in September 2000 rallied the world around a common 15-year agenda to tackle the indignity of poverty.

“I’m hopeful that we all in the UN will be united in the goal of education and peace, and that we will make this world not just a better place, but the best place to live. Education is hope, education is peace,” Yousafzai said.

At a press conference following the event, she was joined by girl ambassadors from Syria, Nigeria and Pakistan who echoed her call to world leaders to ensure that every child gets 12 years of safe, free and quality education.

“The world leaders need to take all these issues more seriously,” Yousafzai told reporters. “They need to give it full attention and they should think about their own children. No one leader would want their own daughter, their own son, to be neglected of education, to be neglected in society and not given full rights.”

“It’s really tragic what’s happening to children around the world, especially in Syria, in Iraq, and how they’re suffering. It’s shocking,” she said.

Yousafzai noted how difficult it is for her to watch the news about those conflict-torn areas because every time she does, it makes her cry that no one is taking action while children die and girls continue to be sexually abused.

“I’m hopeful that when girls like us come together and raise our voices, the voices of those girls will be listened to because we speak on their behalf, we speak for their rights,” she said.

Yousafzai’s first visit to the UN took place on July 12, 2013, which coincided with her 16th birthday. The date is now marked internationally as Malala Day.

New draft education policy by December

New draft education policy by December: Smriti Irani

Efforts are underway to prepare the draft of a new education policy by December with involvement of people at the district level, Union HRD minister Smriti Irani said on Saturday.

“Till now, education policies were prepared by some persons at the national level, but people at ground level were never asked,” she said.

Irani said that on how new education policy should take shape, she was holding meetings with education minister of every state and district magistrates.

The HRD minister was speaking at a conclave organised by Hindustan Media Ventures Ltd.

“Till now plans were framed at national or state level. From education point of view if we prepare district-wise plan then the systemic change we want can be achieved,” she said.

She said that there was a need to understand what people at the district level need.

“I am going to request our institutions to revamp their curriculum and include technology learned in foreign countries in Indian institutions,” the minister said.

She said if students do not have much choice then it was natural they would think to study abroad.

Irani said how education increases employability was a subject of discussion, but it should also be seen that what it means in the life of a man.

“How our education increases employability has been a subject of discussion,” she said when asked about 23 lakh applicants, including PhD holders, applying for 368 posts of peon in Uttar Pradesh.

She said what was the real meaning of education in life was also a matter which should be thought about.

“So, for me while employability is a corner stone, it has been equally important for me as to what type of citizens we prepare,” she said.

IITs to decide on single-test entry today

IITs to decide on single-test entry today

A proposal to scrap the two-phase IIT entrance examination — comprising JEE (main) and IIT-JEE (advanced) — is on the agenda of the JEE Apex Board (JAB) meeting at IIT-Guwahati on Sunday.

Sources say many IITs want to break away from JEE(main) that is also the gateway to NIITs and IITs and is conducted by CBSE. Instead, they want to revert to the old system and hold a single entrance examination exclusively for IIT aspirants. IIT-Guwahati will be conducting the entrance test for 2016.
IITs find the two-step entrance examination cumbersome and time consuming. Some faculty members have found faults with the present system, say sources. “The probability of a candidate getting into an IIT is far less than to an NIIT. There can’t be a common examination for two different sets of students,” an IIT professor held. Also, this “cumbersome process” leads to a waste of time that could be a reason why some IIT seats remain vacant, he added.

IIT admission became a two-phase affair in 2013 at the prodding of the HRD ministry. “The ministry wanted to bring admissions to all engineering colleges under one roof and decided to hold a common entrance test for NIITs and IITs. But when IIT-Kanpur threatened to quit the common entrance system and hold its own admission test on its own, MHRD allowed the IITs to hold a second test (IIT-advanced),” explained a senior faculty member of an IIT.

IITs now want to revert to the pre-2013 system in which an IIT from each of the seven zones conducted the entrance test by rotation. If the proposal is accepted at the JAB meeting on Sunday, it will be forwarded to the IIT Council, which will take the final call.

READ ALSO: This year, IITs will admit students with even 6% in entrance exam (File)

JAB’s experience with the two-step admission system hasn’t been quite happy, say sources. “We see no reason why IIT aspirants should take two examinations. The main and advanced exams, held within a span of one and a half months, burden students. The pressure taxes their concentration,” said a senior IIT-JEE official.

IIT officials argue that they can increase the number counseling rounds if they hold a single examination for the IITs. “IITs could hold only hold three rounds of counseling due to a time constraint. If a single entry test is allowed then the results will be published much earlier and the number of counselling rounds can be increased.”

However, switching to the old system has its problems, too. Unlike under the existing system — in which only 1.5 lakh students are allowed to take the IIT(advanced) entrance after screening — anyone can sit for the single IIT entrance, thus pushing up the number of candidates. “Reverting to the old system is at the proposal stage right now. It will be placed in the JAB meeting tomorrow. There will be discussions and consultations at different levels before a final decision is arrived at,” said Devang V Khakar, director of IIT-Powai.

Online examination at IGNOU soon; talks on with HRD, UGC

Online examination at IGNOU soon; talks on with HRD, UGC

The Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), one of the largest distance learning universities in India with over 28 lakh students, is considering giving them the option of taking examinations online.

The varsity, which adopted the online admission process from this year, is in talks with the HRD ministry and University Grants Commission (UGC) regarding the proposal.

“We are actively considering offering the examination online to make the process smooth and easy for students. Government is also examining the proposal and the modalities are being worked out. We are in talks with HRD ministry and UGC regarding the same,” IGNOU Vice Chancellor Nageshwar Rao told PTI.

“We started online admissions this year and got a massive response. At present we have the entire process in online mode including the registration, issuing of admit cards, schedule updation but the examination is still conducted in the traditional paper mode where students have to go to their respective study centres,” he added.

The task, however, is going to be challenging for the university considering the large number of students , who are spread across the country.

“When we look at the distance learning system in other countries of the world where universities have adopted online examination, we have to take into account that they have a small student strength of 4000-10,000.

“In our case, the number is large and we also see that the people are spread throughout the country with different backgrounds and demographic issues. Some are housewives, some are poor, some are working, some are located in remote areas so we have to see the feasibility,” he said.

The VC said the university is yet to figure out whether the option will be made available at its centres or students will be able to take the examination from anywhere.

“The modalities are being worked out. Working out on the examination pattern as well as the infrastructural issues, is a challenging task but the experts are on the job,” he said.

The university had started online examination for 27 courses in 2010 on an experimental basis, but the proposal had been withdrawn two years later after the UGC objected to it.

“We had started with 27 courses which had a student strength of not more than 300, to experiment the feasibility. The response was good but later it had to be withdrawn when UGC said it doesn’t recognise the online mode of examination.

“Now, they (UGC) will be taken onboard to find a way out which is also recognised by the commission,” the VC said.

The university offers a total of 228 bachelors, masters, diploma and certificate programmes.

100 study centres in commerce colleges to offer CS courses

100 study centres in commerce colleges to offer CS courses

COIMBATORE: The Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI) will enter into tie up with top commerce colleges across the country to open 100 study centres where courses for students could be offered, a top official said on Sunday.

The ICSI faculty will train the students in these colleges after college hours, so that they can become qualified company secretaries, while they finished their graduation, Atul H Mehta, president, ICSI, told reporters here.

All the Centres would be opened by this year, he said.

The institute is in the process of negotiations with leading software companies to develop an e-learning programme so that over 30 courses could be taught online, including videos and animation, Mehta said.

Stating that the new Companies Act 2013 envisaged a multi-dimensional role for company secretaries, he said the profession has undergone tremendous change.

When asked about the demand-supply gap, Mehta said with more than nine lakh private companies and one lakh Public Sector companies, there was tremendous scope for the professionals, as there were only 40,000 company secretaries in India currently.

Mehta, here to attend 14th conference of Students Company Secretaries, said that a National Company Law Tribunal, on the line of Income Tax Tribunal, will soon be set up in the country.

All the disputes and litigation can be filed in this tribunal, Mehta said.

About 4.65 lakh appear in UPSC civil services prelims exam


A total of 4,65,882 candidates appeared for the civil services preliminary examination yesterday. This year saw an increase of 14,280 candidates, last year 4,51,602 candidates had appeared for the exam.
The Secretary of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), Ashim Khurana,  said that, “There were no untoward incidents reported from any of the centre in the country.”

He added, as against a record number of 9,45,908 candidates who had applied for the exam, 6,81,549 of them had downloaded their e-admit card. Out of these candidates, 4,65,882 candidates took the examination, which is about 49 per cent of the total candidates who had applied, he said.

UPSC conducts the civil services examination every year in three stages, i.e. preliminary, main and interview. The examination is held to select candidates for prestigious Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS) and Indian Police Service (IPS) among others.

The preliminary examination comprises of two papers, Paper I and Paper II, both are of two hours’ duration each. The first paper began at 9:30 AM and second started at 2:30 PM. The exam was conducted at 2,186 venues in 71 centres/cities across the country. In 2014, there were 2,137 venues in 59 centres for 2014 prelims exam.

“At Delhi centre, 70,642 candidates took the examination as against 1,17,312 who have registered for Delhi as their centre,” said Khurana, a 1983 batch IAS officer of Gujarat cadre. In order to facilitate the visually impaired candidates, the Commission has increased the number of venues/cities to 72 in 71 centres as compared to eight venues in seven cities in 2014, he said.