Delhi govt to do away with no-detention policy: Kejriwal

Delhi govt to do away with no-detention policy: KejriwalNew Delhi: Delhi government will soon bring an amendment in the Right to Education (RTE) Act and do away with the ‘no-detention policy’ till class VIII as has been done in number of states.

“Because of the no-detention policy, the students are being promoted by schools till class 8 leading to deterioration of standard and level as has been pointed put by teachers and parents. So the decision to remove the no-detention policy has been taken in Cabinet meeting today,” Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said today at an event organised by the PHD Chamber of Industry and Commerce.

Kejriwal government has also proposed to do away with the process of screening procedure for admission to nursery classes.

“No screening will be allowed in nursery admissions. It has to be completely random based. Even parents of the children should not be interviewed,” Kejriwal said, adding that his government is also planning to regulate the fees in private schools of the city.

Addressing an interactive session with the members of the Chamber, Kejriwal also appealed to the industry to liberally come forward to adopt Mohalla Clinics that the Delhi government is setting up in 1,000 numbers and take advantage of CSR initiative.

Delhi Government will offer to build industrial complexes to business and trading community of Delhi to put up non-polluting industries in and around Delhi within a period of next three months to create additional 10,000 jobs for its people as also to prevent their moving to neighboring states of UP, Haryana and Rajasthan, said Kejriwal.

Maharashtra govt proposes revocation of no-detention policy in schools

Maharashtra govt proposes revocation of no-detention policy in schoolsMumbai: Maharashtra government in its report on the draft of National New Education Policy has recommended that exams should be held in all schools, otherwise, students tend to ignore studies.

The report stated that ‘No Exams’ is nothing but a misconception spread among parents.

The no-detention policy, a key component of the RTE Act, was enforced on April 1, 2010 with an aim to ensure that every child between the age of 6 and 14 studies in school.

The idea behind the policy was to minimise the number of students who drop out of the schooling system because of failure and are too embarrassed or de-motivated to repeat a year.

The state government in its suggestion advocates Continuous Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) for students so that the marks of these regular tests can be summed up for evaluation at the end of the year.

Among the various concerns discussed in the report the state government has advocated the need to engage parents as partners in education.

“Parent Teacher Associations are to be strengthened. ‘Class-wise parents’ meeting should be held, house visits by the teachers should be made necessary, using Social Media like WhatsApp, MSS, SMS, by parents for students performance, reports cards of the students are to be discussed with the parents, ‘Open House’ concepts is to be implemented, schools must get involved in the social Festivals actively and ‘Public Reading’ (Chawadi Wachan) is to be done to uplift the image of the school and the Students,” it states.

It further states that to encourage parents participation in sending children to schools, the school authorities should felicitate them who send their child to school regularly.

State Education minister Vinod Tawde said that the policy has not yet been finalised.

“The state government had organised a debate in 32,000 villages and invited suggestions from education experts, principals, teachers associations and parents associations. This has happened for the first time, I have not seen this happening in the earlier government,” Tawde said.

JNU to introduce three new MA courses in art, film and theatre

JNU to introduce three new MA courses in art, film and theatreNew Delhi: Jawaharlal Nehru University will introduce three Masters programmes in film and television, art history and theatre from the next academic session.

“The university will be offering three new MA programmes from the next academic session. The courses will be MA in Art History and Visual Studies; MA in Film, Television and New Media Studies; and MA in Theatre and Performance Studies,” JNU’s Vice-Chancellor SK Sopory told PTI.

The varsity’s Academic Council (AC) had given a go-ahead for introduction of these courses in its recent meeting.

“The Board of Studies of the School of Arts and Aesthetics had recommended for introduction of the three courses. The proposal was mooted in July and discussed and approved by the board before placing the same before the council,” Sopory said.

“The preamble as well as the courses to be taught and credit requirements for the three programmes have been worked out,” he added.

The AC, which is the decision-making body of the university, had in the meeting also taken note of a proposal to open ‘School of Indian Languages’ which will offer Masters programmes and research courses in Hindi, Urdu, Kannada, Tamil, Marathi, Assamese, Bengali and Odia languages.

The proposal has now been forwarded to various departments of the university and the matter will be placed before the AC after their feedback has been received.

The AC, however, rejected a proposal for introduction of short-term courses in ‘Indian Culture’ and ‘Yoga’ for “propagating spiritual and mythological traditions and establishing Indian values in the world”.

India’s first gender university to come up in Kerala

India's first gender university to come up in KeralaThiruvananthapuram: Kerala government is getting ready to set up a first-of-its-kind university in the country, exclusively for research-oriented studies related to gender.

The gender varsity will be located in in Kozhikode district in the campus of Gender Park, an autonomous institution under the state’s Social Justice Department.

A top official said the proposed varsity is conceptualised on the model of similar institutions abroad and many global agencies have already expressed interest to partner with it.

The South Asian Research Centre at the Gender Park will be developed into a full-fledge varsity by next year and it will be the first such university in the country, Gender Park CEO P T M Sunish told PTI on the sidelines of the ongoing International Conference on Gender Equality at nearby Kovalam this morning.

“Gender studies have begun in our country especially in Kerala at a high time. We had focussed on industrialisation, health and other similar streams but did not show much interest in the area of gender equality earlier,” he said.

“Kerala government’s first brave step in this regard was the Gender Park. By setting up the Park, our aim was to bring changes in gender-related matters through effective policy interventions. We planned the South Asian Research Centre at the Gender Park as an extension of the plan and the Gender University plan is the latest in this regard,” he said.

Sunish, who is also the Managing Director of the Kerala State Women’s Development Corporation, said the Gender University is expected to be a reality by the end of next year. .

IIT students plan cycle-sharing system for on-campus transport

IIT students plan cycle-sharing system for on-campus transport
In the pilot phase, about 50 bikes left at various hostels by former students will be parked at five ‘docking stations’.

NEW DELHI: Student Affairs Council of Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, is putting together a cycle-sharing system for students. Using a newly-developed software and bicycles abandoned by generations of alumni at the hostels, the students will solve the problem of on-campus transport.

“We usually walk,” says Shivali Goyal, final-year chemical engineering student and general secretary of Student Affairs Council (SAC). Some students buy cycles to get around on a campus that sits over 300 acres; others have to rely on buses that come in. “It was introduced in the agenda of the SAC’s September 2015 meeting and cleared,” says Goyal.

“The proposal came to us and the budget was sanctioned about a month ago. But the whole project is totally student-driven,” adds deputy director, operations, Sushil (he doesn’t use a last name), “The Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, has a similar system but it’s purely manual. Students sign a register to get a bike out.”

The IIT-Delhi system won’t involve registers. An alumnus, Harsh Parikh, had developed a software for “something like this” earlier. Since September, a five-member team from the SAC has been building on it. “The hardware-software integration has almost been done,” says Goyal.

In the soon-to-be-launched pilot phase, about 50 bikes left at various hostels by former students will be parked at five ‘docking stations’—three near the 11 boys’ hostels, one for the two girls’ hostels and one in the institute area (the administrative and academic blocks). “The stations will have automated locks and sensors,” explains Goyal, “A student will have to simply scan their RFID (radio frequency identification) card to release a bike.” Once they are done, the student can return the bicycle to any of the five stations.

The group is still figuring out some aspects of the service—whether students should be charged for using bikes for more than 30 minutes or a fine imposed like in libraries. Security, of course, is going to be another issue. Sushil says IIT-D is in the process of installing CCTV cameras on campus and the docking stations will be covered. Ultimately, there’ll be a set of about 100 cameras as a part of IIT’s smart campus project. “A colour-coding system will be used and the guards at the gates will be informed to ensure the cycles are not taken out of the campus,” he adds.

Idea of justice

For 11 weeks in a Catalan prison, seven prisoners and seven law students participated in a twohour weekly session of dialogue that started with philosophy but turned towards life’s experiences. What began as an academic exercise ended as being judged as the best Spanish documentary at the film festival which concluded last month in Barcelona.

“I wanted to take my law students to the prison so they could experience what they have been studying in their books about justice,” says Sira Abenoza, professor of sustainability, business ethics and social entrepreneurship at Esade Business and Law School in Barcelona. The philosophy course of the law school (in co-operation with the Catalan Department of Justice), led by Abenoza is called `Philosophy Behind Bars’ (the original name in Catalan is Filosofia a la preso).

This academic year, 2015-2016, the course is being offered twice -Autumn term (in progress) and Spring term. The first course was offered in 2013-2014 and second time in 2014-2015, when the documentary was filmed. It was Abenoza’s idea to film the interactions at Lledoners in Manresa (Barcelona) as she saw a lot of potential in it for larger society. The school joined Mediapro and Catalan television to take it forward.

The film won the best documentary at the 60th edition of the Valladolid International Film Week, which closed on October 31, 2015. On November 9, the film premiered in Barcelona and on November 10, the Sense Ficcio show on Catalan television broadcasted it on prime time TV.

“The groups were diametric opposites: each inmate had a difficult life story that was reflected in his gaze, while the students found themselves facing, for the first time, what they had previously only studied in books. For both sides, it was a journey of knowledge. In the end, the main theme that emerges is the difficulty of truly reintegrating inmates into society,” shares Abenoza.

In the documentary, a student questions the inmate’s right to freedom by saying “you gave up that right when you committed a crime.” But her professor asks whether society has the right to judge and condemn prisoners or should prejudices be put aside to hear their story?
The documentary, which combines clips of the law school sessions with stylised portraits, tracks the evolution of each participant through the process, from the initial reticence and prejudice to an understanding that the truth is complex and cannot be reduced to a stereotype. “The film portrays two groups breaking out of their respective bubbles to try to understand the other’s reasoning,” says Abenoza, adding, “after all the most important person probably for the inmate is his lawyer and they need to trust each other.”

At the end of the sessions, a student says: “When you go in there and talk to them, and you start to understand their background -not understanding what they did, but understanding their background -your perception changes. Society often speaks from a position of ignorance.” Students are required to write diaries during the course as part of the academic requirements to obtain credit. The inmates who participate are encouraged to do so as well.

Choose carefully

Zeroing in on a stream of study after class X requires students to strike a balance between interests and aptitude, say experts.

The vast array of career options that students have these days often makes it difficult for them to pick a stream i.e.science, commerce and humanities after class X. The decision becomes harder when students are unsure of their capabilities vis-a-vis a particular set of subjects. Moreover, what works for one student may not necessarily work for another. The decision needs to be made keeping in mind various factors, say experts.

Mix of factors

Advises Anubhuti Sehgal, a Delhibased career counsellor, “At the age of 16, students may not be sure of their inherent skills. More often than not, students take a career call on the basis of peer pressure or the potential salary they can earn after a degree in that stream. A career counsellor would suggest that they make a choice on the basis of three factors -aptitude, personality and interest. Unfortunately, students give more importance to their interests while paying little attention to their aptitude and personality.”

Some experts, however, say learners should be flexible while choosing a stream. “If one is a logical thinker, assertive and have a good command of the language, they can do well as advocates.However, even if you don’t have these skills, you can sharpen them over a period of time. So, the approach is to try to apprise students of their strengths and weaknesses in tune with the career they wish to choose. Accordingly, they can work on their skills and decide their career path,” says Ali Khwaja, a Bangalore-based counsellor.

Offbeat options

Counsellors suggest that choosing the wrong discipline can lead to frustration and under performance in some cases. They also dissuade students from ignoring mainstream subjects for the sake of an offbeat career. For, the off beat options can be consid ered even after stu dents complete their formal education. Advises Sehgal, “There is no harm in choosing a career in fashion photography, cricket or travel writing but one must be sure that they are not doing it only to avoid the rigour of formal education. Moreover, they must be informed that while there may be fewer people opting for offbeat fields, competition is stiff and success may not come easily.”

Reality check

Pervin Malhotra, a Delhi-based counsellor, recommends a reality check. “One has to be realistic about choosing the subjects in sync with their career goals. Having said that, it is advisable to keep your options open and study mainstream subjects until you are sure of what you want to do.” However, there are others who argue that even if one is a bright student, they may not always be able to ace every and any stream they home in on. In other words, someone good at quantitative subjects may not necessarily perform well in the social sciences, and vice versa. DR Saini, principal, Delhi Public School, RK Puram, Delhi, concludes, “Students must base their choice of subjects on the matrix of their past scores and personal interest.”

G Ramamurthy

Deputy principal, Loyola College, Chennai Due to the popularity of crossdisciplinary careers, one should not worry too much about the stream at a young age. Most engineers go on to study an MBA and make a career in business management. Similarly, a number of science graduates read law and become lawyers -this option was traditionally meant for those from a humanities background. So, one can opt for multiple streams across one’s academic life. However, it is a good idea to aim for a career and then plan backwards while choosing a stream. One must remember that merely finishing a degree is not adequate to prepare for a career. The reputation of the university or college is equally important.

President’s medal for innovation

The sight of a bruised puppy on her way to school last year sparked an idea in Diva Sharma’s mind. On returning home, the class XII student developed a stress monitoring mechanism for animals to give them urgent medical care. Her project has recently been shortlisted for National Innovation Foundation (NIF)’s Dr APJ Abdul Kalam IGNITE 2015 award to be given by the president of India, Pranab Mukherjee, on November 30.

The project involves hardware as well as software. “There are some wearable sensors to measure health indices, which are then recorded using the computer software for further application. The software tells us what health problem the animal has and what immediate treatment should be given. I chose four parameters -pulse rate, heart beat, respiratory rate and body temperature. Depending on the results of these four factors, one can gauge the urgency of medical care required,” she elaborates.

This is one of the 31 ideas from 40 students out of 28,106 entries from schools across the country.

Being a science student, Sharma tends to stay occupied with school classes followed by three private tuition sessions. So, finding time for an extracurricular activity was not easy. But her love for animals helped her complete the project in about seven months.

“I started working on the project during my summer vacations (in 2014) when I had plenty time. Afterwards, I used to take some time out at night.This is how I could finish the project,” adds Diva, who sought an IIT Delhi faculty member’s help. “I don’t think I could have completed the project without his guidance.” PVM Rao, co-ordinator of the innovation centre at IIT Delhi, says, “I played the role of a mentor and guided her about the feasibility of the project.”

Care for water

When Sunil Kumar, a teacher at a Delhi college, went house-hunting in Noida, he saw rampant urbanisation foretelling a likely water crisis. Though he booked an apartment, he took the first step to do something to avert the impending shortage. Kumar initiated an interdisciplinary project along with five colleagues and 10 students at Zakir Husain Delhi College.

The team for the project, `designing a mathematical model to solve upcoming water crisis in Noida Greater Noida region,’ includes teachers and students from the maths, psychology, zoology and botany departments. It has already received a go-ahead from the University of Delhi with funding of Rs 3.5 lakh for a year. “We are compiling data so that we can also suggest solutions, such as water recycling,” says Kumar.

“In an interdisciplinary project, there is ample learning especially because we work with members from other departments,” says Vedant Sirohi, a BSc (botany) student.