India news
July 2008

India news

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Ignou launches eGyanKosh

All the self-instructional print materials of Indira Gandhi National Open University (Ignou) can now be accessed online. In addition, come July one can also view the audio-video instructional material on Youtube.com as well.

V N Rajashekaran Pillai, Vice Chancellor, Ignou, recently launched the eGyanKosh, online programmes and webcasting facility for GyanDarshan, Edusat and Gyanvani at Electronic Media Production Centre through the teleconference mode.

He said while 80% of the course material has already been put on the website, the rest of the material will be online from July this year. Initially the plan was to make this facility available only to students and faculty of IGNOU, but now it has been decided to open it to the general public free of cost. Moreover, IGNOU has entered into an agreement with Google Ireland Ltd for telecast of the university video on Youtube channels as well.

The university also launched two online programmes – Masters in Library and Information Science, and Postgraduate Certificate in Cyber Law based on the learning management system developed in-house.

IGNOU is working towards providing all its courses online and would soon launch its online admission facilities.

IIIT-B launches ‘Yogyata’ employability programme The International Institute of Information Technology-Bangalore (IIIT-B) has has launched the ‘Yogyata’ employability enhancement programme along with Radix Learning.

The Yogyata curriculum for IT engineering graduates has been designed based on inputs from leading IT companies on their individual induction training programmes for Application Development.

The four-months programme is designed to meet the needs of a diverse set of learners. The highlight of Yogyata is the guarantee of jobs to all those who complete the certification with A or B grade.

CII  launches virtual classes in logistics

The CII Institute of Logistics (CIL), has launched distance education courses in logistics and supply chain management through video conferencing across
the country.

CIL is located in Chennai, and offers consultancy, training, education, research, events and publications services. Under the educational services, It offers a postgraduate diploma programme and certificate programme in logistics and supply chain management (SCM) in distance mode.

The virtual classes are conducted simultaneously in six centres in Kolkata, Kochi, Chennai, Bangalore, Mumbai and Delhi.

India gets INR12 bn British aid for education

The Department for International Development of Britain has announced aid worth INR 12.6 billion for universalising elementary education in India. The funds will go to India’s flagship programme Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), DFID’s permanent secretary Nemat Shafik said while launching their country plan.

Shafik said, education is the key to a brighter future for India.

DFID’s support will be used to ensure all children aged between 6-14 are enrolled and regularly attend primary schools. There will also be a focus on getting more children from marginalised social groups into education and improving the quality of education.

During his visit to India earlier this year, Premier Gordon Brown had said that Britain will spend 825 million pounds in next three years, of which 500 million pounds will be on health and education in the country.

CBSE mulling on introducing HOTS in classrooms

Encouraged by the board results this year, CBSE now wants to introduce High Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) in classrooms and for all subjects. This is not confined to private schools as even government schools have shown a significant improvement.

HOTS, as the name suggests, focuses on thinking skills and tries to move beyond rote learning. The focus of the question paper this year was to measure students’ abilities to reason, justify, analyse, process and evaluate information. It was introduced only this year in class X and XII board examinations for mathematics, science and social science, the weightage being 20%.

Ashok Ganguly, Chairperson, CBSE, said the goal for this academic session would be to transfer HOTS to classrooms so that maximum students can benefit from it. He added that after a thorough analysis, it would be decided on which subjects and how much weightage would be given to HOTS.

It’s all about going beyond textbooks and widening the horizons of students, feels U N Singh, Joint Commissioner (Academics), Kendriya Vidyalaya. ‘HOTS is basically a concept wherein we are concentrating on application-based questions and discouraging rote-learning. The problem lies in the fact that neither coaching.

New HRD Ministry scheme on inclusive education for special children

India is set to upgrade its commitment to high school education for the disabled from merely ‘integrating’ them into an existing mainstream to making the environment ‘inclusive’.

A new scheme drafted by the Human Resource Development ministry has for the first time placed the onus of ensuring a dignified environment for education on institutions rather than on students.

The Centre now plans to replace the Integrated Education for Disabled Children programme, launched in 1974, with the Inclusive Education for Disabled Children at the Secondary Stage scheme. As the name suggests, the new scheme will target only secondary education, unlike the existing one that covers all school education. A similar scheme for primary education is in the pipeline.

The new scheme envisages a change in curriculum to include course content aimed at sensitising students to the needs of the disabled. Schools will also have to ensure ‘barrier-free’ access to facilities like libraries, canteens and computer centres.

The ministry has sent the inclusive education scheme to the Planning Commission for its approval.

Mumbai college admissions go online

Junior college admissions have gone online for the first time in Maharashtra, spelling relief to nearly half a million anxious students and their parents.

The state government created a special website, www.mumbaiapplication.com for the purpose, which nearly 500,000 students seeking admissions for the next academic year can use. Initially, the online admission facility has been made available to all the 500-plus colleges affiliated to the University of Mumbai and students can apply from anywhere.

Students seeking admission to first year junior college can register themselves online, select the college(s) of their choice, pay the application fees online, or through mobile phones and even make multiple applications.

However, the process of manual admissions will continue as before.

Cabinet gives approval to Fulbright programme

The Union Cabinet has given its approval to an agreement that will double the number of scholars exchanged with the United States under the Fulbright Educational exchange programme.

It has also rechristened the programme to Fulbright-Jawaharlal Nehru Scholarships and Grants.

Officials said the agreement provides for the creation of the ‘US India Educational Foundation’ awarding ‘Fulbright Jawaharlal Nehru Scholarships and Grants’. Initially about 240 students from India and a similar number from the US will be sponsored annually under the programme.

The Cabinet’s approval to the revised draft agreement would also provide equal participation of Government of India in policy and decision-making on the exchange of Indian and US scholars.

Digital boards to replace blackboards in Kerala schools

Traditional blackboards, where tutors have to labour themselves with chalkpiece and dusters, may soon go into oblivion, if the public response to the digital boards being introduced by Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan school is any indication.

The Bhavan is implementing what it calls the ‘smart class’ technology in all its three schools in Kozhikode district in a bid to make education more interesting and also to enable the teachers to dedicate more time for teaching. Bhavan’s Kozhikode Kendra has entered into a five-year contract with Educomp Solutions, which provides a variety of digital teaching aids, including graphics and working models that promises to herald a new era in the field of education.

‘We first introduced the technology in our schools in Kochi last year and the overwhelming response from the parents to the scheme has prompted us to bring it to Kozhikode now,’ says Bhavan’s Kendra Secretary, Col (retd) M P Gopinath. According to him, parents feel that the system has helped to better the overall education process in the schools. Apart from improving the effectiveness of teaching, the technology is also expected to boost the performance of the students. As a first step, Educomp is now imparting intense training to a select group of teachers at the Bhavan’s higher secondary school at Chevayur near here as a forerunner to launching the digital teaching upto class XII in CBSE syllabus from next month.

The system is so designed that a single server will cater to plasma television sets in all the class rooms which the teachers can operate with a remote from any corner of the room. Besides graphics, animation and video clippings, diagrams and 3D images will also be processed by the server to make available all information as sought in the syllabus

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