Archive for July 23, 2013

ISRO All Set to Step-Up in Mars

As India prepares to launch its Rs. 450 crore mission to Mars this year, a top space official said the country’s first martian odyssey — that has attracted some criticism — is not just for pride but for undertaking “meaningful research”.

K. Radhakrishnan, Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), also debunked perception in some quarters that the Mars Orbiter mission around the red planet, that’s just three months away, is primarily a “feel-good” package to just pat ourselves on the back.

“It’s not for pride because the exploration of Mars has its own scientific value and possibly a future habitat which people are talking about…may be 20 years…30 years from now…it’s possible”, he said in an interview, referring to the colonisation angle.

India will be the sixth country to launch a mission to Mars after the U.S., Russia, Europe, Japan and China. ISRO says the primary objectives are to demonstrate India’s technological capability to send a satellite to orbit around Mars and conduct meaningful experiments such as looking for signs of life, take pictures of the red planet and study Martian environment.

“What’s the most interesting question on Mars? Life. So, we talk about Methane…which is of biological origin or geological origin. So, we have a methane sensor plus a thermal infrared spectrometer. These two together should be able to give some information”, said Mr. Radhakrishnan, who is also Secretary in the Department of Space.

Critics of the Indian Mars mission wondered whether the country can afford huge costs for this space voyage. The Mars satellite, which would be launched on board Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-XL), will carry compact science experiments, totalling a mass of 15 kg. There will be five instruments to study Martian surface, atmosphere and mineralogy.

After leaving earth orbit in November, the spacecraft will cruise in deep space for 10 months using its own propulsion system and will reach Mars (Martian transfer trajectory) in September 2014. The 1350 kg spacecraft subsequently is planned to enter into a 372 km by 80,000 km elliptical orbit around Mars.

“We want to look at environment of Mars for various elements like Deuterium-Hydrogen ratio. We also want to look at other constituents — neutral constituents”, Mr. Radhakrishnan said.

“There are several things which Mars will tells us, this is what the scientific community thinks about the life on Mars”, he said, adding that scientists started taking interest on Mars from the 18th century onwards. “Our (Mars mission) experiments are planned in such a way that you can decide when you want to put on each of these systems”, Mr. Radhakrishnan said.

“If we succeed (in the mission), it positions India into group of countries who will have the ability to look at Mars. In future, certainly, there will be synergy between various countries in such exploration. That’s taking place. That time India will be a country to be counted”, he said.

We can all be leaders, University of Pennsylvania Professor says

Leadership education — how far can it be taught? We all have innate leadership abilities and a capacity to lead. Through structured processes we can all enhance our level of leadership. This is part of leadership education that makes work in this area so personally rewarding. Students are seeing how they can make their best contribution in the world. To be effective, leaders must first know themselves. How do books or leadership programmes teach this? Each of us has some level of ability in leadership. What we can teach is how to enhance this capacity to lead, and the capacity to help others lead. Author Warren Bennis notes that selfknowledge is the first step in understanding. A great start to self-knowledge is to know three things: our core values, our strengths and the way we can work most effectively (e.g., how we engage with information and make decisions, whether we do our best work on a team or as a solo contributor ). This is where we begin in leadership education. These days there is more emphasis on leadership development at the undergraduate education level? Why so, given the fact that only a handful, in the world, makes it to leadership positions? The wonderful thing is that we can all lead at whatever level we are in the organisation, with whatever title we have and age that we are. We don’t need the title ‘leader’ or ‘CEO’ in order to exercise leadership. One definition of leadership according to Stephen Covey is ‘knowing what to do and doing it.’

I like to think that part of leadership is finding out where we can make our most effective contribution to the world. In these senses, we can all be leaders, some traditional and some less traditional, according to individual style. You recently conducted a workshop for class XII students titled ‘decisionmaking, persuasion and influence.’ What was the workshop feedback? The students were bright, involved and excited to learn about a subject that spanned the disciplines of management science, applied mathematics and game theory, social psychology , political science and behavioural economics. It was an entirely interdisciplinary session that used experiential learning as a means of accessing the intellectual material. How can students maximise their leadership potential? Please share a few important pointers. General advice: Know yourself and find out where you can make your most effective contribution to the planet. It is that sense of ‘detecting our mission’ that was noted by the psychoanalyst and author Viktor Frankl. Effectively using power is another important trait.

With regard to career: find the career that combines your competence, with passion and meaning. If your work doesn’t have meaning, it will be difficult to maintain your contributions over time.

School Boards Will Stay Till State Repeals Education Act

The Bombay HC on Friday clarified that school boards will continue till the state legislature repeals the Maharashtra Primary Education Act.

A division bench of Justice V M Kanade and Justice K R Shriram was hearing a petition by members of a primary education school board from Pune, urging a stay on the July 1 ordinance. They said the ordinance’s preamble states that the Maharashtra Primary Education Act provisions are inconsistent with the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act provisions and the former Act has been repealed, thus dissloving school boards. The HC was informed that children’s education will suffer in absence of a caretaker body to manage primary education affairs till a new body takes over.

Petitioner’s advocates Anil Anturkar and Sugandh Deshmukh submitted that the boards can continue as per the Maharashtra Municipal Corporation (MMC) Act and it will not affect the continuation of the school boards by the repeal ordinance. Government pleader Sandeep Shinde said the boards are dissolved by the ordinance and a n independent machinery is in place under the RTE under RTE. The HC said the boards can continue as per MMC Act. – Rosy Sequeira”This arrangement can continue till the legislature passes the appropriate act for repealing the Maharashtra Primary Education Act,” said Justice Kanade.

Applying to Study Abroad, What Students Says!

 

India is to achieve 80% literacy rate by 2015: Govt

India is to achieve 80% literacy rate in the next two years. This was stated by the HRD minister, MM PallamRaju, while inaugurating an international conference on achieving literacy for all. The literacy rate of India is 73% at present as per the 2011 Census.
 
Raju said that more than 20 crore people have become literates since the last Census of 2001 out of which more than half of them are females. To achieve the goal of 80% literacy by 2015, the minister said that the HRD Ministry is restructuring the entire adult education system in the country with a paradigm shift to lifelong education. He announced that an appropriate administrative and if required legislative process will be initiated to integrate formal, non-formal and informal learning and to formally recognize forms of education other than formal. He clarified that recognition, validation and accreditation of learning obtained through adult education will be formalized by setting up equivalency framework.
 
Stressing on the fact that the Government is keen to improve the quality of adult learning, the HRD minister added that a core curriculum framework for adult education has been developed and is currently undergoing consultative process. The framework will address total quality management in adult literacy. Full support will be given to adult education by providing adequate resources including funding, research complemented by knowledge management systems and through other innovative means including use of computer ICT as a medium of instruction, he added.
 
The UN resident coordinator Lise Grande complimented India for fighting illiteracy and making achievements in the field of education sector. However, she said that India should continue with its struggle against illiteracy. More than 70 crore people globally do not know reading, writing and arithmetic and most of them are in India, China, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
 
The three-day conference will focus on effective, innovative approaches to scale up literacy, reduce gender disparities and create a literate world. The conference has been organised by National Literacy Mission Authority (NLMA), India along with UNESCO and UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL).

4,500 Class XI Seats Vacant in Government Schools

On the end of the third day of the second counselling session for admissions to Class XI in government schools, nearly 8,000 forms were taken by students who wish to apply for admissions and those who wish to change the school or stream. Officials in the education department said nearly 4,500 seats in the general and reserved category are lying vacant in all streams in the 37 government schools.

 According to the tentative list issued by the UT education department, there are 969 seats lying vacant in the science stream in all schools, including 396 seats in the general category. In the commerce stream, there are 400 seats, out of which 165 are for the general category. In humanities, there are 2,600 seats lying vacant of which 1,123 are in the general category. There are 700 vacant seats in the general category.

SC Quashes Common Entrance Test for Admission in Medical Colleges!

The Supreme Court on Thursday quashed the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) for admission in medical colleges. The NEET is a single entrance-cum-eligibility-test for admission in all medical colleges in India. By a two to one majority, the apex court held that the Medical Council of India had no powers to conduct single entrance examination and force it on government and private medical colleges. The admission already made through NEET this year will not be disturbed, said Chief Justice Altamash Kabir and justice Vikramjit Sen, who formed majority in a 3-judge bench. Justice A R Dave dissented, saying the NEET was valid and it was good for the students and society at large.
The court’s decision came on 115 petitions challenging the MCI notification on NEET for admission to MBBS and post-graduate medical courses conducted in colleges across the country. On May 13, the court had lifted the bar on declaration of results of examinations that had already been conducted and said the admission process could go ahead.
 
It had modified its December 13, 2012 order by which it had stated that MCI, Dental Council of India, as well as the states, universities and other institutions, will be entitled to conduct their respective examinations for MBBS, BDS and post-graduate courses but shall not declare their results until further orders.
 
The bench had earlier directed transfer of all petitions pending in various courts to it by January 15, this year.

Career Aspirations: Are They Just Business or are Some Personal?

 

700 Medical Seats Lost in TN as 6 Colleges Lose Recognition

Amidst soaring demand for MBBS seats, matched by record capitation fee collections, one thing has gone unnoticed thus far. The Medical Council of India (MCI) has either refused or withdrawn recognition for at least half a dozen medical colleges in Tamil Nadu, and none of the colleges has been able to win any reprieve from the Madras high court till now.

In effect, these colleges which have a combined student intake of more than 700 have realized to their dismay that the Supreme Court-stipulated deadline of July 15 for grant of MCI recognition too has gone by, with the high court refusing to show them the usual indulgence. “Now that the deadline for recognition has lapsed and the high court too has not come to their rescue, these medical colleges have no hope this year, unless the Supreme Court relaxes or extends the deadline. Even the MCI cannot do anything about it without the apex court’s nod,” a senior advocate arguing the case told TOI on Wednesday.

The medical colleges which have queued up before the high court are: Melmaruvathur Adhiparasakthi Institute of Medical Sciences and Research with 150 seats; Madha Medical College and Hospital for renewal of recognition to admit 150 students; Tagore Medical College and Hospital for renewal of recognition to admit 150 students; Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute for grant of recognition to admit 150 students; and Sri Devi Karumariamman Educational Trust for recognition to start admitting students for its new college.

Two other colleges – Asan Dental College and Hospital in Chennai and Mookambiga Dental College and Hospital in Kanyakumari district – have been refused permission by the Dental Council of India to admit 100 students each during this academic year. Another medical college – Mahathma Gandhi Medical College and Research Institute – has been disallowed from increasing its intake from 150 to 250.

The names of Adhiparasakthi institute and Sathya Sai medical college figured in a CBI case, and a city court had discharged both of the promoters from the case. After that, they challenged the derecognition on the ground that in view of their discharge from the criminal case, their recognition should be restored. Their matters are now pending before the ethics committee of the MCI. When Adhiparasakthi’s case for resumption of recognition came up for hearing before Justice K K Sasidharan, the judge had suo motu impleaded the CBI also a party to the proceedings, in order to elicit its views in the matter.

All these institutions are before the Madras high court hoping to circumvent the MCI’s denial orders by obtaining at least an interim order of stay from the court. “Usually they succeed in getting an interim order and then start admitting students, cocking a snook at the MCI administration. Not so this time. With the high court adopting a tough stand this year, we do not know how to advice these clients,” said another lawyer involved in the litigation. As per the apex court order in the Mridhul Dhar (minor) and Others Vs Union of India case, the last date for obtaining MCI recognition is July 15, and the deadline for completing the entire admission process is July 31, he pointed out.

10 Educational Channels that Could Help Parents Teach their Kids!

There are many occassions when kids ask question that is beyond our imagination and reach and puts parents in an embarrassing situation., However, it is not something that parents should avoid rather they should welcome such incidents and encourage their kids to ask more and more such questions. However, this is important to prepare yourself prior to encouraging kids and children questions. With this article we have come up with a video that lists some best educational websites avaialble these days for childrens and kids. A regular visit to these YouTube channels by parents could help them guide their kids in a much more convincing way.