New Law to Regulate Private Colleges in Maharashtra!

Nearly a decade after the Supreme Court verdict, the Congress-NCP government is all set to bring in a comprehensive legislation to regulate admissions and fees in private medical and engineering colleges from the 2013-14 academic session.

In the P A Inamdar case, the SC had observed that the state government can regulate admissions and the fee structure of private professional institutions to prevent profiteering, ensure merit-based admissions, transparency and also ensure students are not exploited.

“We have drafted the new law keeping in mind the views expressed by the SC. We expect to place the draft Act before cabinet as early as possible and a comprehensive bill will be introduced during the winter session of the state legislature,” a senior bureaucrat told TOI on Tuesday.

Medical education minister Vijay Kumar Gavit, too, confirmed that the government will soon bring in a law to regulate admissions and fee structure in private professional educational institutions.

Elaborating on the new proposal, the bureaucrat said, it has been proposed to set up a seven member regulatory authority headed by an official of the rank of principal secretary or former vice-chancellor of a state or central university. It will be binding on all private professional educational institution to furnish specific information on fee structure and on the basis of such information the authority shall declare minimum fee structure for every academic year.

The authority shall ensure that the process of admission to any course in any private educational institution is conducted in a fair and transparent manner and if it found that the admission has been done in violation of law then such admission shall be cancelled.

On admission, allocation of seats and fee process, it has been proposed that every private professional educational institution shall ensure that at least 75 per cent of the candidates admitted to each professional course, excluding foreign and NRIs, are domiciled in the state of Maharashtra. All admissions shall be granted only on the basis of the inter se merit determined by a common entrance test conducted by the government or by an authority appointed by it and the admission process shall be centralised.

Violation of the Act or rules will attract a maximum punishment of imprisonment which may extend to three years and a fine of not less than Rs 20 lakh, which may extend to Rs one crore.

An Article Describing How Globalization Influences Legal Education in India

Faizan Mustafa, vice-chancellor of the NALSAR (National Academy of Legal Sciences and Research) University of Law, Hyderabad, said globalization was having an impact on legal education, changing the earlier state-centric approach.

Today, we have to look at the market too, to understand the relationship between law and the state, Mustafa said, while delivering the Extra Mural Lecture on Globalization and Third Generation Reforms in Legal Education at Aligarh Muslim University Saturday.

Transnational laws such as International Monetary Fund rules, laws of the World Trade Organisation and International Financial Regulations have become more important these days than the laws enacted by sovereign parliaments, Mustafa said.

Paying rich tributes to his own teachers in the Law Faculty of Aligarh Muslim University, Mustafa said several leaders of legal education emerged from there.

As many as eight vice chancellors of the National Law Universities were products of Aligarh Muslim University, Mustafa said, claiming that no other university held this distinction.

Mustafa urged the Aligarh Muslim University to introduce changes in the curriculum followed for legal studies, to be in step with the realities of free trade and globalisation.

He also urged that new courses be introduced, integrating disciplines, so that the close relationship between business, the natural sciences and law is reflected in syllabi.

Mustafa also questioned why the master’s course in law in India is two years long, when outside the Indian subcontinent, it is usually a one-year programme.

First-ever English proficiency test for Indian English Medium Schools Launched

Education First has rolled out the first ever English Proficiency Survey (EPI) on Indian English Medium High Schools starting grade 8 till grade 10. This global research study on the english proficiency will map the proficiency of high school students from 22 countries and rank the countries based on their proficiency levels. Every year EF conducts a survey on the English proficiency of adults from 60 countries and it is known as the EF English Proficiency Index (EPI).

This survey will be rolled out to 30 best Indian Schools at the National level and only top 10 schools will be selected for the global survey. There has been an immense positive response from top Indian schools for this online survey where students can go online and attend this test which is in similar format as TOEFL test. The participating schools include Podar International School, Dhirubhai Ambani International School, Good Shepherd International School, Unison World School, DRS International School, Billabong International School and many more leading schools from North, South, East and West Zones.

For participating in this survey please log on to www.ef.com/epindia. The time is right to check the proficiency levels of our English medium Schools and compare against averages and trends from other countries such as China, US and UK. While the same EPI survey done on Adults in 2012 ranked India 14th, under the moderate English proficiency level.

With this initiative over the years to come, the EF EPI will provide a uniquely standardized comparison of English proficiency that is useful for citizens and governments alike when trying to evaluate the effectiveness of their language policies over time.

Australia costliest in Higher Education: Says Report

Students who want to pursue higher education in Australia will have to dish out `23.61 lakh per year (US$38,516), making it the most expensive country for overseas students according to a research survey by UK-based global banking giant HSBC.

The average university fee in Australia is $25,375 per year and cost of living is $13,140, resulting in a combined average cost that is higher than the USA, United Kingdom and other countries, the research says.

The USA is the second most expensive country for overseas students, with the average cost of university fees at $25,226 and living expenses at $10,479, putting the average annual cost at $35,705 for international students. However, overseas students in Ivy League universities could pay over two thirds (67 per cent) on top of this amount, with average total costs reaching $58,760 a year.

The UK was third most expensive overall with annual fees of $19,291 and living costs of $10,177. International student costs in UAE, Singapore and Hong Kong are all above $20,000 per year, as a result of higher costs of living in these three premier emerging market destinations, the research study states.

International students studying in Germany pay an average $635 for study costs and a further $5,650 in living costs, bringing the annual total to $6,285, a sixth of the cost of studying Australia.

Malik Sarwar, Global Head of Wealth Development, HSBC, said: “With rising affluence, particularly in developing markets and an increasingly competitive workplace, we expect appetite for international education to continue to grow.

Even though the market for higher education remains segmented and therefore mispriced at an international level, it is inevitable that the cost is going up everywhere. Provisioning for the cost will be a challenge for families with these aspirations so they need to plan ahead.”

The research was compiled from data in 13 countries around the world. Fees represent the average tuition cost for international students based on the top 10 largest institutions in each relevant country (sourced from individual institution data). Cost of living sourced from Higher Education Strategy Associates (HESA) Global Education Rankings 2010, Expatistan and HSBC Studying Abroad Research (October 2012).

Indian universities race to attract East African Students

India’s higher education sector is back in the East African region determined to reclaim its place as the leading destination for students from the region.

Indian universities are holding workshops in East African capitals for potential students and parents, appointing recruiting agents and aggressively advertising opportunities on offer in their colleges.

Topping in the race to net East African students are Manipal University, Sharda University, R.K Degree College, SRM University and Patkar College, among others.

Besides lower fees and a wide choice of courses, the universities also have lower cut-off requirements compared to local private institutions. Students are admitted without having to undergo a pre-university course.

Indian High Commissioner to Kenya Sibabrata Tripathi said that universities in India have remained popular in Africa because of the quality of education, the use of English, costs and quality.

“India offers quality higher education at an affordable cost. The use of English as a medium of instruction, reasonable living costs, the ethnic, religious and cultural diversity in the country, similarity of life experience in a developing country and the presence of foreign student communities from various countries continue to act as an attraction,” Tripathi told IANS.

“Distance education courses offered by some institutions are also becoming popular in recent years,” he added.

The institutions also arrange visas for recruited students making it easier for parents, who would otherwise spend days chasing after the immigration papers.

The fact that India has a reputable, older and more developed higher education sector is also likely to be magnet to students, according to Patrick Mbataru, lecturer at Kenyatta University.

The Indian government’s scholarships to African students each year has also ensured that the country holds its sway in attracting foreign students with a country like Kenya benefiting from close to I00 scholarships each year.

“The Indian High Commission, in association with the government of Kenya, annually administers over one hundred fellowships up to the doctoral level for Kenyans for study and training in India under the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), India Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) and other programmes,” Tripathi said..

“Thousands of Kenyans have availed of Indian government scholarships over the past six decades. They are now pursuing successful careers in Kenya in fields like government, management, academic and scientific research, law, IT and accounting,” Tripathi said.

Courses being marketed to students include the ever popular bachelors degree in commerce, engineering, information and communication technology, health sciences, including nursing, and law.

Failing engineering students pose a headache for Gujarat University

Poor performance of 700-odd students of engineering who have repeatedly failed in their exams has become a headache for the Gujarat University (GU). The university has now formed a four-member committee to find a solution to the problems created by these students.

The GU officials said that the issue stems from the fact that all the 11 engineering colleges affiliated with the GU are now part of the Gujarat Technological University (GTU) which was formed in 2007-2008. Though GTU sets the semester-wise papers and conduct exams, it is technically not responsible for those students who had failed in 2006 – prior to the formation of GTU. Conducting exams for these students is the responsibility of the GU.

The officials said that they are 700-odd students who had received ATKTs in their exams prior to 2007 and have been failing in their exams conducted by the GU. “The question is that how many more times do we have to conduct the test for the students who just don’t seem to clear the exams. Many of them have been given over ten chances to clear the exam but don’t seem ever prepared,” said M N Patel, principal of LD College of Engineering and member of the committee appointed by the GU.

GU officials said that they have gone to the extent of deciding that students who make a decent attempt to answer the question paper should be passed. “But most of these students write poetry and stories instead of engineering questions,” said an exasperated GU official.

The committee will decide the course of action to resolve the administrative crisis posed by these 700 students.

100,000 people apply to go to Mars and not return: Project

More than 100,000 people have applied for a one-way trip to Mars, as a part of the ambitious multi-billion dollar project that aims to colonize the Red planet starting in 2022.

While it remains questionable how humans would be able to survive on Mars, it has not stopped a whopping number of people from signing up for the The Mars One project.

“There is also a very large number of people who are still working on their profile, so either they have decided not to pay the application fee, or they are still making their video or they’re still filling out the questionnaire or their resume. So the people that you can see on-line are only the ones that have finished and who have set their profiles as public,” said Bas Lansdorp, Mars One CEO and co-founder.

Lansdorp did not specify how many have paid the fees, completed their profiles and configured them as private.

The application process specifies anyone 18 or older may apply, but the fee depends on a user’s nationality. For US citizens, the application fee is USD 38, ‘CNN’ reported.

The company said it sets the price based on the gross domestic product per capita of each nation.

“We wanted it to be high enough for people to have to really think about it and low enough for anyone to be able to afford it,” Lansdorp said.

As far as the first crew is concerned, the mission will cost USD 6 billion, Lansdorp said.

He said the idea is for it to be funded by sponsors and media that will pay for broadcasting rights of shows and movies documenting everything from the astronauts’ training on Earth to their deployment and colonisation of Mars.

Mars One said, out of the applicants, it will select a multi-continental group of 40 astronauts this year. Four of them – two men and two women – are set to leave for Mars in September 2022, landing in April 2023.

One more group of four will be deployed two years later. None of them will return to Earth, according to the mission plan.

The astronauts will undergo a required eight-year training. They will learn how to repair habitat structures, grow vegetables in confined spaces and address “both routine and serious medical issues such as dental upkeep, muscle tears and bone fractures,” according to the project site.

Lansdorp said each lander the project sends will be able to carry about 5,511 pounds of “useful load” to Mars.

Despite the risks of space travel, the Mars One founder said he is convinced of the viability of the project.

However, some space travel experts have said the risks are far too high to carry out these manned missions to Mars, a distance that humans have never travelled.

MTech in aviation: Pune varsity to hold entrance test on September 15

The maiden international-level entrance exam for University of Pune’s (UoP) newly introduced MTech (Aviation) course will be held on September 15 at six centers across the country and at Frankfurt in Germany. “The process for submission of application forms for the same is set to go online from August 13,” AdityaAbhyankar, dean of UoP’s faculty of technology, told TOI on Monday.

The university had announced on July 17 the signing of a memorandum of understanding with Germany’s top pilot training and flight school, Fachshule Fur Luftfahrzeugfuhrer (FFL), to launch the first-of-its-kind two-year MTech (Aviation) course. The first of the four semesters will be conducted at UoP’s department of technology while the remaining three semesters would involve onsite training at FFL facilities in Frankfurt, Germany; eventually leading to a European flying licence by German aviation regulator LBA.

The UoP, which will award the degree, is also in talks with India’s civil aviation regulator, the director general of civil aviation (DGCA), for facilitating the issuance of their licence which will make the course pass outs eligible to fly in the Asia-Pacific region.

Abhyankar said, “The aspirants can visit the UoP’s website: www.unipune.ac.in for submitting their forms online. The application fees is Rs 3,000 each for open category candidates and Rs 1,000 each for reserved category candidates from Maharashtra state only.”

“After online submission, the candidates need to take a printout of the form and furnish it to the university’s department of technology by September 12. Candidates from outside Pune can send a printout of their forms by post or email a scanned copy to the department. They will have to present the hard copy at the time of appearing for the entrance exam,” he said.

Regarding eligibility, Abhyankar said, “Students who have completed their bachelor of engineering or technology (BE/BTech) or BS with engineering specialization from any recognized university are eligible to appear for the entrance test. The final admission will be based on overall performance in the written test and interview.”

Students who have completed their BSc (aviation) course will also be eligible to apply for the course although they will be required to undertake a one-year pre-requisite course at the UoP department of technology before starting with the MTech (Aviation) studies. “This because the BSc (aviation) course, offered only by the universities of Mumbai and Kolkata, is of three-year duration as against the four-year BE/BTech or BS (Engg) courses,” he added.

About the entrance, Abhyankar said, “The written test will be of total 50 marks; featuring 50 multiple choice questions that will examine the analytical abilities; logical reasoning; knowledge of relevant engineering branch; physics; mathematics and fundamental knowhow about the field of aviation.”

Candidates, who will clear the written test will appear for interviews that will also focus on aspects like hand-eye coordination; aptitude test; technical and medical tests, said Abhyankar.

The sSchedule

August 13 to September 10: Online submission of application forms. Website URL: www.unipune.ac.in.

September 12: Last date for physical submission of printout of online application form at the university.

September 15: MTech (Aviation) entrance exam.

September 16: Result of entrance exam.

September 17 and 18: Interviews of candidates declared successful in the entrance.

September 25: Commencement of classes.

(Note: Candidates from outside Pune can send a printout of their online application form by post or can email a scanned copy of the same to the university department of technology. They have to present a hard copy of the printout on the day of the entrance exam.

1,000 Posts Vacant Even after yr-long Teachers’ Recruitment

Already reeling under staff crunch and after a long, drawn out appointment process spread over a year, the Education Department has failed to fill in nearly 1,000 posts of Mathematics and Science teachers for government upper primary schools across Gujarat. The department now has to undergo the entire process by re-advertising these posts.
“The department will try to fill these 1,000 vacant posts that will take nearly two months. The re-advertising for recruitment will be opted after calling in the candidates in the waiting list. The department hopes to fill in these vacancies at the earliest,” said Deputy Director of Primary Education Dr Bharat Pandit.
These are the subjects where the state board senior secondary results reflected maximum failures by students in recent years. This was one of the major reasons that the department decided to exempt these two subject teachers from the charge of principal. In case these subject teachers want to take the responsibility, it would be granted only after they give an undertaking in writing that the result of their class will be more than 75 per cent in the state board examinations.
Based on poor results — defined as below 30 per cent by the department — the teachers of these two subjects under whom students scored below 30 per cent were issued show cause notices and subjected to transfers, mostly out of their home districts, coupled with suspension of three to five increments.
Against 8,800 vacancies in primary schools, including Gujarati and other mediums like Urdu, Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu and Oriya from Class VI-VIII, the department received applications from 26,600 candidates who had cleared the state conducted Teachers Eligibility Test (TET).
Of the total 8,800 appointments of primary teachers, 3,000 posts of Mathematics and Science teachers were to be filled by the department by August first week. The remaining posts included 3,500 for Social Studies for zila panchayat and municipal corporations-run primary schools, and 2,300 shortlisted for various languages like Gujarati and English.

IGNOU Launches New two-year Diploma Courses for Students

The Indira Gandhi National Open University’s (Ignou) School of Education (SOE) has launched a new, two-year diploma in elementary education (DElEd), offered in ODL mode, for in-service teachers to enhance their understanding and competency at elementary level teaching.

The announcement was made during an MoU signing ceremony between Ignou and Arunachal Pradesh government at the university’s headquarters in the Capital today.

“When we are signing an MoU with the state government, then we are sure of its competency and effective results. Taking into consideration hilly areas like Arunachal Pradesh, ICTs should be effectively and largely used. There will be a regular ICT interaction schedule from the headquarters to the regional centre at Arunachal Pradesh for effective monitoring,” said M Aslam, vice-chancellor, Ignou.

Mahendra P Lama, pro vice-chancellor, Ignou, felt that this MoU shall have wider and deeper implications as it will affect the school going children. Talking about the memorandum, Srikanth Mohapatra, director, regional services division, Ignou, said, “The arrangement is being made by the state government in order to meet the deadline set by the Right To Education Act, according to which, all the in-service, government, untrained elementary teachers should be professionally trained by March 2015 through a two-year DElEd programme as per the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) norms, failing which, they may lose their jobs.”

“In terms of the percentage of untrained teachers in Arunachal Pradesh, the figures are highest. Now, because of RTE, it is mandatory for teachers to undergo a two-year degree recognised by NCTE. Ignou has taken up this challenge to train 9,000 in-service teachers in Arunachal Pradesh. For this, we are activating new centres (approved by NCTE), which are called Block Resource Centres (BRCs) only for DElEd programme,” said Joseph Kuba, regional director, Andhra Pradesh, Ignou.

The MoU was signed by Rajesh Kumar Mishra, IAS, state project director, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan Rajya Mission, Arunachal Pradesh and SVS Chaudhary, registrar, administration, Ignou.