MOOC to Take Education to Every Doorstep: Syas HRD Minister Raju

Aiming to take education to every doorstep, Union HRD minister M M Pallam Raju on Thursday said they intend to leverage the broadband network by embracing the ‘Massive Open Online Courses’ (MOOC) programme in a big way.

“…to make education more accessible, we have in the horizon MOOC, leveraging on the broadband education platform,” Raju said at a function here while harping on sustainable development through such efforts.

“We want to embrace MOOC in a big way to increase the number of literates in the country. Institutions must become creators of knowledge,” he said.

Stating that the key to sustainable development lies in innovation, Raju said the goal of his ministry is to see that that universities and institutions lead the innovation agenda and be the catalyst for the process in the economy.

The HRD ministry, he said, has asked all Centrally funded institutes such as the IITs and NITs to be role models for green campuses.

The minister was speaking at the Darbari Seth Memorial Lecture here organised by TERI.

The efficacy of the MOOC platform to reach the countless millions across the country was underlined by S Ramadorai, who is the advisor to the Prime Minister in the National Skill Development Council.

“The technology has given an opportunity to students to unshackling access to quality content and education bypassing the difficulty to get admission into the expensive institutions,” Ramadorai said.

Last month, he said, seven IITs have announced India’a own MOOC platform.

Ramadorai said India needs to change its traditional mindset and go for innovation across the sectors if it wishes to maintain its competitive edge in the global economy.

He especially suggested massive innovations in sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing and the small and medium scale industries who contribute 45 per cent of the manufacturing output and 60 million employees.

The government, he said, is offering as much as USD 2.5 billion as incentives to chipmakers to entice them to build India’s first semi-conductor manufacturing plant, which would be an important step in building a domestic hardware industry.

GBSHSE: Continuous comprehensive Evaluation in Class IX from 2014-15

The Goa Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education at its meeting on Wednesday has decided to implement the continuous comprehensive evaluation (CCE) method of assessment in Class IX from 2014-15. The CCE will be put in force for Class X students in the subsequent year.

“The board has formed a committee under former headmaster Mario Cordo to fine tune the CCE to suit the needs of Class IX. It will be implemented in a phased manner,” Goa board chairperson Jose Remedios Rebello said.

The CCE is in force only from Class I to VIII at present.

CCE system of assessment enables schools to mark students through the year and do away with the pressure of being evaluated only at the time of examination based on the student’s ability to memorize the syllabus. Students are assessed on co-scholastic areas such as art and craft, their social skills etc under CCE and the evaluation method focuses on all-round development of the child rather than categorizing them as performers and non-performers.

The new evaluation method is likely to see introduction of plenty of assignments, activities and presentations.

A manual on CCE will be prepared for teachers and they will be trained by the state prior to the system’s implementation.

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.

As Rupee Slides, Students Land in Crisis

The slide of rupee against all the major currencies of the world has worried students pursuing courses in the UK, US, Australia and several European nations. Students will have to pay more for their education and also for other basic expenditure required to live in these countries. Students with existing loans are now reassessing their loan requirements.

rupees_vs_dollars

Sahil Chopra, who has applied in one of the UK’s universities, says there has been a difference of Rs 10 per pound since I applied for admission. “When I applied to the university, 1 pound was equal to Rs 90 and now it has gone up to Rs 100. As I have to make my full payment in September, I hope rupee will recover by that time, otherwise it will put additional burden on my family. They will also have to spend more on daily expenses,” adds Sahil.

Another student Chahat Sudera, who has also applied for a graduation course in the UK, said, “Economy is in a mess and it’s a crisis time for students who wish to go abroad to pursue higher education. Besides staying cost, college fee and accommodation will become very costly and the difference would be in lakhs.”

Students who are already pursuing their studies are in a dilemma.

Naveen, who is currently pursuing his MBA in the UK, says, “Alongside my studies, I have started working to balance my expenses. But students who are still doing their under graduation and are not earning, their expenses has gone up by 30 pc. In 2010, one pound meant Rs 67 and now it’s Rs 100.”

Meanwhile, students who are in the process of repaying their loan are not grudging about the rupee fall as they are earning in foreign currencies and it’s easier for them to repay the loan.

Shivam Bhalla, who is now working in Australia, says, “It is a bad news for Indian economy. But I am not affected because when I applied for a loan three years back, one Australian dollar was equal to Rs 35 and now it has touched a mark of Rs 60. So it is easy to repay the loan to Indian banks because my earnings are in dollars. But it is certainly a tough period for those who are about to apply for loans now.”

Sumit Vasan, working in Edinburg, says, “You can stay unaffected only if you are in a business or higher management level jobs. I have been here for past eight years now, but I have never seen any other currency fluctuating so frequently like Indian rupee. RBI needs to ponder over its policies.” Kanwar Sethi, director of coaching centre said, “Students of Punjab will go abroad even if the dollar further goes up against the rupee. Scholarship is one option for students who are targeting foreign universities but for that eligibility requires class distinction.”

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.