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Delhi HC panel seeks return of "unjustified" fees charged by private schools
IndiaTomorrow.net, New Delhi, Feb 18: A Delhi High Court-appointed panel has recommended that 13 more private unaided schools be asked to return to parents the "unjustified" fees charged since 2009. The Justice Anil Dev Singh panel has sought return of the excess fee with 9% interest. The panel set up in 2011 has already recommended return of hiked fees from 621 schools in the National Capital.   The 13 schools are: Bal Bharti Public School, Delhi International School, Rich Harvest Public School, Vidya Public School, Happy Home, South Delhi School, Jivan Bharti School, Delhi International Happy School, Shiksha Bharti Public School, Rattan Chand Arya Public School, St Froebel School, National Victor Public School and Decent Public School.    The panel has so far examined the accounts of 1065 schools out of the total 1,172 unaided private schools in Delhi.   In 2011, acting on a PIL filed by an NGO Social Jurists, the Delhi High Court had set up the ...




JNU students form Human Chain against UGC admission policy
Ghazanfar Abbas, IndiaTomorrow.net,New Delhi, Feb 17: Demanding to roll back the University Grants Commission's (UGC) notification for admission in MPhil and PhD courses in central universities, hundreds of students along with teachers and other staff members formed a human chain on Friday here in the varsity campus.  Students are against the UGC admission notification of May 2016 which gives about 100% weightage to viva for admission in MPhil and PhD courses in central universities. JNU adopted the notification in Dec 2016. Some students are on hunger strike at JNU demanding withdrawal of the notification too.  The students were holding various placards and shouting against HRD Ministry and UGC. Earlier the students and teachers had taken out marches to the HRD Ministry and protested outside UGC too.  Students' Objections and ApprehensionsStudents are apprehended that if this notification is implemented there will not just be a massive cut in seats for M.Phil/PhD, the s...




Massive protest march by JNU teachers, students against UGC admission policy
IndiaTomorrow.net,New Delhi, Feb 14: Several hundred students and teachers of Jawaharlal Nehru University on Tuesday took out a massive protest march towards the Parliament House here in Delhi over reported seat cuts in MPhil and PhD courses at JNU and other central universities.   "We want students, Not cut in admissions, JNUTA" reads a placard held by a teacher of JNU at the protest march jointly organized by JNU Teachers Association and JNU Students Union.   The protest was in the wake of the announcement by JNU that it would implement the University Grants Commission's May 2016 admission notification which limits number of researchers/scholars under each professor and associate professor.    Hundreds of students, teachers of JNU holding a protest march in Delhi. Several Members of Parliament and leaders of CPI, Congress and JD(U) also took part in the protest march. They included Digvijaya Singh of Congress, D Raja of CPI and Ali Ahmed Ansar...




'India's public libraries undergoing revolutionary change'
Saket Suman, New Delhi, Feb 14: Images of ill-maintained public libraries -- laden with dust and poor-infrastructure, barely prompting a second visit -- is undergoing a complete makeover thanks to the government's ambitious National Mission on Libraries.More significantly, state-of-the-art facilities combining the latest internet technologies are being plugged in to attract the younger generation."Some may think that the purpose of a library is to only preserve books, but the world is moving ahead with technology. The younger generation feels that the libraries are full of only books and thus don't interest them. So, we have to make our libraries such that they are in sync with the aspirations of the younger generation," Deepika Pokharana, Director, National Mission on Libraries under the Ministry of Culture, told IANS in an interview."They have to be made to come and visit again and again. Internet, Wi-Fi and state-of-the-art facilities are crucial for the revival of pu...




Quality education has never been a priority of political parties, say youths in Bareilly
Ghazanfar Abbas, IndiaTomorrow.net, Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh, Feb 13: Good education and better job are the two major concerns for youths anywhere - and also in Bareilly district of Uttar Pradesh. Youths say all governments have just promised good education but did little.   "There has been very little improvement on the front of education here. Every government promises to improve standard of education but that promise is not implemented on the ground. Quality of education is deteriorating day by day. Government must look into. Society should also do its responsivity," says Laxmi Narayan Singh, a student at Bareilly College, while talking to IndiaTomorrow.net.   Upendar Singh, another student standing inside the campus of Bareilly College, says: "Our education system is poor from the base level. If the base level is improved then we will see improvement up to higher level. There is a need to develop government schools where no one wants to send their child...




UGC awards relaxation to candidates of reserved categories seeking admission in MPhil/PhD
IndiaTomorrow.net, New Delhi, Feb 12: In the backdrop of the continuing protest and hunger strike at JNU against its 2016 admission notification for MPhil/PhD courses at central universities, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has now announced some relaxation at the preliminary qualifying stage for candidates of reserved categories like SC, ST and OBC.  The JNU administration on Saturday uploaded a Clarification from UGC reg MPhil/PhD procedure on its website.  As per the document, at the preliminary stage out of the 3-stage admission process for MPhil and PhD, reserve categories students will get some relaxation. The preliminary stage is qualifying stage where a student has to earn 50% marks to enter the second stage (Descriptive Written test) and third stage (Viva-voce).   "Preliminary Test will be qualifying in nature and General Category candidates will require 50 percent marks to move to the Part B/C. SC/ST/PwD candidates will get 30 percent relaxatio...




Two Years of AAP govt: Huge transformation in school education in Delhi
Ashish Mishra, New Delhi, Feb 12: Anuj Kumar, 16, seems to have fallen in love with his government school like never before.A student of Class 10, Anuj says his school in east Delhi -- including teachers and the method of teaching -- has undergone a major transformation in the last two years, ever since the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government came to power in the national capital.Teachers and a section of parents IANS spoke to at the Senior Secondary School in New Ashok Nagar agree with the teenager."The ambience in the school was not at all like this till a year ago," Anuj, who has opted for science. "Our school was earlier a rundown building, untidy and known for goondaism. All that has changed."Around 3,200 girls and 1,752 boys study in the school in morning and evening shifts respectively.The school is one of the 1,011 run by the Delhi government in the capital that have undergone what officials and teachers say is a "revolutionary makeover", making some ...




'Budget private schools left in the lurch by Delhi government'
Vishal Narayan, New Delhi, Feb 8: Four months after a meeting with Manish Sisodia, the Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi and state Education Minister, an organisation that represents Budget Private Schools (BPS) says the problems facing such low-cost private schools in the city are far from being addressed and these schools remain just as vulnerable.The National Independent Schools Alliance (NISA), a platform that brings together budget private schools in the country, held a meeting with Sisodia on September 28."He (Sisodia) had promised us his support then and even asked us to send suggestions for a Review Committee, which he intended to form to work on our issues.... We haven't heard from him since then despite several attempts at reaching him," Amit Chandra, Policy Advisor, NISA, told IANS."We feel the Deputy Chief Minister used us to grant himself a platform to make boastful claims. It has been four months since our conference on September 28, where representatives of s...




JNU students conduct referendum against massive cut in seats for M.Phil, Ph.D
IndiaTomorrow.net, New Delhi, Feb 8: The formal notification from Jawaharlal Nehru University making a massive cut in seats for M.Phil and Ph.D courses as per the guidelines of University Grants Commission, has angered the students.   "The JNU administration's unilateral imposition of the UGC circular has been robustly resisted by students and teachers. The notification is not just another problematic circular but also a huge assault on inclusive higher education, in general, and JNU's model of inclusive admission process, in particular," said JNU Students Union president Mohit K Pandey.   The Democratic Students Federation said the present strength of School of Social Sciences (SSS) is 330, that of School of International Studies (SIS) is 232 and School of Language, Literature and Culture Studies (SLL&CS) is 227. But SSS has reduced 232 seats, followed by 141 by SIS and 73 by SLL&CS.   Against the cut, students launched a referendum at the campu...




Gujarat gets a law enabling CM to govern all universities
The law envisages a Higher Education Council, under the chair of chief minister, which will be in effect the supreme monitoring body of universities. IndiaTomorrow.net, Ahmedabad/ New Delhi, Feb 5: After the nod yesterday from Governor O P Kohli, the state of Gujarat has got a new law that will enable the chief minister to monitor academic/administrative/financial activities of all universities in the state, which many see as curb of the autonomy of universities and powers of vice chancellors.   The Gujarat State Higher Education Council Bill 2016 was passed by the state Assembly in April 2016 and has since been pending with the governor for his nod. In June that year, Governor O P Kohli had sought clarification from the state government on some of the key provisions of the bill after objections from various stake-holders and political parties. However, as per media reports, he gave his nod to the same bill this Friday (3 Feb 2017) without making any changing.   Th...




NEET for Pakistan, Bangladesh minority migrants as well
New Delhi, Feb 3: Students from persecuted religious minority migrant groups from Bangladesh and Pakistan, seeking admission in professional courses here will also have to appear for the central entrance examination, the government said on Friday."From academic year 2017-18, all applicants are required to appear in National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) conducted by CBSE for admission in MBBS and BDS courses in India, including foreign students," the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement. The government in 2016 had decided to include the persecuted migrant groups based within India for the MEA run self financing schemes for foreign nationals from developing countries for admission in MBBS, BDS, BE, B Pharmacy, Diploma in Engineering and Pharmacy in India against seats allotted by Ministries of Human Resource Development and Health and Family Welfare. For the last session (2016-17), the religious minority migrant groups were exempted from appearing for ...




JNU students' hunger strike against UGC notification enters 9th day
Ghazanfar Abbas, IndiaTomorrow.net,New Delhi, Feb 01: Demanding the rollback of University Grants Commission’s (UGC) May 2016 notification on MPhil/PhD admissions, JNU students have continued hunger strike on 9th day today. Terming the UGC notification obnoxious and intended to lead social discrimination, students have expressed their apprehensions.   UGC Notification of May 2016 As per the UGC gazette notification of last year for the admission in M.Phil/PhD in central universities in the country, the final merit list for admissions will be based on the marks obtained in viva-voce and the written entrance test will be qualifying only. According to this notification, candidates will have to go through two stages -1) An Entrance Test that shall be qualifying with qualifying marks as 50% and 2) an interview/viva-voce to be organized by the institution when the candidates are required to discuss their research interest/area through a presentation before a duly constituted ...




JNU students demand UGC revoke its admission notification
New Delhi, Jan 28: The Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union (JNUSU) on Friday urged the University Grants Commission (UGC) to revoke the changes it brought about last year on admissions to M.Phil and Ph.D courses in central universities.The JNUSU called the proposal "discriminatory" against less-privileged students since interview will be the sole criterion for admissions under the new system, against a two-part (enterance test and interview) system earlier.Terming the UGC guidelines as 'straitjacketed', the JNUSU said adopting these will be akin to reversing decades of hard work put in ensuring level playing field for everyone.The notification was adopted by the University's Academic Council amid protests by many of its members and students on December 26 last year.According to it, the enterance test will be reduced to a qualifying exam and selected students will be admitted solely on the basis of interview.The JNUSU said this was anathema to what was proposed by the A...




Budget 2017: The school education crisis - and opportunity
Shreya Shah,Budget 2017 is an opportunity for the government to concentrate on improving school education for over 260.5 million children who enrolled in elementary and secondary school in 2015-16 -- children who will form the core of Indias working-age population, one billion by 2030, the largest in the world."Business as usual" will not solve the problem, submitted Pratham, an education nonprofit, in a pre-budget consultation with the Finance Ministry. "Unless major shifts are undertaken on an urgent basis to build children's foundational skills, we are losing huge opportunities each year for improving the life chances of an entire generation of children and youth in this country," the consultation note added.Higher education dominated last year's education budget (with an increase of 13 per cent over the 2015-16 budget) and the conversation about education -- with policies for improving the quality and ranking of higher education, creation of a higher-education f...




IIMs get complete autonomy, will grant degrees
New Delhi, Jan 24: The Union Cabinet on Tuesday approved the Indian Institutes of Management Bill, 2017, declaring them as 'Institutions of National Importance and granting the premier institutions complete autonomy.The Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved the bill, under which the IIMs would be provided with statutory powers and will be awarding degrees instead of diplomas.Being autonomous bodies registered under the Societies Act, the IIMs so far were not authorised to award degrees and have been awarding Post-Graduate Diploma and Fellow Programme in Management.While these awards are treated as equivalent to MBAs and Ph.D, respectively, the equivalence is not universally accepted, especially for the Fellow Programme.The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) defines an Institute of National Importance, as one which serves as a pivotal player in developing highly skilled personnel within the specified region of the country/state.The Ministry of Human R...




HC stays nursery notification on minority schools
New Delhi, Jan 20: The Delhi High Court on Friday stayed a city government notification that made it mandatory for private unaided minority schools to admit kids in nursery, in the unreserved category, on the basis of neighbourhood criteria.Justice Manmohan said: "This court is of the prima facie view that minority schools are entitled to admit students in their own manner as long as there is no mismanagement."While granting the interim stay, the court noted that the government cannot interfere in the day-to-day functioning of the minority schools including their right to administer and admit students.The Delhi government on January 7, came out with a circular on nursery admission that mandated private unaided schools -- built on Delhi Development Authority (DDA) land -- to accept admission forms based only on the neighbourhood or distance criteria.As per the circular, the minority unaided schools were asked to treat unreserved seats as open/general seats in which admission w...




BIMARU states: Little progress in 2 years, learning crisis for millions of children
Prachi Salve and Alison Saldanha, In 2016, some learning outcomes for 111 million school-age students between ages six and 15 remained mostly unchanged in BIMARU states (Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh), when compared to 2014, after declining for four years, according to the 2016 Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) released in January 2017. If the math and reading skills of these 111 million children -- nearly half of India's 252 million school-age children -- cannot be improved, it is unlikely that India will be able to completely reap the demographic dividend from its working-age population of 869 million by 2020 -- the largest of any country.Here are the highlights of the new report:1) In Uttar Pradesh, only 7.2 per cent of Grade III students in government schools could read a Grade II text; 7.9 per cent could subtract two-digit sums (national average: 25.2 per cent for reading, 27.7 per cent for math)2) In Bihar, 75.2 per cent of Grade VIII children cou...




IIMC to start Urdu journalism course
New Delhi, Jan 17: The Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) will start a journalism course in Urdu, the government announced on Tuesday.M. Venkaiah Naidu, Minister of Information and Broadcasting, will inaugurate the 67th diploma course in Development Journalism and the First P.G. diploma course in Urdu Journalism later in the day, an official statement said.He will also release the revamped journal of the IIMC, "Communicator" here at the Shastri Bhawan. (IANS)




Alarming drop in reading skills in Madhya Pradesh
Khushboo Balani, Reading and some math skills of Madhya Pradesh students are among India's lowest, the transition rate to higher classes is lower than the national average, a majority of classrooms are shared by students of different grades, and government elementary schools are 17.6 per cent short of school teachers, according an analysis of various government data. Literacy rates and learning outcomes are among the lowest in the BIMARU (Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh) states. By 2020, India will have the world's largest working-age population -- 869 million -- but an analysis of these four states -- with 43.6 per cent of the country's school-age population (5-14) -- revealed that India is unprepared to educate and train its young population.The literacy rate in Madhya Pradesh -- at 72.6 million, the fifth-largest state by population -- was ninth lowest, at 70.6 per cent, in 2011. This was an increase of 6.86 percentage points from 2001 --the second-lowest inc...




Delhi University official fined Rs 25K for rejecting RTI query on Modi's degree
Amiya Kumar Kushwaha, New Delhi, Jan 8: The Central Information Commission (CIC) has slapped a fine of Rs 25,000 on Delhi University's Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) for rejecting an RTI application seeking Prime Minister Narendra Modi's graduation degree.The Chief Information Commission, M. Sridhar Acharyulu, in a recent order, pulled up CPIO Meenakshi Sahay of Delhi University and said the rejections reminded him of the saying "penny wise, pound foolish".The commission was hearing a plea filed by Delhi-based lawyer Mohammad Irsad, whose RTI query seeking inspection of Modi's degree was rejected on the ground that the Indian Postal Order (IPO) was not marked in favour of the Registrar of the university.The commission, directing the "public authority" to recover an amount of Rs 25,000 from the salary payable to Sahay, said that after hearing the story that thousands of rupees had been spent in a legal battle for a postal order of Rs 10, "the proverb ...




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