Class 10 disabled student allotted seat on second floor

A 15-year-old wheelchair-bound student from Naigaon in Dadar, Mumbai has been at the receiving end of the school’s apathy towards getting him an accessible centre for the ongoing Class 10 board exams. Omkar Samla, a student of Bengali Education Society’s High School in Dadar is currently being carried by his family members to the exam hall on the second floor of his exam centre after his school did not pay heed to several requests by the parents.

Samla, who has a spinal cord defect since birth, has 90 per cent impairment. His parents had requested the school to ensure that he is allotted a centre near their house in Naigaon with ground floor seating arrangement. A few days before the exam they got to know that Samla has been allotted a seat on the third floor at Navbharat school, which is about 15 minutes from his residence. Ever since, his mother Jayashree has been running from pillar to post to get the centre changed but nothing seems to have helped. “My son is wheelchair-bound and we had asked the school to provide a centre on the ground floor. The school authorities kept on assuring us that they would put in a request to the Board but ultimately he was allotted a classroom on the third floor. The centre is also quite far from the house and we have to take him in a cab. The school should have taken the request seriously and requested the Board to change his centre,” said Samla’s mother, Jayashree.

On March 11, after a few local politicians intervened, the school allotted a seat to him on the second floor which according to the family is of no use. “School officials told us that since there are no classes on the ground and second floor of the school building, all they can do is allot a seat on the second floor,” said Jayashree.

Cabinet approves proposal to open 50 new Kendriya Vidyalayas

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday approved the proposal for opening 50 new Kendriya Vidyalayas (KVs) under the Civil/Defence Sector in the country, keeping in view the high demand for these schools for their quality of education and excellent results.

The total project cost based on Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS) norms for the proposed 50 new KVs is Rs 1160 crore.

New KVs will be opened from classes I to V for which 650 regular posts shall be created in all the 50 schools. The schools will grows every year with addition of one more higher class and when the school grows upto class XII and becomes a full fledged school with two sections in each class, there shall be a requirement of about 4000 regular posts of various categories i.e., about 2900 teaching posts and about 1100 non-teaching posts. These new KVs, when fully functional, will provide quality education to approximately 50,000 students in addition to the approximately 12 lakh students already studying in the existing KVs.

The new KVs will address the educational needs of eligible students with high quality standards and will play a role of pace-setting educational institutions in the districts concerned.

The main objective of KVS is to cater to the educational needs of children of transferable Central Government employees, including Defence and Paramilitary personnel, by providing a common programme of education.

There are at present 1142 functional Kendriya Vidyalayas under the KVS, including three abroad at Moscow, Kathmandu and Tehran. The Kendriya Vidyalayas are considered as model schools in the country in terms of physical infrastructure, teaching resources, curriculum and academic performance. Kendriya Vidyalayas have consistently turned out excellent academic performance as is evident from the Board Results of Class X and XII exams conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE).

Modi Degree: Delhi University’s SOL In RTI Reply Says No Data Of Students Passing Out In 1978

NEW DELHI: The controversy over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s degree refuses to die down. Delhi University’s School of Open Learning (SOL), from where he is said to have passed out in 1978, says it doesn’t have records for that year as these are maintained only for one year. In response to an RTI query by an IANS correspondent seeking a list of students who had qualified for a BA degree in 1978, the SOL said: “The data is not maintained in the branch in the order as desired by the applicant.”

Modi Degree: Delhi University's SOL In RTI Reply Says No Data Of Students Passing Out In 1978Replying to two other queries on the results of students who qualified for the same degree in 1978, including their roll numbers, names and father’s names, the SOL said: “No such list is maintained in the branch. As per weeding rules of the university, spare copies of the published result is kept only for one year.”

A consolidated reply from the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO), Meenakshi Sahay, on the same query said: “The information sought by the applicant was endorsed to the Dean (Exam), OSD (Exam), Joint Registrar (Degree) and Section Officer (Information) of the University, who are the deemed PIOs under section 5(4) and 5(5) of the Right to Information Act, 2005.”

“Further, relevant input, received from the Dean (Exam), OSD (Exam), Joint Registrar (Exam), indicates that the University, otherwise, treats the data of the students pertaining to the examination taken by them while pursuing a course in the University as personal to the students concerned which can be disclosed only to the student concerned,” she added.

“The disclosure of such information has no relationship to any public activity or interest. Disclosure of such information is exempt under section 8(1)(j) of the Act,” she further said.

The quoted exemption in section 8(1)(j) says: “Information which relates to personal information the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or interest, or which would cause unwarraned invasion of the privacy of the individual…”

The university’s examination branch III (i) and IV replied in similar vein.

“It appears that the information sought by the application is such that it is treated as personal information of students, having a fiduciary relation with the University.”

Earlier, the Central Information Commission (CIC) had directed the university “to facilitate inspection of relevant register where complete information about result of all students who passed in Bachelor of Arts, in year 1978 along with roll number, names of the students, father’s name and marks obtained as available with the University and provide certified copy of the extract of relevant pages from the register, free of cost”.

The CIC had also slapped a fine of Rs. 25,000 on the CPIO for rejecting an RTI application seeking details of Modi’s graduation degree.

Information Commissioner M. Sridhar Acharyulu also pulled up the CPIO, saying the refusal to provide the information sought reminded him of the saying “penny wise, pound foolish”.

Acharyulu was divested of his charge days after he passed his order.

The Delhi High Court had later stayed the CIC order directing Delhi University to allow inspection of records of all students who had passed the BA degree exam in 1978.

Supreme Court Seeks Response From Centre And CBSE On SIO Plea To Conduct NEET In Urdu

The Supreme Court of India today directed Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to respond to a plea asking to include Urdu as one of the languages in which National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) is to be conducted. Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice R. Banumathi have also directed the Medical Council of India (MCI) and the Dental Council of India to respond to the plea and have posted the matter for March 10. NEET is a national level exam introduced in 2016 conducted for admission to MBBS and BDS programs at medical and dental institutes in India.

NEET 2017: Supreme Court Seeks Response From Centre And CBSE On SIO Plea To Conduct NEET In Urdu

The petition was filed by Students Islamic Organization of India (SIO), a student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, last month. The plea said that the decision to not conduct the exam in Urdu was unfair to students who finish their senior secondary education in Urdu language.

According to IANS, the petitioner’s counsel Advocate Ravinder S Garia informed the court that while earlier no state had come forward with the request, now the state governments of Maharashtra and Telangana have also requested the Central government to include Urdu as one of the languages in NEET.

The application process for NEET 2017 ended on March 1. The exam is due to be held on May 7 in seven Indian languages apart from English, i.e. Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Gujarati, Marathi, Assamese and Bengali. The petitioners have pleaded that CBSE should make provision to hold the exam in Urdu as well for candidates who have already applied and opted for any other language in absence of Urdu as an option.

Earlier, SIO had stated in its petition that the decision to exclude Urdu the sixth most spoken language in India against languages like Gujarati which was seventh most spoken and Assamese which was twelfth most spoken was discriminatory.

GATE 2017, Challenge The Answer Keys Online Till 6 March

GATE 2017 answer key objections can be submitted now! GATE Online Application Processing System (GOAPS) has opened online portal for accepting objections against the answer keys. A module to contest answer keys of GATE 2017 has been made available till 10:00 hours (IST) of 6 March 2017 at the official website of IIT Roorkee. Specifically candidates can raise their objections at GATE Online Application Processing System (GOAPS) website: http://appsgate.iitr.ac.in/. Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee (IIT Roorkee) which is the organizing institute of the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) 2017 has released the answer keys in the official website of this year’s test http://gate.iitr.ernet.in on February 27. The GATE 2017 result will be declared on 27 March.

GATE 2017, Challenge The Answer Keys Online Till 6 MarchCandidates can challenge the answer key of any question after giving their justification(s). Candidates are required to make a payment of Rs. 500 (for each question). Payments will be done through the online payment portal available in the GOAPS. For candidates who have appeared in GATE 2017 from outside India, the fee for each answer key challenge is US$10. Click here for how to challenge GATE 2017 answer keys.

GATE score is significant in getting through PSU jobs. Leading PSUs accept GATE score for recruitment to the posts of engineer trainees. Click here to find the list of such PSUs.

Interested candidate can also apply for PSU recruitment which are accepting GATE score. Read more about ongoing PSU recruitment through GATE.

‘While challenging the answer keys the candidates should ensure that they quote the proper question number as per the PDF file of the question paper given in the website’, as mentioned in the website.

Candidates should note that payments for a successful challenge will be refunded.

CBSE Board Exams: How To Score 90+ In Chemistry

It’s March and CBSE Board exams are now closer than ever. In just a week, students all over the country would be engulfed in board fever more than ever. In this time of stress and anxiety we have tried to do our bit and curated tips which will help you score better in the exams. In this article we will deal with chemistry which is an important subject not just for the boards but also from competitive exam point of view.

CBSE Board Exams: How To Score 90+ In Chemistry

Tips and Tricks to score more in Chemistry

First of all, by now you would be done with your chemistry syllabus, so just focus on revision.

Make sure that you have covered all the topics from your NCERT textbook for Chemistry. Don’t fret over topics which are there in supplementary books but are not covered in NCERT. In past years, there has never been an example of questions being from topics other than those in the syllabus.

Focus more on concepts. If your concepts are clear, it would be easier for you to tackle High Order thinking Skill questions. Mugging up will not help you.

Make flash cards and/or charts for important chemical formulas and use them during revision.
Solve previous year questions. There is always a high probability for questions to repeat so keep an eye open for questions which have been repeated over the years and practice more questions of the same type.

Time yourself while you solve practice papers. This will help you immensely during the actual exam as you would already be in the habit of solving questions in a given time frame.

CBSE Board Exam: How To Score More In Hindi

One of the biggest worries for many CBSE Board examinees is how to score good marks in language and literature papers specially Hindi. Hindi is one subject where it might be tricky to score good marks since for class 10, 55 marks worth of questions are devoted to unseen passage, grammar, and creative writing and for class 12 it is 45 marks which means that reading the text book will not be enough and students must be ready to let their creative and analytical abilities flow.

CBSE Board Exam: How To Score More In Hindi

Here are some tips which will help you score good in Hindi.

First and foremost read all the chapters in your textbooks and revise them regularly. Questions from textbooks will form almost 50% of the question paper.

Be clear about the grammatical rules related to topics prescribed in your syllabus. Practice grammar questions as much as you can. When it comes to grammatical rules, there are always some exceptions and you must be aware of exceptions too.

Learn the format for essay and letter writing and practice descriptive questions as much as you can. On the exam day, before writing answer for descriptive questions, write the points you will cover in your answer in a rough space and then proceed. This will help your answer to be properly structured and fetch you good answer.
While attempting questions from unseen passages, read the passage carefully and underline important words and phrases.

The question paper will have no overall choice but there will be internal choices for questions. Choose which question to attempt carefully and wisely. Attempt only those questions in which you are completely confident. In case of descriptive section do not select questions which you have not practiced before.

CBSE rolls back reforms; schools say nothing now to distinguish it from other school boards

Students passing the Central Board of Secondary Examination (CBSE) will no longer have an edge over others, fear experts. Complaining that in the last couple of months, CBSE has done away with all the new academic reforms that had set it apart from other school boards and has brought back rote-learning and exam-oriented studying, schools in Mumbai said they will continue with the reforms till Class 8.

CBSE

The board recently scrapped the open text based assessment (OTBA) for classes 9 and 11. This is close on heels of discontinuing the international curriculum, erasing the continuous comprehensive evaluation that focused on all-round assessments, and making Class 10 board exams compulsory again.

Many of the academicians in Mumbai fear that these changes have turned back the clock on the progress made by students. “These are regressive steps, undoing all the innovative assessments and evaluations brought in over the last decade,” said Avnita Bir, principal, RN Podar School, Santacruz. “These assessments were on par with foreign universities and higher education institutes.”

The OTBA, for instance, which was scrapped earlier this month for classes 9 and 11, was aimed at developing thinking and analytical skills of students. It involved pouring over case-studies and answering open-ended questions, instead of merely copying down mugged up answers. “We were so impressed with OTBAs that we had introduced them for our lower classes as well and we don’t want to change that,” said Bir.

Refusing to do away with the reforms completely, many of the schools have decided to continue with them for primary and middle school. “CBSE policies are politically driven but we cannot keep changing the assessment pattern. It will affect our students,” said Deepshikha Srivastava, principal, Rajhans Vidyalaya, Andheri.

Adding that the school had painstakingly developed our present curriculum, Srivastava added, “We will take the good practices from all the various assessments and stick to it for classes 1 to 8.”

Schools said that they were not consulted before any of these changes were done, leaving them anxious about what the future holds. “It was unfair for the board to just scrap it without even giving us any reason. We are now worried whether they will do away with the new subjects,” added Bir.

Some of the principals said that while the assessments were good, they were not implemented properly by the board. “They were hastily introduced, without proper planning. None of the actual stakeholders were involved in the discussions while implementing them,” said Ganesh Parmeswaran, Bal Bharti Public School, Navi Mumbai.

Parmeswaran said that the board needs to closely monitor the implementation of the reforms. “The assessment of speaking and listening skills too, is not being done properly. The results are fudged by many schools.”

He said that some of these reforms were not suited to rural areas. “CBSE has schools in urban and rural areas. They have to think about reforms which can be adopted by all the schools,” he said.

Time to Act: New law a welcome step towards world-class education

Every time a world university ranking comes out, we look for the possibility of our state universities on the list in much the same way that a student scans the list of names when exam results are announced.

Digital universities

Our public institutions, however, never make it to these rankings, or appear shamefully behind universities elsewhere in the world.

This time though, Maharashtra’s Higher and Technical Education (HTE) department is working towards a better grade. In December, the State Legislative Assembly passed the Maharashtra Public Universities Act 2016 to bring state universities up to par with the times and with top universities in India.

The Act introduces several reforms in the functioning of 11 institutions currently governed by the Maharashtra Public Universities Act. It proposes the idea of a Cluster University (a clutch of empowered autonomous institutes), a committee to fix fees, a digital university and a choice-based credit system with transferable credit points. It also plans to reintroduce student elections and establish centres in foreign countries.

MA Khan, registrar of the University of Mumbai says the previous Act, in use since 1994, was outdated. “The new Act is progressive and makes provisions for activities that can improve higher education in Maharashtra,” he adds.

The Bill has got the signature from the Chancellor (Governor) and has got status of an Act that may be effective from March this year. It is based on the recommendations of three committees set up in 2010-11 to suggest long-term strategies that might improve the management of the 11 state universities and the 3774 colleges affiliated to them.

Here are some of the major features of the Act and how they have been received within the community.

AIMED AT STUDENTS

The Act is designed to be more student-friendly. Clauses include appointing the previous year’s topper in a particular stream (Arts, Science or Commerce) as a member of that faculty’s board of studies. It recommends nominating the president of a university students’ council as an invitee member of the management council. It also proposes special exams for students who miss them because they are participating in sports and cultural events.

“Student representation is extremely important in university decisions and we will welcome students’ opinions on the syllabus through the Act,” says Anand Mapuskar, subject expert at the HTE department. He was also part of education minister Vinod Tawde’s 21-member committee that took a final look at the Bill before it was tabled in the Assembly. “The Act makes provisions for an ombudsman at the college and universitylevel for students’ grievances.” It also reintroduces college and university elections.

The Act recommends that universities and their affiliated colleges set up complaints committees to address sexual harassment, much like those in workplaces under the Vishakha Guidelines. It takes the existing Credit system a step ahead by proposing a choice-based credit system, which will allow students to choose a subject from any stream of education (academic, technology, professional and social, and personality and cultural development) and transfer credits smoothly. This will ease the movement of students between universities and colleges.

“Our careers will no longer depend upon our subject choices, which is a relief,” says Shweta Verhani, 20, second-year Arts student. She adds that choice based accreditation will allow more room to experiment with streams.”

In other good news for students, semester exam timetables will be released a year before the exams start. “We understand that students who opt for competitive exams after college need the dates to plan their studies and exams. Thus, there is a provision for this in the Act,” says Mapuskar.

SEEING THE OTHER SIDE

To free universities from vested interests, the Act proposes to create the Maharashtra State

Council for Higher Education and Development (MAHED). The umbrella body will plan, shape, coordinate, supervise, devise use of technology and raise finances for higher education. It will be headed by the chief minister and run by academicians, scientists, technocrats, and industry and financial experts.

The concept of MAHED comes from a committee headed by Anil Kakodkar. “But it was supposed to be in addition to the Higher Education Council, which is almost dormant,” says Kakodkar, a nuclear scientist and former member of Board of Governors of IIT-Bombay. “Political bodies can’t get too involved in running a university. It needs an environment to flourish and grow. It needs to be peer-driven and not hierarchy driven. Mixing these two defeats the purpose.”

Others see it differently. “MAHED will link the state with the Ministry of Human Resource Development and decision-making councils in higher and professional education, as well as with the government’s think tank NITI Aayog,” says MS Kurhade, dean of Arts and principal of DTSS College of Commerce, Malad. “This link was missing and is much needed.”

Madhu Paranjape, member of the Bombay University and College Teachers’ Union (BUCTU) fears that a government-led body means a loss of democratic functioning. “Nominated members protect the interest of the government and self-financing institutes,” she says.

THE LONG VIEW

The Act claims to have a far reaching vision, making progressive strides in Maharashtra’s higher education.

It proposes to create a comprehensive digital university framework for e-learning and administrative services. “The world is moving towards a digital phase and we cannot shy away from offering this opportunity to our students,” says registrar Khan. He adds that work has already begun and affiliated colleges will soon have WiFi on campuses.

Not everyone is rejoicing. Of the 750 affiliated colleges under the University of Mumbai, only 296 colleges are in Mumbai and its urbanised periphery. The majority are in rural areas, where most students don’t even own cellphones or computers. “This is an Act of the elite. It isn’t inclusive at all,” says Paranjape, referring to the new governing council and the idea of student election – provisions that can’t be modified once they are put into the act.

The Act’s other additions include cultivating research parks, technology incubators and other entities to help university research reach the commercial domain and allow faculty groups from several disciplines to collaborate on projects. It also hopes to establish centers or institutions in foreign countries with the permission of the Central and the State Government.

Its offer of empowered autonomy for groups of better-graded colleges has had a mixed response. “Cluster universities can take the load off institutions like the University of Mumbai, which has a large number of affiliated colleges,” explains Ashok Wadia, principal, Jai Hind College, Churchgate, who was also part of the team in the earlier phases of the creation of the Act. “But it is yet to be seen what statutes are made to implement them. It will be important to see how colleges are segregated and decentralised, as each college has its own culture, region and mission. Autonomy will always be preferred over clusters.”

Kakodkar sees the Act as an incremental progression. “It has failed to consider our recommendations in their entirety,” he says. “However, I understand that when you make an Act, you need to take everyone along. Probably, that is why some recommendations have been watered down.”