Skip to main content

Education in 2011: Sibal's push for exam reforms, cheapest tablet PC

HRD Minister Kapil Sibal's unsuccessful efforts to get key legislations on reforms in higher education passed, his push for examination reforms, rise in IIT tuition fees and launch of world's cheapest tablet PC marked the year 2011 in the education sector.

None of the important legislations -- Education Tribunal Bill, the Foreign Education Providers Bill and the Copyright Bill -- could be passed in Parliament with repeated disruptions undoing his efforts.

He also had to face some embarrassing moments in the Upper House with members from both his party and from Opposition either objecting to some provisions in the bills or raising the issue of conflict of interest.

While he was in midst of building a consensus on introducing a single national test of engineering courses in IITs and other technical institutes, former Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh comments about quality of faculty in IITs and IIMs raised his level of discomfiture.

Sibal though was quick to rubbish his remarks, saying if the IITs have not gained the critical mass to change the global scientific discourse, it is because of the "ecosystem" and not because of the faculties.

The record 100 per cent cut-off marks in Delhi University this year also brought to fore the ugly truth of the wide gap between demand for seats in prestigious colleges and the supply.

Even as Sri Ram College of Commerce justified the record cut-off marks for admission to undergraduate commerce course, Sibal sought to reach out to the parents, describing the cut-off as "irrational".

Delhi University was also asked by the ministry to implement the 27 per cent reservation for OBC students in "letter and spirit", amid reports that it is not being being strictly followed.

In February, Jamia Milia Islamia was granted minority institution status by the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions, a first for any central university, allowing it to reserve up to 50 per cent seats for Muslims.

During this fiscal, the education sector got a 24 per cent hike in budgetary allocation at Rs 52,057 crore to take forward ambitious programmes like universalising secondary education and increasing enrolment ratio in higher education.

However, some surveys came up with some mixed trends on the quality and access to education in the country.

While an annual State of Education Report 2010 of NGO Pratham said only 65.8 per cent of Class I students could recognise numbers from 1 to 9, National University of Educational Planning and Administration (NUEPA) in its report for 2009-10 said primary education witnessed improvement due to Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan programme.

Keen on enhancing quality of education, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in his year's Independence Day speech announced his government's decision to appoint a commission to make recommendations in this regard.

The ministry as per its efforts to expand education through information technology unveiled the world's cheapest tablet PC, priced at around Rs 1,200, for students in October. The hype surrounding its launch was unparallelled by any standard, with Sibal later saying the device has created a buzz across the global and several countries have evinced keen interest to have it for their students.

The year gone by saw a rise in IIT tuition fee with the IIT Council giving its nod to conditional fee hike of Rs two lakh per annum from 2013 for students who are not from weaker sections.

However, Sibal said the extra money will not be collected till they secure employment even if it takes 10 years. Under the 'pay back' scheme, increase in fees will not be charged in the academic year.

The Council also endorsed a common entrance test for IITs/NITs, state government-run and private engineering colleges throughout the country from 2013, often described as a dream mission by the minister himself.

As per the T Ramaswami committee, which went into the subject, the single test would be a kind of examination where weightage would be given to Class XII marks of students and a Scholastic Aptitude Test-kind of test.

IITs also declared a minimum required percentage which a candidate has to score in each subject in their entrance tests to help them prepare accordingly and avoid any confusions.

From 2012 candidates must score at least 10 per cent in each subject and 35 per cent in aggregate in order to be in the common rank list.

With several seats in the new IIMs going vacant, the IIMs also decided to share admission information among them and post individual admission criteria in their websites.

Further, the prestigious B-schools decided to explore possibilities of offering programmes in non-core areas like health, education and infrastructure, in a path breaking initiative.

The government also gave its nod to some key decisions such as the establishment of the much talked about National Commission of Higher Education and Research (NCHER) and approving a private-public partnership pattern for setting up of 2,500 model schools across the country.

The government's ambitious National Vocational Education Qualification Framework programme, which aims to feed the industry with skilled hands, was launched for polytechnic and engineering colleges.

There was an increasing trend of collaborations between Indian universities with foreign varsities during the year, which saw the first Indo-US higher education summit being hosted in the US in October.

Overseas players investing in education infrastructure in India also got a boost following the government's decision to exempt this sector from restrictions imposed in the FDI policy.

A concept of meta-university was also unveiled during the year under which a IIT Kanpur student will be able to enrol for a course in ancient history from JNU or a mathematics student from IIS will be able to pursue a course in comparative literature from Jadavpur University simultaneously.

The first Common Management Admission Test (CMAT) for admission to all management institutes approved by AICTE was also announced during the year, addressing the issue of physical, mental and financial stress on the students appearing in multiple entrance exams.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

"Facebook Tests a New Feature To Let Users Enjoy Events Togather"

Facebook is testing a new feature to let users share events that they are interesting in attending to, on their "Stories" so that they can coordinate with friends and enjoy events together.

According to a TechCrunch report, the test will involve a new option to "Share to Your Story" that appears when you visit an event's page on Facebook.

"If shared, friends will see a tappable sticker within your Story that includes the event details and lets friends respond that they're also 'interested' right from the Story itself," the report added.

Friends also can tap on the sticker in the Story to visit the event page.

"There's also a link to the event page built in and a way to start a group chat on Messenger with friends who responded," said The Verge.

The test is currently rolling out to users in the US, Mexico and Brazil.

To use the new test feature, go to the Events page, click "Share" below the date and time of the eve…

Sudan Restricts Social Media Access to Counter Protest Movement

Since last year Internet freedom in Sudan declined due to a crippling economic crisis that made access to ICTs prohibitively expensive for everyday users. The government also exerted increasing control over the online sphere by arresting online journalists and activists and introducing new restrictive laws and also blocking access to social media used to organise nationwide anti-government protests triggered by an economic crisis.


Sudan has been rocked by near-daily demonstrations in the past over two weeks.

In a Northeast African country where the state controls traditional media, the internet has become an important information battleground. Of Sudan’s 40 million people, about 13 million use the internet and more than 28 million own mobile phones.

According to local media, about 13 million of Sudan’s 40 million people use the internet.
Hashtags in Arabic such as “Sudan’s_cities_revolt” have been widely circulated from Sudan and abroad. Hashtags in English such as #SudanRevolts have…

Largest Spike in Hate Crimes Since 9/11, Says a Report

The number of hate crimes reported in the United States jumped by 17% last year, the largest increase since 2001 when the terrorist hijackings on 9/11 fueled a surge in attacks on Americans of Muslim and Arab ancestry.

A total of 7,175 hate crime incidents were reported to the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program in 2017, up from 6,121 in 2016, said the UCR Program's annual Hate Crime Statistics report, Xinhua reported.

It's the third year in a row the FBI has reported an increase in hate crimes. The number of hate crimes in 2016 rose about five percent from 2015.

The 2017 incidents encompass 8,437 total offences, meaning some involved multiple criminal charges.

According to the report, the most common bias categories in single-bias incidents were race/ethnicity/ancestry (59.6 percent), religion (20.6 percent), and sexual orientation (15.8 percent).

The victims represented a cross section of society, with African-Americans and Jews the most frequently targeted victims. Of 34…