Around the World



Airtel launches mEducation for students

ducation seems to be a fairly unexplored sector for mobile phone service  providers, particularly in the value added services capacity, which is why Bharati Airtel have tried to tap into the sector extensively. Previously, Airtel, in association with Hungama mobile, had launched a 30-day crash course called CAT Fastrack which was aimed at aiding Common Admission Test (CAT) applicants. They have now followed it up with their recently launched mEducation, a platform that will allow Airtel mobile service customers to avail of educational services on their cell phones for courses in language skills, aids to entrance exam preparations and career counselling for university applications.
Airtel users will be able to make use of these educational value added services through Interactive Voice Response (IVR), SMS and WAP. The services have been priced from  Rs. 1.5 per day to Rs. 99 for a course. The list includes such services as English Guru (via IVR) priced at Rs. 30 for 30 days, Mock Tests (via WAP) priced at Rs. 99 for 12 mock tests or Rs. 49 for 5 mock tests and Scholarship Alert (via SMS) which is priced at Rs. 1.5 per day.


With a view to increasing awareness about sex and sexually transmitted diseases, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is adopting a modernised method of sex education by setting up a gallery in its pre-existing sex education museum Antarang in Mumbai. While the main target audience for the initiative is students, people from all age groups will be encouraged to visit and brush up on their knowledge of sex. The primary aim is to instruct students from civic schools where the taboo of sex is not discussed in the family owing to the parents not being educated in in the subject themselves. There will also be more scientific information on ways to prevent diseases, as well as medicines which can be consumed which will help those who are previously educated in the subject to get a more in-depth understanding. The initiative will also educate people to undergo regular check-ups for sexually transmitted infections to keep themselves healthy and to prevent the spread of diseases.


The National Institute of Design (NID) has been declared to be an ‘Institution of National Importance’ after the Union Cabinet approved the motion by Parliament by law. Providing this status to NID, Ahmedabad, the institute will be authorised to offer students degrees as opposed to only diplomas which is currently the practice. This will also allow the institute to improve the standards of professional design in the country by equating education according to international standards. At the moment, NID offers professional education in undergraduate and postgraduate diplomas with five faculty streams and 17 diverse design domains. The launch of the degree courses will most likely benefit
students who wish to pursue postgraduate programmes in professional design.

UGC to pay for sportspersons’ education

Aspiring sportspersons around the country have new encouragement to pursue
their sporting passion as the University Grants Commission (UGC) has announced a new plan to financially aid those who are studying while fighting for
laurels on sporting fields.
Those eligible to avail the scholarship include medal winners of national games, participants in international sporting events recognized by World University Service, International Olympic Committee and Olympic Committee of Asia (OCA), who have taken admission to different universities and colleges under UGC.
As per the central commission, there are two categories under which sportspersons will be given assistance. The first category is for medal winners at Olympics, World Championship, Commonwealth Asian, Afro-Asian Games, Asian Championship and SAF Games who will be reimbursed their entire course fees if they are enrolled in undergraduate or postgraduate degree courses. The second category includes people who are winners at national level games who will receive 75% of the actual money spent on the course. Similarly, for those pursuing MPhil, MBA or other professional courses and if in the first category, they will be given Rs. 7,500 per month in addition to reimbursement of the actual fees, and if the second category, will be given Rs. 5,000 plus the actual fee amount. UGC will bear complete costs of hostel expenses including boarding and lodging.

Studying in an IIT to get more expensive

Getting an engineering degree from India’s premier technology institutes is set to get much more expensive with the Indian Institutes of  Technology (IITs) announcing an 80% hike in student fees for undergraduate courses. This will take the annual fee up to Rs. 90,000 from the current Rs. 50,000. Since its last fee hike in 2008-09, when annual fees were doubled from Rs. 25,000 to Rs. 50,000, the IIT Council has appointed the Kakodar Committee to look into developing the physical and intellectual infrastructures of IIT colleges across the country. In November 2011, the Kakodar Committee recommended a fee hike from Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 2 lakh-Rs. 2.5 lakh annually, claiming it would make the IITs financially independent. The IIT Council held a meeting to discuss the proposal and the decision was made to increase the annual fee from the year 2013.


Following its rocky launch, efforts are being made to increase the productivity
of the highly affordable Aakash 2 tablet. The Government of India has appointed a fourmember technical committee to supervise the software ecosystem of the
tablet. The committee will facilitate the release of applications for the tablet pertaining to the education sector. While the tablet has a small list of  applications for games and networking, there is a lack of India and education-centric applications. Reports claim that 25 academic institutions and private
companies, including IITs, American Digital University, Mango Learning, TopChalks, Digital BackPack and more, have signed on to design and build education based applications for the tablet. IIT Bombay is working on an application called Proximity which will make lectures of IIT professors available on the tablet; Mango is developing games that will teach students maths; and IIT Madras is conducting a four-day crash course to train 5,000 engineering students to build applications for the tablet. There are talks of creating an App Market to make these apps available, or they will be put up on Google Play Store which is already available on the tablet.



Volume 2 Issue 8


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