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India 2nd in the world for education-related queries on the web!

Arecent Google study on ‘Student on the Web’ has revealed that Indian folks are only next to their US counterparts in searching for answers to queries related to education. The study is a combination of Google search query patterns and an offline research study by TNS Australia on behalf of Google India. With growing Internet penetration in India and 35 percent of its population below the age of 20, the search results have surprised very few. Although it’s interesting to note that 60 percent of Indian students treat Internet as their primary source to gather information about educational courses and institutes, 40 percent of their search revolves around higher studies.
Education related queries on Google in India are growing at over 46 percent on a yearly basis with queries coming from mobiles, which is growing at the pace of 135 percent.
These statistics have once again put the inquisitiveness and desire of Indian students for qualitative education in the spotlight, and in the future, one can expect institutions to create more interactive content and websites for better results.

Sex to Enter Bengal Textbooks in 2015

Schools across Bengal will see the inclusion of sex education in their syllabus from 2015. This step has been taken to prevent the misinterpretation of information. This decision was initially met with opposition by some teachers who refused to teach the subject of sex education. However, after a meeting with the Council of Board of School Education in India (COBSE) and the West Bengal Board of Higher Secondary Education, it was decided that sex education should be educated in subjects such as science, sociology, psychology, etc instead of making it a separate subject. This move is a positive effort towards fighting the misconceptions that inhabit the minds of young students who do not have access to a reliable source of information. The addition of sex education will begin in class 8 and continue till class 12.

CAT Dates Announced

The Common Admission Test (CAT) committee has announced the dates for the competitive CAT exams, which will start from 12 October 2012 and end on 6 November 2012. The sale of CAT vouchers will end on 17 September 2012 and the registration will end by 19 September 2012. The exams will be held earlier than previous years so that they don’t clash with the festive season of Diwali. The day of reckoning for MBA aspirants will be 9 January 2013, when the results will be declared. These results will determine the chances of students to get into the prestigious IIMs along with more than 130 B-schools in the country. The exam will be divided into 2 sections: quantitative ability and data interpretation, followed by verbal ability and logical reasoning. Each section comprises 30 questions and students will be given 70 minutes to complete each section.

IIT-JEE courts trouble!

Nine parents of the IIT-JEE aspirants along with the Forum for Fairness in Education has taken the new format of the competitive exam (applicable from 2013) to the Bombay High Court by calling the arrangement unfair.
Introduced this year  by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, the new format of the exam will comprise two sets where JEE-Main will be followed by the JEE-Advanced exam and only top 20 percent performers of the former would be eligible to sit for the JEE-Advanced exams in their pursuit of getting admitted in the prestigious engineering institutions. The final selection, however, of the candidates will be based on the JEE-Advanced scores subject to condition that they are in the top 20 percentile in their board exam as well.
The petition states that the decision to let only 20 percentile from each board eligible for the entrance test as “arbitrary, discriminative & unreasonable” as marks and competitiveness across boards cannot be equated.
The petitioners have urged the new process to be set aside and the norms of the JEE 2012 to be followed even for this year. The petition further deems denying students to appear for the JEE- Advanced exam as an unfair and non-transparent admission practice.

TCS and HDFC Come Together for Start up in Sports Education

The country’s top IT honcho and mortgage lender have come together once again to invest in a new start up called ‘Kids Out of Home’ ( KOOH) that will deal in the hot, new segment of sports education.
While their previous decade-old partnership had seen success in JV Intelenet, a business process outsourcing (BPO) venture, this particular outlet will try to encourage schools to outsource their sports education and adopt their structured curriculum, technology and infrastructure in order to motivate children to come out and play.
TCS and HDFC’s latest venture has put them conveniently in the lucrative segment that already has start-ups such as Edusports, Leapstart and Sportseed as its frontrunners. It remains to be seen if corporate India can bring the much needed wave of change in the state of our country’s sports culture this time around. We certainly hope it does.

CBSE Tests Students for Morals

If you are a Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) student, your examination marks will not only reflect your academic knowledge but also your morals. The board is taking steps to ensure their students receive a wholesome education and graduate from school with their values intact. To ensure this, the board has decided to integrate moral values into the curriculum from this academic year. Students from class 9 to class 12 will be asked value-based questions in their examinations. Five percent weightage will be given in each subject to these questions, including in class 10 and class 12 board examinations. The questions will be integrated into their examinations across subjects like Hindi, English, math, science, economics, physics, chemistry, etc. An example of how a value-based question might appear in an economics examination is: ‘A father in his will gives 40 percent each to his son and daughter and 20 percent to his servant who has been with him for long. Why has he done it and what is the value addition?’ The answer to this will be gender equality and charity towards people who work for us. In biology, you may face a question such as: ‘In the digestive system all elements work together to digest the food you eat. What is the lesson learnt?’ The answer to this question will be if you work as a team you will achieve your goal. The board has made this move in order to follow an interdisciplinary approach to value education and to prevent our education system from becoming too commercial. Adding a moral-based assessment of students is an attempt to draw a student’s thinking to society and community instead of solely focusing on oneself. This step will help students to identify and preserve values such as friendship, honesty, integrity, etc.

Ring R for Education!

In 2010 when Indian Government had decided to set aside 25% seats for the underprivileged children in all the unaided private institutions under the Right to Education Act, it must not have anticipated the role technology would play later in restoring their vision.
As per the latest reports, throngs of economically underprivileged children have kept the helplines of Right to Education Act busy since many schools in the city have failed to the implement the law which has prompted various activists and government agencies to keenly look into the matter.
The State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT) created the RTE helpline numbers (044-28278742, 28211391) to help implement the legislation and give needy students access to private schools. Delhi-based NGO Social Jurist has also started national helplines (09868529459, 08826456565) for free legal assistance under the RTE Act to students from poor backgrounds.
An SCERT official said “Most people are still unaware of the legislation. Many private schools claim that the RTE quota is not applicable to minority administered schools. We are also getting complaints that some private schools are not allowing admission under the RTE Act. We will take every step to ensure that the RTE Act is a success in the state.”
Our fingers are certainly crossed!

Walter Mead Talks to Youth about Foreign Policy

At an enlightening session held at the US Consulate, Mumbai, youth groups were given the opportunity to interact with Walter Mead who shared his extensive knowledge on the subject  of foreign affairs. Mead is James Clarke Chace Professor of Foreign Affairs and Humanities at Bard College and Editor-at- Large of The American Interest magazine. He also contributes to various publications such as Foreign Affairs, The New Yorker, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal. He said that the United State wants the world to look a lot more like Europe; that is to be rich, democratic, liberal and profoundly at peace with each other. Walter also expressed the hope of achieving “universal sunshine in India” so that all sections of society reap the benefits of development. A healthy exchange of ideas and observations followed when students and intellectuals shared their views and queries.

 

Volume 2 Issue 3

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