Around the World


TED launches learning channel on YouTube
TED, the non-profit group behind the thought-provoking TED conferences has launched an educational channel called TED-Ed on YouTube to make learning more interesting to anyone on the Internet. TED is known for its conferences
that centre around concepts as weighty as climate change and the devastation of sea life as well we lighter topics like dance and music. The tie-up between YouTube and TED is indeed a huge step for the educational arena. The videos that are now available on the YouTube channel have been designed to be really captivating and short, lasting no longer than 10 minutes. This allows teachers to show these videos to students in real-world classrooms with ease. As of now, there are around 12 different videos on the TED-Ed channel, with more videos scheduled to be released in the future. The Ted-Ed videos are available at:

ISEET, Neet May Give 40 per cent Weightage to HSC Marks
An eight-member committee that comprises the state higher education department, will soon discuss the possibility of giving weightage to class 12 marks as part of the admissions to engineering courses in Maharashtra. As of now, students are admitted to engineering courses based on the state Common Entrance Test (MH-CET), wherein they only require 45 per cent in class 12 to be eligible for the MH-CET. However, from the academic year of 2013-14, the MH-CET will be replaced by the Indian Science Engineering Eligibility Test (ISEET). Even though the ISEET has been recommended by the centre, the centre itself has left it up to the states to decide the ratio of weightage that will be given to the ISEET scores and class 12 exams.

AICTE Raids Colleges to Verify Online Claims
The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has started carrying out surprise raids at colleges that had applied for an increase in the number of seats in engineering, pharmacy, MCA, MBA and other such technical courses. In fact, earlier in April this year, raids were carried out at two colleges in Surat. Officials have also said that many more such raids will be carried out at the 100-odd campuses across Gujarat, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. This happens to be the first time that the AICTE has implemented such surprise checks in only those colleges that apply for an increase in seats on its web portal as against those that apply for a hike in the intake of seats on the web portal of AICTE. In the latter case, the applications are scrutinised online, after which, permission may or may not be granted for additional seats.

Harvard and MIT offer free online courses
The prestigious Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have launched free, online courses to students that will be accessible from just about anywhere. This collaboration, known as ‘EdX’ will be headed by Professor Anant Agarwal, who is the Director of MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. Harvard and MIT have committed 3 million dollars each in the form of support, grants and philanthropy toward this non-profit initiative. In December 2011, MIT had launched an open online learning project called MITx, the first course of which began in March this year and enrolled around 1,20,000 students. The first set of courses will be offered in the latter half of 2012. All those students who sign up free of charge will be able to watch video lesson segments, take embedded quizzes and participate in online laboratories. EdX students will be awarded a certificate but not academic credit in any form. However, they might be expected to pay a fee for the certificate. It seems that many universities in the elite league are going this path. In May, Stanford, Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Michigan tied up with Coursera to offer free online courses. MIT and Harvard officials said that they would use the new online platform not just to build a global community of online learners but also to research teaching methods and technologies.

ST PETER’S College Hires a 12-year-old Yoga Teacher!
Ram Das ‘Brahmachari’, who is all of 12 years old, is all set to join Agra’s St Peter’s College as part of the faculty beginning in July this year. He is said to practice meditation for more than six hours daily. He also happens to be much younger than a majority of his students. Ram Das dropped out of school after class 2. He says he lost belief in the Indian education system when he saw his teacher chewing tobacco in class, disrespecting education and breaking rules. Ram Das believes discipline is key if one wants to actually master yoga. He credits his father for all his achievements till date. “Students would be more at ease learning yoga asanas from somebody of their own age,” said yoga enthusiast and principal of St Peter’s College, Father John Ferreira. Besides 300 asanas, Ram Das has also memorised many religious scriptures. This certainly proves that age is no bar!

Imperial College London announces two Indiaspecific fellowships
Imperial College London, one of the most renowned institutions in the UK, plans to offer fellowships in the field of business and engineering. Known as the Imperial College India Foundation PhD Scholarships (ICIFS), this initiative will be jointly funded by Imperial College and its Indian alumni. The program will last three years at £ 40, 000 per year. Cyrus Mistry, the chairmandesignate for the Tata Group, is one of the 650 Indian alumni of the college. Plans to increase the number of fellowships are also underway. The Imperial College Business School also established the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in 2007, and more recently, announced the Rajiv Gandhi scholarships (postgraduate level) for Indian citizens to pursue the Imperial MBA, scheduled to begin from October 2012.

Vodafone Foundation to Provide Education in Indian Schools
The Vodafone Foundation, which is the philanthropic arm of the telecom giant, has announced that it plans to provide learning solutions in 1,000 schools across India. This project is expected to benefit approximately 50,000 underprivileged students over the next three years. Known as ‘Learning with Vodafone Solution’, this initiative uses innovative software that has been developed by the Vodafone Solutions Team. This software enables teachers to offer graphical and multimedia content, combined with new and innovative methods of teaching. Students will also get a chance to learn via the Internet, a move that will keep them engaged. The programme is a cloud-based solution that offers digital educational content created in coordination with the prescribed curriculum. A school management system will also track attendance, grades and other administrative needs.

TISS to establish vocational education school
The Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) will start a school for vocational education and will be set up on the Deonar campus of TISS. The school will offer two-year-long certificate courses, after which students will qualify as technicians. TISS and the All-India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), the promoter of vocational education at top Indian institutes, signed a memorandum earlier this year. The AICTE will provide financial assistance of Rs.10 crore for three years. Besides training students, the new school will focus on research, conduct studies on skill requirements, build content for various sectors, develop teaching methodologies and pedagogy as well as prepare the trainers and systems for measuring skill assessment.

Volume 1 Issue 12


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