HRD Ministry should be renamed Education Ministry

HRD Ministry should be renamed Education Ministry: Sisodia

New Delhi: Delhi Education Minister Manish Sisodia on Tuesday proposed that the name of the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) should be changed to the Ministry of Education.

Sisodia also asked the central government to increase the budget for education.

Sisodia’s proposals came during the meeting of the Central Advisory Board of Education, which was attended by Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar and education ministers of many states.

“It is unfortunate that there is no Union Education Ministry in our nation. We currently have an HRD ministry. The name of HRD ministry should be changed to Education Ministry as the HRD is just a part of it,” Sisodia said.

In the meeting, Sisodia also proposed extension of Right to Education (RTE) Act to children who do not fall in the six to 14 years age bracket.

The RTE Act provides free and compulsory education to all children in the age group of six to 14 years as a Fundamental Right.

Sisodia reiterated his demand for complete scrapping of “no detention policy”.

Under the no-detention policy, the students up to Class 8 are automatically promoted to the next class without being held back even if they do not get a passing grade in their examinations.

During the meeting, Sisodia proposed increased focus on early childhood learning and called for setting up of a world class university for the training of teachers.

Too stretched, can’t increase BTech seats, 7 IITs tell HRD Ministry

prakash javadekar, iit, B.Tech seats, IIT college, HRD Ministry, IIT students, iit hostels, iit stay, iit residential, iit hostel admission, iit seats, education newsIn 2008, before the quota was introduced, there were about 4,000 undergraduate seats among these seven institutions. Now, together, they account for close to 6,500 seats.

CITING stretched resources — from infrastructure to faculty — the seven older Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), Bombay, Delhi, Guwahati, Kharagpur, Kanpur, Madras and Roorkee, have not agreed to add more seats to their four-year Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech) programmes as proposed by the government at the IIT Council meeting held on August 23.

In fact, only the second-generation IITs in Hyderabad, Mandi, Ropar, Patna (set up by the UPA government) and IIT Jammu established by NDA II will increase their undergraduate student strength from next year. Currently, there are 23 IITs in the country.

Sources told The Indian Express that IIT Hyderabad, to begin with, will add another 40 seats next year, IIT Mandi will add 50; IIT Patna 25; IIT Ropar 105 seats and IIT Jammu 30 seats.

The older IITs witnessed their biggest hike in B.Tech seats at the time of implementing the 27 per cent OBC reservation. In 2008, before the quota was introduced, there were about 4,000 undergraduate seats among these seven institutions. Now, together, they account for close to 6,500 seats.

 

The IIT Council — the highest decision-making body of the premier engineering schools — had given an in-principle approval to the ministry’s suggestion to increase their student strength from 72,000 to 1 lakh over the next three years until 2020. This, in effect, meant the institutes would collectively aim to add 4,000 B.Tech seats each year until 2020 and 6,000 M.Tech and research seats each year over the next three years. Currently, there are close to 10,000 B.Tech seats among all 23 IITs.

To achieve this, the IITs would have to waive the condition which makes students stay compulsorily on campus. In other words, the institutes will depend on admitting more non-resident students. All the 23 IITs were asked to assess their capacity and resources and come up with a roadmap on how to achieve the overall proposed hike.

As many as 20 of the 23 IITs have sent their feedback to the HRD Ministry this month of which only five are said to have completely agreed with the proposal. None of the seven older IITs is on board as far as increasing undergraduate seats are concerned, said sources. “They are interested in taking in more M.Tech and Ph.D students,” said a source.

“The older IITs have reached their saturation point as far as admitting B.Tech aspirants is concerned. The onus is now on the newer lot to achieve the B.Tech increase suggested by the government,” said a director of one of the seven older IITs who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

 

“Hostel accommodation for new students cannot be arranged overnight. We have been asked to admit more non-residential students. But this is not possible for some of the institutes which are located in remote locations. How can IIT Guwahati, IIT Kanpur and Kharagpur do this? Finding rented accommodation near these institutes is very difficult. Students stay back late in the laboratories. They need to stay on campus,” said another director of one of the seven older IITs, who also did not wish to be identified.

Poor faculty strength is another reason why IITs have not accepted the government suggestion. While each IIT is supposed to maintain a ratio of one teacher for 10 students, the ratio now is one for 15. There are an estimated 2500 faculty vacancies across the IITs. Of the seven IITs which figured in the top 700 of the QS world rankings this year, six have slipped several places compared to last year. IIT Madras was the only exception which improved its ranking by five places to join the top 250 club.

PE ‘Cinderella subject’ for too long, says report

PE class

The status of physical education in schools needs a “radical shake-up” and it should be valued in the same way as core academics subjects, a report says.

A study by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on a Fit and Healthy Childhood says PE has for too long been the “Cinderella subject” in UK schools.

The group recommends a personalised PE programme for each individual child.

It says PE is key to developing a life-long passion for physical activity and to reducing levels of obesity.

The APPG study says PE for the 21st Century should reflect the many ways children can express themselves physically and should move away from “skill drill lessons”.

And children should be given greater opportunity to explore what sort of alternative physical activity might suit them, using the natural and outside world as well as sports-specific environments.

The study says girls in particular can be put off by a focus on competitive sports and “run the risk of becoming disenfranchised from physical activity”.

“This could be addressed by ensuring that PE lessons offer a wider type of physical activity, to cater for different tastes and abilities,” it says.

“These might include general physical activity such as running and climbing, non-competitive activities such as yoga and dance and individual sports such as swimming.”

The APPG report makes a wide range of recommendations, including:

  • increasing the number of specialist PE teachers in primary schools
  • having a designated physical activity co-ordinator in every early years setting
  • creating teams in every school dedicated to promoting all types of physical activity
  • all schools examining how they can improve the PE experience for disabled children
  • embedding PE into all teacher training programmes

It says: “If PE is regarded as providing solutions for a variety of objectives (eg increasing academic attainment, improving behaviour), it should be valued as such.

“It should have the same status, credibility and funding as the core academic subjects.”

The study adds: “If PE is to be treated on an equal basis with other subjects in the curriculum, care must be taken in assessing children’s physical literacy, using nationally prepared guidelines that do not undermine a child’s confidence and inhibit them from participating according to their own pace and individual needs in PE programmes.”

Secondary school Sats resits scrapped

Old Sats paperPlans to make all children who fail their end-of-primary-school tests sit them again in secondary have been scrapped in a government U-turn.

The plans had sparked outrage from teachers who feared some children would be labelled as failures on arrival at secondary school.

Education Secretary Justine Greening said instead children would be offered support to catch up lost ground.

She also assured teachers no new tests would be introduced before 2018.

inRead invented by Teads

Additionally, the spelling and grammar test for seven-year-olds introduced in 2015-16 is to remain non-compulsory for schools next year.

The changes come after a difficult academic year for the Department for Education over assessment.

As new tests were introduced, teachers complained materials and information were slow to materialise and there were a number of leaks live test material.

In a written statement, Ms Greening said: “Summer 2016 saw the first pupils taking the new assessments in English and mathematics at the end of primary school.

“They were set against the new national curriculum, which has been benchmarked against what the highest-performing countries around the world are teaching their children.

“As a result, the new assessments rightly raised the bar on what we expect pupils to have been taught by the age of 11, better preparing them for secondary school and beyond.”

‘Stretching pace’

But she said teachers had risen to that challenge with 66% of pupils meeting or exceeding the new “expected standard” in reading, 70% in maths and 74% in writing

Ms Greening said: “The pace and scale of these changes has been stretching.

“Our objective is to make sure that children are ready for the next stage of their education.

“We know, and Ofsted inspectors understand, that the 2016 assessments and results mark a break with the past and are not comparable with the preceding years.”

In recognition of this, Ms Greening said no school would face any intervention, such as being taken over and turned into an academy, on the basis of these results alone.

On the climb down over Year 7 resits, she said: “Rather, we will focus on the steps needed to ensure a child catches up lost ground.

‘Real challenges’

“High-quality resit papers will be made available for teachers to use if they wish, as part of their ongoing assessments.

“In addition, we will introduce a targeted package of support to make sure that struggling pupils are supported by teachers to catch up in year 7.”

Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner said: “Under the Tories parents and teachers are struggling to navigate their way through the government’s constant chopping and changing to exams and assessments.

“The chaos surrounding results year on year is creating confusion for parents, who are struggling to identify how to support their child to improve, and extra bureaucracy for school leaders and teachers, who are finding it extremely difficult to plan ahead to ensure high quality education for children.”

Kim Johnson, president of National Association of Head Teachers, said: “Secondary leaders will welcome the government’s plans to halt planned resits of Sats in Year 7.

“These tests would not have helped children or teachers.”

Christine Keates, head of the Nasuwt teaching union, said: “It appears that the Secretary of State has now recognised the real challenges around statutory end of key-stage assessment.

“The recognition that there were problems with the 2015/16 data, and that because of this no schools should face harsh sanctions solely on the basis of that data, is a welcome step towards relieving the pressure and anxiety some schools have been experiencing.”

Yale offers scholarship for high school students

Yale offers scholarship for high school students

New Delhi: The Yale Young Global Scholars Programme (YYGS) for the year 2017 is now open for school students of Class 10 and 11 and they can apply, the university said on Thursday.

YYGS is an academic enrichment and leadership development programme that brings together outstanding high school students from around the world for intensive two-week sessions on the Yale campus. In 2016, YYGS hosted over 1,300 students from over 100 different countries.

The programme is sponsored by Yale University and will commence next year in the months of June and July.

“YYGS exemplified how young men and women from around the world can bring the world together in empathy and cooperation,” Leon Tsai, a 2016 YYGS Politics, Law, and Economics student, said in a statement.

“As the next generation of leaders, we can step up and make the world a better place,” he said.

This year the programme will include two new sessions — the Frontiers of Math & Science session (FMS), and Sustainable Development & Social Entrepreneurship (SDSE) — in addition to its other four sessions.

The four usual sessions offered through the scholarship are Applied Science & Engineering (ASE); International Affairs & Security (IAS); Politics, Law, & Economics (PLE); and Biological & Biomedical Science (BBS).

In all six sessions, selected students will receive lectures from Yale faculty, and Yale under-graduate and graduate students. The deadline for applying to the scholarship is January 31, 2017.

Individual institutes may soon decide their own fee structure

More autonomy for IITs: Individual institutes may soon decide their own fee structure

New Delhi: The IITs (Indian Institute of Technology) may no longer have to consult with their apex governing council about their fee structure.

It is hoped the autonomy to decide their own fee structure would save time and help boost efficiency.

“The Board of Governors is likely to be given the authority to decide the fee structure for the respective IIT. Currently, they are part of the fee deciding process but are not the final authority,” PTI quoted a source as saying.

However, it wasn’t immediately clear whether the idea, if approved, will be applicable to all IITs or limited campuses.

At present, the fee structure is determined by the IIT council, the top decision-making body, which is chaired by the Union human resource development minister and includes IIT directors and board of governors of each institute.

The IITs are autonomous public institutes of higher education. The 23 IITs are located in following cities: Bhilai, Chennai, Delhi, Dhanbad, Dharwad, Goa, Guwahati, Jammu, Kanpur, Kharagpur, Mumbai, Roorkee, Bhubaneswar, Gandhinagar, Hyderabad, Indore, Jodhpur, Mandi, Palakkad, Patna, Ropar, Tirupati and Varanasi.

Former HRD Minister Smriti Irani had in April announced an increase in the annual fees for undergraduate courses from existing Rs. 90,000 to Rs. 2 lakh, a rise of 122 percent, for new enrollments from the current academic session.

The Ministry had also decided to give a total fee waiver for the differently-abled, students from SC and ST community and those belonging to families wit

HRD Ministry extends last date for application to October 16

Jobs in Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas: HRD Ministry extends last date for application to October 16

New Delhi: The HRD ministry has extended the last date of submission of application forms for various jobs vacancies in Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas (JNVs) to October 16.

Notably, Monday was the last day for submitting the forms.

“Don’t worry. The last date for submission has been extended up to October 16,” Javadekar tweeted.

HRD minister Prakash Javadekar intervened after receiving complaints from some applicants through social media that because of the problems on the JNV website, they could not fill up the forms, officials said.

“On the request of aspiring candidates for NVS recruitment 2016 the HRD Minister directed Navodaya Vidayalaya Samiti to extend the online portal for registration of applications up to  October 16, 2016. Accordingly it has been extended up to 16th October. Edit Window on the portal will also be made available from October 17 to October 20 for registered candidates for further making corrections,” a senior official said.

Attestation facility for job seekers to start at Mumbai RPO

Attestation facility for job seekers to start at Mumbai RPO

Mumbai: The facility of attestation/ apostille of educational and other relevant documents of job seekers would be made available at the Regional Passport Office (RPO) here after Ministry of External Affair’s decision to decentralise the process.

“The MEA has decided to decentralise the work of attestation/apostille of documents of Indian citizens. Those residing in Maharashtra, Dadra Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu can now apply for it at three outsourced attestation application centres and our office will legalise their documents from October 13 onwards,” Swati told PTI.

The attestation application centres are Trade centre in G Block of BKC, M/s Superb enterprises, Ashoka Shopping Centre near GT hospital and BLS International Services in Navi Mumbai.

Earlier, applicants seeking jobs abroad, needing to get their relevant documents attested, had to travel to Ministry of External Affair’s office in New Delhi for the purpose.

MoE recently decentralised the process and entrusted various RPOs in several states to carry out of the process.

Apostille is endorsement of documentation done in 105-member countries of the Hague convention which obviates the need for legalisation of foreign public documents.

RPOs at Guwahati, Chennai, Hyderabad are among the ones that have already been entrusted to carry out attestation and apostille.

“Applicants would need requisite approval from the General Administration Department and thereafter, they would have to file their applications at the three outsourced attestation application centres. From there, applications would be forwarded to us and we will legalise their documents,” said Kulkarni.

Beside Mumbai, the facility will also start at Chandigarh, Goa, Bangaluru and Trivandrum RPOs.

“This move would benefit lakhs of overseas job seekers from the entire Maharashtra and the two neighbouring Union Territories,” she added.

Classrooms need more male teachers, charity says

male teacherEngland’s classrooms need more male teachers, an education charity says, as government figures show a continued gender gap in the profession.

Department for Education statistics show 26% of teachers in England are men – accounting for 38% of secondary and 15% of primary school teachers.

To mark World Teachers’ Day, the charity Teach First is urging more men to consider a career in the sector.

It says the profession should reflect the make-up of the classroom.

Teach First, which recruits and places top graduates in schools serving low-income communities, to tackle inequality, says the lack of men entering the profession has resulted in an untapped resource.

It says children and young people need access to committed, talented and knowledgeable individuals from a range of backgrounds.


A male teacher’s view

Jack Green, a second year Teach First participant teaching at a primary school in East London, says working in a female-dominated profession has not put him off.

“I am extremely lucky to have worked in a school full of experienced, professional and supportive female staff members.

“The issue is not with the amount of women in the job, it is the lack of males who are motivated to want to teach.

“My main motivation in joining the profession was to be a positive role model to children in any school I work in.

“Unfortunately, a huge part of the inequality facing our country at the moment is that many children are left without a positive male role model at home.

“Having the opportunity to be that role model continues to motivate me on a daily basis.

“In terms of recruiting males specifically, we need more positive male teaching role models to help dispel some of the myths about teaching and show what a challenging and rewarding career it is.”

male teacherImage copyrightTEACH FIRST
Image captionMen make up just 15% of the primary school teacher workforce

Brett Wigdortz, founder and chief executive of Teach First, said: “It is a real loss that the profession is missing out on talented classroom leaders because a huge pool of people are being put off by misconceptions about teaching.

“Young people need role models from all backgrounds to unlock their potential and aspiration, and to help them understand the world.

“Teaching is a hugely rewarding job, where you not only make a real difference to the lives of young people who need it most but also boost your own skills and development.”

A Department for Education spokeswoman said: “We welcome this drive from Teach First to encourage more men into a career in teaching.

“Our priority is getting the brightest and the best teachers into our classrooms, including male staff at all levels.

“That is why we are spending millions of pounds on recruiting high-quality teachers.

“We can be proud of the fact that teaching is an increasingly popular profession, with more young men and women embracing the opportunity to inspire and shape the lives of the next generation.”

Building new schools ‘must be top priority’ for government

Close up bricklayingHundreds of extra schools could have to be built in England to cope with the school population bulge, say public sector buildings specialists.

Official figures suggest there will be almost 730,000 more school age children by 2020 than there were last year.

Scape group, which advises local authorities on new buildings, says this amounts to 24,287 more classrooms.

But ministers say there is “significant capacity still in the system… before new places need to be created”.

A Department for Education spokeswoman said local authorities would continue to create thousands more school places in coming years, with 600,000 additional pupil places created in the five years to May 2015.

“And we are investing £7bn in new places up to 2021,” the spokeswoman added.

However the Local Government Association, which represents 370 councils in England, says its own research suggests that although existing schools have been expanding to cope with the bulge, many have almost run out of space.

And once it is no longer possible to increase the size of existing schools – new ones will be needed, the LGA points out.

Building boom?

Department for Education figures project 8.6% more primary school pupils in England by 2020 – but the biggest increase will be as children move into secondary school where pupil numbers are expected to rise by 12%.

Scape’s report says this could amount to the equivalent of more than 2,000 new schools.

Classroom
Image captionThe biggest increases are going to be in the secondary age group, up by 570,000 in a decade

“The country will soon start to feel the full weight of the impending boom in pupil numbers and we’re already seeing unprecedented pressure on school places.

“A radical new wave of school-building must be a top priority for the government,” said chief executive Mark Robinson.

Scape says demand for places will vary between regions, with London, the south-east and east of England feeling the most pressure – and the north-east and north-west facing more modest increases.

Map showing number of extra primary and secondary pupils by 2020

Council powers

The LGA has long been critical of the government’s emphasis on free schools as the solution to the places crisis and says Scape’s calculations support their argument that powers to open new schools should be returned to councils.

They also want academy schools, which are outside local authority control, to have to expand to make sure every child has a place.

“Councils have a statutory duty to ensure every child has a school place available to them but find themselves in the difficult position of not being able to ensure schools, including academies, expand,” said Richard Watts, chairman of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board.

“Finding suitable sponsors with the capacity to take on the running of a successful new school is also proving a challenge.”

Pupils in new buidlingImage copyrightSUNESIS
Image captionThe government says the system is responding well to the demand for more school places

The DfE spokeswoman said the system was responding well to growing pupil numbers and thanks to “hard work and investment, 1.4m more pupils are now in good or outstanding schools than in 2010”.

The overwhelming majority of parents (more than 95%) received offers in their top three preferred primary or secondary schools this year, she added.