CBSE’s writing/drawing contest to mark Ambedkar’s birth anniversary

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) announced that it will be conducting its latest Expression Series of writing and drawing contests on Dr. BR Ambedkar, to mark his birth anniversary on April 14.

CBSE has created three categories for participants based on the class they study in. Students of STD I-V, STD VI-VIII and STD IX-XII can participate in their respective categories and submit either an essay, poem or drawing. The essay and poem can be submitted in any of the 22 scheduled languages and also English.
 Entries have to be submitted between 9AM – 9PM on Wednesday and Thursday. Best 36 entries, 12 in each category, shall be awarded a cash prize of Rs.2,500 and a certificate of merit. Each participant will also get a certificate of participation. Selection of best entries will be on the basis of originality of content and creative expression. Students may be contacted on phone to ascertain the originality of the entry submitted. Plagiarism check may be done and entry will be liable to disqualification if found plagiarized.
 Entries can be submitted online through a link which will be made available on . Students can also click a picture/scan their entries and send it through the mobile app, numbers for which are available on the official CBSE site.
 Topics for the series (all related to Dr. Ambedkar) have been uploaded on the site.


Incentives for teachers posted in remote areas

Teachers in Haryana to get additional benefits. (photo TOI)

School teachers posted in remote areas of Haryana will get incentives and those staying far away from their home will be provided accommodation under a new transfer policy, chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar said on Sunday.

“To improve the quality of education in rural areas a Teachers’ Training Programme has been launched and the process of teachers’ recruitment to regular posts is underway,” he said.

Khattar was speaking at a panel discussion on ‘Innovation – the need of the hour in schools’ after inaugurating Vega Global School in Gurgaon.

“To fulfil the vision of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Haryana Government is working to provide quality education to the students,” he said. “Assessment of government school teachers is being done and those who perform well would be felicitated,” the Chief Minister was quoted as saying in a press release.

He also announced various projects for Gurgaon district including a new bus-stand, workshop on 83 acres land and a Justice Tower to be built over 7.5 acres at a cost of Rs 75 crore.

Addressing a public meeting, Khattar said, “Public works (building and roads) minister, Rao Narbir Singh, demanded setting up of Gurgaon Development Authority. Since the matter is in court, the government would bring in a new Bill to remove this hindrance.”

 He announced a number of projects including a university in Kakrola village, girls’ college in Manesar and a hospital in Badshahpur.
 The chief minister said Rs 45 crore would be spent on different development works in all Assembly constituencies falling under Gurgaon district.
The state budget has been increased from Rs 69,000 crore to Rs 88,000 crore, under which each Assembly constituency would get more than Rs 200 crore for development works, he said.
 Reiterating his policy of ‘zero tolerance towards corruption’, Khattar said his government has made provision for social auditing under which a team would be constituted for giving approvals to development works.

a centre to develop Indian sign language, PM Narendra Modi says

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (PTI photo)

A centre would soon be established to develop Indian sign language, and the government is “fully committed” to achieving empowerment and inclusion of disabled people, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said.

“My government is fully committed to the UN Convention of Rights for Persons with Disabilities, for achieving empowerment and inclusion of persons with disabilities,” Modi said in his message ahead of the 9th World Assembly of the Disabled People’s International (DPI) to be held on April 11-13 in New Delhi.

“The cost of exclusion of people with disability from the workforce is 3-7 per cent of the GDP, as per World Bank estimates. Initiatives such as ‘Accessibility India’ campaign aim to male the built environment inclusive for persons with disabilities. We are also making Indian Railways accessible and starting a centre to develop Indian sign language,” he said.

Thaawar Chand Gehlot, minister for social justice and empowerment, will address the plenary session of the event that is being supported by the UN and G3ICT.

G3ict or Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies is an advocacy initiative launched in December 2006 by the UN Global Alliance for ICT and Development, in cooperation with the Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at UN department of economic and social affairs.

In March 2016, the government’s “Inclusiveness and Accessibility Index” — that measured actions and attitudes of organisations towards disabled employees — called for enabling access to them in buildings and workplaces, public transportation etc.

Javed Abidi, the global chair of DPI which has members from over 150 countries, said “rebuilding and retro-fitting to accommodate people with disability must be discouraged”.

“Accessibility has to be built into both public and private sector procurement. Otherwise the disabled people cannot even get education, let alone employment,” he said.

 Over 70 DPI representatives from all over the world would speak at the event — including Yuri Afanasiev, UN resident coordinator and UNDP resident representative in India, Yes Bank managing director and CEO Rana Kapoor, and American India Foundation country director Nishant Pandey.
 The theme of the three-day event is “Building Human Capital: Realizing SDGs for Persons with Disabilities”.
 The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted by the UN in September 2015. The 17 goals and 169 targets aim to eradicate extreme poverty, among others. There are 11 mentions of disability in the entire document but none in the most crucial goals.
 The discussion will focus on a disability inclusive blueprint for Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development.

SC allows common entrance test for medical courses, recalls its 2013 order

The Supreme Court on Monday paved the way for implementation of National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET) for medical courses across the country.

The top court set aside its 2013 order by which the common entrance test for admissions to MBBS, BDS and PG courses in all medical colleges was quashed.

Hearing a review petition on NEET, the top court said it will hear the case afresh on validity of the common entrance test. “Till the matter is decided NEET can be implemented,” the top court said.

The Supreme Court had, in June 2013, had ruled that the Medical Council of India (MCI)’s notification for holding common entrance tests for MBBS, BDS and post-graduate medical courses as invalid. A three-judge bench by a 2:1 verdict held that the notification was against the Constitution.

The court had ruled that the MCI did not have the jurisdiction to enforce common entrance test (CET) on private medical colleges and that the move could also violate constitutional guarantee to minority communities to establish and manage their own educational institutions.


Children of illegal immigrants blocked from enrolling in US schools

Some districts in US are blocking school admission of immigrant children. (photo TOI)

Immigrant children living in US without legal status have been blocked from registering for school and accessing the educational services they need, according to a report on school districts in four states by Georgetown University Law Center researchers.

Such students have faced long enrollment delays and have been turned away from classrooms as the result of some districts’ arbitrary interpretations of residency rules and state laws, the researchers said.

All children including those living in the US illegally must attend school through at least the 8th grade or until they turn 16 under compulsory education laws in all 50 states. Many states allow students to enroll beyond that age, according to the Education Commission of the States.

But some districts’ elaborate paperwork requirements effectively have kept immigrant youth out of school, while lack of translation and interpretation services have left their families uninformed about the process, the report found.

The Obama administration’s efforts to find and deport the tens of thousands of unaccompanied Central American children and families who arrived during the 2014 surge of illegal crossings have further complicated the situation, prompting some students to avoid school for fear that they will be picked up by authorities, the report’s authors said.

“US law is clear on this point no child in the United States should be excluded from public education,” said Mikaela Harris, a Georgetown law student who co-wrote the study issued by the university’s Human Rights Institute and the nonprofit Women’s Refugee Commission. “That doesn’t always play out in practice.”

In May 2014, then-Education Secretary Arne Duncan issued joint guidance with the Justice Department reminding districts that a 1982 Supreme Court ruling gives all children the right to enroll in school, regardless of immigration status.

 The report, which studied school districts in Florida, New York, Texas and North Carolina, calls for a strengthening of federal outreach to districts unaccustomed to serving newcomer populations and better assurances that educational access continues amid immigration enforcement. Researchers said they had presented their recommendations to the Department of Education.
 “We remain vigilant about our responsibility to protect the civil rights of all students, including immigrant students, undocumented students and unaccompanied immigrant students,” Education Department spokeswoman Dorie Nolt said. “We have provided a number of resources to communities in order to do so.”
 The agency is committed to working with federal agencies and community organizations to address any issues, she added.
 US Immigration Customs and Enforcement spokesman Bryan Cox said he had not seen the report so could not comment on it, but said agency policy in general precludes any enforcement activity at schools and other sensitive locations.

BJP in Delhi seeks resumption of services of teachers

Lieutenant governor Najeeb Jung. (photo TOI)

Opposition leader in Delhi Assembly Vijender Gupta on Monday met Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung and sought resumption of services of 2500 contractual teachers who were recently terminated.

Gupta along with other BJP MLAs Om Prakash Sharma and Jagdish Pradhan, also participated in a teachers’ protest outside the residence of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

 “These teachers were recruited years ago under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and were recently served termination notice. They were informed by the Delhi government that they were disengaged due to non-continuation of the posts by HRD Ministry,” Gupta said during his address to the protesters.
 “It is highly motivated and mischievous to say that the central government had done away with their services. Subsequent to termination of the services of contractual teachers under the schemem nearly 2.5 lakhs students are being denied education,” he claimed.

The opposition leaders submitted a memorandum to Jung, asking that he should impress upon the Delhi government to resume the services of 2,500 teachers under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan without any further delay.

 “LG gave a patient hearing to the leaders and assured to look into the matter,” Delhi BJP said in

Can’t conduct common test this year: Medical Council of India

The country has more than 400 medical colleges in the private and government sector offering MBBS courses.

The Medical Council of India will not be able to conduct the National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET) for medical courses across the country this year, council vice-chairman Dr C V Bhirmanandham told TOI on Monday.

Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court had cleared the decks for NEET by setting aside its 2013 order by which the common test for admissions to MBBS, BDS and PG courses in all medical colleges was quashed. “Till the matter is decided, NEET can be implemented,” the SC said while hearing a review petition.

 Bhirmanandham said the council has to issue fresh notifications if it wants to conduct the test for all states. Even if the notification comes within a week, students may not have enough time to prepare. “There is no uniformity in education across India and it may be unfair to ask students to appear for a common test which will be based on the CBSE syllabus, without giving them adequate time to prepare,” he said.
 In addition, the council should also talk to states like Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh which have been resisting the regulation since it was introduced. Tamil Nadu, for instance, said a common entrance will be a disadvantage to rural students as they would not have access to coaching centres. The state admits students to medical colleges based on Class 12 marks and 69% reservation after giving 15% of the seats to the all-India quota.
 Tamil Nadu had challenged the MCI’s decision stating its admission process under the Tamil Nadu Regulation of Admission in Professional Courses Act, 2006 precedes the MCI regulation that mandates a common test. “We have to come to a consensus with the state and issue fresh notification before the exams in May. That looks impractical,” Bhirmanandham said.
 The country has more than 400 medical colleges in the private and government sector offering MBBS courses. An instituition like the CBSE will have to organise question papers, examination centres and human resources to conduct the exam for several lakhs of medical aspirants, Bhirmanandam said.


Month before multiple medical entrance exams, SC brings back common test

Since 2013, state governments and private colleges have conducted separate examinations for these.Just a month before separate entrance tests are to be held for government and private medical colleges, the Supreme Court on Monday revived the common entrance examination – National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET) – putting lakhs of students in confusion.

A Constitution bench of Justices A R Dave, A K Sikri, R K Agrawal, A K Goel and R Banumathi recalled a controversial judgment delivered on July 18, 2013 which had quashed NEET. It said the “majority verdict” delivered by then Chief Justice Altamas Kabir did not consider an earlier SC judgment that was binding on the bench, nor had he consulted other members of his bench.

Justice Dave, who was part of the bench headed by Justice Kabir, had dissented strongly, complaining that he was not consulted, possibly because of paucity of time as the then CJI had delivered the verdict a day before his retirement. Justice Dave had then ruled in favour of NEET, but Justices Kabir and Vikramjit Sen quashed the test.

 Monday’s decision is seen as a shot in the arm for efforts to weed out malpractices in admissions, such as capitation fees and discretionary criteria, used by private colleges to indulge in profiteering by circumventing a merit-based selection system for allotment of MBBS, BDS and PG seats.
 Lakhs of students appear for medical entrance examinations for admission to more than 400 colleges every year to compete for more than 52,000 MBBS seats. Since 2013, state governments and private colleges have conducted separate examinations for these.
 Monday’s order leaves Medical Council of India with the onerous task of conducting the NEET at a short notice as students have already filled out forms for several entrance tests. Immediately after judgment reviving the NEET was pronounced in open court the recalling the previous order, stunned lawyers, appearing for private colleges, pleaded that the SC clarify the consequences.
 The bench replied that “natural consequence” was that NEET comes into force. It said the court would give a fresh hearing on constitutional validity of NEET but in the meantime, the exam will be restored. The lawyers then pleaded that the MCI’s notification to bring NEET back be stayed till its validity was decided afresh and said that in 2013, too, an interim stay was given. The bench, however, rejected the plea saying the interim order was only for one academic session and it could not continue. “After giving our thoughtful and due consideration, we are of the view that the judgment delivered in Christian Medical College needs reconsideration,” the bench said.

CBSE National Eligibility Test December 2015 results declared

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) on Tuesday announced the results of the National Eligibility Test (NET) examination conducted on December 27, 2015.

The candidates can access their results on the official website:

 This year, the UGC NET is scheduled to be held July 10. The test will be conducted in 83 subjects at 88 selected NET examination cities across the country.
 The NET exam is held twice a year. The examination took place in 88 centres across the country.
 Since last year, the responsibility to conduct the NET exam was given to the CBSE by the Human Resources Development ministry because the country’s university regulator expressed its inability to conduct an exam of this level.
 The exam is conducted twice a year to select candidates for assistant Professor/Lecturer and for Junior Research Fellowships in colleges and universities across the country.

Candidates registering for MPhil or PhD before July 2009 will be exempted from NET

The UGC has decided that candidates who have registered for M Phil or PhDs prior to July 11, 2009, will be exempted from clearing NET exam to become eligible for the post of assistant professor if they fulfill certain other conditions.

The move would help thousands of PhD holders who had been affected by a UGC guideline that came in 2009 making NET and PhD a minimum eligibility criteria for applying for assistant professor in colleges and universities.

HRD minister Smriti Irani said that this decision will help in recruitments for various posts.

According to the UGC decision, candidates registered for M Phil and PhD prior to July 11, 2009 shall be exempted from the requirement of the minimum eligibility condition of NET or State Level Eligibility Tests for recruitment and appointment of Assistant Professor if they fulfil some other conditions.

Among the conditions laid down is that their PhD degrees should be awarded in regular mode only and the evaluation of the thesis should be done by at least two external examiners.

Other conditions include that open PhD viva voice of the candidate had been conducted and there should be two research publications from his or her PhD work. The candidate should also have made at least two presentations in conferences or seminars.

These accomplishments are to be certified by the Vice-Chancellor, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Dean (Academic Affairs) or Dean (University Instructions).

UGC chairman Ved Prakash said that while there is a shortage of faculty in institutions of higher education, this move will help in allowing many candidates apply for teaching positions.

 At the interaction here, Irani also said that by next week, the matter related to Academic Performance Indicator (API) scores, on the basis of which teachers are granted promotions, will be brought forth in public.
 The HRD minister, however, added that she feels that the promotion of a teacher should be conjoined with the performance of the class.

On a question related to NIT Srinagar, Irani said that her ministry’s officers will stay there till exams are conducted. Those who wanted postponement will also be facilitated, she said.

 Asked about the decision to fly national flag prominently at University Campuses, Irani said it was VCs who at a conference had passed this resolution.