NAAC, NIRF rankings meaningless. Institutes need to develop brand equity: Former UGC Vice-Chairman H Devaraj
NAAC, NIRF rankings meaningless. Institutes need to develop brand equity: Former UGC Vice-Chairman H Devaraj | Prajanma Das | Edex Live | 23rd January 2020 | Opinion |
He said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also asked him about the NAAC grades and he had to reply honestly even though he had been the chairman of NAAC at one point.
The National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) grades and National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) rankings are “meaningless” and are not the only good markers of quality education, said Former Vice-Chairman of the University Grants Commission, Dr H Devaraj while speaking at the National Level Education Administrators Conclave at the MOP Vaishnav College For Women in Chennai. The central theme of the Conclave was to discuss the way forward for the Indian institutions to be included in the list of top 200 institutions worldwide. In a startlingly candid statement, Dr Devaraj said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also asked him about the NAAC grades and he had to reply honestly. “He asked me if I could compare Amity University with Jawaharlal Nehru University — both have the same NAAC grade. But they are not on par. I had to say the fact. Recognition should come from the people. NIRF is also meaningless,” he said and emphasised that each institution should develop its brand equity. Devaraj had served as NAAC Chairman in 2014-15.
He asked Mangat Ram Sharma, Principal Secretary of the Tamil Nadu Higher Education Department, who was also present at the inaugural session, to make sure that only good teachers are selected. “I think we need to change the selection process. Everywhere I go, across the country, they (institutions) show me the gadgets they use or the AC rooms and hi-tech additions they have made recently. But they don’t show me the human resource — the teacher, who is an important component of the education system and is going to be there for the next 30 years. If we make one mistake (in selecting the right teacher) now it will reflect in the next 30 generations,” said the professor who was the Head of the Department of Biotechnology at University of Madras before he joined as the Vice-Chairman of the UGC. He emphasised the need for teachers and students to bond over their academics as the way to effective learning, “The teachers need to connect with the students — not just the toppers but with the backbenchers as well. There is something called the focal length of the students. A teacher needs to recognise that and help the students focus better. A teacher is a permanent student who needs to learn their entire life,” he added.
Mangat Ram Sharma too, while delivering his keynote address, agreed that the quality of teachers in a large number of higher education institutions is “pathetic”. “When we were promoting people for the Career Advancement Scheme of the UGC, most of the associate or assistant professors would come with bulky reports but had no publications in good journals. We are trying to bring a system into force that will allow the VCs and academicians to select the teachers instead of the teacher recruitment board, which is in itself a low-profile committee,” he said. “We have the numbers when it comes to universities. We need to enhance their quality — the good mixture of our conservative value standards with modern technology. Autonomous institutions like MOP Vaishnav show that it definitely pays off. Whenever we sit down for a meeting with VCs they always say that autonomy is good. And we agree. But as the head of the institutions are they giving their faculty that autonomy? No. Even for a project approved by the UGC or the DST has to be cleared by the VC. That has to change. Lack of internal autonomy can kill creativity as well,” said Sharma. He also added that we need younger VCs to connect better with the Gen-Y and understand their requirements better. – Courtesy
India to train researchers in how to spot predatory journals | Times Higher Education | January 21, 2020 | Jack Grove |
India’s decision to require all PhD students to learn how to spot predatory publications as part of mandatory research integrity training has been welcomed by campaigners. Under new guidelines published by India’s University Grants Commission (UGC), universities will be required to offer a 30-hour training course on research and publication ethics to PhD students before they can begin their studies. The course will include modules on scientific misconduct, research integrity and research metrics, as well as hands-on sessions on how to identify predatory publications and research misconduct. It follows concerns over apparently high levels of research misconduct in India, where almost 1,000 papers have been retracted in recent years, of which 33 per cent were withdrawn because of plagiarism, according to a recent Nature report. A sample of papers taken from predatory journals in 2017 also found that most came from India – where such publications are often based. Anup Kumar Das, a researcher at the Centre for Science Policy at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, told Times Higher Education that the policy was a “welcome move to offer a uniform and structured curriculum for Indian researchers”.
“The proposed new course will not only help them in understanding the best practices but also save them from publishing in bogus or predatory journals,” said Dr Das, who added that “existing compulsory research methodology courses have not equipped the doctoral students to practise responsible research [on a] par with the global standards”. Dr Das said the pre-doctoral course should “facilitate improving the scholarship in Indian universities and research institutions”, but added that “similar short-term courses should also be introduced for the in-service faculty members and scientists”. Kasturi Chopra, president of India’s Society for Scientific Values, which has campaigned for better research integrity practices, told THE that he was “happy that our UGC has finally understood the need for a suitable official document” on research integrity. “Rapidly rising cases of unethical practices in science and technology publications globally [show] the need for exposure of undergraduate and postgraduate students to research ethics,” said Professor Chopra, a former director of the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur.
However, he criticised the new guidelines as “poor and inadequate”, claiming that its advice to “teach academic ethics for two hours a week in a semester, followed by an examination, reflects the old-fashioned ‘teaching rather than learning’ process”. Instead, universities should set out how they intend to “nurture ethical values” by encouraging open and regular discussion of research integrity – among both faculty and students, said Professor Chopra. Many universities in the UK, Europe and the US require PhD students to undertake research integrity training, but this is not generally mandated by state-wide funding agencies. Owen Gower, director of the UK Council for Graduate Education, said research ethics training was important, but “research ethics and integrity also require the broader research culture to reflect the values and standards we expect from our postgraduate researchers”. “Mark Walport [chief executive of UK Research and Innovation] recently pointed out that we have a ‘hypercompetitive’ research environment, which leads to ‘too much bad behaviour’,” said Dr Gower, adding that “postgraduate researchers are not immune from that, and it can’t be fixed by ethics training alone”. – Courtesy / UGC Circular – Published on 26-12-2019 – UGC Letter reg.: Two Credit Courses for awareness about Publication Ethics and Publication Misconduct, 4 pages, pdf
The National Institute of Technical Teachers Training and Research (NITTTR) AICTE Released Comprehensive Training Policy for Technical Teachers | New Delhi | 17 January 2020 |
A portal under National Initiative for Technical Teachers Training has been launched on 12 January 2020 by Hon’ble Minister of Human Resources Development, Government of India. It aims to promote quality of Technical Teachers ( New inductees and less than 5 years servivce ) through 8 online courses made available on http://nittt.ac.in/
IITs and NITs will now be ranked on how many women they educate and employ | Business Insider |Prerna Sindwani | Jan 16, 2020|
The ministry of science and technology will now rank institutions — offering STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) education — on gender equality, according to the Times of India report. As many as 20 Indian institutions — including the premier Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and National Institutes of Science (NITs) — have joined hands to facilitate it. The ministry will rate the institutions as gold, silver and bronze based on the number of women scientists, faculty and research fellows. The move is aimed to ‘recruit, retain and promote’ women in the STEM education sector. Indian universities should strive to achieve something that has been taking for granted for long – gender equality. To ensure that they do, the ministry of science and technology will now rank institutions — on gender equality, according to the Times of India report. These ranks however will be for those offering STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) courses. As many as 20 Indian institutions — including Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and National Institutes of Science (NITs) — have joined hands to facilitate it. The government aims to rope in over 90 institutions as a part of the new grading system. “Our policy will initially include 20 institutes which will adopt a self-assessment process to develop an accreditation model to help identify gender gaps and barriers to progression faced by women in science based on interviews with them,” Sanjay-Mishra, head of KIRAN division at the department of science and technology (DST) told TOI. DST, along with British Council, will give ratings to institutions. The ministry will rate the institutions as gold, silver and bronze based on the number of women across verticals — including science faculty, research fellows and scientists and those sent for PhD programmes. Gold accreditation will recognise institutions that have attained gender equality in its educational programmes — and act as role models to those promoting women participation. Sliver, on the other hand will recognise those institutions that are implementing practices to overcome challenges in gender neutral approach and bronze will list those institutions that are working to promote equality. *What accelerated the development?
India slipped four spots to 112th in the Global Gender Gap Index 2020 , according to the World Economic Forum — which said that it will take nearly 100 years to attain gender parity across education, healthcare, politics and economy. The move is aimed to ‘recruit, retain and promote’ women in STEM areas. As per the report, women constitute merely 15% of faculty positions in science. In the research programmes, women account for a third of the PhD awardees. “This will definitely give a much needed thrust to the inclusion of women in academia. However a key challenge will be to define the terms of how institutions will effectively measure gender equality. They should not merely execute gender equality on paper, rather it should ensure inclusion in education and employment,” Neeti Sharma, VP, TeamLease Services told Business Insider. In fact, women constitute only 5% of the total research fellows at the Indian National Science Academy (INSA). The total budget of the project is ₹8 crore. – Courtesy
Hyderabad: ‘Practice School’ at engineering colleges | DECCAN CHRONICLE. | BALU PULIPAKA | Jan 7, 2020 |
Plan to use classroom lessons in real life situations.
Hyderabad: Engineering colleges in Telangana are likely to introduce a ‘Practice School’ programme that provides opportunities to students to use concepts learnt in the classroom in real life situations. The programme also aims at sensitizing students to workplace behaviour with them performing time bound tasks and projects as would be the case if they were employees in a company. Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University which oversees engineering education in the State is actively considering introduction of the programme from next year, IT, Industries and Municipal Administration Minister KT Rama Rao said on Monday. Germany has a similar programme and it should be introduced in the engineering curriculum here, he said. “IT is no longer about Information Technology. The time has come to redefine it as ‘Intelligence Technology’,” Mr Rama Rao said. He was addressing the inaugural session of the four-day 7th International Conference on Transfor-mations in Engineering Education here in the city at Anurag Group of Institutions Campus at Venkatapur. Mr Rama Rao listed various initiatives launched by the State Government to strengthen engineering education including the Telangana Academy of Skills and Knowledge which has so far trained 2.9 lakh students and trained 5,070 faculty members in various skill sets. TASK arose from complaints from the industry which pointed out the need for skill sets among students seeking employment. “TASK will expand its foot print to tier-2 and 3 cities like Warangal, Nizamabad, Karimnagar, Khammam, and Nalgonda,” he said.
The Telangana Government is committed for quality in all stages of education. The state has 220 Engineering colleges with an intake of 1.2 lakh students in various streams. The government had to make some tough calls to stem deterioration of engineering education standards in the State. “We appointed a committee and inspected the standards. It was a tough call. But our surprise the number of colleges have not come down drastically,” he said. Referring to Hyderabad, he said the city is now not just know for its IT services but also as a hub for electronics manufacturing, emerging technologies, defence and aerospace sectors. “Our vision is to foster innovation driven economy in Telangana,” Mr Rama Rao said. Education Minister Sabita Indira Reddy, MLC and chairman of Anurag Group of Institutions Dr Palla Rajeshwar Reddy, deputy director, AGI and conference chair Dr. G. Vishnu Murthy, executive director of Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) Dr Michael Mulligan were among those who addressed the event. – Courtesy
Kerala: Now, engineering students can intern at local bodies | Times of India | Aswin J Kumar | TNN | Dec 30, 2019 |
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Engineering graduates and postgraduates can now do internship in local self government institutions (LSGI ) as well as project management units and related institutions under LSGD at a monthly stipend starting from Rs 10,000. The joint collaboration between department of higher education and LSGD is being implemented as part of making use of engineering students’ skills in resolving technical issues related to LSGD and to create job opportunities. Various meetings were convened earlier to facilitate the collaboration and launch internship in LSGIs for engineering students. The project also aims at availing consultancy service in various fields from the faculties in engineering colleges. Those who complete their courses in government, aided, self-financing engineering colleges can apply for internship in local bodies and in related institutions like KILA, Suchitwa Mission, MGNREGA, Clean Kerala company, Amrut mission management unit etc. The internship will be for a period of one year. The graduates and postgraduates will get monthly stipend of Rs 10,000 and Rs 15,000, respectively. Registration for internship can be done via ASAP (additional skill acquisition programme). Block panchayats and municipalities will offer internship for two civil engineering students each while gram panchayats will offer internship for one civil engineering student. In district panchayats and corporations, internship will be available for two civil engineering students, one student each from electrical engineering and mechanical/automobile engineering wing.
LSGD additional chief secretary T K Jose has directed local body heads to register on state internship portal of ASAP and record details of areas and projects where internship can be done in respective local bodies or institutions. A nodal officer will be appointed for facilitating internship. LSGD has also directed local bodies to make opportunities for students to do project works related to their curriculum in local bodies. Engineering startup units suiting the needs of LSGIs shall be opened in all engineering colleges. Plans and projects will be prepared in local bodies in a way that could make use of the skills of students applying for internship. The engineers in local bodies will issue a structured programme for students coming up with internships and project works. The details of project works and internships will be published on LSGD website. The engineering wing will do regular assessment and give feedback to ASAP and higher education department. The project also moots consultancy by faculty of engineering colleges based on approved fees for various projects being implemented by local bodies. – Courtesy / KTU Circular – LSGD- Availing the services of Students and Teachers of Engineering Colleges for LSGs-Guidelines-Govt Order Isued
India is world’s third largest producer of scientific articles: Report | PTI | Times of India | 18 December 2019 |
As per the statistics compiled by the US National Science Foundation (NSF), the number of scientific papers published worldwide increased from 1,755,850 in 2008 to 2,555,959 in 2018. The other countries which made it to the top 10 list are Germany (1,04,396), Japan (98,793), UK (97,681), Russia (81,579), Italy (71,240), South Korea (66,376) and France (66,352).
WASHINGTON: With over 1.35 lakh scientific papers published, India has become the world’s third largest publisher of science and engineering articles, according to a US government agency data, topped by China. As per the statistics compiled by the US National Science Foundation (NSF), the number of scientific papers published worldwide increased from 1,755,850 in 2008 to 2,555,959 in 2018. The global research output, as measured by peer-reviewed science and engineering (S&E) journal articles and conference papers, grew about four per cent annually over the last 10 years. The data, which was released on Tuesday, stated that in 2008, India published 48,998 science and engineering articles. This increased to 1,35,788 articles in 2018 at an average annual growth rate of 10.73 per cent and the country now accounts for 5.31 per cent of the total world publications in science and engineering. China, which accounts for 20.67 per cent of all global publications in scientific articles, is at the top position, followed by the US at 16.54 per cent. In China, the number of global scientific publications increased from 2,49,049 in 2008 to 5,28,263 in 2018, at a growth rate of 7.81 per cent per annum.
The US, the total global publications in science and engineering articles grew at a rate of 0.71 per cent from 3,93,979 in 2008 to 4,22,808 in 2018. Though a long way to go, as compared to the US and China in terms of the number of scientific article publications, India’s emergence as third largest publisher is mainly due to a phenomenal double-digit growth rate in the last one decade from 2008 to 2018, the report noted. The other countries which made it to the top 10 list are Germany (1,04,396), Japan (98,793), UK (97,681), Russia (81,579), Italy (71,240), South Korea (66,376) and France (66,352). According to the report, China’s rate of research output has grown almost twice as fast as the world’s annual average for the last 10 years, while the output of the US and the European Union (EU) has grown at less than half the world’s annual growth rate. Research papers from the US and the EU continue to have the most impact; however, China has shown a rapid increase in producing impactful publications, as measured by references to journal articles and conference papers. Specialisation in scientific fields differs among countries, with the US, the EU and Japan more specialised in health sciences and China and India more specialised in engineering, as measured by journal articles and conference papers. “China and India have increased their share of the growing world output,” the report said. China produced five per cent of the global output in 2000 and grew to 21 per cent in 2018; India’s share rose from two per cent to five per cent during this period. “Among the 15 largest publication producers, countries with higher than average growth rates include South Korea (four per cent), Brazil (five per cent), China (eight per cent), Russia (10 per cent), India (11 per cent) and Iran (11 per cent),” the report said. *Read more on* National Science Foundation science South Korea engineering research paper. Courtesy / Take a Look at the NSF Report Executive Summary / NSF Report : Publication Output, by Region, Country, or Economy
Karnataka: Engineering graduates could soon teach science, math in govt schools | Sandeep Moudgal & Santosh Kumar R B | TNN | Updated: Dec 18, 2019 |
BENGALURU: The state government is contemplating recruiting engineering graduates for teaching posts in government schools to bridge a massive shortage in science and maths teachers. As per government figures, 5,553 science and maths teacher posts (Class 6-8) have been vacant since 2017 in government schools. While science is the highest, English language teacher vacancies stand at 4,340. Interestingly, a staggering 315 science and maths teacher posts are vacant in schools in Shivamogga — the home district of chief minister BS Yediyurappa. The problem points to a sorry state of affairs on the jobs front on the one hand, and indicates all is not well with the education department on the other. As one official indicates, teaching jobs are the last resort of the schooled, simply because the pay is generally meagre and teachers are undervalued and overworked. Pushy parents and the inability to discipline unruly students make it a no-go zone. Much like getting doctors to work in rural areas, the problem is not going to go away even if salaries are raised. What it requires is a big shift in public attitude to the value of good schooling.
Currently, only pure science and Bachelor of Education (BEd) graduates, who pass the Teachers Eligibility Test (TET), are eligible to apply for teachers’ jobs in government schools. “Not many pure science graduates or BEd graduates get the requisite cut-off marks to be eligible to appear for the TET which is the main reason for the shortage of teachers,” said SR Umashankar, principal secretary for primary and secondary education. “As per norms, pure science or BEd graduates from pure sciences have to secure a minimum of 50% in physics, chemistry and mathematics to qualify for TET.” Umashankar said the department plans to recruit engineering graduates, preferably those having science and mathematics background, to bridge the scarcity. Primary and secondary education minister S Suresh Kumar said lateral entry would be given to engineering graduates who have completed the BEd course. “But all decisions will be taken post December 19,” Kumar said. Another reason for the shortage is only about 5% of graduates who appear for TET every year, pass. In June 2019, as many as 51,888 aspirants applied for graduate primary school teachers’ recruitment examinations across the state including for science.
The scenario is worse in the backward districts of Kalyana Karnataka. In Ballari district for instance, where there are about 316 vacancies, an average of three graduates pass the test. Similarly in Bidar, only two aspirants qualify. The district has 312 vacancies. However, Umashankar said nothing has been finalised as yet and the department is still considering modalities. “We are thinking of relaxing norms for teaching jobs. We are also discussing whether engineering graduates should be exempted from appearing for TET. A final decision is yet to be taken and the matter is before the primary and secondary education minister,” he said. The government believes many engineering graduates will apply due to a lack of jobs in the engineering sector. “When the job market was at a high, engineers dismissed teaching jobs and went on to seek employment in their core industry. However, with unemployment rate high, we expect engineering graduates to apply for teaching jobs in droves,” said a senior education department official. – Courtesy
UGC To Introduce National Academic Credit Bank (NAC-Bank) Of Students | ND TV | Education | Edited by Shihabudeen Kunju S | December 11, 2019 |
The NAC-Bank will serve as an online storehouse of student’s data and their credits earned.
New Delhi: The University Grants Commission or UGC, initiated the concept of National Academic Credit Bank (NAC-BANK) which will be a digital entity to be established and managed by the higher education regulator. The main objective of the NAC-Bank would be to facilitate student mobility across the education system wherein the credits can be accumulated and be used at alter point of time for the requirements of partial fulfilment of a degree program, according to the UGC. The Commission has released a concept note on NAC-BANK on the UGC website. It has also invited the views and suggestions from all Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) including teacher, students, education personnel, eminent educationist and public at large on the National Academic Credit Bank (NAC-BANK) by December 20, 2019.
What is a NAC-Bank?
The NAC-Bank may be a service provider available to desirous student community. It may facilitate the integration of the campuses and distributed learning systems, by creating student mobility within inter and intra university system. The NAC-Bank may help in seamlessly integrating skills and experiences into a credit based formal system by providing a credit recognition mechanism. The NAC-Bank may function like a commercial bank with students as account holders and customers to whom the bank provides a variety of services including credit verification / degree authentication. The NAC-Bank will be linked to National Academic Depository (NAD).
The NAC-Bank may provide deposit accounts to all the students who are studying in any recognized Higher Education Institute. The academic credits earned by a student in the system can be automatically credited to their account and after accumulation of credits to certain level(s) a student can accrue and redeem the credits for any academic program at any convenient time. Here, academic program is an educational program leading to the award of a degree, diploma or certificate. The NAC-Bank will serve as an online storehouse of student’s data and their credits earned. This will facilitate students who want to consolidate their academic records for employment or educational purposes. The NAC-Bank may also be helpful to employers or institutions to recognize the already earned credits by the concerned student and to all institutional members of the system. All credits required for an award of certification will be available through NAC-Bank educational transcript. The transcript may also mention specific grades to indicate performance level of the concerned student for each module or unit or for whole qualification and it may also reveal how difficult the particular module was. – Courtesy / Take a Look at UGC Public Notice reg.: Concept on National Academic Credit Bank (NAK-BANK) , 10 pages,pdf
UGC plans to crack whip on ‘pay & publish’ PhD market | Times of India | Jaipur | 12 December 2019 |
Jaipur: University Grants Commission (UGC ) vice-president Bhushan Patwardhan said on Tuesday that the state should take prompt action against ill-practices by various private universities. On the side-lines of the Association of Indian Universities West Zone meeting held in Jaipur on Wednesday, Patwardhan said that UGC is planning to bring a major change to streamline the PhD programme. “Soon, the errant practices of pay and publish journals will dry up. Our initiatives like listing of noted journals where the candidates can publish their work intended to get the academic credit. The journal is further get evaluated by the UGC journal evaluation cell at Pune,” said Patwardhan. He told that they have filed a police compliant against the publishers showing zero tolerance on the corrupt practices. Rajasthan has highest number of private universities in the country and some of them especially located in the interiors have been indulge in selling PhD degrees by enrolling candidates from far flung areas.
Reacting on the shortage of funds for universities and declining quality of education due to funds, Patwardhan asked the universities to take advantage of its scheme STRIDE and avail a grant Rs 1 crore. “This grant is also for the emerging new universities with an aim to build a human resource,” said Patwardhan. Former vice chancellor of Central University of Rajasthan, MM Salunkhe who is presently the president of Association of Indian Universities (AIU) has told that they have expressed their apprehension over some provisions of the new education policy. “The provision which says that universities will have no affiliated colleges will reduce the intellectual width and size of the universities. Here in the meeting we will discuss ways to raise our apprehension to the central government,” said Salunkhe. – Courtesy