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Government patronage crucial for thriving of libraries

THE HANS INDIA |   Nov 21,2017 | Prof N Laxman Rao |

In India, engineering education lacks quality and only less than 24% graduates are employable. Similar is the situation in other professional courses. Research, especially PhD theses, are also lingering with a comment of lack of quality and plagiarism.  The reasons for this situation in this country may be due to lack of teachers, infrastructure and accountability. Lack of quality is a consequence of non-achievement of exalted objectives of education, resulting in lack of knowledge/capabilities in learners.  Libraries and librarians can make a difference and improve the quality, both in education and research, by providing access to authentic information to faculty, researchers and students. It is a known fact that information is a commodity the cost of which is increasing year after year. Libraries are community centres which make all efforts to provide needy information. Now-a-days, libraries are being neglected by governments as well as institutions, allocating meagre budgets, which lead to cutting down on subscriptions to high quality magazines and journals.  Even text books are old but they are procured as new editions. MHRD/ UGC gives funds to provide journals to select universities. From 2018, such subscriptions will also be stopped, putting institutions in great distress. Under N-List, about 7,000 journals and about two lakhs of e-books were given by INFLIBNET at nominal subscription, which will also be discontinued. The government has also started levying GST on subscriptions, which increased increased burden on libraries going for subscriptions.

The MHRD/UGC should prepare standardised plans for resource sharing for enhanced access to published information, library resources, research data, at least among public-funded institutions. The government does not seem to have any serious plans for optimising access to knowledge resources available in institutions.  IIT-Delhi spends about Rs 16 crore a year on purchase of resources. One can imagine the total amount spent at least by government-funded institutions and it is the duty of funding agencies to see that every paisa is optimally used.  The Concept of Open Access (OA) can make lots of authentic resources (journals, books, research articles) available at free of cost. USA and many countries have made it mandatory to publish all public-funded research output in OA journals. But India is yet to adopt such policy widely, barring one or two departments. Such apathy of the government has resulted in purchase of public-funded data/output at enormous cost.

The government is guided by influential people but not knowledgeable professionals to make things move in right direction and resolve issues. The OA resources are generally authentic, as standard publishers are associated with them.  It is necessary to remember that last year they found that more than 990 journals published from India are predatory. One has to be cautious to publish and procure quality output.  When one looks at free books, there are three types of websites / digital libraries which give millions of books.  They are: copyright expired books, OA books, and pirated editions. The books include general/subject and text books. Single website may include both public domain and payment books.  For example, Hathi Trust Digital Library gives more than 16 million documents and 37% of them are in public domain. National Digital Library of India claims to have 65 lakh documents and every item is freely accessible.  If anyone searches Hathi Trust Digital Library, one may find about 19,000 documents on William Shakespeare, out of which over 11,000 are in public domain.  There are many such websites/digital libraries. www.pdfdrive.net has 300 million documents (public domain) wherein one may get needed resources free of cost. OA text books/ curriculum-based lessons are accessible. It may be worth to note that every website has its own norms and users should learn how to make use of them. The new trend is to make articles available – prior to their publication – at preprint websites which are free for consultation. These articles will have almost same information like published articles, which may be revised and published in journals at later time, which needs to be purchased. There are plenty of such resources on free online education sites, content pages. The librarians offer competent help to access such resources. They can also train readers in using the reference management tools, through which they can create list of references for research projects and organisation of citations into specific formats for preparation of manuscripts/bibliographies. The governments should establish and support the libraries at various levels to support quality education and research.  (Writer is President, Telangana Library Association) – Courtesy

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Engineering faculty unsure of getting CAS scheme benefits

The Hindu |  R. Sujatha | CHENNAI, November 20, 2017 |  Engg. faculty unsure of getting scheme benefits |

Scrutiny under career advancement scheme not complete

While arts and science college teachers are assured of the benefits due to them, including from the 7th Pay Commission revision, engineering faculty remain clueless about what is in store for them. Technical educators’ promotions and pay hikes are linked to their academic performance and the norms are determined by the All India Council for Technical Education. The council framed the Career Advancement Scheme (CAS) regulations in 2010 and it came into effect in 2012. But following complaints that the regulations were difficult to comply with, the norms were revised in 2016. According to a professor in an aided engineering college, a decade after the 6th Pay Commission recommendations were implemented, technical educators in the State had not benefitted. “CAS has always been an integral part of pay revision for college teachers. The scheme is aimed at encouraging teachers to improve teaching/learning methods, acquire higher qualifications, conduct extension service and research programmes. The scheme has been implemented for all college teachers in the State, except technical education teachers,” he rued.

No promotions

Members of the technical teachers’ associations say around 1,500 teachers in government engineering and polytechnic institutions have not received the CAS benefits.  “Those of us nearing retirement have not been considered for the promotion, despite being qualified. The 7th Pay Commission recommendations would soon be implemented but we may not benefit,” said a teacher from a technical college in the western region. Higher education secretary Sunil Paliwal said the department was currently scrutinising the applications of teachers and academic staff of Anna University. “Even professors in Anna University do not qualify going by the norms originally stipulated by the AICTE,” he said. The department has constituted a panel of experts in all disciplines for the upward movement of teachers and other academic staff, he said. One of the CAS norms is that the teachers should have undergone 21 days of training in an unbroken stretch. Often, teachers take up a few days of training/seminar at a time. The panel has recommended adding all the workshops to arrive at the number of days, said an official. Of the 1,884 applications it received from Anna University, scrutiny has been completed for 1,384. “As per the existing norms, 394 persons qualified. After the scrutiny based on revised norms, 248 more persons have been added to the list of eligible candidates,” Mr. Paliwal said. Scrutiny of the 500 other applications was in progress, he said, adding that a similar exercise will ensure that all eligible technical and engineering college teachers receive the CAS benefits. – Courtesy

Degrees and diplomas awarded by professional bodies till May in 2013 to be valid

Hindustan Times | HT Correspondent | New Delhi |   Nov 21, 2017 |

The AICTE restored their recognition, five years after HRD ministry withdrew recognition and equivalence of programmes offered by the bodies following complaints of alleged irregularities.

Degrees and diplomas in engineering and technology granted by professional bodies, including the Institution of Engineers (India), to thousands of students till May 31, 2013, stand valid “for all purposes” ranging from employment in government sector to higher education. The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has restored their recognition, approximately five years after the human resource development (HRD) ministry withdrew the recognition and equivalence of the programmes offered by the bodies following complaints of alleged irregularities.  The decision was taken at a recent “emergency meeting” of the council.

“All those students who were enrolled with these institutions with permanent recognition up to May 31, 2013, stand recognised,” said a senior AICTE official. “After reviewing the issue, a decision was taken to recognise equivalence for all purposes, including higher education and employment, to the technical courses conducted by the professional bodies and institutions which were duly recognised by HRD ministry with permanent recognition up to May 31, 2013,” the official added. The move will affect thousands of students who were left in the lurch after the ministry de-recognised the programmes in December 2012. – Courtesy

AICTE boon: Tech courses, degrees of Institution of Engineers restored –   Prakash Kumar, DH News Service, New Delhi, Nov 20 2017

The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has restored its recognition about five years after the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry withdrew recognition and equivalence of the programmes offered by these professional bodies, following complaints of irregularities.

Degrees and diplomas in engineering and technology granted by various professional bodies, including the Institution of Engineers (India), to thousands of students till May 31, 2013, are valid “for all purpose” ranging from employment in the government sector and higher education.  The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has restored its recognition about five years after the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry withdrew recognition and equivalence of the programmes offered by these professional bodies, following complaints of irregularities. “All those students who were enrolled with these institutions with permanent recognition up to May 31, 2013, stand recognized,” an AICTE official said. The decision to restore recognition and equivalence of the degree and diploma courses conducted by these professional bodies was taken at a recent “emergent meeting” of the Council. “The matter was reviewed and it was decided at the meeting to recognize equivalence, for all purposes including higher education and employment, of the technical courses conducted by the professional bodies and institutions which were duly recognized by HRD Ministry with permanent recognition up to May 31, 2013,” the official added. The AICTE’s decision would bring cheer to thousands of students whose future had been at stake since the HRD Ministry de-recognised the technical programmes conducted by the Institution of Engineers (India), Institution of Civil Engineers, Institute of Mechanical Engineers (India), Institution of Surveyors, College of Military Engineering, Aeronautical Society of India and others in December 2012.

Representations

Later, the Ministry directed the AICTE to conduct a review of the programmes offered by these professional bodies and take a decision on restoring their recognition. However, the AICTE sat on the file. In April this year, the technical education regulator initiated a move to decide the fate of the technical programmes and degrees awarded by these professional bodies to May 31, 2013. “The matter came to our notice after we received representations from some of these professional bodies. We decided to conduct a review of their courses and resolve this long-pending issue,” a senior official of the council told DH. – Courtesy

AICTE CircularPublic Notice for recognition of Equivalence to Technical Courses conducted by various Professional Bodies by AICTE.

According to a study, first-born are more likely to become engineer or doctor

Brain Buxa |  16 November 2017 |

Relative probabilities: not only do second-borns differ from first-borns in terms of career choice, the trend towards choosing less prestigious occupations increases with every further child. For example, the probability for a second-born child to study journalism is 16 percent higher than for the first-born. Between the third and the first child, the difference is 40 percent. Data: Swedish Administrative Register. © MPI for Demographic Research

According to a recent study, children who are born first in the family are more likely to choose engineering or medicine as a career choice and as a consequence earn more than their siblings who choose streams like academics and humanities as a career choice. The findings, led by researchers from the Max Planck Institute in Munich, Germany, showed that the second born children are less likely (27 percent) to apply for the engineering and medical course as their career choice. The probability of choosing engineering or medicine as a career choice even further decreased with the third born choice. Third born are 36 percent less likely to apply for engineering or medical course.

The difference in the choice of university program is not only due to first born having better grades in the school but also due to the fact that parents invest more on the first born in early years which plays a crucial role in shaping the ability, preferences and ambitions of the siblings though they live in the same shared environment. “Our results suggest that parents invest more in earlier-born children than in later-born and that this shapes sibling differences in ability and ambitions even within the family,” said Kieron Barclay, demographer at Max Planck Institute.  “First-borns benefit exclusively from parents’ attention as long as they are the only child at home. This gives them a head start,” said Mikko Myrskyla, Director at the Institute, in the paper published in the journal Social Forces. – Courtesy   /    Click here to Read More Later-borns choose less prestigious programmes at university – First-borns are more likely to study more prestigious subjects at university such as medicine and engineering and can thus expect greater earnings than later-borns, who turn to arts, journalism and teaching.

Click here to download the fulltext article:  Birth Order and College Major in Sweden

Autodesk rolls out India Design Challenge 2017 to encourage ‘design first’ mindset among students

India Education Diary | 

India Design Challenge

New Delhi: Autodesk, a leader in 3D design technology, in partnership with NID and Maruti Suzuki, brings forth a unique platform to encourage design-led innovation among students – India Design Challenge 2017. Participants will be leveraging the power of Fusion 360, the flagship cloud-powered design software by Autodesk, to conceptualize and build out-of-the-box industry design solutions. The two design topics for the students are: Personal Mobility Solution for Urban Youth – 2025 & Design of Green Vehicle in year 2025 (full brief). Fulltime students of Undergraduate and Postgraduate courses of all Design Schools can participate in this challenge. With a vision to foster design skills and drive sustainable innovation, Autodesk along with Maruti Suzuki and NID will be working closely with the students, as mentors and jury. The mentoring will be online, 8-12 hours in total over a period of four weeks and will include interactive sessions with experts from NID and Maruti Suzuki. This is a unique opportunity for students to attain hands-on training from distinguished faculty members and understand the intricacies of modern day designing. The key criteria to decide the winning teams will be based on design objective, technology usage (Fusion 360), creativity and novelty of design, design process and overall presentation.

Pradeep Nair, Managing Director, Autodesk India & SAARC, said, “At Autodesk, we believe today’s challenges will be solved by tomorrow’s designers. Aligned with initiatives like Make in India and Startup India, the India Design Challenge encourages the design and creation of innovative solutions leveraging the power of the cloud. We’re delighted to partner with Maruti Suzuki and the National Institute of Design – leaders in Industry and Academia – who share our vision of design-led innovation.” Autodesk, as a design leader, has undertaken multiple initiatives over the years to reskill and upskill the present and future workforce of India. In 2016, it partnered with NASSCOM to build global occupational standards for design and engineering by launching a new standardized courseware ‘Product Design Engineer – Mechanical’ for the Engineering and R&D sector. Over the years, it has partnered with various higher education institutions and vocational schools in India to provide training and free access to all its design software for students and educators.
CV Raman, Executive Director, Engineering at Maruti Suzuki, said, “Industry academia partnership is an integral part of our R&D efforts. It gives us a platform to engage the next generation youth and capture their aspirations in our products. Today, the automobile industry is aggressively striving towards unleashing the full potential of Industry 4.0 in India. Right skills and right approach towards innovation are an integral part of it. We are glad to partner with Autodesk for the India Design Challenge and provide an experience to the students of how they can redefine the paradigms of innovation by leveraging their creativity and the right technology.”
Pradyumna Vyas, Director, National Institute of Design, said, “Collaboration amongst industry and educational institute is pivotal to bring innovation and out of the box concepts, Autodesk’s cloud based technology enables and opens up new avenues to quickly realize and build innovative concepts to reality. The competition brief is contextually relevant for near future challenges the next generation will have to address in creative manner. It is quite encouraging to see global technology leaders like Autodesk, putting in so much effort to upskill and reskill the future workforce, the students and make them potential drivers of innovation.” The India Design Challenge is aligned with Autodesk’s commitment to prepare students for careers in design, engineering, manufacturing, and the digital arts using the tools the professionals use. Autodesk is tapping into the passion of young people to change the world for the better, to be more than just successful in their careers, but to do good while doing well. – Courtesy  /     Click here for more details—>  http://indiadesignchallenge.in/

Infosys to Train Employees in Self-Driving Car Engineering

News 18 Tech | November 16, 2017 | IANS |

The programme, known as Udacity Connect, a combined in-person and online training offering, will give Infosys employees the skills needed as the company continues to focus on autonomous technology across a range of industries, including automotive, manufacturing and mining.

IT major Infosys on Thursday announced a plan to train its employees in self-driving car engineering technology in partnership with online learning company Udacity. The programme, known as Udacity Connect, a combined in-person and online training offering, will give Infosys employees the skills needed as the company continues to focus on autonomous technology across a range of industries, including automotive, manufacturing and mining, the IT major said in a statement.

The 20-week curriculum will train Infosys employees on engineering technologies for self-driving vehicles, including advanced courses in deep learning and machine learning. “The goal of this programme is to train 500 engineers by the end of 2018,” Infosys said. “Infosys is committed to re-skilling and training its employees in groundbreaking technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and autonomous technologies,” said Ravi Kumar S., President and Deputy Chief Operating Officer at Infosys. “We are proud to expand our partnership with Udacity with the launch of the in-person and online Self-Driving Car Engineer Nanodegree programme as we accelerate the pace of skill adoption and ensure our clients continue to be at the forefront of innovation,” he added. – Courtesy    /     Self-Driving Car Engineer Nanodegree – Applications end at 11:59PM on November 19. Classroom opens on December 14, Nanodegree program applications are open! Click here to apply…

Chennai girl Akshaya Shanmugam makes it to Forbes list with tool to combat addictions

The Times of India | Ranjani Ayyar | TNN | Nov 16, 2017 |

Akshaya Shanmugam

CHENNAI: For the second year in a row, a Chennai native is among the innovators and entrepreneurs in the Forbes’ ’30 under 30′ list in the area of healthcare. The 2018 edition includes Akshaya Shanmugam, 29, the CEO of Lumme Inc., which is cracking the code to beat addictive behaviour by combining wearable technology, machine learning, and behavioural psychology. In January this year, 27-year-old Vivek Kopparthi had made it to the 2017 list for his contributions in neonatal care technology. After completing her schooling at Chettinad Vidyashram, Shanmugam went on to pursue engineering at Meenakshi Sundararajan Engineering College. In 2009, she moved to the US for higher studies. While Shanmugam was pursuing her PhD in an area that involves developing health monitoring systems outside hospitals, she met Abhinav Parate who was working on a thesis with wearables. With Parate and a few professors, Shanmugam set up Lumme to solve the global addiction problem. “Our platform automatically detects addictive behaviour, predicts indulgence in addictive behaviour, and prevents it by delivering clinically validated interventions. It also helps individuals gain better insights into their daily life and helps them understand the why, how, and what surrounding their lifestyle choices,” said Shanmugam.

A CUT ABOVE THE REST: Akshaya Shanmugam, the CEO of Lumme Inc., is among the innovators and entrepreneurs in the Forbes’ ’30 under 30′ list in the area of healthcare. The technology is in the process of being clinically validated and Shanmugam hopes to launch the product in the market by the summer of 2018. “The first phase of our launch is the smoking cessation platform. We will tie up with corporates so they can include this as part of their employee wellness programmes,” she said. ‘Predictions made with 95% accuracy in 2 trials’. Explaining how the platform would work for a person who smokes, Shanmugam says for the first two weeks, users wear the smartwatches and go about their routine. The platform passively monitors smoking behaviour and looks at other factors like the time of the day, their movements and social interactions. Itthen makes an assessment of the smoking patterns of the users and predicts when they are likely to smoke next. Based on the prediction, the platform is able to send an alert 6 minutesbefore they are abouttolight a cigarette. “We have had two national scale clinical trials and are in the midst of the third. With the first two, we were able to make predictions with95% accuracy,” shesaid. This work is the outcome of research conducted at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and Yale School of Medicine. Lumme is funded by the National Institutes of Health and has raised $1.7 million in funding. “It is quite an honour to be part of this list. It is a validation that there is potential in the technology that we have developed. This only drives us further to make meaningful contributions to the field of healthcare,” said Shanmugam.  – Courtesy

MOOCs: The new generation learning

Digital Learning | | Archana Thakur | Opinion |

MOOC

MOOCs provide an affordable and flexible way to learn new skills, advance your career and deliver quality educational experiences at scale, writes Archana Thakur, Joint Secretary, University Grants Commission (UGC), how MOOCs is helping students in their learning for Elets News Network (ENN). Gone are the years when whatever we learnt in school or colleges used to get stuck with  us throughout our working life.  The rapid pace of technological advancement has turned constant learning as the most pressing need of the day and for this the massivee open online courses (MOOCs) have been adequately equipped to address and help in it. MOOCs have been one of the most hotly-debated topics in the education circles over the past few years. Opinions have been extremely polarising, with some people heralding it as the greatest leap for education since the invention of the printing press, and some dismissing it as another fad. MOOC is an online course which aims unlimited participation and open access via the web. The first MOOCs emerged from the Open Educational Resources (OER) movement. The term MOOC was coined in 2008 by Dave Cormier of the University of Prince Edward Island in response to a course called Connectivism and Connective Knowledge (also known as CCK08). CCK08, which was led by George Siemens of Athabasca University and Stephen Downes of the National Research Council, consisted  25 tuition-paying students in Extended Education at the University of Manitoba, as well as over 2,200 online students from the general public who were studying free of cost.

This provides interactive user forums to support community interactions among students, professors, and teaching assistants. MOOCs are widely researched development in distance education introduced in the US in 2006 for the first time. It emerged as a popular mode of learning in 2012. According to The New York Times, 2012 became “The Year MOOC”. MOOCs did not rely on posted resources, learning management systems, and video lectures. Instead it uses structures that mixed the learning management system with more open web resources. MOOCs are of two distinct types: one of them emphasises the connectivist philosophy and other resembles to more traditional courses. Stephen Downes proposed the terms “cMOOC” and “xMOOC” to distinguish in between them. The principle on which cMOOCs are based is of connectivist pedagogy indicating that material should be aggregated rather than pre-selected, remixable, re-purposable and feeding forward. It tries to connect learners to each other to answer questions emphasising collaborative development of the MOOC. MOOCs have a much more traditional course structure typically with a clearly specified syllabus of recorded lectures and self-test problems. The instructor is the expert provider of knowledge, and student interactions are usually limited to asking for assistance and advising each other on difficult points. MOOCs are becoming popular as they offer university-level courses without the need to complete an entire programme of studies. Students get the opportunity to study high quality courses online with prestigious universities, often free of cost. Users can select courses from any institution offering them independently. Video-based study offer interaction either through peer review and group collaboration or automated feedback through objective, online assessments. EdX is a non-for-profit provider, created by Harvard and MIT universities. Now extended to the Australian National University, TU Delft (theNetherlands), and Rice, Berkeley and Georgetown universities in the US.  Around the world, other MOOC providers include EduKart in India, ALISON in Ireland, and Aprentica in Latin America.

The reasons behind considering MOOC are:

         i.            Quality courses with low cost,

       ii.            Can be studied in combination with other work and

      iii.            Study resources are easily accessed from any computer at any location through web.

MOOCs can generate affective learning through four pathways or mechanisms:

  1. Sharing instructor enthusiasm.
  2. Discussion on controversial topics.
  • Exposure to diversity.
  1. Experiencing innovative teaching approaches.

The disadvantages are that while most courses are free, some are fee-paying and videos are normally short, drop-out rates are high – up to 90%. These rates are marginally lower for paid-for courses. A reasonable degree of computer literacy is needed. Many of the MOOC users are graduates seeking to top up their skills and competences. MOOCs do not feed into a degree or other qualification but are self-contained. Only a few students complete the courses. Content of MOOC offered by other country may not match the culture and condition of the home country of the student accessing the course.

 Advantages of MOOCs over physical colleges and universities are-

  • Scaling up the course batch size is a few clicks away.
  • Thousands of young minds can be guided by an emeritus tutor.
  • Self-paced study enables student to study and learn at their own leisurely rate.
  • Online courses can help mitigate and remove all systemic barriers, thus truly making education a universally available resource.

Three of the most pressing critiques of an open learning system are (a) lack of an effective system to measure and validate the progress of the learners, (b) how to integrate the course credits into the present system so that it counts towards a degree from a college, and (c) how to ensure personalised guidance and mentorship. However, all these are resolvable as having certain multiple choices questions at the end of each session to evaluate the understanding of the learner and a few universities have started launching their full-fledged courses online or allowing certain validated MOOCs to contribute credits to their physical courses. In India, SWAYAM (Study Webs of Active-Learning for Young Aspiring Minds) was launched on 15 August 2016 which is an information technology platform. It aims at providing high quality education on various subjects from school level (class IX-XII) to under graduate and post graduate students, covering all disciplines is a new portal for MOOC. SWAYAM is a programme designed to achieve the three cardinal principles of Education Policy viz., access, equity and quality.

The objective of this effort is to take the best teaching learning resources to all, including the most disadvantaged. SWAYAM seeks to bridge the digital divide for students who have hitherto remained untouched by the digital revolution and have not been able to join the mainstream of the knowledge economy. To ensure best quality content are produced and delivered, seven National Coordinators have been appointed. They are NPTEL for engineering,  UGC for post-graduation education, CEC for under-graduate education, NCERT & NIOS for school education, IGNOU for out of the school students and IIMB for management studies. SWAYAM platform is indigenously developed by Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) and All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) with the help of Microsoft and would be ultimately capable of hosting 2000 courses and 80,000 hours of learning: covering school, under-graduate, post-graduate, engineering, law and other professional courses. It is thus anticipated that MOOCs impact is going to be felt strongly on the education system in India not only in improving standards and availability of quality education in all fields, on the click of a button but also granting affordability of learning science for students from rural background or colleges in remote areas with paucity of competent science instructors.

UGC to revise NET syllabus for first time in 10 years, may reduce test frequency

Hindustan Times | Neelam Pandey| 14 November 2017 | New Delhi |

Officials said the exam’s curriculum will be tweaked to reflect changes in what is being taught in colleges across the country. The curriculum of NET, a countrywide examination mandatory for people eyeing teaching jobs in colleges and universities in India, will be revised for the first time in a decade, officials of the University Grants Commission have told Hindustan Times. The UGC, India’s apex education regulator, has set up committees to revise the syllabus of each of the subjects to reflect changes in what is being taught in higher education institutions across the country, according to senior officials. “The syllabus for the exam has stayed the same though most universities have changed their curriculum over a period of time. We need to reflect those changes… The committees will prepare the draft syllabus and submit it for approval. Once approved a decision will be taken on when to implement it,” said a senior UGC official, requesting anonymity since the information was privileged.

Securing a qualifying score in the National Eligibility Test is must for those applying to be assistant professors – the first rung in college teaching — and for junior research fellows. The test is held twice a year, first in July and later in December.   For now, 25 committees have been drawn up for separate subjects. NET is held for 90 subjects and officials said more committees will be set up to cover all subjects.  According to the source, the panels include people actively engaged in teaching and research. This is “to ensure the syllabus is more dynamic and is able to meet the current requirement”, the official said. There is also a plan to turn hold the test only once a year. A senior Human Resource Development (HRD) ministry official said the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has said that it is difficult to carry out the examination twice. Sources said poor response to the test — 6.5 lakh students register on an average and approximately 1.5 lakh take it, with a pass percentage of only 3.9% — is being seen as a factor behind the proposal to reduce the frequency. This year, the summer NET exam was delayed and held on November 5. – Courtesy

‘When it comes to grants, Govt discriminates against private educational institutes’

Business line on Campus |   Garima Singh | 13 November 2017 | Opinion |

Manipal Global chief Mohandas Pai speaks on the challenges and future of education

TV Mohandas Pai

Technology has become an integral part of our everyday life and its impact can also be seen in education. In the age of smartphones, smart classroom and online exams, the vision of future is Education 4.0 or personalised education, TV Mohandas Pai, Chair-FICCI Skills Committee and Chairman of Manipal Global Education, told BusinessLine in an interview. Excerpts:

What do you mean by the term Education 4.0?

In the earlier times, education was a repository for a few, then it became available for many. As time passed, knowledge became available freely on the Web and now the ultimate outcome of all this that the student has flexibility to learn what she wants to learn, in a manner that she wants to learn and need not pay an outrageous fee. So, Education 4.0 is about personalisation of the educational experience for a student. The students will look at all the courses and will opt for those online or otherwise.

What is the policy roadmap and other challenges in higher education?

The biggest issue in higher education is autonomy. My suggestion to the government is to look at all the mandatory regulations of the University Grants Commission and make it voluntarily and not recommendatory for the top 100 universities. The 100 universities that are best, get them away from UGC, AICTE regulations and give them full freedom. Another issue is public funding for research. The government needs to create a kitty of Rs. 5,000 crore a year and ask all the universities to bid for research. The Indian government discriminates against private institutes, they do not want private universities to come and bid for educational grants. A total of 65 per cent of India’s students are educated by the private sector, but the government does not give them the same money that they give to public institutions. Everything is not IIT and IIM.

Many students from India go abroad for higher studies, but when it comes to foreign students, only a few choose India?

When Indian students go overseas, they go to a country that gives them good education and jobs. Around 3, 67,000 Indians are studying outside the country. On the other side, only 40,000 students come here and that too mostly from the neighbouring countries. The reason for less number of oversees students coming to India is because we are not in the top 100. We do not market our universities, our pedagogy is old and we have rigid course structures. Apart from IITs and IIMs, the degrees that students get from Indian universities are not recognised in the world. Also, we need to focus on better infrastructure, since students from advanced countries are used to a better quality of life.

How is higher education going to contribute to the country’s GDP?

Higher education creates people who can think, who are problem solvers, who are skilled and naturally a part of the knowledge economy. We need more and more human capital that is very knowledgeable, which understands, which can work. So, it’s obvious that higher education is the key to development. Today, the US is greatest superpower, innovator and economy in the world because of its universities. In universities, research happens, you train people, they innovate and come out with a new product and create new economies. Somehow our academia thinks that more the number of students, the lesser will be the quality. This notion is rubbish. For a country like India, which has 29 States, there are only 25 IITs. India should have 100 IITs. The government says there is a less faculty. But faculty will come, get them from abroad. Thousands of Indians are doing PhDs in America. Now is the time to bring them back. Give them grants and they will come back. –  Courtesy

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