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T S R Subramanian panel submits report on New Education Policy

Business Standard | Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi  May 27, 2016 |

A government-appointed committee headed by former Cabinet Secretary T S R Subramanian has submitted its report for the evolution of a New Education Policy, the HRD Ministry said today. “The Committee has submitted the report containing its recommendations to the Ministry of HRD,” an official statement said.   The HRD Ministry had undertaken a consultation process for framing a New Education Policy (NEP) and this process included online, grassroots and national-level thematic deliberations on 33 themes. The Committee examined a large body of outcome documents, recommendations and suggestions received and also had several meetings with various stakeholders and undertook field visits to educational institutions.

Apart from Subramanian, former Chief Secretary of Delhi government Shailaja Chandra, former Home Secretary, Delhi government Sevaram Sharma, former Chief Secretary, Gujarat Sudhir Mankad and former Director, NCERT J S Rajput, were members of the panel. HRD Minister Smriti Irani thanked the Chairman and all members of the Committee for their commitment and efforts, the statement said. The HRD Ministry said the bottom-up consultative process across nearly all gram panchayats, blocks, urban local bodies and districts of all 36 states and UTs was undertaken between May to October 2015.  Thematic consultations were conducted both by the ministry and also by institutions like UGC, AICTE, NCTE, NCERT and several universities and autonomous bodies. Six zonal meetings were held by the HRD Minister in eastern, central, north-eastern, western, southern and northern zones covering all states and UTs in September- October 2015. –  Courtesy        –   MHRD Circular : Committee for the Evolution of a National Education Policy submits report to Ministry of HRD

UGC invites ONLINE applications for the award of various Fellowships / Scholarships 2017-18

UGC Circular :  Published on 27/05/2016   :  UGC invites ONLINE applications for the award of Fellowships / Scholarships as per details given below:-   :  Click here to download / view :   English        :       Hindi

Jyothi Nivas College (JNC) installs a wind turbine on its campus

The Hindu | Staff Reporter |

Wind turbine installed at Jyoti Nivas College on Thursday. Photo: Sudhakara Jain

Wind turbine installed at Jyoti Nivas College on Thursday. Photo: Sudhakara Jain

It is in addition to the 5kW solar PV system in the campus

A plan conceived by some students of Electronics department at Jyothi Nivas College (JNC) a couple of months ago finally saw the light of the day. On Thursday JNC achieved a rare feat by becoming the first college in the city to install a wind turbine on its campus to generate renewable power. The NALWIN wind turbine system has a capacity to generate 900 watts, jointly developed by Council for Scientific and Industrial Research – National Aerospace Laboratory along with its private partner, Aparna Renewable Energy Sources. This is apart from the 5kW solar PV system already installed in the campus. The college was aided by the University Grants Commission (UGC), which funded the project. The Electronics students first conceived this and drew up a plan for its execution.

CSIR-NAL’s director Shyam Chetty, who was present on Thursday, shared his views on how renewable energy is gaining importance, given that natural resources are depleting. Such initiatives will boost the minds of the young ones to find an alternative source. He also said that NAL would allow scholars from JNC to pursue research in their facility. College principal Sister Elizabeth C.S. stressed on the need for youngsters to develop green initiatives. “My intention is to preserve something for the future generation to have a sustainable development,” she said and added that next on the agenda is to make the campus solar enabled. –  Courtesy

HRD ministry rolls back UGC regulations 2016 on increased teaching hours

The Economic Times | By ET Bureau | 26 May, 2016 |

NEW DELHI: Amid protests by the teaching community over increased work hours brought in by the UGC recently, the Smriti Irani led Human Resource Development ministry today stepped in to roll back the move and direct the UGC to amend the relevant regulations immediately.  “There will be no increase in the workload of teachers, after the amendments, in comparison with the workload prescribed earlier”, a ministry statement issued on Thursday evening said.  UGC guidelines notified earlier this month had sparked protests by teachers association as they increased teaching work hours by two hours for each category prescribing that an assistant professor teach 18 hours a week instead pf 16 hours, an associate professor’s teaching requirement was increased from 14 to 16 hours. With the ministry’s intervention today, the direct teaching-learning hours for teachers will once again revert to the older format – Assistant Professors (16 hours) and Associate Professors/Professors (14 hours).

The HRD ministry said in a statement that it has issued a direction to the UGC, under Section 20(1) of the UGC Act, 1956, to undertake amendments in the Regulation- UGC (Minimum Qualifications for appointment of teachers and other academic staff in universities and colleges and measures for the maintenance of standards in higher education ) Regulations, 2010.  The amendments to be effected following the ministry’s directions will ensure that the workload ‘remains unchanged’ at be ‘not less than 40 hours a week for 180 teaching days’.  “The direct teaching-learning hours to be devoted by Assistant Professors (16 hours) and Associate Professors/Professors (14 hours) too will remain unchanged, as a consequence of the direction from the MHRD and subsequent notification by the UGC.”, the HRD ministry said in a statement.

Agreeing largely with the issues raised by the teaching community which was protesting the UGC regulations, the ministry has further added that while a teacher’s work may entail more “mentoring, guiding and counselling students” beyond the structure of classroom teaching, there can be “no prescribed hours for such efforts, measured either in weeks or months”. The ministry has also said that these contributions though they will not be included in the calculation of the API scores, these are nevertheless important and significant activities that could be carried out by teachers.  Teachers were required to allocate 6 additional hours per week, beyond the direct teaching-learning hours, on research. These hours can now be also utilized for tutorials/remedial classes/seminars/administrative responsibilities/ innovation and updating of course contents, the ministry added.-  Courtesy           :           MHRD Circular – Ministry of HRD directs UGC to amend regulations regarding workload of teachers

Vadodara’s Navrachana University engineering students design vehicle for specially-abled people

Business Standard | ANI  |  Vadodara (Gujarat)  May 26, 2016 |

Four engineering students of Vadodara’s Navrachana University have designed a vehicle to help specially-abled people commute with ease.  The students and professor of the varsity came up with the idea while working on a project to develop the car as part of their final semester course. Harshil Shah, one of the students, admitted that there were some limitations in the vehicle and they were working for improvement.

“There are limitations for handicapped persons. A person with an amputated leg or hand can operate this vehicle. We can develop other mechanism to cover all the conditions. The car has been built with certain limitations. We have attached clutch, break and accelerator with a single lever,” said Shah. Professor Amrish Burgujar said they will file for patent of the vehicle.  “All the four students have been working with me for the last one year. They have perfectly done the work assigned to them. We have planned to develop something for the physically disabled persons to resolve their transportation problem. Our future plan is to patent it,” Burgujar added. The team is in talks with some of the leading companies to develop the vehicle on commercial basis.- Courtesy

Engineering seats fee increased by 10% in Karnataka

The Times of India | M V Pavan | TNN | May 26, 2016 |

BENGALURU: The engineering seats’ fee has been increased by 10% in the state. The private college association has signed a consensual agreement with the government on Thursday.  The existing fee for government quota seats was Rs 45,000 through Common Entrance Test conducted by Karnataka Examination Authority and the fee for COMEDK seats (private quota) was around Rs 1.5 lakh, now both these fee structures have been increased by 10%.  As per the consensual agreement, 45% of the engineering seats will be reserved for CET quota and the remaining seats shall be reserved for COMEDK and management quota.  The state government has not yet received the seat matrix of engineering seats from AICTE.  Karnataka has 201 engineering colleges and there are more than one lakh engineering seats. Every year more than 10,000 seats remain unfilled. –  Courtesy

National Digital Library (NDL) to roll out one million digitised books this year

Hindustan Times | IANS, Kolkata |  25 May 2016 |

The National Digital Library (NDL) project initiated by the Ministry of Human Resource Development and executed by IIT Kharagpur, is up and running in its pilot form, the institute said in a statement on Wednesday. The NDL will bring under its fold 100 institutes and roll out a collection of one million digitised books and journals in the first phase, this year.  Contents from as many as 16 sources, including CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, CSIR-Central Glass & Ceramic Research Institute, and IIT Hyderabad, were added to the NDL portal last week. Among them are IIT-JEE Advanced questions and answers from 2007.  “The limited launch pilot portal was provided to IIT-Kharagpur students who then tested and submitted feedback to project committee,” according to the institute. The digital platform serves as a single-window search portal facilitating focused and quick searching for all, except copyrighted content, said Partha Pratim Das, professor at IIT-Kharagpur department of computer science and engineering and one of the core NDL team members. –  Courtesy

AAP, Congress take on Centre, criticise UGC’s third regulations 2016 through gazette notification

 HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi  |   May 25, 2016 |

The third regulation of the University Grants Commission (UGC) relating to service conditions of teachers turned into a political issue on Wednesday with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Congress attacking the Modi government for bringing in such a regulation. Delhi University teachers boycotted the evaluation process. All 13 centres where evaluation was to be held wore a vacant look on the second day.  The teachers have been protesting against the regulation which had increased their workload and could lead to around 5,000 temporary and guest teachers losing their jobs.  AAP Delhi convenor Dilip Pandey along with teachers affiliated to the party held a press conference on Wednesday.

They said that the new regulation by the MHRD and UGC was an attack on the autonomy of the university and an attempt by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) to fill academic posts in the universities with its own cadre. “Why should teachers suffer when they are not at fault? There was no recruitment in the university and colleges and now with this regulation they are all set to be out of jobs.The regulation needs to be immediately withdrawn,” said SA Jafferi, assistant professor at Rajdhani College. In a statement, the AAP said the Modi government was trying to impose the decision of the previous Congress-led UPA government to introduce points system for promotion of DU teachers. Similarly, the Congress called the regulation a move towards privatization by the Modi government. DPCC President Ajay Maken with teachers of the Indian National Teachers Congress (INTEC) addressed the press conference. “This regulation would lead to the complete breakdown of the public funded higher education system,” said Ashwini Kumar, INTEC chairman. –  Courtesy

UGC eases entry norms for deemed universities

The Indian Express | Express News Service | New Delhi | Published:May 25, 2016 |

In a decision taken last week, the higher education regulator had removed restrictions on the appointment of deemed university chancellors allowing promoters of the institution to occupy the post.

The University Grants Commission (UGC) Tuesday announced a series of changes to the regulation governing deemed universities that would relax entry norms and dilute government control over such institutions. In a decision taken last week, the higher education regulator had removed restrictions on the appointment of deemed university chancellors allowing promoters of the institution to occupy the post. This was prohibited under the old regulation of 2010.  Another amendment provides for government nominees only in universities which are either controlled by the Centre or receive at least half of their funds from it. For the remaining, UGC will appoint a nominee out of a panel of names made by a search committee. The eligibility criterion for recognising institutions as deemed universities under the ‘De Novo’ category has also been made more flexible. UGC has now introduced the Letter of Intent (or LOI) concept, which will allow promoters to acquire deemed status for a proposed education institution based on some terms of agreement. The applicant is then required to establish the university within three years of acquiring the deemed status as opposed to the old regulation in which the promoter is eligible to apply only after setting up the institution.

Under the land norms, the Commission dropped the rigid parameter of having a five-acre campus in urban metropolitan and seven-acre campus in urban non-metropolitan area and replaced it with the condition that 40 per cent of the land area in a deemed university must be open spaces with 10 square metre per student floor space.  Additionally, to ensure quality, institutions vying for the ‘deemed university’ tag will have to either get the highest NAAC or NBA accreditation rating for three cycles consecutively or an ‘A’ grade at the time of application and a position among the top 20 institutions under the National Institute Ranking Framework (NIRF). Deemed universities will be able to open off-campus centres only after five years of their existence. Speaking to reporters, Higher Education secretary VS Oberoi, who is also a member of the UGC, said that the new regulations are aimed at reducing “subjectivity” and “government interference”.  There are currently 123 deemed universities of which 35 are either run or funded by government and the remaining are private.  –  Courtesy

UGC regulations 2016 are welcome, but rot in Indian education runs deep

Dailyo.in |  Valson Thampu |  25-05-2016 |  Opinion |

All right-minded citizens, who are even casually aware of the rot in higher education, will feel relieved that the UGC is now initiating some long-overdue, bottom-line cleaning up operations, via the UGC Regulations (3rd Amendment), 2016. As someone who has struggled in this sector a lifetime, I hail this initiative. First, direct teaching hours are proposed to be increased to 24 hours per week for assistant professors, and 22 hours per week for associate professors, in place of 16 hours and 14 hours per week, respectively.  The UGC had, earlier, reduced the working hours of college teachers from 18 to 16 hours per week for assistant professors, and from 16 to 14 hours per week for associate professors. And this, knowing fully well that teachers were almost laughably underworked. A doctor, who is more qualified than a teacher in the corresponding category, works 55-60 hours per week. The PM of the country logs nearly 120 hours per week. Daily wage workers, who are also human beings, work for 49 hours, under incomparably harsher conditions, and are paid a pittance and are not, unlike the teachers, paid for Sundays.

Underemployment is a greater source of mischief than unemployment. With the workload prior to the present amendment, the teachers were under-employed for the following reasons-

1. The logic for assigning a lighter workload to teachers is that they invest the resultant leisure into reading and research so that, (i) the quality of teaching improves, and (ii) they, through research, contribute to knowledge.

Neither happens. As per my first-hand experience, most teachers stop reading regularly, and preparing better, after the first five years of teaching. This is not in the realm of speculation. It can be easily verified from the lending logs of any college library. My investigations with respect to the borrowings of teachers in a very distinguished college, resulted in shocking revelations.  There were teachers who, in a whole semester, had not borrowed a single book from the library. It may be argued that these is no need to borrow books from the library. Internet resources are sufficient. Concede that this is correct (which simply is blatantly untrue), and teachers are improving their scholarship regularly through private means, the question then would be, “What, for goodness’ sake, have you produced in 20, 30, 40 years? Even a couple of meaningful lines?”

I suggest that the UGC spend a little money and commission a national survey of college and university teachers to ascertain the level and quality of their intellectual productivity.  Now, come to teaching: first, quality of teaching. The tell-tale sign is student truancy.  Why are class rooms nearly empty, if classes are held? I remember admonishing a student who was erratic in attendance. He kept quiet for a while and then said, “Sir, you do not know what we have to suffer. How do you know if the lectures are worth attending?”

The present system aids and abets lazy, mediocre teachers, by arbitrarily slapping on students an attendance requirement of 66. 6 per cent. This only serves to provide a captive audience to mediocrity and serves to protect and perpetuate unprofessionalism. It needs to be abolished.  A teacher who cannot motivate students to attend lectures/tutorials on the strength of quality, must be sacked. It is a crime to torture young people. I’d prefer confinement to a solitary cell in Tihar than have my mind abused by the voice (I mean, noise) of mediocrity day after day! The meagre workload prescribed for teachers did not work to the benefit of education. If anything, it has been ruinously counterproductive. It aggravated the intellectual laziness of most teachers, which is my second point.

2. The widespread tendency to bunk work in connivance with students increased, not decreased, after the workload was reduced last time. This is a fact. And the logic is simple. What the state meant as a measure to encourage serious, scholarly work, was misunderstood by a large proportion of teachers as the invitation to further laziness.  Confront the truth: one of the reasons why many people prefer to be in teaching is that it is the easiest, least demanding job, abounding in holidays and vacations than working days. (A former colleague of mine has barely taught 18 months in six calendar years.) There is no accountability. The system is custom-designed to institutionalise laziness, except in the case of those who have a clear sense of vocation. All of us know that such individuals are rare. This is not cynicism, but realism.

There are multiple problems here:

(a) By patronising laziness – albeit unwittingly – we ensure that teachers go not grow and stay stunted. They become, alas, an educational road-block.

(b) Since it is an unhappy and burdensome thing for them to teach, they bunk work. In order to do that, without the risk of being found out, they enter into a dishonest deal with students. Text messages are sent to students regarding cancellation of classes. No leave is applied for.

In the eyes of a student, the teacher is a cheat. And such teachers are expected to build the character of these students! No! they corrupt students. This is a crime against the nation. Stringent measures need to be urgently put in place to eradicate this national disaster. We need to hail the move to make API points-requirements more stringent. What I stated in a previous paragraph becomes clearer in this context. Since most teachers are doing no research and producing no worthwhile (leave alone original) insights, they resort to cheating in respect of API requirements.  Most publications, if you care to go through, are worse than undergraduate tutorials. In a particular case I read a whole book by a university professor replete with multiple mistakes on each page. It is a published work, entitling the charlatan to API points! This must end!  Only peer-reviewed publications should count. The PhD manufacturing industry must be dismantled. Cheating should no longer remain an avenue of profit. Anyone found guilty of this, must be blacklisted for life. Students are punished severely for cheating in examinations. This menace is increasing, but I will not blame students alone for this. Teachers are their role-models.

3. Assessment of teachers by students. It is only to be expected that teachers will resist this tooth and nail. They know the old adage, “the victim knows the truth”. But there is a problem here as well. This measure, if not implemented with due vigilance, will reinforce the already depraved student-teacher transactions. Teachers will bribe students by indulging them in many ways: granting them attendance gratis, inflated grades for tutorials (even for tutorials not held), fudging internal assessment data in their favour, and so on. The worst teacher could procure the best student feedback. The nation needs to wake up to the alarming rot and degradation in higher education today. Even poisoning the food we eat, is a lesser crime than poisoning our children. Education must become a zone of zero-tolerance for corrupt practices of every kind. Rest assured, teacher associations will go on the streets in protest. Accountability is deemed an insult by teacher activists. Teachers have become a stumbling block to every attempt to invigorate and clean up the education sector. This must not be allowed to continue.  If teachers agitate against measures meant to safeguard accountability and professionalism in education, they expose themselves badly in public. Only the dishonest and the hopelessly mediocre will resist transparency, accountability and standardisation. I would urge that the professional records of all such “negativists” (which is a more accurate term than “activists”) must be investigated. Substandard negativists, who are educational liabilities, must be weeded out mercilessly. The sooner, the better . –  Courtesy

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