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Institutes of Eminence status given without field visits, rankings

Economic Times | Anubhuti Vishnoi | ET BureauJul 13, 2018 | Opinion |

NEW DELHI: The choice of six Institutes of Eminence—three each in the public and private domains—has sparked controversy, particularly over one of them, but how did the committee arrive at its picks—and so quickly? Did the Empowered Expert Committee (EEC) that assessed all 113 eligible institutes follow selection guidelines to the letter? A close examination of the process followed suggests perhaps not. On the other hand, EEC chairman N Gopalaswami offered a strong defence of the committee’s method of functioning and said that strict adherence would have led to the compilation taking a year or so.  The EEC didn’t conduct any field visit or tabular rankings of the institutes, both of which are in the University Grants Commission (Declaration of Government Educational Institutions as Institutions of Eminence) Guidelines, 2017. To be sure, the field visits are only recommendatory in nature but a tabular appraisal of all institutes and their ranking is required.  The appraisal methodology detailed in the EEC report mentions various aspects taken into consideration but gives no information on specific parameters and weightage of each in overall assessment/score of an institute. There is no statistical or comparative assessment of applicants in the report.

The EEC processed the 113 applications in 45-50 days, mainly on the basis of their detailed applications and presentations which were seen and discussed over eight separate days with the institutes between April 2 and May 8. EEC was announced in February and as per its report started work on April 2 with a briefing by the human resource development secretary and the University Grants Commission (UGC) chairman.  The committee submitted its report before the end of May. Gopalaswami told ET that field visits were not mandatory and the committee was of the view that comparative rankings would not be fair. “No field visits were conducted as we did not feel they were necessary,” Gopalaswami told ET. “UGC guidelines do allow it but it was not mandatory. If we were to conduct field visits of all 113 institutes, it would probably take a year. We also did not do any ranking of institutes because we felt that it may not be fair to do so. In many cases, the difference between institutes was very narrow and so to rank them would not really be proper, it was felt.” The ex-chief election commissioner maintained that due process had been followed.

“Institutes applied with considerable information,” he said. “Then they were called for individual presentations that lasted 10-15 minutes, followed by about another 15 minutes of the EEC seeking clarifications and questions on the institute concerned. We felt satisfied with this process. It was conducted in a transparent manner, all relevant questions were asked of them. The key criterion was whether an institute can achieve a place in the top 500 of global rankings in next 10 years and this was assessed on a range of parameters like faculty-student ratio, vacancies, research output and so on.” EEC members Tarun Khanna of Harvard Business School and Renu Khator, president of the University of Houston, declined to comment, saying the chairman was best placed to do so. Pritam Singh, former director of the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Lucknow, could not be contacted. While all members attended the first round of meetings in Delhi, some of the subsequent ones had Khanna and Khator participating via video conference.

THREE QUESTIONS
While the scheme led to lengthy exchanges between the HRD ministry and Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) over final contours, eyebrows were raised when the government decided to extend deadline for submission of applications to February from January, despite about 80 having already been received. The extension was given to allow more time to some institutes that had not readied the comprehensive application, according to people aware of the matter, including that of a leading private player whose institute did not eventually make it to the list of six.  Second, EEC abruptly scrapped a shortlist of 40 institutes in April and decided instead to assess all 113.  The decision was apparently guided by the PMO, which felt some key institutes had been left out of the shortlist and it would be worthwhile to give a chance to all in the fray.  Third, the EEC assessed all 113 eligible institutes in April and May and submitted a report to the government in mid-May. The findings sparked to confusion all the way from the PMO to the HRD ministry as they found no more than eight eligible for the status of eminence in the public category and three among the private ones, whereas the 2016 budget clearly allowed for 20 institutes. Through June, government attempts to find a ‘resolution’ to this situation failed and it was finally decided to pick an equal number of institutes from both categories to ensure fairness.- Courtesy

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Proposed Jio institute gets eminence status with IITs and IISc

The Indian Express | Express News Service | New Delhi | July 10, 2018 |

The Institutions of Eminence are proposed to have greater autonomy compared to other higher education institutions. For instance, they will be free to decide their fee for domestic and foreign students and have a flexible course duration and structure.

Reliance Foundation’s proposed Jio Institute has found a place among IIT-Delhi (in pic), IIT-Bombay, IISc among others. (File photo from IE)

The government Monday awarded Institution of Eminence (IoE) status to three public and three private institutions — IIT-Delhi, IIT-Bombay, Indian Institute of Science (IISc), BITS-Pilani, Manipal Academy of High Education, and Reliance Foundation’s proposed Jio Institute near Navi Mumbai. The University Grants Commission (UGC) approved six names against the promised 20 slots. The government’s formal notification is expected soon. The Union Cabinet had approved UGC’s ‘Institutions of Eminence Deemed to be Universities Regulations 2017’, in August, 2017. The regulations are aimed at creating an enabling architecture for 10 public and 10 private institutions to emerge as world-class institutions, since the country has little representation in the international ranking of educational institutions. Only higher education institutions currently placed in the top 500 of global rankings or top 50 of the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) are eligible to apply for the eminence tag. The private IoEs can also come up as greenfield ventures, provided the sponsoring organisation submits a convincing perspective plan for 15 years.

The IoEs are proposed to have greater autonomy compared to other higher education institutions. For instance, they will be free to decide their fee for domestic and foreign students, and have a flexible course duration and structure. Their academic collaborations with foreign institutions will be exempt from approvals of government or UGC except institutions based on a list of negative countries prepared by the External Affairs and Home ministries. Once identified, the target for the IoEs would be to break into the top 500 in at least one internationally reputed ranking framework in 10 years and come up in the top 100 over time. The 10 government institutions, in addition to autonomy, will also get Rs 1,000 crore each from the HRD Ministry to achieve world-class status. The government will offer no financial assistance to the private institutions.

A total of 114 institutions and universities – 74 from public sector and 40 from private sector – had applied for IoE status. Out of these, 11 are central universities, 27 are state universities, 10 are state private universities and the remaining are institutes of national importance (INIs), deemed universities, stand-alone institutions and organisations that intend to establish universities. The Empowered Expert Committee (EEC), which was entrusted to find 20 institutions out of 114 applicants, could only identify 11, of which six have been awarded the eminence tag, for now. The four-member EEC is headed by former Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswami and has Renu Khator, president of University of Houston, R Pritam Singh from the Management Development Institute and Tarun Khanna, Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor at the Harvard Business School, as its other members. The committee had each of the 114 applicants submit their presentations in advance. The members then met each applicant for about half an hour, of which 15 minutes were earmarked for a presentation and the remaining time spent on questions regarding the proposal.  Asked why the committee couldn’t finalise names of 20 IoEs, Gopalaswami told The Indian Express, “That was maximum. Is there a rule that if the government prescribes a maximum, we should suggest the maximum even if the institution is not suitable? The basic criterion is not the number. The basic criterion is whether the institution has the capability (to break into the top 100 global rankings).”

The Indian Express has learnt that IIT-Kharagpur, IIT-Madras, Delhi University, Jawaharlal Nehru University and Jadavpur University were among 11 names suggested by EEC, but were not awarded the status. “Out of the 11 names suggested by the EEC, only three were private. So, a decision was taken to announce equal number of institutes from public and private sector, which, consequently, limited the announcement of public institutions to three for now,” government sources said. Out of the three private IoEs announced Monday, Reliance Foundation’s Jio Institute which, at this moment, is just a proposal on paper, was selected under the greenfield category. According to sources, there were 10 other applicants under this category, namely Vedanta’s proposed university in Odisha, Indian School of Business (ISB) in Hyderabad, Satya Bharti Foundation, Indian Institute of Human Settlement in Benguluru, Indian Institute of Public Health in Gandhinagar, Maharashtra Institute of Technology in Pune, KREA University in Chennai, DICE Knowledge Foundation, Acharya Institutes in Bengaluru and Indus Tech University in Delhi.

According to the proposal submitted by the Reliance Foundation, the Jio Institute is proposed to have 10 schools offering over 50 disciplines, including humanities, engineering, medical sciences, sports, law, performing arts, sciences and urban planning.  The Foundation has promised to hire faculty from the top 500 global universities, a residential university city for its teachers, set up inter-disciplinary research centres to provide solutions for real-world challenges and commit Rs 9,500 crore towards the institute’s funding, among other things. Justifying Reliance Foundation’s selection over other 10 applicants, the HRD Ministry said in a statement issued on Monday that the Jio Institute proposal satisfied four parameters – availability of land, a core team with high qualifications and experience, funding and a strategic vision plan.

Gopalaswami said, “The applicant has to prove and demonstrate that it has a plan of action ready, that they are prepared in every which way and it is a doable plan. You cannot say that you have identified land, but don’t have possession of the said land or that it is under legal dispute. In each case, we questioned them about their plan and then we made our assessment, whether it is a feasible one or not. The committee then decided that the most feasible of all was only this (Reliance Foundation) proposal.” The Jio Institute doesn’t get the IoE status right away, but a Letter of Intent, instead, for three years. In this time, it has to achieve all the milestones that it has promised to the EEC and the latter, after a review, will finally award the status to the institute. As for the existing institutions that were named as IoEs on Monday, they will formally get the tag as soon as they sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the government. Asked why an applicant with a good track record — ISB-Hyderabad, for instance — lost out to a proposed institute, Gopalaswami said, “Firstly, what came before us was not ISB, but a new institution they were also proposing to set up. Secondly, we haven’t selected any management institution, not even IIM-Ahmedabad, because they don’t figure in the international rankings. You have to be a comprehensive university, not a sectoral one.” The EEC has recommended that the government should start a special programme for sectoral institutions like IIMs, TISS, TIFR and invest in them with a different set of defined goals.

Asked why the government decided to even consider greenfield projects, when there are already many good institutes existing in the private sector, higher education secretary R Subrahmanyam told The Indian Express, “Why not greenfield? The idea is to invite the best to set up world-class institutions. If a new player has the wherewithal to do it, then there is no reason that they should not be encouraged.” The UGC has requested the expert group to continue their selection process to suggest nine more institutions it deems fit for the eminence tag, so that announcements for the remaining IOEs (seven public and seven private) can be made at the earliest. “We have identified the shortcomings (of the applicants who have not been selected) and asked them to come back after making amends,” Gopalaswami said. “This decision is a landmark decision for following reasons – This was never thought of & tried; it is more than a graded autonomy, it is really a full autonomy to the institutes; the institutes can take their own decisions,” HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar tweeted. “While today’s decision gives virtually full autonomy, it will also ensure that no student will be denied opportunity of education with various measures like scholarships, interest waiver, fee waiver and ensure all equity principles,” he posted. – Courtesy

Jio Institute only has ‘Letter of Intent’ not ‘IOE’ status: Higher Education Secretary  –    Jul 10, 2018, Deccan Chronicle

New Delhi, Jul 10 (ANI): As the Jio Institute, an education venture by Reliance Foundations, is yet to be set …

New Delhi, Jul 10 (ANI): As the Jio Institute, an education venture by Reliance Foundations, is yet to be set up, it is already embroiled in rumors that it has got an institute of eminence tag. On the issue of its status as ‘eminent institute’ R Subrahmanyam, Secretary, Higher Education said, “Regulation of Institutes of Eminence has given 3 categories, 1st- public institutions in which IITs were considered, 2nd category- private institutions in which BITS Pilani and Manipal are there. The third category is Greenfield private institutions which are not there right now but where well meaning responsible private investment wants to bring global standards to the country, they should be welcomed. As Jio institute is starting on a greenfield mode, they will only get ‘Letter of Intent’ which states they must set-up in 3 years. If they setup, then they get ‘IOE’ status, right now they don’t have the tag, they only have letter of intent”. These institutions will also receive funding from the government to help make them world-class institutions..  Courtesy

UGC Circular : Published on 11-07-2018 :  Institutions of Eminence – Report of the Empowered Expert Committee and Resolution of the Commission (UGC)

NEET and JEE (Main) exams to be conducted twice a year

ND TV | Shihabudeen Kunju S (with inputs from PTI) |  July 08, 2018 |

National Testing Agency or NTA will be replacing the competitive exams related functions of CBSE and will conduct NEET and JEE Main exams twice in a year from next year.

New Delhi:  National Testing Agency (NTA) will be replacing the competitive exams related functions of CBSE and will conduct NEET and JEE Main exams twice in a year from next year. NTA will also conduct UGC NET, CMAT and GPAT, later two were used to be held by All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE). So far, The Central Board of Secondary Education or CBSE has been organising National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) on behalf of the Medical Council Of India and the Health Ministry and NET on behalf of the University Grants Commission (UGC). Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) Main has been held by CBSE on behalf of Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry. JEE Main is being held as an entrance examination for admission to engineering courses and as also a screening test for JEE Advanced, its scores have been used for admission in institutes like IITs and NITs. NEET is national level medical entrance examination and its scores have been used for admission in medical and allied courses across the country.

Common Management Admission Test (CMAT) is a national level entrance examination conducted by (AICTE) every year as per the directions of Ministry of HRD and this test facilitates Institutions to select suitable graduate candidates for admission in all Management programs. Graduate Pharmacy Aptitude Test (GPAT) is another national level entrance exam conducted by AICTE and this test facilitates institutions to select suitable Pharmacy graduates for admission into the Master’s (M.Pharm) program. With the introduction of NTA, CBSE, the national level secondary school and higher secondary school education regular which control 19316 affiliated schools in India and 211 schools in 25 foreign countries, will be relieved from its competitive examination duties. This has been a long standing demand of the central school body to relieve it from the examination duties other than its annual all India secondary and higher secondary examination duties. In 2016, the board had approached HRD Ministry and had expressed its inability to conduct the exams due to capacity crunch.

CBSE has been authorized to conduct NEET and JEE Main since the inception of both national level entrance examinations. In recent year, the board was also assigned to organise the UGC NET, a national level teacher eligibility test for recruitment in universities and colleges. CBSE also conducts the school level teacher eligibility test – CTET–, but, in today’s announcement by HRD ministry, there was no mention on who is going to conduct this examination in the future. UGC NET would be the first exam to be conducted by the newly formed body. The CBSE is all set to organise – probably the last UGC NET exam organised by it – CBSE UGC NET 2018 exam on July 8. The NTA would also conduct CMAT and GPAT. But, there have not been any updates on dates of these exams today.

Starting from next edition, the UGC NET exam will be computer based, said HRD minister.

How many times you can appear

According to HRD minister Prakash Javadekar, the students can appear both the times in NEET and the best of the two scores would be taken in account for admission. Two chances will give a choice option to the students especially if they fail to appear in a test due to unwarranted circumstances.

Standard of the exams

Under NTA, these exams will be more secure and at par with international norms, claimed the minister. “There will be no issues of leakage and it would be more student friendly, open, scientific and a leak-proof system,” Javadekar told the reporters here.  NTA is expected to bring in qualitative difference in the examination process by its focus on research and scientific test design using services of Experts, Researchers, Statisticians, Psychometricians, Test Item Writers and Education Specialists.  “The item writers would be trained to ensure that the quality of questions is as per the test design. The experts, statisticians and item writers/subject matter experts are already identified for being inducted into NTA,” said a statement from HRD.  “The new system will be student friendly, fair , transparent and flexible,” the Minister added.

Preparation

The NTA would benefit the students and they would have the option of going to computer centres from August-end to practice for the exams. The tests would be computer-based. The exams would be held over a span of four-five days and students would have the option of choosing the dates, the minister said.

Syllabus

The syllabus, question formats, language and fees for the NEET, JEE Main and NET exams would not be changed. The time table of the exams to be conducted by NTA would be uploaded on the ministry’s website.

JEE Advanced

According to HRD Minister, the Indian Institutes of Technolog (IITs) would continue to conduct JEE Advanced exam.  – Courtesy

Modi government to dissolve UGC, set up new Higher Education Commission of India (HECI)

The Economic Times | Anubhuti Vishnoi |  ET Bureau Jun 28, 2018 |

In one of the biggest move towards reforming higher education in India, the Modi government today announced a complete overhaul of the apex higher education regulator- University Grants Commission, repeal of the UGC Act, 1951 and a fresh legislation to set up the Higher Education Commission of India (HECI).  Stopping short of setting up a single higher education regulator subsuming all regulatory bodies as was envisaged earlier, the Human Resource Development (HRD) ministry has decided to revamp UGC and its parent legislation completely so that the HERC focusses on setting up academic standards and ensure their implementation rather than invest its energies on grant giving. The HECI will also be backed with penal powers to order closure of institutes that violate set norms, imposition of fines where necessary and provisions for imprisonment up to three years where necessary.  The HECI Act, 2018 is expected to be piloted in Parliament in the upcoming monsoon session. Considering that the Modi government’s term is coming to an end, it will be challenging to get parliamentary passage for a fresh legislation.

The HECI will not subsume the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) as was originally envisaged as there were concerns red flagged over cadre merger and other technical issues. Both, the AICTE Act and the NCTE Act will be revised to fall in tune with the new HERC Act and reflect the same basic principle of focus on effective regulations for academic standards rather than administrative grant giving functions, sources told ET. The provisions of the new HECI Act, 2018 will override the Architects Act as far as academic standards are concerned.  The key thrust areas of the HECI will be downsizing over governance of institutions, bring in disclosure based regulatory regime and powers of enforcement of regulations. A huge focus will be there on academic quality with emphasis on improving learning outcomes, evaluation of academic performance by institutions, mentoring of institutions, training of teachers, use of technology and so on. The HECI will also set standards for opening and closure of institutes, provide greater flexibility and autonomy to institutes and lays tankards for appointments to critical leadership positions at institutions across spectrums and even for those falling under state laws. An advisory council with the HRD minister, Higher Education Secretary and state higher education council heads besides experts will be set up under the HERC Act to advise on various issues every six months.

The UGC and its regulatory regime have been criticised by a number of committees and their reports for its restrictive and suffocating processes. Several committees including the Prof Yash Pal committee and the National Knowledge Commission of the UPA era and the Hari Gautam committee in the Modi regime have recommended a single education regulator to rid higher education of red tape and lethargy. While plans for a single regulator were at an advanced stage, these were dropped after a May meeting chaired by the HRD minister in Mussorie. The meeting saw concerns being raised about the feasibility of merging bodies like UGC and AICTE besides the challenges of establishing a full-fledged new regulatory structure, with a fresh legislation.  The AICTE had red flagged at the Mussorie meeting that they had already brought in several reform measures in their regulatory approach and their merger at this stage into a HEERA like body was hardly then justifiable. That a range of measures for reform in UGC were brought in following announcements in the 2017 budget was also pointed out. Building on these, it is being felt, may be easier than starting from scratch on a new regulator. Accordingly, while UGC will undergo a major overhaul, the legislation’s governing AICTE and NCTE will be amended to bring in changes if necessary. – Courtesy

The Union Minister for Human Resource Development, Shri Prakash Javadekar has appealed to all educationists, stakeholders and general public to furnish comments and suggestions by 7th July 2018 till 5 p.m.on the draft Bill.

The human resources development ministry has extended the deadline for receiving feedback and suggestions from stakeholders on scrapping of the Universities Grant Commission and the draft bill for replacing it with the Higher Education Commission for India till July 20.

The comments may be mailed to reformofugc@gmail.com  –   MHRD Circular, 3 pages, pdf   –    Click here to view / download MHRD HECI Draft Bill – 14 pages, pdf

HRD Ministry mandates universities to hold convocation every year

The Week | PTI | New Delhi June 17, 2018 |

Representational Image

The HRD Ministry has written to all universities mandating them to hold convocation every year after few universities were found skipping the event. “Convocation ceremonies must be held regularly and degrees awarded annually as the event carries a huge significance for graduating students and is a moment of pride for their families,” a senior HRD Ministry official said. “It was found that some universities were not doing the exercise regularly due to either financial or time constraints. However, they are supposed to do it every year,” the official added. The Ministry has also asked all universities to send details of the last convocation held by them. For instance, West Bengal’s Visva Bharati University held its convocation in May after five years. The Central University of Tripura held its convocation after four years this year where they awarded degrees to all scholars from the last four years. Forty-six years after its first and only convocation, the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) held its second convocation this year.  – Courtesy

Ph.D Mandatory For Assistant Professor Recruitment in Universities From 2021

Education | NDTV Education Team |  June 13, 2018 |

Human Resource Development (HRD) ministry has notified that Ph.D will be mandatory for the direct recruitment of assistant professors in Indian universities.

New Delhi:  Human Resource Development (HRD) ministry has notified that Ph.D will be mandatory for the direct recruitment of assistant professors in Indian universities. The new UGC regulation in this regard will be in place from July 2021 and the same rule will also be applied for promotion to Assistant Professor (Selection Grade) in colleges, said a statement from the ministry. Currently, those who hold Ph.D degree or are UGC National Eligibility Test (NET) qualified with masters degree are eligible to apply for assistant professor, the entry level position, in universities. “Ph.D Degree shall be mandatory requirement for Direct Recruitment to the post of Assistant Professors in University with the effect from 1st July, 2021. However, Masters degree with NET or Ph.D. will continue to be the minimum eligibility requirement for Direct Recruitment to the post of Assistant Professors in colleges,” said the statement. The Regulations mandate introduction of one month induction programme for newly recruited Assistant Professors in Universities/Colleges/Higher Education Institutions.

According to new rules, incentives to teachers as provided in the earlier Regulations of 2010 and subsequent amendments have been retained and these include incentives for MPhil/Ph.D.  The new regulations have done away with the Academic Performance Indicator (API) based appraisal and according to HRD, a new simplified teacher evaluation grading system has been introduced and research score added for Universities to improve research output.  Announcing the new regulations of the University Grants Commission (UGC), HRD minister Prakash Javadekar said API, which was resisted by many as research was made compulsory for college teachers, has been scrapped so that they could focus on teaching students. “Now college teachers would not have to mandatorily do research but will have to essentially concentrate and give better education to undergraduate students,” he told reporters here.

The new regulation has a special provision for recruitment of Assistant Professors in Universities and Colleges for Ph.D Degree holders from a University/institution in the top 500 Global rankings. Hindustan Times reported that international rankings by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), the Times Higher Education (THE) or the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) of the Shanghai Jiao Tong University (Shanghai) will be considered for this. Promotion criteria under UGC’s Career Advancement Scheme (CAS) for teachers has been made more research oriented while in case of College teachers, CAS criteria is more focused on teaching, the regulation maintains.  For the first time, the new regulation directs that the provision for promotion in Colleges will be up to Professor level.  It also mandates that research dusters will be created in the Universities within the State for Sharing research facilities, skills and infrastructure to ensure optimal utilization of resources and creating synergies among higher education institutions. UGC had earlier released a draft regulation of Minimum Qualifications for Appointment of Teachers and Other Academic Staff in Universities & Colleges and measures for the Maintenance of Standards in Higher Education) 2018 on February 9, which invited criticism from several quarters.  UGC had sought feedback from stakeholders and general public on the Draft Regulation till February 28, 2018.

Other highlights of the regulation

Weightages are assigned for CAS in respect of MOOCs and E-content in Universities and Colleges.
Upto 10% of the existing sanctioned strength of Professors in Universities shalt be appointed as Senior Professors in the Universities.
Senior Professors in Universities will be appointed through direct recruitment and through promotion under CAS.
Universities will accord permission and provide need based facilities to college teachers to supervise Ph.D/M.Phil scholars.
Special category of medal winners in Olympics, Asian Games and Commonwealth Games in eligibility criteria for Assistant Director/College Director, Physical Education and Sports, and Deputy Director, Physical Education and Sports in Universities has been made to promote sports in Universities and Colleges. – Courtesy

UGC pitches examination reform in higher educational institutions

DECCAN CHRONICLE | Jun 11, 2018 |

Suggestions have been sought from academics, students, controllers of examinations and the general public. The suggestions have to be sent in not more than 150 words for each theme in the prescribed format by June 22 to cflouqc@gmail.com

 

Hyderabad: The UGC has sought suggestions on exam reforms in higher educational institutions. Suggestions have been sought from academics, students, controllers of examinations and the general public. A statement released by the UGC says: “Examination reform is one of the major tasks and a committee has been constituted to recommend and suggest reforms in the examination system.” Suggestions are invited on themes like objectives and models of examination system which can be followed in India, structural and procedural changes needed, grade and credit transfer, moderation procedure, on-demand, internal and external examinations. The suggestions have to be sent in not more than 150 words for each theme in the prescribed format by June 22 to cflouqc@gmail.com.  /   UGC Circular – Published on 07-06-2018 – 2 pages, pdf – UGC Letter reg.: Examination reforms in the Higher Education Institutions (HEIs)

Freshers in all universities to undergo induction programmes in line with IITs

Hindustan Times | Jun 04, 2018 | HT Correspondent |  New Delhi |

Freshers joining universities across the country will undergo an induction programme similar to one followed by IITs, according to the UGC Quality Mandate issued on Monday.

Freshers joining universities across the country will undergo an induction programme similar to one followed by IITs, according to the UGC Quality Mandate issued on Monday. The University Grants Commission (UGC) has approved the mandate for universities across the country and is looking to strives to achieve the objectives set in the mandate by 2022. Under the mandate, students will undergo an induction programme before they start their sessions. The commission has also given a go-ahead to introducing a learning outcome-based curriculum framework which will also require revision of curriculum at regular intervals. In addition to this, under examination reforms, institutions will test a student’s understanding of a concept, and they way that knowledge is applied. The progress of students will also be tracked after the completion of their course in order to build a close association with the institute and to know how they are progressing, officials said.

“Social and industry connect for every institution: every institution shall adopt at least 5 villages for exchange of knowledge and for the overall social/economic betterment of the village communities,” reads the quality mandate document.  The commission has also asked higher educational institutions to improve the graduate outcomes for the students, so that at least 50% of them secure access to employment/self-employment or engage themselves in pursuit of higher education. Institutes have also been asked to ensure that teacher vacancies do not exceed 10% of the sanctioned strength; and all the teachers are oriented with the latest and emerging trends in their respective domains of knowledge and pedagogies . – Courtesy   /   UGC Circular : Published on 04-06-2018,  UGC Letter reg.: UGC Quality Mandate for improving quality in Higher Educational Institutions, 3 pages, pdf

UGC Circular on Quality Mandate

DIKSHA Portal : HRD Ministry will now help teachers learn

DIKSHA will serve as National Digital Infrastructure for Teachers. All teachers across nation will be equipped with advanced digital technology. Diksha portal will enable, accelerate and amplify solutions in realm of teacher education. It will aid teachers to learn and train themselves for which assessment resources will be available. It will help teachers to create training content, profile, in-class resources, assessment aids, news and announcement and connect with teacher community.

Background

DIKSHA is a unique initiative which leverages existing highly scalable and flexible digital infrastructures, while keeping teachers at the center. It is built considering the whole teacher’s life cycle – from the time student teachers enroll in Teacher Education Institutes (TEIs) to after they retire as teachers. In India, many teachers are creating & using innovative tech-based solutions in their classrooms. Some state governments have also initiated programs to support their teachers digitally. This inspired MHRD and NCTE to coordinate these efforts at a national level and build DIKSHA.

States, government bodies and even private organisations, can integrate DIKSHA into their respective teacher initiatives based on their goals, needs and capabilities. They can use DIKSHA’s features to create:

  • In-class resources
  • Teacher training content
  • Assessment aids
  • Teacher profile
  • News and announcement
  • Teacher community

These features have emerged from consultations with multiple state governments, NGOs and more than 30 public and private organisations, who have collaborated in contributing to DIKSHA.

What does the platform provide

NTP envisages to provide:

  • Teacher training courses (example – training on learning outcomes, CCE, etc.)
  • Teaching resources such as lesson plans, concept videos, worksheets, mapped to curriculum
  • Assessments for teachers, to find out their strengths and areas of improvement

Teachers will be able to access this material offline on their smartphones, tablets and other devices anytime and anywhere. Material will be contextualised to local languages as well as mapped to the curriculum.

Teachers matter more to student achievement than any other aspect of schooling; this is established by research and is one of the most agreed upon arguments in education. Our Teachers are Our Heroes.

NTP contain the following features:

  • Courses for teachers to enable continuous learning
  • Resources for use in classroom
  • Dashboards for progress and assessment
  • Communities for collaboration and discussions
  • Announcements, notifications and circulars

The National Teacher Platform will be available to all teachers, anytime, anywhere. It will be:

  • Open and Modular :- The National Teacher Platform will be a minimal and generalised technology platform built using Open Standards and Application Program Interfaces (APIs) and will host Open Educational Resources (OER). It will also have tools and interfaces for the creation and consumption of teaching and learning content. As a shared infrastructure the platform will avoid duplication of effort and save costs.
  • User-focused and Iterative : – The National Teacher Platform will cater to the needs of teachers including the development of Attitude, Skill and Knowledge. The platform will continuously develop and evolve in an iterative manner based on user needs and stakeholder feedback.

Scope of the platform

The NTP will cater to teachers from all stages of school education including pre-primary, primary, upper primary, secondary and senior secondary. All institutions, groups and individuals catering to the above can be enrolled as members of the platform, and can contribute to the creation, curation and use of resources on the platform. – Click here to visit…..  https://diksha.gov.in/

Institutions can apply for NAAC accreditation round the year

Times of India | K Sambath Kumar | TNN | Jun 2, 2018 |

TRICHY: National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) will accept online applications from institutions seeking accreditation round the year. Earlier the Institutions were allowed to undergo accreditation process only twice a year in June/July and in Nov/Dec when the revised NAAC guidelines came into effect last year. The latest revisions have given an edge to the institutions seeking reaccreditation as teachers need not submit the details pertaining to their publications and citations. NAAC which is an autonomous body established by UGC to assess and accredit institutions of higher education in the country, issued new guidelines in July 2017. Significant changes were incorporated further and a revised framework was released in January 2018. Now again some minor revisions have been incorporated now which come into effect from June 01, as per the NAAC website. “While every institution has to submit AQAR very year but many were submitting the combined document at the time of NAAC accreditation. The revised norms make it mandatory for the institutions to submit the report every year,” said Director of internal quality assurance cell (IQAC) BDU S Rajasekar.  – Courtesy