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UGC and AICTE will soon come out with an updated commerce curriculum, says Prakash Javadekar in Pune

Hindustan Times | Nadeem Inamdar |   Pune | Jan 15, 2018 |

Union HRD minister, Prakash Javadekar, who in his key note address, said that the lethargic attitude portrayed by colleges under universities had to be stopped and that new practices with a practical orientation related to commerce was needed in the syllabus.

HRD Minister Prakash Javdekar during the International Conference for CA students at Mahalakshmi Lawns on Saturday.

Chartered Accountancy (CA) experts, who had gathered for the international conference for CA students in the city, stressed on the need for a complete overhauling of commerce education being taught at universities across the country. President of the Indian Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), Nilesh S Vikamsey, emphatically said that there was a wide gap between commerce and CA education and that an upgradation of the commerce syllabus was urgently needed to make the commerce degree useful for the students. His views found support amongst other dignitaries present at the occasion with Union HRD minister, Prakash Javadekar, who in his key note address, said that the lethargic attitude portrayed by colleges under universities had to be stopped and that new practices with a practical orientation related to commerce was needed in the syllabus. “The universities will have to change with the changing times and the commerce field has to be made compatible with the modern requirement of globalisation and digital disruptions. The UGC and AICTE will soon come out with a modern curriculum with regards to the subject, which will be implemented across India ,” he said.

The Pune branch of Western India Regional Council (WIRC) of ICAI, along with the Pune branch of Western India Chartered Accountants Students Association (WICASA) of ICAI, on Saturday, inaugurated its two-day international conference for CA students which was organised by the Board of Studies, ICAI, and hosted by the Pune Branch of WIRC of ICAI and WICASA. The event will see the participation of over 2,500 CA students. The conference will conclude on Sunday (January 14). Also present on the occasion were other dignitaries including CA Nilesh Shivji Vikamsey (president, ICAI), CA Atul Kumar Gupta (chairman, Board of Studies, ICAI),CA Mangesh P Kinare (vice-chairman, board of Studies ICAI), and CA Shiwaji Bhikaji Zaware (Central Council Member, ICAI). Vikamsey also dwelt upon the point that India was one of the countries with the largest number of chartered accountants across the world and ICAI was technically amongst one of the largest associations with almost 2,70,000 chartered accountants on its roll register globally. – Courtesy

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Govt proposes new norms for recruitment of university professors / lecturers

Deccan Herald | DH News Service | New Delhi | Jan 14 2018 |

The Centre has proposed to bring in a new assessment criteria for recruitment and promotion of university professors/lecturers to improve the quality of higher education. The Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry has also proposed to scrap the current system of appraisal and promotion of faculty members based on academic performance indicator (API) scores. The ministry’s proposal will be taken up for a decision during the two-day meeting of the Central Advisory Board of Education, beginning Monday.

HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar will preside over the meeting. “Proposal to introduce a new assessment criteria for recruitment and promotion in lieu of the API scores is one of the key agenda of the meeting. The proposal has been made to improve the quality of higher education in the country,” official sources said. The system of faculty members’ appraisal on the basis of API scores has been a contentious topic ever since the University Grants Commission (UGC) introduced it in 2010. Last year, the UGC had to restore the direct teaching hours workload of university faculty members after various teachers’ bodies, including the Delhi University Teachers Association, came together to protest against the commission’s revised recruitment and promotion rules. The revised rules enhanced the per week classroom teaching time by two hours lining it with the API. – Courtesy

PhD students can teach those at undergraduate level, suggests parliamentary panel

The New Indian Express | Sumi Sukanya Dutta  |  Express News Service  |  10th January 2018 |
NEW DELHI: Students pursuing Ph.D or doctoral courses in Central universities including the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology (IITS) can teach those studying at undergraduate levels, a parliamentary committee on Human resource development has recommended to the government.  The suggestions have been given on the grounds that the Union ministry of HRD is struggling to fill about 35 per cent faculty vacancies in these institutes. The panel has also pulled up the government for extending the retirement age of central university teachers till 65 years saying “this cannot be a permanent or long-sighted solution for faculty shortage”.  In its comments on the action taken report on the demands of grants for higher education, the 32-member committee, headed by Satyanarayan Jatiya, the has expressed concern over acute shortage of faculties in higher education in all the institutions including the private ones. “There can be only two possibilities, either our young talented students are not attracted towards the teaching profession or the recruitment process is a prolonged one and involves too many procedural formalities,” panel noted in the report tabled in the House last week.

According to the government records, the total number of sanctioned teaching posts in various central Universities is 16600 (2,376 Professor, 4,708 Associate Professor, 9,521 Assistant Professor). Out of these 5,928 teaching posts are lying vacant. “The Committee feels that the HRD ministry should encourage the institutions to make the students pursuing Ph. D or Doctoral degrees to teach some courses at the degree level with some financial support,” the report has said. “This would encourage more students to take up teaching profession and also mitigate the crises of faculty shortage in these institutes,” it also added. Officials in the HRD ministry, however said that a “detailed consultation of the panel’s suggestions to let students pursuing Ph.D or doctoral programmes was yet to be carried out”. “We need to have broad deliberations within and outside the government over this important suggestion,” a senior official told this newspaper. The panel also stressed that shortage of faculty, including in State universities as well as private universities, premier institutions like IITs, National Institute of Technology (NITs) and Indian Institute of Management (IIMs) has emerged as the “biggest handicap”. The efforts of the ministry and the regulatory bodies like University Grants Commission and All India Institute of Technical Education (AICTE) have not been adequate enough to reach a satisfactory level, the panel noted. The Committee also made a strong comment about the delays in the recruitment process of Vice-Chancellors in universities saying it leads to lowering of academic standards. – Courtesy

Aadhaar helps HRD ministry dig up 80,000 ghost lecturers

Economic Times | ET Bureau| Jan 06, 2018 |

NEW DELHI: Following its decision to use Aadhaar as proof of identity for the collection of data on teachers employed in universities and colleges, the HRD ministry has found at least 80,000 ‘ghost’ lecturers employed with the higher education institutes surveyed for the annual survey on higher education this year. This was revealed by HRD minister Prakash Javadekar while unveiling the results of the survey and launching a national teachers’ portal called ‘Gurujan’. The portal will be a repository of information on teachers who were individually profiled in the annual survey called All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE). “So far only 85% teachers have given their Aadhaar numbers and we have found 80,000 cases in which lecturers were listed as employed with more than one institutes,” the minister said. “In some cases, we found teachers employed as lecturers in as many as 4 institutes,” he added. Javadekar said while the ministry will soon take action on these ‘fake’ teachers, this is a call for the remaining lecturers to take submit their details.

“The information will remain safe with the government, there is no question of data being leaked because their Aadhaar numbers have been revealed,” he said. Of the estimated 15 lakh teachers employed with higher education institutes, the ministry has so far managed to profile 12.68 lakh teachers, he said. graph HRD officials added that the information on the portal will help the government map areas where there are less teachers and also gauge the quality of faculty employed in colleges and universities.  The government has been conducting the annual All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) since 2011 and every institute has been providing generic data on their teaching staff. As part of its efforts to make the data-collection accurate and specific to certain requirements, the ministry has for the first time sought individual profiles of the teachers and Aadhaar details. As part of data collection, a new Teacher Information Format (TIF) was introduced “to collect data on teachers profile to create ‘Gurujan’ (gurujan.gov.in) –  Courtesy     –   National Teachers’ Portal —Click here to visit–  http://gurujan.gov.in/home

Delhi University, IIT among 100 seeking world-class university tag from UGC

Business Standard | Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi  | December 12, 2017 |

The UGC had in September started inviting applications from all institutions that are keen to enter the top 100 of global rankings with the government’s assistance.

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The University Grants Commission (UGC) has received 100 applications, maximum being from public institutions, including seven IITs, for the Human Resource Development Ministry’s ambitious 20 world-class institutions project, according to an official data.  The 90-day deadline of receiving applications from all institutions expires today.  Under public sector, 10 central universities, 25 state universities, six deemed to be universities, 20 institutions of national importance and six stand-alone institutions have applied. Under private sector, nine private universities and 16 deemed to be universities have applied in brown field category and eight institutions have applied in the green field category.  “Overwhelming response to the idea of institutions of eminence. This is how world-class uiversities were built in various countries. The same thing will happen in India,” Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar said.  Among those who have applied from the public sector are seven Indian Institutes of Technology (Madras, Delhi, Bombay, Kharagpur, Kanpur, Guwahati, Roorkee), Delhi University and Jawaharlal Nehru University, Jadhavpur University, Goa University, Panjab University and Mangalore University.

From the private sector, the O P Jindal Global University, Ashoka University, Manipal University and Amity University, among others, have applied for the tag.  The UGC had in September started inviting applications from all institutions that are keen to enter the top 100 of global rankings with the government’s assistance.  The Centre wants to establish a total of 20 ‘Institutes of Eminence‘ — a distinct category of deemed-to-be- universities, supporting them to become “World Class” institutions.  By March-April 2018, 20 (10 each from public and private category) institutions will be accorded the eminence status with a mandate to achieve the world-class status over a period of 10 years. The selected institutions will have the freedom to choose their own path to become world-class institutions.  “They will be provided with greater autonomy to admit up to 30 per cent foreign students, to recruit up to 25 per cent foreign faculty, to offer online courses up to 20 per cent of its programmes, to enter into academic collaboration with top 500 in the world ranking institutions without permission of the UGC,” a senior HRD Ministry official said. The instituions will also be free to fix and charge fees from foreign students without restriction and will have a flexibility of course structure in terms of number of credit hours and years to take a degree and fixing of curriculum. As per the guidelines issued by the UGC, institutions in the top 50 of the National Institute Ranking Framework (NIRF) rankings or those ranking among top 500 of the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, QS University Rankings or Shanghai Ranking Academic Ranking of World Universities were eligible to apply. New institutions were required to submit a 15-year vision plan to be among the top 500 globally ranked institutions, while existing institutions among the top 500 had to offer a plan to improve their ranking to be among the top 100 in the next 10 years. A screening committee will go through the applications and select the institutions. – Courtesy

AICTE to crack whip against foreign universities, Indian partners violating twinning rules

Deccan Herald | Prakash Kumar | DH News Service | New Delhi | Dec 13 2017 |

Foreign universities along with their Indian partner institutions will have to face criminal action if they offer any twinning programmes in technical education without prior approval of the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE). The technical education regulator has inserted a new provision in its regulations to take penal action against such institutions to check the dubious operations of the foreign universities and higher educational institutions in India. “In case, it comes to the notice of the Council that a foreign university is running diploma/ post diploma/ degree/ post graduate degree/ post graduate diploma/ doctoral level programme in technical education in India directly or in collaboration with an Indian partner without obtaining approval, the Council shall initiate immediate action under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for criminal breach of trust, misconduct, fraud, cheating, etc,” the revised regulations stipulate.

As per the revised regulations, it will be mandatory for the AICTE to subsequently inform the Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Home Affairs and Reserve Bank of India of its action, recommending refusal or withdrawal of the visa granted to such foreign institutions’ faculty and other employees. The AICTE can also recommend that the government agencies concerned stop repatriation of funds from India to home country of the foreign institution found to have joined hands with any Indian higher educational institution for offering twinning programmes.  The revised regulations have made it mandatory for the AICTE to inform the public about the actions taken against such institutions. The Council will withdraw its approval in case a foreign institution starts offering twinning programmes in collaboration with an Indian higher educational institution with prior approval of the regulator and later found to be violating the norms set for offering such programmes. “Such foreign institutions shall not be allowed to collaborate or enter into a collaborative arrangement with any institution in India for at least next 3 years,” stipulate the AICTE (Grant of Approvals for the Technical Institutions) (1st Amendment) Regulations, 2017. The Council, however, will have to give such foreign institutions and their Indian partners a “reasonable opportunity” of being heard through its standing hearing committee and standing appellate committee before withdrawing approval to their twinning programme and “forbidding” such foreign institutions to operate in India in collaboration with any higher educational institution.

Re-allocate students

“Once the approval of the twinning programme is withdrawn, the Council shall make attempt in co-ordination with the State Government/UT concerned to re-allocate the students enrolled in such programmes to other approved institutions of the Council, the revised regulations provides. The higher educational institutions in such cases “shall” have to transfer “the entire fee,” collected from the students, to the institutions in which such students are accommodated, it added. – Courtesy

New education methods will transform the way students learn, says Mohandas Pai

The Hindu |  Lalatendu Mishra | December 09, 2017 | Opinion |

‘Students and employers will begin to question the value of a university degree’

T.V. Mohandas Pai

Education is set for massive transformation as technology is ushering in a new era in the field of learning, said T.V. Mohandas Pai, Chairman Aarin Capital. In the new scheme of things the student would be at the core and would decide as well as create her/his own degree at one’s own pace and medium. Mr. Pai, former Infosys CFO, and who is also Chairman, Manipal Global Education Services, explains what Education 4.0 is all about. Excerpts:

What is Education 4.0 and why is it important?

Education 4.0 is putting students at the heart of educational experience and creating individual learning experiences. Education 1.0 was the traditional method of students going to a Gurukul in India. Then came the universities as in Takshila and Nalanda in India. Then Universities came up in Europe. Then you had the industrial revolution which demanded a large number of people who could be trained. There, student read books, sat down and listened to the teachers. They had a course, they had a curriculum and then they obtained a certificate to earn a livelihood. In Education 4.0, students can create a degree of their own, are able to do a degree in nuclear science [combining it] with biotechnology, with dance, with music or with fundamental physics or something like that. The mix and match is available and can be done offline or online. A student can sit at home do a course online and get a degree. So, in Education 4.0 students can design their own course, learn offline or online and they can also make sure that they can learn at their own pace. At the end of it, they obtain a certificate that they can carry to job interviews.

How is it panning out?

It’s already happening in the world. Many students will ask themselves why they need a university degree? Why can’t they do things on their own? Employers will ask what the value of a university degree is? It is happening but slowly in India because lots of people have a common education system and they still want a degree. We see change all over the world and in next 5-10 years we see acceleration and an increase in people taking such certification.

Will things change in India in next 2 to 3 years?

Totally. I see change very slowly but I see a time when many people are well settled. Then we ask the question why I should send my child to college when I can educate him at home and get a certification.

Will Education 4.0 see reality by 2020?

I think around the world it will pick up by 2020 and in India by 2025. Our problem is the government. Our problem is the UGC. And also remember we are long behind the curve… in America, 70% of people go to college, in Germany 80% and in Japan 88% of people go to college.

How do you enhance the quality of education?

For that we need to see which are the best institutes in the world and what the catalyst is. The best institutes are Oxford, Harvard, Cambridge and they are so good because they decide what they want to do. They decide on courses, examinations… No Government and no regulator interference. The U.S. and U.K. governments just give money. We need to give full freedom to the top 100 education institutions and in the next five years we will see a change. We also need public funding for research. The government should have a ₹5,000 crore annual fund for research and all universities should bid for it.

Has the government brought about any reform in the education sector?

The biggest disappointment of the NDA government is that they have not done much in the education sector. Only now since Prakash Javdekar has come in do we see a focus on institutions of national importance

We have not seen many institutions like Manipal….

It is because there is control. Government is not giving approval to private sector people. Those who gave bribes got the approval. At one point, there were 4,500-5,000 engineering colleges in one year. How did they come up? They all gave money. The system is rotten, it’s corrupt, and the bad people got it. Now, we are getting good universities. Jindal has put up a University, now Manipal has been there. And 5 to 6 people are coming up. I think Prime Minister should talk to billionaires of this country to come and up set up a University by putting ₹2000 crore each of their own money because you are a billionaire and can afford to spend.

Can we have Oxford or Cambridge type institutions in India?

We can. Give our universities research and see the magic in 5 years. Give them money for research and ask them to compete. Create a kitty of ₹5000 crore of public money. State and Central Government spend ₹40 lakh crore in a year on education. – Courtesy

Indian-American firm STEM Academy launches novel education programme in India

Financial Express | PTI | December 8, 2017 |

An Indian-American firm is planning to introduce a new method of teaching science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) to middle and secondary school students in India through experiential learning.

STEM –

An Indian-American firm is planning to introduce a new method of teaching science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) to middle and secondary school students in India through experiential learning.  The Atlanta-based STEM Academy has said that it will open a “Center of Excellence” in Delhi next month that will train and certify teachers.  It will be launched in selected schools across India from January 1 for students enrolled in grades four through 10.  The Academy’s mission is to ignite the innovative trait in young Indian students and “create a new generation of youngsters who will think out of the box,” said Amitabh Sharma, a co-founder of the Academy.  Noting that this is quite in line with former US president Barack Obama’s drive ‘Educate to Innovate’, Sharma said “if US can get benefitted with STEM, so can India with its current focus on aggressive programmes like ‘Make in India’, ‘Digital India’, ‘New India’ etc.” The programme targets students enrolled in schools affiliated with four major boards that regulate primary and secondary school education in India: the Central Board of Secondary Education, the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examination, State School Boards and International Baccalaureate.  “It is an interdisciplinary way of teaching maths and science, integrated with day-to-day engineering and technology,” said Sharma, who has an MBA, a law degree and a doctorate in marketing.  A serial entrepreneur with experience in oil and gas, information technology and education, Sharma is the founding chair of the American India Foundation’s Atlanta Leadership Council.  Sharma said the Indian school outreach and implementation is being done by Gurgaon-based India channel partner MPower Global STEM Education.

Observing that STEM has come to assume great significance in view of re-igniting innovation and creativity amongst school going children, he said this methodology is increasingly finding more followers every day as far as in India.  “Yet the efficacy of STEM based learning has by far been limited due to apparent lack of structure,” he said, adding that STEM Academy of USA has developed a unique implementation strategy for India.  “The world has acknowledged the strength and significance of practical project based learning. Perhaps it is time to move away from traditional rote learning to out-of-the-box creativity oriented learning that nurtures well rounded leaders.” “Indian youngsters then will well be on the path to becoming capable world citizens and catapulting India to its inventive best,” Sharma said. – Courtesy        /     Do visit——->       MPower Global – MPower Global        /       http://www.stemacademyofusa.com/

UGC allows candidates registered for PhD before 2009 to be appointed assistant professors

The Free Press Journal Bureau | |

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New Delhi : Those with PhD before 2009 shall be appointed assistant professors without undertaking the National Eligibility Test (NET). The University Grants Commission (UGC) even relaxed the condition that they should have published at least two papers after securing the degree. Those who earned their PhDs since 2009 are exempt from the NET irrespective of their published papers – provided the institutions that awarded the doctorates to them followed the commission’s 2009 quality guidelines.  “The research papers of the candidate from his/her research work published beyond the period of acquiring his/ her PhD degree are also acceptable provided it is certified by the PhD degree awarding university,” says the clarification issued by commission secretary P. K. Thakur. It also allowed post- PhD seminar presentations by the candidates to count while determining NET exemption.

Candidates for teaching jobs at universities and colleges need to qualify through the NET or the State Level Eligibility Test (SLET), whichever is relevant, but PhD holders initially enjoyed a blanket exemption. This led to complaints that many of them were not good enough, thanks to a lack of standardisation in doctorate programmes. In 2009, the regulator came up with norms relating to entrance tests and course work for PhD programmes, and said the existing doctorates must take the NET/ SLET to secure teaching jobs. This triggered protests, and the government set up a committee. It said pre- 2009 PhD holders should be exempt from these exams if they had been interviewed on their theses by experts, had their theses externally assessed, and had two publications and two presentations under their belt.  – Courtesy

Click here to Download the UGC Circular : Published on 08-12-2017 :  UGC Public Notice reg.: PhD Degrees registered prior to July 11, 2009 , 1 page, pdf

To check plagiarism, AICTE tells education institutions to adopt tech tool

The Times of India | Preeti Biswas | TNN | Dec 2, 2017 |

HYDERABAD: Soon, students and academicians may face penal action if found guilty of plagiarism as the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) has instructed all technical institutions to install credible anti-plagiarism software for all academic and research and development (R&D) related activities.  As part of its effort to inculcate a zero tolerance approach towards plagiarism, the policy and academic planning bureau issued a circular to all the AICTE-approved institutions on Friday urging them to undertake strong measures to curb plagiarism. “To develop a robust innovation ecosystem in technical institutions and to prevent the menace of plagiarism, it is advised that all AICTE approved institutions should create awareness about academic integrity and use credible anti-plagiarism software for all their academic and R&D related activities such as MTech/BTech project reports, PhD thesis and research publications etc in this regard,” reads the circular.

Students submitting thesis, dissertation, term papers, reports or any other such documents often submit an undertaking indicating that the document has been prepared by him or her and that the document is his/her original work and free of plagiarism. Teachers, however, argue that despite signing an undertaking, many students resort to plagiarism due to lack of guidance as well as an attempt to take the easier path. “A majority of students simply copy statements from journals and try to reproduce them. Since there was no notice issued by the AICTE so far insisting on institutions having certain software, plagiarism often went unnoticed, especially at undergraduate level,” said Ramakrishna Reddy, president of Telangana Affiliated Engineering Colleges Teachers Association, adding how most colleges don’t even have an anti-plagiarism software. With lack of advanced plagiarism detection options available, college managements claim they have to use open source tools from the web. “Since the AICTE has not asked us to buy any proprietary software, we end up using open source tools which are not very advanced. With the circular coming into effect, we are hopeful that advanced softwarewill be available,” said Srini Bupalam, vice-president of All India Federation of Self Financing Technical Institutions.  AICTE has also instructed institutions to conduct workshops for promoting integrity and prevent plagiarism. “Institutes should warn the stakeholders about penal action in case of detection of plagiarism,” reads the circular.   Even University Grants Commission has drafted a new policy to curb the menace. As per the draft policy, three types of penalties would be imposed on those found guilty of lifting someone else’s work. While in case of ‘Level 1and 2’ offences, the researchers would get a chance to revise their work, ‘Level 3’ offence, which is ‘60% similarities’ would result in cancellation of the researcher’s registration. Whereas for plagiarism in core areas, there will be ‘zero tolerance’. – Courtesy     /    Click hereto view / download the AICTE Circular: 01/12/2017-1 page pdf:    Promotion of academic integrity and excellence and prevention of plagiarism.