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UGC asks educational institutions to upload clear, accurate accurate data of institute on ‘Know Your College’ (KYC) portal

 

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has asked all colleges and universities to upload the accurate data of institute on ‘Know Your College’ (KYC) portal and update the same periodically. In a letter dated July 21, Jaspal Sandhu, Secretary of the UGC stated that the KYC is a long term vision of the Government of India for creating an appropriate framework for the students seeking various information about the educational institutions from a single window instead of looking for different websites. Accordingly, Ministry of Human Resource Development has launched the ‘Know Your College (KYC)’ portal which will act as one-stop shop for students and their parents across the country to help them make an informed decision on the choice of institutions and the courses. The portal was officially launched by the President of India on November 11, 2014. A PIB release said that the portal covers almost 10,500 colleges which conduct about 14,000 programs in Technical Education and 35000 colleges conducting at least 20,000 programs in Non-Technical education.  It is a repository of information pertaining to colleges and information related to its faculty, labs, library, infrastructure, and availability of hostel facilities etc.

Students are encouraged to send their complaints on discrepancies of information provided by colleges through this portal. In the letter addressed to the Vice-Chancellors (VCs) of all the universities in India, the UGC Secretary however noted that “many institutions have not uploaded the data about their respective institutions on the portal.” The data uploaded on the portal need to be clear and accurate, it said. In this connection, keeping in view the importance of the KYC portal, the Secretary sought the personal intervention of all the respective VCs in the matter and requested them to “upload the accurate data” about their Institution on the KYC portal, which should be updated periodically.  This portal is being maintained by AICTE and is available to the public at http://www.knowyourcollege-gov.in/–       UGC Circular – Published on 21/07/2017 :  UGC Letter reg.: Know Your College portal

Predatory journal clones of Current Science spring up

The Hindu |  R. Prasad  |  CHENNAI | July 14, 2017 |

An online predatory journal “Current Science” (www.currentscience.org), which is a clone of the Current Science journal published by the Current Science Association, Bengaluru, has sprung up and is soliciting manuscripts from gullible researchers. “This journal has not published any issues” is what one gets to read on clicking ‘Current’ issue on the predatory journal website.  A scroll in the original Current Science website warns readers of the predatory journal trying to dupe researchers. It says: “We have learned that an entity that www.currentscience.org calls itself is operating from an IP address located in Turkey. It has copied content from the Current Science journal website and promotes itself as the publisher of Current Science.”Another clone of Current Science can be found at www.currentscience.co.in and is operating from an IP address located in Ukraine. The front page of the cloned predatory journal website is nearly identical to the original. Even the links to all the articles take the readers to the original content. Only discerning readers can spot the differences. While the URL of the original Current Science is www.currentscience.ac.in, the cloned version has a different URL (www.currentscience.co.in).

“This is a typical predatory journal behaviour and is a fraud,” says the predatory journal alert put out by Current Science. Current Science warns its readers saying: “Emails originating from currentsciencejournals@gmail.com are fraudulent. These emails are from a fake website that could include a request to submit articles and promise to publish approximately two weeks after the submission. If you receive such an email, forward the message to currsci@ias.ac.in and delete the message.” Besides publishing journals with fancy titles, there are several predatory journals that are clones of respected journals. The predatory version of Current Science is one such instance. “Prof. S.C. Lakhotia, Department of Zoology at the Banaras Hindu University received an email from the predatory journal (currentsciencejournals@gmail.com) on July 1, and he in turn alerted Prof. R. Srinivasan, the Editor of Current Science,” says G. Madhavan, Executive Secretary of Current Science Association. In an email sent to Prof. Lakhotia, the predatory journal has invited him to contribute to the next issue of Current Science. Like all predatory journals, it lists out the impact factor, the acceptance rate of papers, which is 38%, and a promise to publish papers within two weeks of submission. The mail is signed by Prof. R. Srinevasan, Editor-in-Chief, Current Science. It is only a discerning reader who will know that Current Science does not send out such emails and that the original journal has only an Editor and not an Editor-in-Chief, as mentioned in the email. Also, the Prof. Srinivasan’s name is wrongly spelt in the email. On further scrutiny one can find that the post box number (6001) of Current Science listed in the signature of the email is wrong (the current number is 8001) and so is the pin code. – Courtesy

Cloud on UGC distance learning rules : UGC Open and Distance Learning Regulations, 2017

The Telegraph | June 29 , 2017 |  Basant Kumar Mohanty |  Cloud on distance learning rules | Opinion |

New Delhi, June 28: Distance learning courses offered by institutions across the country could be headed for the freezer over the next six months after new rules notified by the University Grants Commission came into effect last week. The UGC (Open and Distance Learning) Regulations, 2017 – notified on June 23 – asks every institution intending to offer courses in distance mode to apply to the higher education regulator for approval “at least six months before the commencement of the academic session of the programme intended to be offered”. The regulations have left the 160-odd universities in the country that offer distance education worried because the recognition they had obtained earlier from the UGC has no relevance for fresh enrolment of students. The latest guidelines say that every institution has to seek a fresh nod from the regulator even if the approval they had got under the earlier rules was still valid. Most of these institutes have started the admission process for the 2017-18 academic session beginning next month when, going by the new regulations, they should have applied before January at least for courses they were intending to offer.

“The notification has come at a time when all universities have started the admission process for the 2017-18 academic session starting in July. The admission process in SOL is going on. It has created a lot of confusion,” said J. Khuntia, a professor at the School of Open Leaning in Delhi University. Nearly 1.5 lakh students enrol in July every year for the undergraduate courses the school offers. No UGC official was available for comment. Till late this evening, UGC secretary Jaspal Sandhu had not responded to calls and a text message from this newspaper. There are around 150 conventional universities and 14 open universities that offer degree and diploma courses in various subjects in distance mode. Dozens of standalone institutions not affiliated to any university also offer distance learning in diploma courses. The medium, which helps students pursue their studies without having to be physically present in classrooms, caters to nearly 40 lakh of the 3.42 crore doing their higher studies in India. Another provision in the new regulations bars institutions other than open universities from offering programmes that are not among subjects taught in the conventional face-to-face mode. At present, many private institutions offer courses they don’t teach in regular classrooms. Professor Manikrao Salunkhe, vice-chancellor of the Pune-based Bharati Vidyapeeth, said the regulations had several good provisions to ensure quality control. For example, it wants institutions to disclose details of faculty, tuition fees and facilities on their website and in brochures. Salunkhe said there have been questions about the “standard of courses” offered in the distance mode. “The UGC has tried to standardise the courses.” The regulations have retained the restrictions on offering engineering courses, which, Salunkhe said, was a concern. “I was expecting that the regulations would enable institutions to offer various kinds of courses. But the restrictions are still there. It is a matter of concern,” he said.

The regulations bar institutions from offering courses through franchisees. There have been allegations of irregularities in granting of permission to such centres by several universities, including the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU). A member of the faculty at Yashwantrao Chavan Maharashtra Open University said the regulations should have disbanded study centres too. “The study centres and franchisee centres are the same thing. Only banning franchisee centres is not enough. They may come up as study centres,” he said. The regulations say 20 per cent of a course can be pursued online through the Massive Open Online Courses prepared by the UGC and the IITs in various subjects. Now the entire course is based on correspondence. According to the new regulations, standalone institutions will not be given fresh recognition. “The biggest sufferers are standalone institutions. The regulations have given them a deathblow. They can function only till the time their present permission is valid and not thereafter,” said Ravi Bhardwaj, a lawyer who specialises in education-related cases. – Courtesy

Distance learning rule ‘for 2018’   :   The Telegraph, July 1 , 2017, Special Correspondent

New Delhi, June 30: The University Grants Commission (UGC) has issued a clarification saying its new rules making it mandatory for distance learning courses to seek approval six months prior to commencement is applicable for the 2018 session. The Telegraph had reported on June 29 that distance learning courses could be headed for the freezer over the next six months because of the new rules that came into effect last week. The UGC (Open and Distance Learning) Regulations, 2017 – notified on June 23 – asks every institution intending to offer courses in distance mode to apply to the higher education regulator for approval “at least six months before the commencement of the academic session of the programme intended to be offered”. The regulations left the 160-odd universities in the country that offer distance education worried because the admission for the current session begins in July and according to the new rule, permission would have had to be sought in January.

However, in a public notice dated June 29, the UGC has now said: “Applications for recognising new higher  educational institutions and/or starting of new programmes are invited online shortly as per the UGC ODL Regulations, 2017, for the academic session beginning January 2018/July 2018.” The notice has been issued by Avichal Kapur, a joint secretary in the UGC. The rules that came into effect last week did not mention any date. The regulation notified in the government’s gazette, however, is yet to be amended. “How can a clarification of the UGC override its law notified in a government gazette? The UGC should have amended its own regulation. Otherwise, there will be a lot of legal complications,” said Ravi Bhardwaj, a lawyer. – Courtesy

Click here to download, UGC Circular : Published on 29/06/2017 :  University Grants Commission, UGC gazette notification , 72 Pages, pdf  (Open and Distance Learning) Regulations, 2017

Click here to download, UGC Circular : Published on 29/06/2017 :  Public Notice reg.: Open and Distance Learning Programmes, 1 Page, pdf

New distance learning rules: Universities need fresh approvals from UGC for programmes

Jun 26, 2017 |  HT Correspondent |  Hindustan Times | New Delhi |

Universities offering programmes through distance mode will now be regulated under the University Grants Commission (UGC) (Open and Distance Learning) Regulations, 2017.

Universities offering programmes through distance mode will now be regulated under the University Grants Commission (UGC) (Open and Distance Learning) Regulations, 2017, notified by the commission on Friday. The commission, through the regulations, has laid down the minimum standards of instruction for the grant of degree at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels through open and distance learning mode.  According to officials, under the new regulations, students will also be allowed to take up to 20% of the total courses being offered in a particular programme in a semester through the online learning courses/massive open online courses as per UGC’s (Credit Framework for Online Learning Courses through SWAYAM) Regulations, 2016.  “Under this mode, students will be able to opt for online courses offered by various universities and institutions across the country and the credit will be transferred to them,” said a senior UGC official.

All higher educational institutions offering a programme in open and distance learning mode will now have to seek fresh approval from the commission to operate. Delhi University, Jamia Millia Islamia and Kurukshetra University among others will be impacted by the move. The regulations will apply to universities offering distance learning mode for all degree programmes at the undergraduate and post-graduate level, other than programmes in engineering, medicine, dental, pharmacy, nursing, architecture, physiotherapy and programmes not permitted to be offered in distance mode by any other regulatory body.  All examinations for programmes of the open and distance mode will be conducted within the institution where the study centres or learner support centres are located. – Courtesy

UGC Circular – Published on 07/06/2017 :  UGC Letter reg.: UGC (Credit Framework for online courses through SWAYAM) Regulations 2016 (First Amendment) : Click the below link to download …

Cabell’s Blacklist: Our journal Blacklist differs from Jeffrey Beall’s

The Hindu |  R. Prasad |  June 17, 2017 | Sci-Tech | Science |  Cabell’s: ‘Our journal Blacklist differs from Jeffrey Beall’s’ |

Vigilant Kathleen Berryman, Project Manager,at Cabell’s says the company will dentify deceptive practices and will maintain transparency.

Five months after Jeffrey Beall, librarian at the University of Colorado, Denver, shut down his widely consulted blog (Scholarly Open Access) that listed predatory journals and publishers, Cabell’s International, based in Beaumont, Texas, launched Cabell’s Blacklist, a list of predatory journals, on June 15. Predatory journals cheat researchers by charging fees to publish papers but without carrying any peer review, allowing even trash to be published. Besides the Blacklist, the Cabell’s also publishes a Whitelist of journals, and both the lists can be accessed for a fee at the company’s website, http://www.cabells.com. Kathleen Berryman, Project Manager at Cabell’s says the company uses a set of criteria to identify deceptive practices employed by journals and will maintain transparency, unlike Beall’s.

How many publishers and/or journals have been included in the list? Is it restricted to Open Access journals?

We have chosen to review journals for our Blacklist, rather than publishers. It will launch with approximately 4,000 journals and we expect this number to continue to increase as we continue to review journals. While we are reviewing both open access and subscription journals, and include both on our Blacklist, we do not have an exact count of how many are in each category at this time.

What criteria will you use to judge a journal? How transparent will that be to publishers and researchers?

We currently have a set of 65 specific violations that act as indicators of deceptive practices. As we continue to review journals and identify newly emerging predatory behaviour, we anticipate that these indicators will further evolve. As with our Whitelist criteria, our Blacklist criteria will be available to everyone on our website. In addition to this, we are listing on each journal card in our Blacklist all of the reasons why each journal is included.

Many journals have made their home page and journals look very authentic. How difficult will it be to assess them?

Again, our team of research specialists is trained to seek out hard-to-find information. One way we do this is by contacting the editors, reviewers and/or authors who are listed on the journal’s website. We ask not only if they agreed to be included on the editorial board, but also what their duties are as an editorial board member. We do not rely on how a website “looks” to determine whether or not the journal should be blacklisted. We do not include journals on our Blacklist unless we have evidence of their deceptive publication practices.

 What major differences can one see in your list compared with Jeffrey Beall’s?

Our Blacklist differs from Jeffrey Beall’s lists in several ways. We have developed a set of criteria that we use to evaluate all journals suspected of deceptive behaviour and we apply this criteria equally to all journals we review. We are also reviewing journals, rather than publishers, regardless of the type of access. This means that there will be subscription access journals on our list as well as open access journals. Finally, and most importantly, we are improving transparency by listing all of the reasons why each journal is included on our Blacklist.

Of the 800 institutions that subscribe to your Whitelist, how many are from India? How much does it cost per institution to subscribe to your Whitelist and Blacklist?

We currently have four institutions in India who subscribe to our Whitelist. The cost for subscribing to our Whitelist and Blacklist is on a sliding scale, based on full-time enrolment of undergraduate students. It is for this reason that we choose not to make our prices available on our website. Contacting our sales team is the best way to receive a quote tailored to the needs of the individual.

Will the Blacklist be freely available to institutions in countries like India, where most predatory journals are published?

We originally planned to make our Blacklist available for free, but after analysing the time and resources it took to create it — and the resources it will take to maintain it – we realised that it would not be sustainable. We’re making every effort to keep the subscription fee for the blacklist as low as possible, and we’re exploring other options to support it in the future.

A few predatory publishers have bought over genuine journal labels. Will it complicate the blacklisting process?

Our team of research specialists is trained to seek out hard-to-find information. One of the items on our list of criteria is that the journal hides or obscures relationships with for-profit partner companies.

Jeffrey Beall was forced to shut down his blog. Do you think you are well prepared to handle litigation threats and appeals?

A lot of the debate surrounding Beall’s list was around the execution, not its usefulness. We don’t deny that there might have been some issues of transparency and objectivity with Beall’s list, and that is exactly what we aim to improve upon. Each entry on our Blacklist, in reality, is a detailed report of our investigative process. The report includes not only identifying information, but also the specific violations that the process revealed.  –  Courtesy    / Click here to Take a Look at:    https://www.cabells.com/

Students can opt for fully online degree courses soon

Hindustan Times | Jun 16, 2017 |  Neelam Pandey |

Students and working professionals will soon be able to obtain a degree online and it will be recognised by higher education regulator, the University Grants Commission.

Students and working professionals will soon be able to obtain a degree online and it will be recognised by higher education regulator, the University Grants Commission. The human resource development ministry has decided to allow universities to offer such degrees and is drafting rules, official sources told HT. Once the rules are in place, institutes will be able to offer online degrees in all fields, except engineering, medicine, dental, pharmacy, nursing, architecture and physiotherapy. At present, the commission does not recognise any course offered solely through the online mode. A student can get a degree by enrolling in a university and attending classes or through a distancing-learning module. From this year, the government has allowed universities to offer 20% of their course material through the Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) platform called Swayam. But if a student gets a degree through any online course, it’s not recognised. A number of private universities offer online degrees but not many students opt for them as they are not recognised by the UGC.

The ministry has now started preparing draft regulations for online programmes that will allow universities and higher educational institutes to offer degrees by conducting exams online; students will not have to attend classes physically. The draft came up for discussion before the UGC and the HRD ministry recently. “World over online degrees and courses are offered by institutes and they have gained respectability. Students will not be required to attend classes but will take e-tutorials to help them understand the concepts. Institutes will have to apply to the UGC for approval and degrees by such institutes will be recognised,” said a senior official. To qualify, a university would have to be NAAC-accredited with a minimum score of 3.25 on a four-point scale to ensure quality. According to the official, the online platform will be integrated with Aadhaar to verify the identity of learners at the time of application as well as through the duration of the programme, including examinations. “The programmes can be designed for conventional learners, as well as working professionals depending on what the institute is looking for,” the official said. Apart from the actual programme delivery, components such as the counselling process, online application processing and fee payment will also be provide online. – Courtesy

Journal jugglery – Traps for the unmindful researcher

The Telegraph | Samantak Das |  Wednesday , June 14 , 2017 | Opinion |

In the 17 years, from 1922 to 1939, that it was published, The Criterion was possibly the best-known, and probably the best, literary journal in the English language. Founded by the poet/ critic/ dramatist/ cultural commentator/ general fount of wisdom/ soon-to-be Nobel laureate (in 1948), Thomas Stearns – better known as TS – Eliot, The Criterion trod a very conscious, deliberately-defined international path. The first issue of October 1922 included Hermann Hesse, who contributed “German Poetry of To-Day”, an essay on James Joyce’s Ulysses by the Frenchman, Valery Larbaud, a translation of Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s “Plan of a Novel” (one of the translators was Virginia Woolf), not to forget Eliot’s own modernist masterpiece, The Waste Land, among others. Should you wish to look up something in Criterion and google “criterion journal”, be prepared to be surprised. For, in first place, among some 50 million search results, will be a journal that rejoices that it “is refereed (sic) e-journal and is designed to publish theoretical articles and book reviews on interdisciplinary cross-currents in the humanities and social sciences”, while elsewhere it claims to be “designed to publish theoretical and research articles on English Literature and Language, Humanities and Social Sciences”. Its linguistically idiosyncratic web pages will not merely entertain but educate and alert readers to a brave new phenomenon in the proliferating groves of Indian academe, to wit the API-inflating, APC/F-charging, QGM-inspired “scholarly” e-journal, where API stands for academic performance indicators, APC/F for article processing charges or fees and QGM is Quick Gun Murugan. Such journals promise to publish, in double-quick time (hence QGM), articles by college and university teachers who need to improve their API scores (now mandatory for moving up the academic ladder) for a small APC/F. This particular journal, for example, takes 15 to 25 days to accept, or reject, a submission and promises to publish a piece in two months flat. And just in case you were wondering, the APC/F for an article is a most reasonable Rs 1,500, and the journal helpfully indicates that a contributor will get 25 API points since it is an “International, Refreed ( sic), Indexed and Peer-reviewed Journal”, one, moreover, that is on the now all-important University Grants Commission Journal List.

A word about this List might be in order. The “UGC Approved List of Journals” [ http://ugc.ac.in/journallist/] contains the names of all the journals where Indian academics must publish in order to score API points. The List became a necessity when it came to the notice of the powers-that-be who regulate higher education in our country that, almost immediately after the API system of awarding points for publishing was introduced, academics began publishing in journals that no one had heard of, let alone seen. Soon these journals began to actively solicit contributions and/or invite academics to serve on their editorial boards or reviewers’ panels or whatever. Your humble scribe is still regularly inundated with emails that say, “… reviews papers within one week of submission and publishes accepted articles on the internet immediately upon receiving the final versions. Our fast reviewing process is our strength.” As also “… aims at to (sic) publish unpublished, original research articles and make available a new platform to the scholars of Language, Literature and Culture. It deserves to promote (sic) the young researchers and attempts to cultivate the research aptitude among teachers in the higher educational (sic) system.” The ellipses above stand for journals whose names shall not sully the pages of a respectable publication such as this. Perhaps the most bizarre part is that the second journal quoted from above is not only “a Peer-reviewed (refereed) International Journal in ( sic) English Language and Literature” (according to its publicity pamphlet) but also on the UGC Journal List. So, clearly, in spite of all its efforts, the UGC has not been able to locate and eliminate such distinctly dodgy entities from its list.

Lest one think this is a phenomenon peculiar to India, one needs only to look at Beall’s List of Predatory Journals and Publishers [ http: //beallslist.weebly.com/], the magnificent labour of love of Jeffrey Beall, the American librarian and scholar who first identified and named such journals and created the criteria-set that is still used to judge a journal’s credentials. Sadly, Beall had to take down his own blog which had this list, probably as a result of treading on the toes of influential publishers of such journals, but his list is still available at the URL given earlier. More importantly perhaps, Beall alerted the larger scholarly world to the existence of this shadowy world of dubious academic publishing (usually online, most often open-access), where adherence to the letter of the law is usually directly proportional to the absence of academic substance. All this seems to have created something of a catch-22 situation for Indian academia and academics. On the one hand, teachers have to publish, in journals which are on the UGC List, in order to get recognition, credit, scores, promotions, prestige and so on, and the need for such a list is patently obvious in an academic publishing ecosystem teeming with frauds and predators. And, yet, on the other hand, one knows that the most cunning and persistent of such exploiters, fakes and frauds will not only find their way around all attempts at quality control but also gloat about their success on their websites. Perhaps the only thing to do in this situation is hope and pray that the UGC will periodically review and revise its List to weed out the undesirables and increase the ranks of the deserving. Only then may we expect an improvement in the quality of research published by our colleagues. But maybe the UGC ought to begin right away by doing some essential housekeeping. Here’s an example. The department where I work brings out one of the oldest journals in the subject, published regularly for six decades now. In the UGC List, rather peculiarly, the Jadavpur Journal of Comparative Literature appears twice, the first time (with UGC-assigned Journal No. 41264) “English” as the journal’s primary subject and the second time (UGC Journal No. 41570) with “English; Linguistics and Language” as its subject. As T.S. Eliot put it, “After such knowledge, what forgiveness?” – The author is professor of Comparative Literature, Jadavpur University, and has been working as a volunteer for a rural development NGO for the last 30 yearsCourtesy

Education reforms: Rating by private bodies, 3-tier autonomy for institutions

Hindustan Times | Jun 10, 2017 | Chetan Chauhan |  Chetan Chauhan |

The top-ranked institutions would get full academic and administrative autonomy while the lowest ranked institutions would remain under the government control.

In a major reform, the government plans to outsource assessment and accreditation of the higher education institutions to private bodies and give full autonomy — academic, financial and administrative — to the top ranked institutions, Niti Aayog vice-chairman Arvind Panagariya told HT. This is part of the higher education reform package being finalised by the National Institution for Transforming India (Niti) Aayog and the HRD ministry. The Prime Minister’s Office in March had asked them to prepare a blueprint for higher education reform that breeds academic excellence in top institutions of the country. “The reform package is almost ready,” Panagariya said. “For this, we will have to amend or replace the University Grants Commission (UGC) law. The call will be taken by Parliament”. Reforms in higher education sector had been under discussion for a long time but the government had failed to implement them because of resistance from within. More than a decade ago, the National Knowledge Commission constituted by the UPA government had recommended slew of reforms including disbanding the two higher important higher education regulators the UGC and the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and proposed an overarching higher education regulator. But, the recommendations remained on paper because of opposition by the HRD ministry and the two bodies.

Before introducing a higher education regulator, the National Democratic Alliance government has decided to set in motion the reforms by making third party mandatory accreditation for all public and private higher education institutions to ensure transparency and quality.  “We want credible private agencies should assess institutions in private agencies,” Panagariya said, adding that even sovereign rating in the United States is done by the private agencies. “The accreditation would be based on academic and research outcome”.  The National Accreditation and Assessment Council (NAAC) has evaluated only 10% of about 10,000 higher education institutions in India and the government wants to bring all institutions under accreditation in the next three years. For this, proposal is to rope in private rating agencies. Autonomy of institutions is the next big reform the government would implement, Panagariya said. The government plans to introduce a three-tier autonomy mechanism in which the institutions having ranked on the top by the HRD ministry will get full academic, administrative and financial autonomy. It would mean these institutions will be free to introduce new courses and schools, revamp curriculum, appoint faculty including from foreign universities and approve research projects. Middle-ranked institutions will have higher autonomy than their current level. It would mean they would be free to introduce new courses and appoint faculty but will have to take approval of the funding agency (HRD ministry) to start new schools and appoint foreign faculty.  The institutions ranked poor would remain under the government control. Sources said that the reforms are being anchored in the Prime Minister’s Office and the changes are being made as suggested by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the review in March 2017. – Courtesy

It’s not a waste of time. Playing video games can make you a better college student

Hindustan Times | Jun 06, 2017  | Press Trust of India |

A new study found that gaming improved generic skills such as problem solving, communication, resourcefulness, and may have a role to play in higher education. After playing specified video games over an eight-week period, participants showed improvements in communication, adaptability, and resourcefulness scales.

Do you spend hours playing video games? If a new study is to be believed, you aren’t exactly wasting your time. Playing video games may help you develop ‘graduate attributes’ – skills required for higher education, suggests a new research. Researchers found that gaming improved student communication skills, resourcefulness and adaptability and may have a role to play in higher education. Over an eight-week period, undergraduate students were assigned to either an intervention or a control group. Adaptability, resourcefulness and communication skills were measured in both groups. The intervention group played specified video games under controlled conditions over an eight-week period and they showed improvements in communication, adaptability, and resourcefulness scales compared to the control group. This supported the hypothesis that playing video games can improve self-reported graduate skills.

“The findings suggest that such game-based learning interventions have a role to play in higher education,” said Matthew Barr, from the University of Glasgow in the UK. Graduate attributes are those generic skills such as problem solving, communication, resourcefulness or adaptability, which are considered desirable in graduates, particularly where employability is concerned. a task. The way games are designed often encourages critical thinking and reflective learning, commonly cited as desirable attributes in graduates,” Barr said. The research was intended to measure the effects of playing commercial video games on the attainment of certain graduate attributes, testing the hypothesis that playing selected games can improve student scores on measures of graduate skills. The findings suggest that such game-based learning interventions have a role to play in higher education,” said Matthew Barr, from the University of Glasgow in the UK. Graduate attributes are those generic skills such as problem solving, communication, resourcefulness or adaptability, which are considered desirable in graduates, particularly where employability is concerned.

 “Modern video games often require players to be adaptable and resourceful, and find multiple ways of accomplishing a task. The way games are designed often encourages critical thinking and reflective learning, commonly cited as desirable attributes in graduates,” Barr said. The research was intended to measure the effects of playing commercial video games on the attainment of certain graduate attributes, testing the hypothesis that playing selected games can improve student scores on measures of graduate skills. “This work demonstrates that playing commercial video games can have a positive effect on communication ability, adaptability and resourcefulness in adult learners, suggesting that video games may have a role to play in higher education,” said Barr. “The study also suggests that graduate skills may be improved in a relatively short amount of time, with the gains reported here achieved over a period of eight weeks and representing just 14 hours of game play,” he added. “Certainly, the results suggest that the popular discourse around games’ alleged ill effects should be tempered by considerations of the potential positive outcomes of playing video games,” he said. – Courtesy

HEERA, Modi government to replace UGC, AICTE with one higher education regulator

Economic Times |  Anubhuti Vishnoi |  ET Bureau | Jun 06, 2017 |

NEW DELHI: Big-bang education reform is on its way – the Modi government is all set to scrap the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and replace them with one higher education regulator, tentatively christened Higher Education Empowerment Regulation Agency (HEERA). The decision to go ahead with this radical change, long advocated by experts but never implemented, was taken after a meeting on education chaired by the prime minister in early March. If required, and since setting up a new regulator may take some time, amendments to existing rules will be considered as an interim reform measure.  Senior officials who spoke off record told ET that work is on at a rapid pace to frame the HEERA legislation. The human resource development (HRD) ministry and the Niti Aayog are working on the new law. A committee that has, among others, Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant and higher education secretary KK Sharma as members, is working on the detailed blueprint.

Greater Synergy Among Institutions

One senior official said replacing UGC and AICTE by a single regulator will be the “cleanest, most sweeping reform” that will “eliminate all overlaps in jurisdiction and also do away with regulatory provisions that may no longer be relevant”.  While the idea of replacing multiple regulatory authorities with a single and streamlined one is not new – several committees including the Yashpal Committee and the National Knowledge Commission of the UPA era and the Hari Gautam Committee set up by this government have recommended the same – the reform never happened. Officials told ET that the new regulatory legislation is likely to be short and clean and will outline minimum standards focused on outcomes. They also said separation of technical and nontechnical education is outmoded and out of sync with global practices, and that a single regulator will bring in greater synergy among institutions and in framing curricula. HEERA is aimed at putting an end to the inspector raj and harassment that the UGC regime is associated with, another official said, but the new body will also be empowered to take strong penal action when necessary. Since bringing in new legislation and repealing AICTE and UGC Acts may be a time-consuming process, interim measures are likely and amendments to these Acts and modification of UGC regulations are among options being considered. – Courtesy