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GEDC Airbus Diversity Award 2017 : Airbus, GEDC and UNESCO encourage engineering diversity

ADS Advance | 19 April 2017 |

Airbus and the Global Engineering Deans Council (GEDC), have launched the call for nominations for the 2017 edition of the GEDC Airbus Diversity Award.

This award aims to shine a light on successful projects which have encouraged more young people of all profiles and backgrounds to study and succeed in engineering. The award was developed and funded by Airbus in partnership with the GEDC, the leading international organisation leaders of schools and colleges of engineering.  For this fifth anniversary edition, the award will be placed under UNESCO patronage.  The long term goal is to increase diversity among the global community of engineers so that the engineering industry reflects the diversity of the communities it supports, with diversity recognised as a driver for innovation and growth.   “At Airbus we know that a diverse and inclusive culture is an asset”, said Jean Brice Dumont, Executive Vice President Engineering Airbus Helicopters and patron of the award. “It boosts the innovative mind-set that underpins the vast technological advances happening in aviation and aerospace today. We are committed to developing the next generation of engineering talent and are proud to partner with UNESCO and engineering schools around the world to achieve that.”

“We need more young people from every background and of every profile to acquire the skills the world needs to solve our greatest global challenges, as well as realise the potential of new opportunities”, said Flavia Schlegel, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences. “So I am excited to bring UNESCO’s support to this valuable partnership”.   Last November, the Airbus Diversity Award went to Dr Yacob Astatke, from Morgan State University in the USA, for his impressive introduction of technology and training initiatives across universities in Ethiopia to improve the delivery of engineering education in Africa.  “In 2017 we invite everyone working to improve diversity in engineering education around the world to put their successful projects forward, to share their good ideas and innovative approaches and to inspire others to do more on this critical issue”, said Peter Kilpatrick, McCloskey Dean of Engineering at the University of Notre Dame, USA, and GEDC Chair.  Entries for this new award will close on 10th July with the winning project to be announced at the GEDC Annual Conference in Niagara Falls, Canada in October 2017.  Entries can be made online by any individual or team working with or in an engineering college/faculty, whose project has demonstrated tangible results in bringing more diversity among engineering students and/or graduates. –     Courtesy   /       http://anws.co/bnvZR/%7B529da410-9761-4658-96d4-b46348576c07%7D

Delhi University photocopy case: Three publishers withdraw copyright suit against shop

Hindustan Times | Mar 09, 2017  |  Soibam Rocky Singh  |

Representational Image

Representational Image

Three international publishers on Thursday announced that they were withdrawing from the Delhi High Court a copyright suit against the sale of photocopied pages of their books in Delhi University. The decision is likely to come as a relief to thousands of students who try to save by not buying all books prescribed as suggested reading for their courses. Putting to an abrupt end a protracted legal battle which started four-and-half-year ago, Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press and Taylor & Francis – in a joint statement said, “We have taken a considered decision not to pursue the Delhi University photocopy shop case further in the courts”.   In addition to withdrawing the case from the Delhi High Court, the publishers assured that it was not going to take up the issue before any other higher court, such as the Supreme Court of India.  “We support and seek to enable equitable access to knowledge for students and we understand and endorse the important role that course packs play in the education of students,” the statement reads.

In December last year, the high court had restored the copyright suit by the publishers, after it was briefly dismissed by a single bench judge of the same court, but limited its scope to the issue of the contents of the photocopied course packs and its relevance to the curriculum.  The court had shifted the focus back to the content of the photocopied course packs — which it said will have to be tested by experts — if they were in line with the objective of the course and ‘justified for the purpose of education’.  However, it had allowed Rameshwari Photocopy Service — located near the Delhi School for Economics in north campus — to continue selling copies of chapters from textbooks of the three international publishers to students till the time the issues are settled in court.  The publishers had alleged that the photocopy kiosk was causing huge financial losses as students had stopped buying their text books.  The University of Delhi had argued that the Copyright Act, 1957 permits students and educational institutions to copy portions from any work for research and educational purpose.  The photocopy shop had argued that its activity does not affect the market for the publishers’ since it charges a nominal rate for its services. It had argued that the students cannot afford to buy all the books, extracts of which were mentioned in the syllabi prepared by the Delhi School of Economics. –  Courtesy

Publishers Withdraw Copyright Suit Against Delhi University And Rameshwari Photocopy Centre… Live Law, Read more at: http://www.livelaw.in/publishers-withdraw-copyright-suit-delhi-university-rameshwari-photocopy-centre/

International Women’s Day: Meet Anita Dandekar, a woman with many firsts to her credit

The Indian Express |  Priyanka Sahoo | Mumbai | March 8, 2017  |

Eldest among four siblings, Anita remembers having a knack for mathematics and hence deciding to pursue engineering much to the dislike of her conservative grandmother.

Dandekar was the first woman teacher at Sardar Patel College of Engineering, Andheri, and Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute, Matunga. After her retirement, Anita took to social work and groomed girls to beat gender bias. Prashant Nadkar

Dandekar was the first woman teacher at Sardar Patel College of Engineering, Andheri, and Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute, Matunga. After her retirement, Anita took to social work and groomed girls to beat gender bias. Prashant Nadkar

IT WAS an unusual sight for everyone on the campus when a 22-year-old woman walked into the illustrious campus of the Government Engineering College, Jabalpur, on a warm July day in 1961. The first female student of the college and the only woman in the batch drew gazes not only from her colleagues but also her teachers. “I was overwhelmed that I made it to the college but at the same time I was confused,” remembers Anita Dandekar, a telecommunication engineer. “It was a time when boys were not comfortable talking to girls and vice versa. I didn’t even know where my class was and didn’t know who to ask,” she says. Anita, who went on to become the first woman lecturer at her alma mater, has many such firsts to her credit. She was the first woman teacher at Sardar Patel College of Engineering, Andheri, and Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute, Matunga. In 1973, Anita — then married to an architect — became the first female student to pursue an MTech from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur.  It has been a long and lonely journey for the 78-year-old teacher and philanthropist. “Anywhere I went, I was the only woman,” remembers Anita, who was born in 1939 in a middle-class family. Eldest among four siblings, Anita remembers having a knack for mathematics and hence deciding to pursue engineering much to the dislike of her conservative grandmother. Anita’s father Manohar Sheorey, worker in an ordnance factory, fully supported her. “At that time, engineering courses were traditionally opted for by men. Women rarely pursued higher studies and if they did they would choose medical over engineering,” says Anita.

Many professional avenues opened for Anita once she completed engineering but she decided to become a teacher — a profession she stuck with even after retiring from VJTI in 1999. The only time she applied for a ‘corporate’ job, she never received an interview call. “I later found that I was rejected because I am a woman,” says Anita, who taught at VJTI’s electronics department between January 1967 and September 1999. After her retirement, Anita took to social work and groomed girls to beat gender bias. Anita’s love for teaching introduced her to Vigyan Ashram, an education centre in Pune, in the mid-eighties and she financed the basic technology programme there. Through her association with the Institution of Electronics and Telecommunication Engineers (IETE) for over 20 years, Anita has instituted three awards worth Rs 1.65 lakh each. One of the awards is for girls who excel in the field of electronics and telecommunication engineering. Anita’s lifestyle mirrors her philanthropic work. Yogesh Kulkarni, the director of Vigyan Ashram, remembers Anita as a simple woman who lives frugally. “She saves every penny and donates it to students,” says Kulkarni, adding that Anita still prefers a state transport bus over a taxi despite her age. For the 78-year-old, Women’s Day is an ‘auspicious’ day. “It is important that women’s contribution to the society is recognised,” she says. – Courtesy

4-year-old Daliyah Marie Arana becomes librarian for a day in world’s largest library in the US

The Times of India | PTI |  Jan 15, 2017 |

(Image courtesy: Twitter/@LibnOfCongress)

(Image courtesy: Twitter/@LibnOfCongress)

WASHINGTON: A four-year-old girl, who has read more than 1,000 books, has become the “librarian for a day” at the world’s largest library in the US.  Daliyah Arana, who is from Gainesville, Georgia, joined Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden — who made history in 2016 when she became the first female and the first African-American to hold the position.  Arana became the first-ever librarian for the day at the US Library of Congress on January 11, the ABC reported. Hayden and Arana sat in on meetings, met with library staff and roamed the many halls of the library. Arana also suggested the library to add whiteboards to the walls so children could practice their writing, which library officials said they were considering.  Hayden tweeted photos of herself and Arana, saying “It was fun to have 4-year-old Daliyah Marie Arana of Gainesville, GA as ‘Librarian For The Day.’ She’s already read more than a 1,000 books.”
It was fun to have 4-year-old Daliyah Marie Arana of Gainesville, GA as “Librarian For The Day.” She’s already read more than a 1,000 books. pic.twitter.com/MQfwlUrakO

Carla Hayden (@LibnOfCongress) January 11, 2017

Arana read her first book, a picture book called Ann’s Big Muffin, on her own at the age of two years. Around that time, her mother Haleema signed Arana up for the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten Programme – a programme that promotes reading for young kids – to keep track of just how many books her daughter managed to finish.  Haleema decided to write to the Library of Congress to tell them about her daughter’s book-reading brilliance. They responded by inviting the entire family down to the library, and let Arana act as a librarian for the day.  “She just kept saying how the Library of Congress is her most favourite, favourite, favourite library in the whole wide world,” Haleema said.  The Library of Congress now plans to invite other young book-lovers as ‘Librarians For The Day’ in the future. –  Courtesy

Sundar Pichai at IIT Kharagpur: Watch the ‘Back on Campus’ Google event

The Financial Express | By: FE Online |  January 5, 2017 |

Google CEO Sundar Pichai is in India currently and is visiting his alma mater, IIT Kharagpur, today on January 5.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai is in India currently and is visiting his alma mater, IIT Kharagpur, today on January 5. Pichai had passed out from the elite institute in 1993 with a BTech in metallurgical and materials engineering. Pichai hosted a technology event in New Delhi, yesterday and the focus was primarily on SMEs in India. The event was also be attended by IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad along with many senior executives from Google. It is expected that Pichai will be addressing the students of one of the best engineering institutes in India. Pichai talked about his time at IIT KGP, and then at Google and answered some live questions. He talked about success and motivation as well. In technology, Pichai stressed on the importance of digitisation and the future of the tech market in the country.

After IIT Kharagpur, Pichai went on to pursue an MS in Engineering and Materials Science from Stanford University and an MBA from the Wharton School. Later on, he joined Google in 2004 as its vice president of product management, where he led the team working on Google’s Chrome browser and operating system, before being elevated as its CEO last year. –  Courtesy

Private engineering colleges under scanner for taking old 500, 1000-rupee notes

Neelam Pandey  |  Hindustan Times | New Delhi Dec 20, 2016 |

Private engineering colleges could face tax investigation for accepting advance fee in demonetised Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, and derecognition if found guilty. The government’s crackdown follows information from intelligence agencies that several institutes were taking scrapped notes for student fee in advance, triggering suspicion that many people are taking this route to legalise their unaccounted-for cash, a source said.  The human resource development (HRD) ministry has asked the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), the regulator that grants approvals to engineering institutes, to investigate. The income tax department will be alerted too.

The AICTE rules don’t allow institutes to collect advance fee.  The regulator decided at a meeting recently that action would be taken against any institute, including penal action such as derecognition, if found guilty. There are close to 3,000 private engineering institutes in the country offering diploma, BTech, MTech and allied courses. Fee in such colleges ranges between Rs 1 and Rs 2 lakh a year. A source said income tax authorities will step in to initiate action against violators. “It is a clear case of collusion between the person offering to give advance fee and the institute accepting the money. Income tax officials will check their accounts.” The regulator is planning to open a complaint cell page on its website for people to report such cases. The Narendra Modi government’s shock decision in November to recall the two high-value notes has prompted tax dodgers to look for channels in which the old bills could be given legal validity. Tax sleuths and law-enforcement agencies were conducting regular checks to prevent such activities. The HRD ministry is promoting cashless transactions in all institutes, including IITs and NITs, in line with the government’s demonetisation move. –  Courtesy

Mini Shaji Thomas may be new NIT-Trichy director

The New Indian Express | By ENS  |    25th November 2016  |  NIT-T gets 1st woman director in five decades  |

TIRUCHY: The National Institute of Technology in Tiruchy is all set to get a woman director for the first time in its 50-year history. Mini Shaji Thomas, professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Technology, Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) University, is about to take charge by this month-end. With 29 years of teaching and research experience in the field of power systems, Thomas is presently serving as director of the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the JMI.  Ever since the previous director left office some five months back, present director-in-charge G Kannabiran has been managing the affairs at the prestigious technical institution. Thomas was the Head of the JMI Department of Electrical Engineering between 2005 and 2008.

Earlier, she had served as a faculty member in the Delhi College of Engineering, Delhi (now DTU), and at the Regional Engineering College (now NIT) Calicut, Kerala. She graduated from the University of Kerala with a gold medal and subsequently completed her M Tech from IIT Madras, again with a gold medal and Siemens Prize. She did her PhD in IIT Delhi in electrical engineering.  At present, she is a Distinguished Lecturer (DL) of the IEEE Power and Energy Society. Mini has done extensive research work in the area of Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems, Substation and Distribution Automation and Smart Grid. She has published over 100 research papers in International Journals and attended conferences of repute. Thomas has written the textbook on ‘Power system SCADA and smart grids’, CRC Press Taylor and Francis. She has successfully completed many research projects and is the coordinator of the Special Assistance Programme on Power System Automation of the University Grants Commission, Government of India. She also  reviews reputed journals in her field. –  Courtesy     /      Times of India

VTU gives 6,000 students a chance to complete engineering course for the 2006 batch

The New Indian Express | By Express News Service  |   22nd October 2016 |

BENGALURU: For more than 6,000 candidates who are waiting for a second chance to get their degree certificates by completing the course, here’s some good news. Visvesvaraya Technological University (VTU), Belagavi, has decided to give them a one-time opportunity to complete the course. As per the decision taken by the university, the students will be given two more years to complete the course. Speaking to Express, VTU Vice-Chancellor Dr Karisiddappa said, “Till 2005, there were options for students to complete the course during the grace period. But in 2006, University Grants Commission (UGC) changed the norms and the option was cancelled. Students who got admission during the 2006 academic year and could not complete their course due to various reasons will now get the opportunity to complete it.”

As per information available from the university, over 6,000 candidates have been approaching the university for many years now. “There were a series of representations from candidates. As they could not complete the course and did not have degree certificates, many of them found it difficult to get jobs. To help them, we have taken this decision,” Karisiddappa explained.  However, this is a one-time measure and will not be extended to any other batch. “This applies only for the 2006 batch and students from other batches can’t claim this,” the V-C said. Candidates are only allowed to appear for subjects in which they failed. There are no restrictions on the number of subjects and they can complete it in the next two years. –  Courtesy

Kerala engineering student Ajay Krishnan donates bone marrow to young ailing patient

Mathrubhumi English | 15 October 2016 |   Malayali engineering student donates bone marrow to young ailing patient  |


Ajay Krishnan, a young engineering student at CET, Thiruvananthapuram has done the state proud by donating his bone marrow to a critically ill 12- year-old patient saving his life. Ajay is the third in the country and the first in the state to donate bone marrow to someone unrelated by blood. A fourth year Industrial engineering student, he underwent the procedure on October 3 for a patient ailing from non-curable emplastic anemia. Ajay had registered in the DATRI Blood Stem Cell Donors Registry a year ago showing willingness to donate stem cells. His profile was found genetically compatible to that of the young patient for whom the DATRI volunteers approached him. Even though the initial plan was to make stem cell transplants, the condition of the patient deteriorated forcing the doctors to suggest a bone marrow transplant. Ajay agreed to the suggestion and after the required tests he underwent the procedure. He is back to college after the mandatory three day rest period.  The DATRI Blood Stem Cell Donors Registry was formed in 2009 to facilitate genetic matching and profiling of blood stem cell donors to help patients suffering from diseases such as Thalassemia and luekemia. So far 204 donations have happened through DATRI.  Ajay who has shown an exemplary model for others to follow is the son of Unnikrishnan and Ajitha Unnikrishnan at Thekkeplanthottathu house at Parassala-  Courtesy

Click here to Register :  DATRI Blood Stem Cell Donors Registry

Shortcut to scholarship : Encouraging students to photocopy course material instead of reading real books only perpetuates India’s poverty of ideas

The Indian Express | Krishna Kumar | October 11, 2016  | Opinion |

Encouraging students to photocopy course material instead of reading real books only perpetuates India’s poverty of ideas.

Students deserve a well-stocked library to overcome the backlog of good schooling. (Illustration: C R Sasikumar)

Students deserve a well-stocked library to overcome the backlog of good schooling. (Illustration: C R Sasikumar)

It needs considerable myopia to celebrate the recent verdict of the Delhi High Court upholding the legal validity of photocopying as a means to promote knowledge and learning. The case had originated from a practice involving the use of “course packs” containing hundreds of photocopied pages from books. The argument that books are much too expensive for students to buy proved strong enough to prevail against the plea made by some prominent publishers that bulk photocopying infringes copyright. There was an obvious David and Goliath feel to the case. David has won, but the victory conceals a dark hole. Even as the photocopying shop at Delhi University’s Library of Social Sciences resumes preparing its fat course packs, we must take some time off to peep into the dark hole. If we do, we will encounter the reality of higher education in India and institutions like Delhi University, especially their libraries. It is no news that the university has been facing an acute financial crisis for several years. All central universities are affected by the slashing of funds suffered by the University Grants Commission (UGC). All aspects of university life are suffering, and some of the pain has now become a routine reality. The use of ad hoc teachers instead of tenured faculty is one aspect of the new reality. The decline of library services is another. Retiring staff has not been replaced for years. A paucity of funds has forced libraries to cut down on new book purchases and subscriptions to journals, especially those published overseas. The use of “course packs” is a reflection of this larger context.

Libraries in India are victims of a compounded misunderstanding. Many new age academic administrators believe that libraries need not be a priority anymore because the internet now provides plentiful access to knowledge. This is a typical Third World delusion that has taken many forms over the years. Each time a new technology comes in, our administrators get excited. They love to entertain the fantasy wherein India overtakes Western nations by taking a short cut in the fourth gear. Online access to knowledge is the current version of this fantasy. Vice-chancellors who regard Google as a global guru have willingly endorsed the government’s policy of hard kicking library infrastructure and permanent faculty. As a result, libraries can no longer buy major new titles or multiple copies of older, basic texts. The newly imposed semester system demands multiple copies of essential books because courses have to be completed within 16 weeks. Malnourished libraries can’t cope with the new teaching cycle; hence, the lure of photocopied packs.  The idea that photocopied material can substitute books needs to be examined on several scores. A student who has studied from photocopied “course packs” cannot enjoy revisiting a text later in student life or beyond. This is because the ink used by laser printers starts fading within a year or two. “Course packs” promote the values associated with an exam-centric culture of education. Far from creating a fascination for knowledge, such a culture reinforces an obsession with exams. “Course packs” contain the readings relevant for the exam. It matters little if the old pack fades because the student must rummage through the next when the new semester starts.

The acceptance of photocopying as a legitimate substitution for library holdings will perpetuate India’s academic poverty. The publishers who had protested against the photocopying shop located in the Ratan Tata Library are no enemies of higher education. They have published some of our best-known academic authors, providing them a global reach and reputation. No publisher of serious books anywhere in the world is currently having an easy time. Indeed, publishing as an industry is among the worst hit by global recession and budget cuts in education. If the measly profits on which academic publishing in India survives are to be nibbled away by photopying, the losses will have to be shared by all, including authors, teachers and students.  Students now come from a broader social spectrum than in the past. Many come from homes where no one had earlier gone to college. They deserve a well-stocked library to overcome the backlog of good schooling. Giving them a fading pile of A-4 sheets, instead of nicely bound books, compounds the injustice they have suffered throughout childhood. Among the rest of the student body today, many attended high fee-charging English-medium private schools. They have resources and impressive private possessions. It is the responsibility of an academic institution to induct them into a culture of owning, and not just reading, books. Good libraries do just that, by providing a physical ethos where books look beautiful. “Course packs” don’t.

By saving money on libraries and teachers, India can only sink deeper in the poverty of ideas and research. The rhetoric of quality education has already worn thin, and anyone can spot the brittle bones of our once-reputed institutions. No Indian university comes close to the world’s best. The three key criteria that push our institutions down in global rankings are: Teachers, libraries and significant research. All three are interrelated. Good teachers need assured careers with eager students and a rich library.  The greatest irony of the copyright dispute was the support that eminent scholars, including Amartya Sen, gave to the photocopy shop. Sen’s support saddened me because he belongs to the generation of teachers who believed that India’s nation-building would have to be original. It seems he too has reconciled to the prevailing view that the best option now left for India — and for Delhi’s old, struggling university — is to focus on photocopying.  –  The writer is a former NCERT chairperson. – Courtesy