Education Briefs


Vedanta e-Shiksha MoU

The Rajasthan state government signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Vedanta Foundation and Hindustan Zinc under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (Education for All) programme on July 16. Under the terms of the MoU, the foundation and the company will provide e-content to 482 government primaries which will benefit 50,000 children per year.

The programme titled Vedanta e-Shiksha @ School will deliver e-content to 482 government schools in Rajsam-andh, Bhilawar, Udaipur and Chittorgarh districts for the government’s computer aided learning and computer education programmes, a government official informed the press. As per the MoU, Vedanta Foundation will provide e-content for the learning of English, science, social studies and maths. It will also train two teachers from each school, and appoint a third party supervising agency to oversee, monitor and assess the implementation and effectiveness of this project. Moreover the foundation will provide teacher training for a minimum period of 36 months.

“The objective of this project is to give an opportunity to less privileged and rural children to become acquainted with computers which have become an integral part of education. Apart from improving attendance in schools, the initiative will also reduce primary dropout rates,” says Ravi Krishnan, chief executive of the foundation.

Uttar Pradesh

Teacher training applicants surge

Of 300 graduates who have been selected for primary school teacher training at the District Institute of Educational Training (DIET), 35 have B.Tech degrees, three B.Pharma, two are biotech graduates, while one has a degree to practice dentistry, Ishtiyak Ahmed, principal of DIET, informed media personnel in Kanpur on July 21.

According to Ahmed, over 40,000 graduates had applied this year for the 350 seats available at this teacher training institute. “Though the minimum qualification was mere graduation, several applicants with degrees such as B.Tech, B.Pharma and BDS also applied,” he said. “Usually applicants have qualifications such as B.Com and BA and most of them are women. But this time perhaps owing to recessionary conditions in the economy, male and female graduates with high qualifica-tions have applied for the course,” he said adding that overqualified applicants seem to prefer a safe job in a government primary school where starting salaries are Rs.18,000 per month.


IGNOU launches new programme

To raise a cadre of trained psychologists to help people cope with disability and its effects, the Delhi-based Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) — billed as the world’s largest distance education varsity with 2.89 million students — has introduced a rehabilitation psychology study progra-mme. This programme will produce experts who understand the psycho-logical conditions of people suffering from disability and mental illness, and will help them and their families regain hope.

“This programme helps students understand the psychology of disabled people in a better way, and prescribe effective rehabilitation for them,” Dr. Hemlata, director of IGNOU’s National Centre for Disability Studies, informed newsmen in Delhi on July 21. 
The new study programme has been designed in collaboration with Vision Institute of Advanced Studies, Delhi, and is approved by the Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI). Admission into the programme which will admit 20 students is open until July 31. This postgrad diploma programme is a two-semester course of 12 months duration.

Andhra Pradesh

Parkwood International principal arrested   

The Andhra Pradesh government served a show-cause notice on July 24 to Parkwood International School, on why the NOC (no objection certificate) issued to it should not be cancelled. The notice was issued following reports that the school’s director had sexually abused a girl student.

Following the arrest of Parkwood International’s director Mohammed Salahuddin Ayub on July 22, the state government’s education department issued the notice to the school sited in Manneguda in the Ranga Reddy district. The state government has also written to the Delhi-based CBSE to investigate the incident and initiate necessary action including disaffiliation of the school.

Simultaneously the regional joint director of school education, Surender Reddy and the district educational officer Srihari conducted an inspection of the school premises and submitted a preliminary report to the government. Ayub, the school’s director-cum-principal who was arrested for allegedly raping a teenage student of the institute several times after threaten-ing her, is currently in judicial custody.


JMM terrorist tag uproar

The Orissa state government has ordered an enquiry into a higher secondary textbook which allegedly described the state’s JMM (Jharkhand Mukti Morcha) party as an extremist organisation.

“I have already asked the Council of Higher Secondary Education to investigate the matter. We are surprised how JMM has figured in the list of extremist organisations,” the state government’s higher education minister D.P. Mishra told reporters on July 29 in Bhubaneshwar. The probe order was issued after angry JMM activists staged protests on July 28 and demanded an unconditional apology from chief minister Naveen Patnaik.

A textbook Prayogika Oriya Bhasa (Applied Oriya Language), published by the state government’s Bureau of Textbook Preparation and Production, included JMM in a list of extremist organisations which included ULFA and CPI (Maoist). It also charged that such organisations, functioning at the instance of political leaders, cause “problems for the country”.

“It is a matter of shame that the Orissa government could commit such a blun-der. JMM is a registered political party and is taking part in the democratic process for years,” said a JMM party leader, demanding severe punishment for the authors, printer and publisher.

Education Briefs

Pearson-VRV online bookstore

The Delhi-based Pearson Education India — a subsidiary of Pearson Education, UK, a global leader in integrated education publishing — launched its first ‘Online Bookstore’ with retail partner, VRVBookshop in Mumbai on July 28. The online bookstore will offer the complete catalogue of all Pearson Education India’s books, including books published under the Addison Wesley, Longman, Prentice Hall, QUE, SAMS, Wharton School Publishing and Peachpit imprints. It will also offer free shipping of all Pearson Education books anywhere in India.

“Books remain one of the most purchased items online. With the online bookstore we are trying to make Pearson books available to buyers in the remotest corners of India,” said Sangeeta Mehra, chief operating officer of VRVBookshop, speaking on the occasion.

Vivek Govil, chief executive of Pearson Education India also expressed optimism about the prospects of the partnership. “With Pearson’s large and ever growing catalogues, the portal will make even hard-to-find books accessible to students and faculty 24/7, anywhere in India,” he promised.

Pearson Education India is India’s foremost publisher in the school segment (K-12), with book lists in English language teaching, the humanities, sciences and mathematics, from primary to senior secondary classes.

Ahlcon-Malta University workshop

The Delhi-based Ahlcon International School (AIS, estb.2002) in association with the University of Malta organised a workshop on ‘Action Centred Leadership’ at the AIS campus in Mayur Vihar, Delhi on July 16. Conducted by Ian Thompson, managing director of Procentus Consulting Ltd and associate professor at John Adair’s Academy, Malta, the workshop was attended by principals of more than 30 higher secondary schools of the Delhi and NCR Region. Ms. Marsim Cassar, second secretary of the Malta high commission, Delhi, and Megha Srivastav, marketing officer (India) of the University of Malta, also attended the workshop convened under the Train the Trainer programme of Malta University supported by Genesis Events India Pvt. Ltd.

According to Ashok Pandey, principal of AIS, several workshops in collaboration with the University of Malta are on the school’s agenda.

IISM’s sports management programmes

The Mumbai-based International Institute of Sports Management (IISM) — a subsidiary of Eduhub Education Pvt. Ltd — has launched India’s first-ever undergraduate and postgrad diploma programmes in sports management in association with Mumbai’s well-known Jai Hind College. The first batch will commence classes on August 16 for which the admissions commenced earlier this year on June 16.

“With the world’s largest youth population and one of the fastest growing economies, India has witnessed galloping growth of the sports industry over the past few years. Global events, new infrastructure, and large fan followings for diverse sports makes India a major sports nation. With major sporting corporates flocking to India, career opportunities are going abegging in this field because there’s a huge shortage of trained professionals,” says Nilesh Kulkarni, a former India test cricketer and executive director of Eduhub Education.

BSE launches new K-12 curriculum

The Mumbai-based Birla Shloka Edutech Ltd (BSE, estb.1992) — a Yash Birla Group enterprise — has developed “an innovative and creative” K-12 curriculum designed to nurture global citizens. The new curriculum will be available for implementation in the next (2011-2012) academic year in existing and new schools.

“Today, there’s a great need for a progressive curriculum which motivates K-12 learners to excel, and think creatively and innovatively. The BSE curriculum intends to foster improved learning and instill creative thinking skills among students. It will be easy for any school to adopt this curriculum as it integrates smoothly with curricula of all examination boards. However, we will undertake school audits and gap analysis studies before introducing our curriculum in schools,” says Sri Krishna, chief executive of BSE.

DRL Group’s K-12 franchise foray

Edify Education — an affiliate of the Hyderabad-based DRL Group — a well-known name in logistics, supply chain management and education (DRL International School), has announced the launch of its Edify K-12 schools countrywide under the franchise model. According to A.K. Agarwal, director of the DRL Group, Edify Education will provide “international education at inexpensive fees” in three schools in Nagpur, Bangalore and Ranipet (Tamil Nadu) this year and add ten franchised schools thereafter every year.

“There is a huge demand-supply gap for quality education at affordable prices. Edify Education has been launched to tap this demand. We will provide top quality education — with global orientation — affordable to middle class families across India. Edify Education which has a good understanding of the market scenario, has aggressive growth plans to launch 50 franchised schools by the year 2015,” says Agarwal.

Manipal University’s new programme

Manipal University (estb.1942), a pioneer of medical education in India, launched a new postgraduate diploma programme in healthcare counseling and management (PGDHCM) on July 20. Admissions are open for the first batch of August 2010.

Graduates in life sciences, pharmacy, paramedical, allied health sciences and B.Sc graduates who have studied biology at the Plus Two level or in college/university, are eligible for admission. Students scheduled to write their final exams in 2010 may also apply, subject to successful completion of their academic programme.

“The PGDHCM programme aims to help graduates step into the role of patient educators, who will be trained in areas of healthcare counseling and especially in psychology, and soft skills. They will also receive focused training in medical theory and clinical examinations, within a hospital-based academic programme,” says a Manipal University spokesperson.