Dual language in higher ed proposal
According to Badri Narayan Patra, higher education minister of Orissa (pop. 50 million), Oriya should be the medium of teaching together with English in tertiary education for better under-standing of subjects by students in the state. The minister expressed this opinion while inaugurating a college teachers’ workshop in Berhampur on September 7. “Students will be able to understand their subjects more clearly if they are taught in their mother tongue alongside English,” the minister said.
College teachers should make use of Oriya especially while teaching tech-nical subjects, suggested Patra, adding that some states have been promoting vernacular languages in higher educ-ation. “I am not against English. It’s an essential medium of communication in the era of globalisation. But developed countries such as China, Japan and Germany are developing their languages for higher education and research work,” said Patra.
Shadow over private engineering colleges
Not a single student has opted for admission into 20 private engineering colleges of Madhya Pradesh (MP) at the start of this academic year (July/August), says a report of the state’s technical education department. Not only are there no takers for these 20 colleges, but also in another 60 colleges the number of admissions is almost negligible, the report adds. Of the 20 colleges which had no takers, eight are sited in Bhopal.
The central India state of Madhya Pradesh (pop. 73 million) hosts a total of 223 engineering colleges. Earlier this year, 111,000 students wrote the state government’s pre-engineering test (PET) to qualify for admission. Of this number, 70,000 students registered for counseling with the technical education department following which 50,000 students were admitted into mainly government colleges, which offer highly subsidised higher education. According to knowled-geable academics in MP, the wide range of higher study options available to students has cast a shadow on private engineering colleges in the state.
Massive teacher recruitment drive
The Mayawati-led BSP government of India’s most populous state of Uttar Pradesh (pop. 200 million) broadcast its decision to fill over 72,000 teacher vacancies in the state’s 147,070 K-12 government schools. This proposal was approved by the state cabinet in a meeting chaired by chief minister Mayawati on September 14 in Lucknow, says an official spokesman.
“The decision will not only ensure availability of teachers in schools, but also help in improving the quality of primary education in Uttar Pradesh,” he said.
Government directive on basic amenities
Following a supreme Court order, the Uttarakhand state government recently directed officials to speed up their efforts to provide basic amenities including water, toilets and electricity to all 17,142 government schools in the state by November. The directive was issued by the chief secretary, Subhash Kumar, to all officials, the state government said in a press release dated September 19.
Earlier during a review meeting, Kumar was informed that provision of drinking water facilities to 916 schools is underway while toilets are under construction in 625 schools. Regarding electrification, the chief secretary directed that the Uttarakhand Power Corporation Ltd be paid Rs.3,000 per school for the purpose.
Fresh JEE to fill SC/ST quota
An all-party meeting convened in Agartala on September 11 resolved to conduct a fresh joint entrance exami-nation (JEE) for scheduled caste (SC) and scheduled tribe (ST) candidates for admission into the Agartala Government Medical College (AGMC).
Two seats for SCs and 27 seats for STs remained vacant after SC/ST candidates who wrote JEE in June failed to secure the minimum 40 percent average required for admission into any medical college countrywide, as per the guidelines laid down by the Medical Council of India (MCI).
In a bid to resolve the agitation over admission into reserved quota seats in AGMC, Tripura’s higher education minister, Anil Sarkar, said a fresh JEE would be conducted by September 24 with all ST/SC students who had averaged 40 percent in this year’s Plus Two exams, eligible to write it.
“The all-party meeting, which met following a request from the council of ministers, was in favour of holding a fresh JEE for SC/ST students. The decision of the all-party committee will be conveyed to MCI very shortly,” the minister added.
Medical education politics
The Gujarat, Karnataka and West Bengal state governments have proposed allowing students to write the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) for admission into the MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery) programme of the Medical Council of India (MCI) in vernacular languages.
Representatives of the states met top officials of the Union health ministry, MCI and Vineet Joshi, chairman of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) which conducts NEET exams, in Delhi on September 23. During the discussions, Gujarat, West Bengal and Karnataka sought permission for stud-ents to write NEET in their vernacular languages, while the government of Goa voiced its objections to the NEET syllabus. Some north-eastern states also expressed reservations about the eligibility criterion for writing the exam.
MCI sources indicate that a final call on whether NEET can be written in regional or vernacular languages will be taken by end September. Meanwhile preparations are on for conducting NEET 2011 as usual. “We are ready to go ahead with NEET 2012. This all-India medical entrance exam will be held bi-lingually in English and Hindi,” says Joshi.
Annually, NEET is written by approximately 1 million students for admission into 330 medical colleges across the country. NEET 2012 is scheduled to be held in January-February next year.
Swati Roy with bureau inputs