Education Notes


Rajiv Gandhi Education City

Addressing media personnel in Chandigarh on August 27, education minister Geeta Bhukkal said the Haryana government has received 31 proposals from “world-class universities” to establish study centres in the Rajiv Gandhi Education City, being cons-tructed in Kundli, Sonepat district. “Out of 31 proposals, nine reputed private institutions had already been allotted sites to set up their study centres in the city. The development work is going on in full swing,” she said.

According to Bhukkal, a sum of Rs.1,100 crore has been budgeted for civic development. Works such as water supply, road development, sewage and water-disposal systems and boundary walls are expected to be completed soon.

“Rajiv Gandhi Education City will be a hub for higher learning and centre for research in subjects such as nano technology, bio-technology and genetics with 25 percent of total seats in all institutions reserved for students from Haryana,” the minister added.

Himachal Pradesh

Private education regulation debate

The Himachal Pradesh legislative assembly referred the much-awaited HP Private Educational Institutions (Regulatory Commission) Bill to a select committee of the assembly on August 23, following persistent demands from the opposition. Replying to objections and suggestions of legislators about the draft Bill, chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal said the state government is ready to accept all appropriate and viable suggestions.

Earlier, Congress member Kaul Singh Thakur said the government’s decision to introduce the Bill to regulate private education institutes is a welcome step, but the state government had acted in haste and recommended its referral to a select committee to incorporate the suggestions of MLAs. “There are several points in the proposed Bill which need to be addressed properly and thoroughly before making it a law in the state,” Thakur said.

Legislator Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu said the clause relating to appointment of chairperson and members of the Regulatory Commission fails to specify their minimum higher education qualifications. On the other hand, MLA  G.S. Bali demanded the Bill should give preference to retired judges, retired vice chancellors and other eminent persons from diverse fields while appointing members of the commission.

Andhra Pradesh

Looming maths crisis?

Addressing a nine-day International Congress of Mathematicians in Hyderabad on August 23, eminent mathematician of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research Prof. M.S. Raghunathan warned that a “crisis” is looming over the future of mathematics in the country with the younger generation of students turning away from studying pure mathematics to other disciplines. The consensus of opinion at the congress was that most students prefer disciplines such as engineering, information technology and management, leaving too small a cohort for mathematical research, particularly in basic maths.

“The number of takers for the subject has reduced over the past few decades. Moreover we are not finding good quality math teachers in higher education and we need to make the academic profession more attractive. Maximum maths graduates should be absorbed into teaching particularly in schools, which would help improve quality of teaching right from the school level,” stressed Raghunathan.

However Prof. R Ramanujam of the Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai said: “It’s certainly a cause of concern that lucrative IT and MBA careers are drawing students away from research in mathematics and the sciences. But, I think reports that India is heading towards a ‘zero production’ state in the field of maths are highly exaggerated.”


Red carpet for foreign varsities

The government of Puducherry (formerly Pondicherry) has extended a public invitation to foreign universities and educational institutions to establish campuses and study centres in the Union territory, offering full cooperation and proactive aid. “The government intends to fully support foreign universities and educational institutions if they set up units in Puducherry, as we want to make this union territory an educational hub,” chief minister V. Vaithilingam informed media personnel on August 21.

Inaugurating a two-day seminar sponsored by the Puducherry branch of the Southern Indian Regional Council of the Institute of Chartered Accoun-tants of India (ICAI), Vaithilingam said Puducherry is an ideal location for any new project to be set up on a trial basis. “Micro level success of such projects could be assessed by launching them in Puducherry in view of the small size of the territory,” he said.

Meanwhile ICAI has signed several memoranda of understanding with its international counterparts to augment bilateral relationships which would be mutually beneficial to its members and the Union territory.


New Anundoram Barooah awards

A scheme for awarding students securing first division in the High School Leaving Certificate (HSLC) and High Madrassa examinations 2010 of the State Examination Board of Assam (SEBA) was announced by the state government on August 27. The Anundoram Barooah Awards Scheme will also felicitate toppers in the exams conducted by the State Madrassa Education Board and Sanskrit Board of Assam, says a press release of the state government.

The awards will include a certificate, a laptop, and free training on the Linux operating system. A special package of books and course materials on installation and operating of laptops will also be provided.

The awards scheme has been adopted to stimulate healthy competition within the students community and enrich their perception through up-to-date know-ledge and information with the help of IT education. Under the scheme introduced by the nine-year-old Tarun Gogoi government, last year students securing first division were given desk-top computers.