June 2008

India News

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Admission open at GGSIPU

Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University (GGSIPU) announced the beginning of the admission process for its continuing education programme for working professionals. This year, the university has also started two fresh programmes, with an intake of 15 students each, in M. Tech (Nano-Science and Technology) and M. Sc (Biodiversity and Conservation).

In its weekends' programmes, the university also offers eight programmes, including several MBA  programmes with many streams of specialisations.

The university was recently allowed by the Distance Education Council to offer academic programmes through the distance education mode.

Ten new universities for  Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu is all set to witness a major boom in higher education with ten universities, including a 'World Class University', to be set up by both State and Central governments during the coming academic year.

Replying to the debate on the demands for grants for higher education in the Tamil Nadu Assembly, State Higher Education Minister K Ponmudi said the Centre had announced that a world class university would come up at Coimbatore and a central university at Tiruvarur. The state will also get a deemed university, 'Indian Institute of Management'.

Presidency college and Queen Mary's college, two oldest colleges in the city, Government Arts college, Kumbakonam, where mathematical genius late Ramanujan studied, P S G Engineering College Thiyagaryar Engineering college, Madurai and Government Arts college, Coimbatore would be converted into unitary universities. A separate university for teachers' training would also be set up in the state. With this, the total number of universities in the state would go
up to 24.

Children to no longer 'fail' exams in TN

No student of arts, science and engineering colleges in Tamil Nadu will 'fail' in an examination from the coming academic year 2008-09. In a novel scheme, the Tamil Nadu government has decided to do away with recording 'F' (Fail) against any subject in mark statements, a move in order to tackle the growing number of student suicides.

Instead it will be replaced with the letters 'RA' (Reappearance) suggesting that the candidate will have to reappear for an examination in that particular paper. The Psychological Counsellors Association has agreed to counsel students free of cost. Consequently, counselling will be held for college students at the beginning of an academic year and every three months thereafter.

Free coaching for JNU aspirants

Students' Union (JNUSU) will organise free coaching classes for JNU aspirants planning to take their entrance exams this year.

The coaching classes are conducted to prepare students for what they are going to face in the entrance test. These classes are especially designed for students coming from deprived backgrounds.

It is a good experience for students belonging to different backgrounds to interact with the other students present in the class.
Student friendly education loan introduced for higher studiesThe Central Government has introduced a loan scheme to the students pursuing higher studies. The students, who avail this facility, need not pay the interest till they complete their studies. The interest will be borne by the Central Government.

The Human Resources Development Ministry has said that this scheme will be introduced from the academic year to begin in the month of July this year. In order to pay the interest to the Banks on the loan of the students, the Central Government has come forward to earmark a grant of INR 4000 crore.
 
The Union Finance Ministry has approved the proposal of paying interest on educational loans. The Central Government will pay the interest on the loan of the student till six months after completion of studies. The student will have to clear only the loan amount.

For the education loan the banks at present are collecting an interest of 15% to 18%. The Central Government has already had talks with the banks and financial organisations. It is also stated that the Centre will not give any guarantee for the loans but will only take the responsibility of paying the interest.

DU to get Tactile Tiles to help the visually impaired

Delhi University is working towards constructing straight paths and erecting appropriate signage boards for making the campus more disabled-friendly for its differently-abled teachers and students.

The Equal Opportunities Cell (EOC) of Delhi University set up for the welfare of students belonging to categories of Scheduled Castes/ Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes and disabled persons is exploring new areas to make the University more accessible to physically challenged students.

Sign boards informing facilities are being put up in the campus, University procuring tactile tiles to guide the visually impaired, low-floor bus with a ramp to be brought on the campus.

Just as the Delhi metro stations in the Capital are fitted with tactile tiles, the University too will procure them to guide the visually impaired persons as they walk.

 

World Bank approves USD 600 million credit for Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan

The World Bank has approved a USD 600 million credit to support India's ongoing Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, a nationwide centrally sponsored education programme designed to provide children aged 6 to 14 with quality education. The “Second Elementary Education Project” aims to improve quality and access to this critical social service.

The project also aims to promote equity by enabling hard-to-reach children to attend school, create better learning conditions for all children and provide capacity building and academic support to state and sub-state education structures. In the area of oversight, the project will help monitor learning outcomes and support research and evaluation of quality initiatives.

Aligarh Muslim University to accredit madrassas

In an attempt to open up mainstream higher education in India to madrassa students, Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) decided to accredit several Islamic seminaries across the country. The effort will begin with Uttar Pradesh, where AMU is located and which has over 1,900 madrassas recognised by the state Madrassa Education Board.

Around 170,000 students study in these seminaries – the figure being highest among all Indian states. The committee will review the syllabi of madrassas and recommend changes in the education system. It has been directed to expedite its effort in Uttar Pradesh. At present, there are only about 42 AMU-accredited madrassas in different states, including Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.The state Madrassa Education Board has welcomed the move by AMU, but said a separate university should be set up to for their students due to their high numbers.

Government approves doubling of IIT fees

The government approved doubling of fees in the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs). The HRD Ministry approved the recommendation of the CNR Rao Committee that the fee for B Tech and M Tech courses be raised from INR 25,000 to INR 50,000 per annum.

Though the government had assured that there would be adequate scholarships for the weaker sections, especially at the post graduate level, it appears that the total amount allocated for scholarships has not been increased. The committee said a hike was necessary for IITs to cope with the rising cost of education and running the Institutes, a view also shared by the ministry.

The new fees structure would be effective from the new academic session and would be applicable to all IITs, including the three new one being set up in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Rajasthan.

Government approves National Means-cum-Merit scholarship

In a bid to arrest dropouts among poor but meritorious students in the secondary stage, Government approved a scholarship scheme at an expense of over INR 3,000 crore.

A meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh agreed to implement the Centrally-sponsored National Means-cum-Merit Scholarship during the 11th Plan. Each year, at least one lakh scholarships of INR 6,000 per annum would be awarded to students at the Class IX level till Class XII according to Finance Minister
P Chidambaram.

Education loans to be simplified

In a move to simplify education loan formalities, six to seven banks in the country would provide “Online loan application” facility from this academic year, according to Finance Minister
P Chidambaram.

The scholarship for pursuing school education after the eighth standard, which was planned for one lakh students for this year, would be extended to two lakh students next year. The scheme was being introduced for the best and meritorious students who could not pursue their education. The INR 6000 per year scholarship scheme for poor meritorious students was decided during the cabinet meeting held recently.

A separate pre-matric scholarship for the wards of those engaged in “menial jobs” to pursue higher education or ITI or diploma courses was also being implemented.

'Scheduled Caste meritorious students' scholarship scheme has been extended to 15,370 students,while the financial assistance for the minorities to pursue their education would benefit 20,000 students. The government also planned to encourage students to pursue pure science and research activities and give special incentives for them.

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