A committee set up by the Centre for the global expansion of IITs has, in consultation with Indian missions abroad, identified UK, UAE, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Malaysia and Thailand as prospective locations for offshore campuses under the “Indian International Institute of Technology” brand name, The Sunday Express has learned.
These seven countries ranked high on several key parameters, according to a report submitted to the Ministry of Education by the 17-member committee, led by IIT Council standing committee chairperson Dr K Radhakrishnan. The parameters include the level of interest and commitment, academic lineage, conducive ecosystem to attract quality faculty and students, regulatory provisions and potential benefits to enhance India’s “branding and relation”.
The report is based on feedback from heads of 26 Indian missions, with the Economic Diplomacy section of the Ministry of External Affairs arranging two virtual sessions between the committee and embassy officials on February 2 and March 28.
According to inputs shared by the Indian High Commission in the UK, the mission has obtained “six concrete proposals of cooperation from the University of Birmingham, King’s College London, University of Exeter, University of Oxford, University of Cambridge and University College London”.
“Our mission has made multiple requests for a meeting between the universities and the IIT committee. It has further requested for a detailed concept note and nodal contact point for taking forward this proposal,” stated the report, which was reviewed by The Indian Express.
The report also states that IIT-Delhi is the preferred choice for UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Malaysia. According to the report, Egypt is keen to launch an arrangement, online if not physical, from 2022-23. However, the committee has advised against haste, saying that preferably only residential campuses be opened after due deliberations.
“A certain minimum commitment of area for the campus is required from the local government while establishing the new institutes. The institutes are being established not for commerce, but rather for building the image of the country abroad. Therefore, these institutes should cater to the local student population (which could be the Indian diaspora). The percentage of Indian students in these institutes should be less than 20%,” the report said.
The proposal for IITs to expand abroad is not new. For instance, IIT Delhi is already in talks with the Department of Education and Knowledge in UAE’s Abu Dhabi, while IIT Madras is exploring options in Sri Lanka, Nepal and Tanzania. So far, the discussions were largely about individual IITs. The committee has, for the first time, proposed a model under which a chain of institutions would be set up under the Indian International Institute of Technology brand name with domestic IITs as mentors.
The members of the committee included the directors of IIT Delhi, Madras, Kharagpur; ISM Dhanbad, Guwahati, Kanpur; Indian Institute of Science; NIT Surathkal; and the vice-chancellors of JNU, Delhi University, the University of Hyderabad and Banaras Hindu University; and, Dean (International Relations) IIT Bombay.
“The new institutes could be called ‘Indian International Institute of Technology at (country name)’. The suggested name is sufficiently close to IIT with international added to clarify that the institute is located outside India. The difference in the name (with sufficient similarity) will allow the newly established institutes to evolve their own identity and ethos, while drawing upon the strength of the existing IITs,” the report stated.
However, for the project to succeed and not become a burden on the mentor institutes, “substantial investment by the government of the host country or of the Indian government” will be required, the report stated. “In fact, the sponsoring institution in India should expect a reasonable amount of royalty (say 10 percent to 15 percent of the overall expenditure of the offshore campus) out of such a campus,” the committee said in the report.
Also, the offshore campus will need to follow the laws and regulations of the host country, indicating that there will be no reservations for students or employees unless provided by the local laws. “The Act of Parliament through which these institutes are created should give them more freedom than the current IITs,” the committee said in the report.
In the committee’s report, Bhutan, Nepal, Bahrain, Japan, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Serbia, Singapore, South Korea and Uzbekistan have been ranked a notch below the seven countries that have been identified. Indian authorities should work out arrangements in these countries also, the committee said.
The department of Sanskrit in Allahabad University (AU) is introducing a new course in Hindu astrology and rituals with the aim of conserving the rich legacy of the religion.
The AU spokesperson said that a centre for Vedic studies will soon be established at the department of Sanskrit.
The three new courses based on Vedic studies will include religious practices and rituals and astrology and these would be launched from the next academic session 2023-24.
Admission will begin for two PG diplomas and one PG course. The department has prepared a detailed proposal for the same.
Prof Ram Sevak Dubey, head of the department of Sanskrit, said on Wednesday, "Under the Centre for Vedic studies, diplomas in ritual will be awarded. It will be a one-year duration course, and for getting admission, a graduation degree in any discipline is mandatory. At the same time, a diploma in Astrology will also be a one-year course at the department which can be done after the UG course."
The department proposes to start a post-graduate course in intellectual studies. This will be a two-year master's degree programme. Students having Sanskrit as one of their subjects in graduation will be able to take admission to this course.
Prof Dubey further said that the proposal for conducting all three courses will be sent to the vice-chancellor and would be tabled at the meeting of the Academic Council (AC).
After the final approval of the Executive Council (EC), the course would be launched. Admissions will be taken in the academic session 2023-24.
The head of the department said that after studying astrology and rituals from AU, new doors of employment would open for the students. At the same time, courses such as these would help conserve the gradually vanishing Vedic practices and rituals, including astrology.
UPSC topper Shubham Kumar has said that he was not sure about cracking the examination this year, which was his third attempt.
His first attempt was in 2018. "After the second attempt in 2019, I got the 290th rank, and then I got into the Indian Defence Account Service," he said.
The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) on Friday declared the results of exams held in 2020. Kumar, a resident of Katihar district of Bihar, who has topped the Civil Services Examination 2020, said he is happy with his performance.
A total of 761 candidates have been recommended by the Union Public Service Commission for appointment in the bureaucracy of the country.
"I am very happy and feeling very good because I gave as much as I could... I was not sure that I would be able to do it this time," he told IANS.
Kumar has done civil engineering from IIT Bombay and hails from Katihar in Bihar.
"Currently, I am in National Academy of Defence Financial Management Pune and I am an official trainee in Indian Accounts Service," he said.
He said: "I was not that confident in the Mains this time as I was not able to answer all the questions well."
"Due to Covid, I was not able to prepare last year... I was all alone... friends became less and I could not talk to anyone, so it was like preparing by staying locked in a room."
Apart from Shubham, Jagriti Awasthi and Ankita Jain have secured the second and third positions respectively in the Civil Services Examination.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin on Monday tabled a Bill seeking the withdrawal of National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) for the state.
The DMK led by its President Stalin had come to power in the state promising that it would cancel NEET.
This is the second time a bill for such a purpose is being tabled in the Assembly. A similar bill was passed by the assembly during the AIADMK regime which did not get the President's assent.
Tabling the Bill, Stalin said the DMK has been opposing NEET from the beginning and after coming to power, has started the legal fight against it.
He sought the support of the opposition parties for the Bill.
Stalin said the government is trying to bring the admission process for medical seats based on 12th standard marks.
According to him, the Bill provides for 7.5 per cent reservation in medical colleges for students who had studied in government schools.
Stalin said the government will try to get the assent of the President for the Bill after it is passed in the Assembly.
Former Chief Minister and the Leader of Opposition, K. Palaniswami said AIADMK will extend its support to the Bill.
There has been severe opposition to the NEET in Tamil Nadu by students and the political parties.
On Saturday, a 19-year old Dhanush, a medical seat aspirant, was found dead at his home at Kooliyur village in Tamil Nadu's Salem district.
Police sources said the deceased Dhanush was to appear for his third attempt in the national entrance test on Sunday.
Dhanush had cleared his Class 12 exam in 2019 and was preparing for the exam on Sunday. However, he was found lying dead when his parents went to wake him up early in the morning.
Police rushed to his home and the body was taken to the government general hospital at Mettur. A case has been registered and police are investigating the matter.
Even after the stiff opposition from the DMK government and the slugfest with the AIADMK-BJP combine in Tamil Nadu against conducting NEET exams, a total of 1,10,971 students from the state will take the exam scheduled from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
Tamil Nadu has 225 examination centres for NEET. In the state capital, 17,992 students will take the exam in 33 centres.
Students will be allowed into the examination halls on a staggered basis with the first batch to enter classrooms by 10.30 a.m. and this will continue till 1.30 p.m., half an hour before the commencement of the examination.
Strict Covid-19 protocols will be ensured at the examination centres and students will be provided N-95 masks.
Coaching centres and schools had conducted mock examinations on Saturday as last-minute preparation for the mode of exam. Several students complained that by attending the exam wearing N95 masks created problems for them.
M.R. Geetha, a NEET aspirant from Triplicane in Chennai said, "I am attending the coaching classes of a private entrance coaching institute. On Saturday, there was a mock exam at the institute and we were told to wear N 95 masks and for the first one hour, it was fine but later it was irritating. I don't know how I will perform in such a situation."
Many students have been advised to do "Pranayama" by the coaching institutes and schools as a preparation for wearing the mask continuously for three hours and to increase lung power.
Helen David, a teacher of Physics of a prestigious school of Chennai told IANS, "It is indeed a tough proposition for students to take the NEET examination with the N 95 masks on. However, students are geared up and I don't think that they will underperform."
Leh, July 22 (IANS) For a region that remained snowbound for six months and whose children had to travel nearly 400 kms to seek admission in a graduate-level college, Thursday's decision to establish a central university comes as a historic development.
The Union cabinet decision to establish a central university as a centre of learning and research, will also address the intellectual imbalance of the region.
Union minister Anurag Thakur made the announcement in Delhi that the central university would be established at a cost of Rs 7,500 crore in Ladakh and the news was received with delight in Leh.
Thakur said the first phase of the university would be completed in four years.
He informed that the Bill to amend the Central Universities Act, 2009 will be introduced to facilitate the formation of the central university in Ladakh.
The jurisdiction of the central university will cover the entire Ladakh including Leh and Kargil districts.
People of the Ladakh region said the decision marks the fulfilment of their ages-old aspiration while local students and scholars said they would work in the fields of science and technology with the objective of making the region an enviable place.
"We have always wished to have a top-level higher education centre in Ladakh and the decision to establish a central university will open up new vistas and nurture loftier dreams of our students", said Sonam Narbu, a resident of Leh town.
In addition to furthering the dreams of the local students and scholars, the central university will also attract Ladakhi teachers and researchers engaged in universities outside the region.
J. Tsering Namgyal, the BJP Lok Sabha member from Ladakh, has always been critical of a left-handed deal the region had been allegedly receiving when it was part of the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir state.
Thursday's cabinet decision should give Namgyal reason to celebrate for the establishment of the central university is a milestone in the 'unshackling of Ladakh' from darkness and exploitation.
Following the Supreme Court's acceptance of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) merit formula for Class 12, the Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board (GSHSEB) too has announced its plan for the students and the results will be declared by the third week of July.
According to the CBSE evaluation criteria, Class 12 results will be evaluated on the basis of 30:30:40 ratio. This involves the performance in Class 10 -- 30 per cent of the best three performing subjects, Class 11 -- 30 per cent based on final exams and Class 12 -- 40 per cent based on unit tests/ pre-board/midterm exams.
The GSHSEB however, not going along with the CBSE format, has formed its own evaluation policy which has been framed by a committee of 11 educationists. According to the committee's recommendations, the GSHSEB will take into account the results of Class 10, 11 and 12 in the ratio of 50:25:25 respectively.
The GSHSEB on late Thursday night, declared the policy where the total of 100 marks will be divided by giving highest weightage of 50 marks to Class 10 board results and 25 each to internal unit tests of Class 11 and 12.
The GSHSEB also announced the dates for preparation and declaration of results. For the Class 12 science stream, the results will be declared in the second week of July followed by the general stream in the third week of July. Distribution of mark sheets and certificates will be done at the end of July.
Based on this evaluation criteria, the schools will evaluate students between July 19 and 25, followed by uploading the results on the board's website between June 25 and July.
For Class 10 students, who were declared to be mass-promoted, the assessment has been divided between Class 9 and Class 10 unit tests. The government has not specified whether the term mass promotion will be applied to the Class 12 students or not.
A day after the CBSE cancelled its Class 12 exams, the Gujarat government led by Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, too, had decided to scrap Class 12 state board exams on June 2.
The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) on Thursday told the Supreme Court that for Class 12, the marks will be based on unit test/mid-term/pre-board exam and 40 per cent weightage will be given.
Results are likely to be declared by July 31.
Attorney General K.K. Venugopal, representing the CBSE, submitted that the marks of practical/internal assessment etc. of Class 12 will be on actual basis as uploaded by the school on the CBSE portal.
"The total marks awarded should be in consonance with the past performance of the school in Class 12 Board Examinations," said the CBSE in its response in the top court.
"The computation of theory marks for Class 12 will be based on performance in one or more Unit Test(s)/Mid-Term/Pre-Board(s) theory examination. The result committee of the school may decide weightage to be given to each exam based on the credibility and reliability of the assessment. For example, if the committee may be of the considered view that only the Pre-Board exams may be taken into consideration, then a full weightage can be given to that component. Similarly, another school Result committee may decide to give equal weightage to Pre-Board exams and Mid-Term exams," said the CBSE affidavit in the top court.
The board submitted that the performance of the students in Class 11 and Class 10 exams will also be factored in while making the assessments.
The CBSE said while 30 per cent marks will be based on Class 11 final exam, 30 per cent marks based on best-of-three Class 10 marks will also be included while making the assessment. A bench headed by Justice A.M. Khanwilkar is hearing the matter.
The CBSE said a result committee under the principal of the school will be formed in each school comprising of two senior-most PGT from the same school and two PGT from neighbouring schools.
Committee has been given liberty to prepare the result by following the policy.
The National Testing Agency (NTA) will soon release the application form for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) 2021. The official website, neet.nta.nic.in and ntaneet.nic.in have the link activated. The official website displays that the application form will be available soon.
The medical entrance exam for admission to undergraduate courses is scheduled to be held on August 1. However, amid the Covid concerns, the Education Ministry will decide soon on conducting the medical entrance exam NEET in August, as per news agency PTI.
The Tamil Nadu government has said that it has not taken any decision yet on Class 12 board examinations, as some teachers and parents in the state have been pulling in different directions on the conduct of the exams.
While a majority of the teachers want the exams to be conducted, a section of parents have opposed to such school of thought.
At least 7,000 Higher Secondary schools in the state have already compiled a detailed report based on the viewpoint of parents and teachers as directed by the Education department.
The report has already been submitted to the state government on Thursday.
The state government will conduct an online meeting of health experts, educationists, academicians and other concerned people along with the education department officials on Friday.
Sources in the Education department said that based on this online meeting a detailed report will be presented to Chief Minister MK Stalin on Saturday.
Vijayababu, Principal of a government-aided Higher Secondary told IANS, "When I personally contacted parents and teachers to compile the report for the state government, I could find that the opinion was divided totally.
While 100 per cent of the examination to be conducted, only around 20 per cent of the parents have agreed to the proposal.
Parents say that it is better to cancel the exams as they are more concerned about the health of their child rather than writing an examination."
The delay is creating a lot of anxiety among the students and parents alike.
Aabha Rajkumar, a Class 12 student in a government Higher Secondary school said, "I don't know what is in store for me in future. I had prepared well and is ready to take on the examinations but the uncertainty is killing me. If they are cancelling let them do so otherwise let them do it in a format that is comfortable to students, parents and teachers. If CBSE and ICSE exams are cancelled owing to Covid why not our exams."
The ultra Tamil nationalist organisations like the MDMK are keen that the exams are conducted.
MDMK leader Vaiko has in a statement on Monday called upon the Tamil Nadu government to conduct examinations for Class 12 students. He had charged that it was a deliberate attempt on the part of the Union government to implement National Education Policy (NEP) through the backdoor and that the Tamil Nadu government must not adhere to this.
Parents are however, worried over the health of the students and does not want to take any risk by sending their children to school to appear for the examination.
Rajani Arun, a banker at Chennai, said: "There is no need for the government to dilly dally on this issue. If CBSE and ICSE exams stand cancelled, why can't our government take a decision to cancel this examination Medical reports and scientific studies across the globe say that a third wave is imminent and that it will affect children the most. What guarantee can the government provide to my child that she won't get the disease after going to the school to write the exam."
Teachers insist that exams are conducted in some mode and total cancelling of exams will not do justice to the student community in the long run.
Raghavendran Manickyam, a Chemistry teacher with a Higher Secondary school, said: "The exams must be conducted, may be later but it has to be conducted. We have good infrastructure and we can hold the examinations adhering to all the Covid protocols. I strongly appeal to the government that the examinations are conducted so that a correct picture of the student is availed, otherwise the value of the education system is gone which should not happen."
Educationalists across the sector have welcomed the announcement that Class XII examinations for 2021 were being cancelled.
Praveen Raju, Co-Chair, FICCI ARISE and Founder, Suchitra Academy, said: "Given the current situation, it is the right decision to cancel the CBSE 12th Board exams. There is no way we could have held exams without compromising the safety of children. While we welcome the decision, we hope the modalities would be worked out quickly in consultation with stakeholders. Since 12th marks are an important factor affecting students' careers, we expect CBSE to ensure students don't get affected by the methodology of awarding marks."
Charu Wahi, Principal, Nirmal Bhartia School, said: "This is a decision taken in the best interest of the children. However, the next step is equally critical and crucial in deciding the process and criteria based on which the children's performance will be judged. This should be done keeping in mind that many of them make that extra effort during the last mile and should be given due advantage."
Another challenge that requires immediate resolution on the part of the education ministry is the compilation of the results for Class 12 students.
The government is yet to devise well-defined criteria for this.
Various stakeholders have urged the authorities to opt for more comprehensive measures, which justifies students' academic record and performance.
Adding to the concern, Shishir Jaipuria, Chairman of Seth Anandram Jaipuria Group of Educational Institutions, said: "The decision to cancel Class XII Board exams is taken in the interest of the health and safety of students and teachers. Many students and their parents will heave a sigh of relief. The uncertainty over the Class XII Board Exams happening during the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic had many of them anxious and nervous. But now, we move on to the next challenge, which is to come up with a fair and reliable criterion for assessing the academic performance of these students. Deserving students must be allocated grades or marks on the basis of their yearly performance. It's a challenge that will require a great deal of meticulous thinking for arriving at a just criterion for academic assessment. I'm sure the schools and boards will rise to the challenge and deliver what is best for the students."
Furthermore, Vishnu Karthik, CEO, The Heritage Schools, highlighted the need for a new grading system accepted by both schools and universities.
"The decision to cancel the board exams has provided some clarity and assuaged stress levels among students and parents. It wouldn't have been an easy decision given the criticality of grade 12 exams on university admissions. The government did not have much choice as the health of students is paramount. The challenge now is for CBSE to arrive at alternative criteria to determine grade 12 marks. Any delay or any confusion on the new grading criteria will lead to more confusion and stress among students. Clear directions should also be provided to Indian universities to modify their admissions criteria so that meritocracy and fairness are not compromised."
Various universities and high education institutes have not only accepted the verdict on cancellation of the Class 12 examinations but are also committed to extending cooperation towards the students in their step ahead towards higher education.
With the delay in exams and results in the making, universities have adopted many student-friendly policies, including re-adjusting of their admission cycles to prevent students' careers and study plans from being jeopardised.
Expressing his openness towards the decision, Kunal Vasudeva, COO, Indian School of Hospitality, said: "We welcome the government's decision to cancel 12th class board exams. It is a well-thought decision and rightly reflects India's progressive stance about education at the policy level. Student safety is at the centre of all we are doing right now, and this move will certainly help reduce anxieties among both students and parents. This was the right call to take, and we are happy to adapt our admission cycle as per the new guidelines."
Niranjan Hiranandani, Provost, HSNC University, lauded the Prime Minister's declaration, mentioning that this decision will save from affecting millions of lives.
"The announcement repressed the uncertainty that would have otherwise affected the youth and also met the trending #cancelboardexams2021 demand of students and industry bodies while ascertaining that the academic calendar will not be affected further. The results will be compiled as per well-defined criteria by CBSE and will terminate the anxiety of stakeholders. I am happy that this decision is made in favour of India's future, ensuring their health is not at stake."
Hiranandani further added that now the universities should align with the well-defined assessment criteria to ensure a seamless admission procedure and welcome the upcoming cohort taking into account the current circumstances the pandemic has put us into.
Prof Milind Padalkar, Pro-Chancellor (Designate), The NorthCap University, also welcomed the decision and extended sympathetic support towards the students and families who endured emotional and financial hardship induced by the pandemic.
"Many have suffered the loss of their near and dear ones, and their grief is unimaginable. The disruption in the educational activity has been acute, and we cannot expect the students to be in a fit frame of mind to study and be prepared for the examinations. The Government needs to be complimented for having taken a compassionate view of the situation and reducing further health risks. We hope that CBSE quickly implements alternative mechanisms to assess the students reasonably so that their prospects for higher education are not impeded."
The education sector has shown solidarity towards the decision and hopes for the concerned authorities to devise and implement a progressive and inclusive assessment system.
Moreover, the industry leaders and educationists are visualizing the current crisis as a blessing in disguise, leading to more student-friendly education reforms that focus on boosting their future study plans and career ahead.