After postponing the CBSE board examinations, the Union Education Ministry has decided to postpone the Joint Entrance Examinations (JEE) in India and abroad. Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank has asked the National Testing Agency (NTA) not to conduct the JEE Mains examination in view of the rising Covid cases. The JEE Mains examination was scheduled to be held on April 27, 28 and 30 this year.
According to the Education Ministry, the students will be informed about the next date of examinations 15 days in advance.
On the entrance test, Nishank said, "JEE (Main) 2021 April session date will be announced later. It will be announced at least 15 days before the exam and all students will be informed about it."
The Union Education Minister said, "In view of the Covid surge, I have advised the NTA to postpone the examination for the JEE (Main) April 2021 session. I would like to reiterate that the safety of our students and their academic career is my major concern right now."
The results of the JEE Main Exam Season 2, which was held in March this year, have been declared. The entrance exams were also conducted for the first time in foreign cities like Kuala Lumpur and Lagos. These exams were conducted in 12 foreign cities and 334 Indian cities in collaboration with the Government of India.
In this examinations held by the NTA, 13 students topped the exam by scoring 100 per cent marks. The JEE Main examination was conducted by the NTA from March 16 to 18, 2021. A total of more than 6.19 lakh candidates had registered for BE and B.Tech degree course through this examination.
The Gujarat government on Thursday decided to postpone the Board examinations for Classes 10 and 12 and also announced mass promotion for all the rest of the classes in view of the Covid resurgence.
The state education department said it will review the situation at a later date and decide accordingly.
Following the CBSE decision, the Gujarat government postponed the examination for the Classes 10 and 12, which had earlier been scheduled from May 10 to 25.
The government will review the situation on May 1 and then come out with an updated schedule. The students appearing in Classes 10 and 12 examinations will be provided adequate time of at least 15 days prior to the exam schedule whenever it is announced, said the officials.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has postponed the state Board examinations for Classes 10 and 12.
All Classes from 1 to 12 will also remain closed till May 15.
The government spokesman said that fresh dates for the examinations would be announced sometime in May.
Earlier, the board examinations were scheduled to begin from May 8.
This is the second time that the Board exams have been deferred. The exams were earlier scheduled to be held from April 24 but the dates were pushed ahead because of the Panchayat elections. The next date was May 8 which has now been put off.
With the Covid-19 pandemic continuing unabated across Punjab, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday announced promotion of students of classes 5, 8 and 10 to the next class.
He said that those students would be promoted without taking any examination, while the decision on Class 12 Punjab State Education Board (PSEB) exams, which have already been postponed, will be taken later, based on the emerging situation.
The Chief Minister took these decisions during a virtual Covid review meeting with top officials and medical experts.
Singh said while the state had closed all educational institutions till April 30, bringing down the positivity in the 11-20 age group, relief was needed to be provided to school children going for exams.
For the class 5 students, since exams for four out of five subjects have already been conducted, results may be declared by the PSEB on the basis of the marks obtained by the students in respect to the four subjects, barring the fifth subject.
Results for classes 8 and 10 may be declared on the basis of pre-board examinations or the internal assessment of the respective schools, the Chief Minister directed the Education Department.
Singh, who had written to the written to Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' in this regard, also expressed satisfaction at the Centre's decision to postpone the Class 12 CBSE exams and cancellation of Class 10 CBSE exams in view of the pandemic.
Medical Education Minister O.P. Soni, Education Minister Vijay Inder Singla, Chief Secretary Vini Mahajan, DGP Dinkar Gupta were among those who attended the meeting.
The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) exams for Class 10 have been cancelled and the exams for Class 12 postponed in view of the exponential spike in Covid-19 cases across the country, Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank announced on Wednesday.
The decision was taken in a high-level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi here amid demand from students, teachers, parents and other stakeholders to cancel it.
The CBSE Board exams were scheduled to be held from May 4 to June 7 and the results were to be announced by July 15.
"The Board Exams for Class Xth to be held from 4th May to June 14th, 2021 are hereby cancelled. The results of Class Xth Board will be prepared on the basis of an objective criterion to be developed by the Board," Nishank tweeted.
"Any candidate who is not satisfied with the marks allocated to him or her on this basis, will be given an opportunity to sit in an exam as and when the conditions are conducive to hold the exams," the Minister said.
Nishank further said that the Class 12 exams will be held later and the situation reviewed on June 1 by the CBSE, and the details will be shared subsequently. "A notice of at least 15 days will be given before the start of the examinations."
The Minister mentioned that the decision was taken after Prime Minister Modi chaired a high-level meeting to review the examinations to be held at various levels in view of the developing Corona situation.
The chorus for cancellation of upcoming board exams for class 10 and 12 grew louder on Tuesday in the wake of the exponential rise in COVID-19 cases.
The Uttar Pradesh government has converted 15,000 primary and upper primary schools into English medium, with a view to modernise the education system.
The move is aimed at honing English speaking skills of children studying in the government schools, right from the beginning, so that they can compete with missionary and convent school students.
Nearly 1.83 crore children are studying in more than 1.5 lakh primary and upper primary schools in the state.
In Lucknow alone, around 60 primary and upper primary schools have been converted into English medium schools.
In every block, two or three schools have been developed much like the private schools.
Director, basic education department, Sarvendra Vikram Singh said the hard work and dedication of teachers to equip students of these primary and upper primary schools with English speaking skills has already started paying dividends as they are competing with children of the private schools today.
According to him these schools boast of smart class, beautiful classrooms and 'most importantly, the school children now speak English.'
The Uttar Pradesh government provides free books, uniforms, bags, shoes and socks as well as sweaters in winter for students.
The state government of the day has also renovated 1.39 lakh schools under 'Operation Kayakalp' to offer better academic facilities to the students.
Two to three schools in every block of the state have been developed on the lines of English medium schools.
According to Vandana Srivastava, teacher in-charge of Primary School, Hirapur, Barabanki, her school features among the top schools of the block. The school has also been awarded by the government for its achievements, she added.
Amid a continued rise in the number of fresh Covid-19 cases in the national capital, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday urged the Centre to cancel the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) examinations.
"There would be around six lakh students and around one lakh teachers who will come to the exam centers and in turn, these centres may turn into new Covid-19 hotspots. This fourth wave of the pandemic in Delhi is very critical and it is also affecting the youth and children. I would request the Centre to cancel the CESE exams," he said while addressing a press conference.
"We have seen that in past few days several countries have cancelled exams. Even in India many states have called board exams.
"We can find some other alternatives for assessment of students' performances to declare their results," he added.
Kejriwal also said that the present Covid-19 situation in the capital city is critical as there were over 10,000 single-day cases being registered for the last few days, and therefore more dedicated beds would be required in the coming days.
"The Delhi government would convert schools into Covid care centres to increase the number of beds," he added.
Meanwhile, the Chief Minister also said that due to surge in Covid-19 cases in the city, Delhi government hospitals have been directed to conduct emergency surgeries only and to cancel planned surgeries for the next two to three months.
"Planed surgeries are in high number while emergency surgeries are usually less. Therefore, hospital authorities have been directed to admit non-covid patients only if it is an emergency case."
In order to check the spread of Covid-19 infections in Jammu and Kashmir, the authorities on Sunday ordered that all schools in the union territory will remain closed for another week.
An order issued by the government said that after taking an overall assessment of the situation pertaining to the spread of COVID-19 in Jammu and Kashmir, the state executive committee has decided that all schools in the union territory shall remain closed till April 18.
Sunday's order pertains to classes 9 to 12 since classes up to 9th standard have already been closed upto April 18.
There has been an alarming increase in the number of daily reported cases in J&K.
On Saturday, a record number of 1005 new cases came to light while 6 patients suffering from COVID-19 succumbed to the virus.
Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Friday slammed the decision of the education boards in the country, including the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), to conduct exams under the deteriorating Covid-19 situation in the country.
In a tweet, she said: "It is downright irresponsible of boards like the CBSE to force students to sit for exams under the prevailing circumstances. Board exams should either be cancelled, rescheduled or arranged in a manner that does not require the physical presence of children at crowded exam centres."
Her remarks came a day after both the CBSE and Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) said that adequate safety arrangements are being made for students and all Covid-19 guidelines will be followed during the exams.
The two boards responded after the hashtag, 'cancel board exams' trended on Twitter on Wednesday and Thursday.
This revolution in content creation and its consumption has led to a huge demand for careers in film acting and also in show-running
India is the largest producer of films in the world and Bollywood alone is approximately a $ 2.5 billion industry. Further, the cine industries in south India, Kolkata, Punjab and now in Haryana and Uttar Pradesh (UP) are also producing movies. Not to mention, pan-India television channels and ad films. These provide enormous employment opportunities to actors, directors, cinematographers, screenwriters and so on.
The extended lockdowns witnessed the emergence of over-the-top (OTT) platforms that disrupted the traditional entertainment sector and has changed the overall scenario in a significant manner. It made movie-watching convenient, accessible and affordable across a wider segment of the users. Anybody with a mobile phone and an internet connection can catch up with a movie sitting anywhere in the world. ALTBalaji, for instance, performed the best in 2020 as its direct subscription grew cent per cent amassing 8.5 million monthly active users and 35 million plus cumulative subscribers in this period, with most of its new audiences coming from Tier II and Tier III cities.
The OTT is a generic term used in telecom industry which means all services that are offered over and above what a cell phone already comes with. It usually refers subscriber-based web-streaming platforms in India whose growth curve looks steeply inclined. The OTT industry itself is only around four years old in India.
Netflix was the first mover, followed by Amazon Prime Video and then more than 40 other OTT platforms. Amazon was the first to commission Indian originals. Netflix entered the domain of local content right after.
Amazon Prime Video has approximately 17 million paying subscribers, second only to Disney+Hotstar at 18 million, while Netflix India has five million and Zee5 has 11 million plus subscribers. With internet reaching the semi-urban and rural areas coupled with affordable data plans, new players have entered the game, including Hoichoi, Ullu, Addatimes, Sun NXT and MX Player. The growth potential can be estimated when one considers that there are 625 million internet users and 836 million TV viewers in India alone.
Digital streaming companies are spending heavily to keep the growth going. Worldwide spend was around $21 billion in 2017, which is expected to more than double by 2022, according to ‘Asia on Demand’. Content spending by Asian operators is expected to reach $10.1 billion by 2022, from $2.7 billion in 2017. The Indian OTT market is projected to reach $5 billion by 2023. With their huge spends, a show on Amazon or Netflix brings legitimacy, not just within the industry, but also outside. Besides digital ads, they put up hoardings all over the city, just like cinema!
The OTT has also changed all previous casting practices and now even films want and need new, unique, different talents for the sake of freshness and spontaneity. This revolution in content creation and its consumption has led to a huge demand for careers in film acting as also in show-running.
Actors work with directors, writers and technicians to create content for cinema, web, OTT, television, advertisement, stills, video and so on. Actors must be able to work for long hours to meet the deadlines. They must also be comfortable doing a wide range of scenes and playing various roles.
With the popularity of OTT platforms growing manifold, the Indian entertainment industry is looking forward to hire talented actors who have skills as per the demands of the industry. Casting, however, is no longer about just checking portfolios and doing auditions. Today, it is also about checking the social media credentials of budding actors, checking auditions on YouTube and doing a whole bunch of things to get the right person for the right role.
Another career that OTT has thrown up is that of showrunners. A showrunner combines the responsibilities of a director and a producer, shouldering the creative and management responsibilities of a web show production. Unlike commercial cinema, creating OTT content irrespective of genre is a much more collaborative process, often employing multiple writers and directors to work on a series or film. This allows for more perspectives and talent to come together for a particular show or film and create a more engaging and enriching experience for the audience.
The showrunner acts as a bridge between the OTT platform and the team responsible for making the show and also makes sure that the show comes in on time and exactly as visualised by the producer. They are very highly paid and usually, a top showrunner is also the lead writer.
The glamour, money and razzmatazz of this emerging career are bringing people by the hordes to this profession and a lot many people are opting for the career which is steadily growing.
The writer is theVice-Chancellor, World University of Design. The views expressed are personal.
It is always unexpected and sometimes might play a positive and at other times a negative role in the polls
Are there any X-factors that could play an important role in the ongoing five State Assembly polls? The X-factors are always unexpected and might play sometimes positive and at other times a negative role in elections. In a few weeks’ time, we will know which way it has played in the Assembly polls in Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry. In West Bengal, Chief Minister (CM) and Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee is fighting a fierce battle with the surging BJP. Earlier, the TMC used to fight the Congress or the Left parties but Mamata since 2011 systematically decimated them. Now she is regretting it because the space left by them has been occupied by the BJP. It is the Muslim votes that matter a lot for Mamata. This time, to counter the saffron party’s influence, she is also wooing the Hindu voters. She should be worried about the role of the influential cleric Abbas Siddiqui’s new party, the Indian Secular Front. The Congress-CPI(M) coalition can either damage the chances of Mamata by denting her Muslim vote bank or polarising the voters into Hindu-Muslim division which could benefit the BJP. Since the BJP is not expecting Muslim votes, it will be the Trinamool that will be the eventual sufferer.
The X-factor in Assam could be the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF). Assam is key to BJP’s rise in the northeast. An exit poll data indicates a tough contest in Assam. While the NDA is likely to corner 42.9 per cent vote share, the UPA can secure 40.7 per cent of the votes. That the AIUDF could polarise the voters on the Hindu-Muslim line would go to the advantage of the BJP, particularly in upper Assam. Also, the Congress-led coalition has no tall leader in the State while the BJP has the incumbent CM, Sarbananda Sonowal, and former Congress leader Himanta Biswa Sarma who has been the saffron party’s northeast strategist. So it is again the Muslim votes that matter in Assam.
However, Tamil Nadu is a classic case where the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK)-led alliance and the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) coalition have been alternating in power. But that was when two iconic leaders, J Jayalalithaa (AIADMK) and M Karunanidhi (DMK), were leading their parties. This will be the first election that non-charismatic leaders are on the poll scene. While incumbent CM E Palaniswami has not done badly, the DMK is led by MK Stalin who had been groomed carefully by his father Karunanidhi for years. The AIADMK suffers from many disadvantages, including anti-incumbency. Its alliance with the BJP is frowned upon by the Dravidian voters. Kerala too has followed the trend of alternating between the Left-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) and the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF). Now it is the turn of the UDF but incumbent CM Pinarayi Vijayan too has reinforced his forces by luring the Kerala Congress (Mani) into the alliance. This will be to the disadvantage of the UDF. Besides, Vijayan has managed to do well in establishing himself as a tall leader. If the LDF loses this time, the comrades will not have any Government in the whole of India. The BJP could be the X-factor in Kerala.
(The writer is a senior journalist. The views expressed are personal.)