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HRD Ministry to open 50 educational DTH channels

ICT, MHRD

India Education review

09-10-2013

The Union Ministry for Human Resource Development (MHRD) has planned to launch 50 DTH educational channels.

Ashok Thakur, Secretary Higher Education said these channels will be different from the existing programmes on air including Gyan Darshan as new one will be more interactive.

He said these channels will air programmes which will be live and not pre recorded. Saying that the new initiatives will be one of the largest anywhere in the world of its kind, Thakur said later on the number of the channels will be increased to one thousand.

He said that the Ministry has spent more than one billion dollars for ICT. Over 400 universities and twenty thousand colleges have been linked with bandwidth. He said there is a great potential to increase its usage.

Highlighting the potential of the National Programme on National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology (NMEICT), the Secretary said that the entire country can be made into a big classroom which will help improve quality of instructions in engineering colleges particularly belonging to the remote areas.

He said that the Ministry may approach AICTE to make on-line education mandatory and integral part of education system. Thakur said it should be possible to share classes from IITs to other engineering colleges by making the system more user friendly.

Dr S S Mantha, Chairman, AICTE focused on promoting quality initiatives in the country. He said that rapid expansion in institutions has led to the decline in quality. The need of the hour therefore is to nurture quality in the institutions.

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HRD tweaks Accreditation Bill

Higher Education, MHRD

20-Aug-2013

The Economic Times

The HRD Ministry has tweaked a bill aimed at making accreditation of higher educational institutes compulsory, dropping jail term for contravention of provisions, as it prepares to get the legislation passed in the ongoing session of Parliament.

The National Accreditation Regulatory Authority for Higher Educational Institutions Bill, 2010, currently pending in Lok Sabha, makes it mandatory for every higher educational institution to get accredited by an accreditation agency to certify academic quality.

Clause 41 of the original bill stated that if any person contravenes or abets the contravention of the provisions, he or she would be liable for punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend up to two years or with fine which may extend to Rs 10 lakh or both.

However, after considerable deliberations, meeting stakeholders and keeping the Parliamentary Standing Committee recommendations in mind, the ministry decided to amend the provision, officials said.

While the standing committee had suggested suitable modification of the provision, private educational institutions had also opposed it, saying it could be misused.

The bill establishes a National Accreditation Regulatory Authority for Higher Education, which would register and monitor accreditation agencies.

These accreditation agencies would accredit every higher educational institution based on a specified procedure and fees.

Ministry officials are hopeful that the bill would sail through in the current session of Parliament, saying there is broad-based consensus on the legislation among political parties.

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PPP MODEL SCHOOLS ? WORRIES OVER COMMERCIALISATION

MHRD, Public Private Partnerships (PPPs)

29-Jul-2013 :

Business Times

 The Human Resource Development Ministry’s move towards introducing model schools under public-private partnership (PPP), as announced recently, may change the face of Indian school education.

While Government-private partnership in school education is not new in the country (Government-aided private schools exist), what would set these schools apart is the larger control that private players would have over governance. Further, the scheme allows private players to use the school premises for vocational education, skills training or any other approved educational activity to enhance its revenue.

On July 20, HRD Minister M.M. Pallam Raju unveiled plans for the first 50 of the proposed 2,500 PPP model schools on a pilot basis, which will be operational from the 2015-16 academic session.

Incidentally, the plan to set up such model schools in educationally backward regions has been in the offing for over five years.

“The objective of this scheme is to set up 2,500 schools through PPP for providing quality education to about 40 lakh children, of which 25 lakh would be from socially and economically disadvantaged categories,” a HRD Ministry paper said.

Already a few model schools exist, such as Adarsh schools in Punjab, run by Bharti Foundation, the philanthropy arm of Bharti Enterprises.

Vijay Chadda, CEO, Bharti Foundation, sees PPP schools as the future of the country.

“We do seem to have a problem with the Government education system.,” he said, adding that the need for letting private parties come into school system was felt primarily because of the inefficient systems in Government-run schools.

He said more than funds, accountability was lacking in Government schools, which is where private parties could play a role if they were given operational control.

However, Chadda agreed that despite the Planning Commission chalking out stringent and elaborate agreements for private parties, there is always danger of commercialisation.

And this is what worries a number of educationists, too, despite the clause that at least 40 per cent of the students in these schools would be from the under-privileged sections.

An HRD Ministry official said the Government will spend the same amount incurred by it for each Kendriya Vidyalaya student, where its spending per child is about Rs 21,000-22,000 annually.

However, the private party running the school will have the authority to determine the fees for the rest of the 60 per cent students.

An educationist, who wished to remain anonymous, questioned the need for giving operational freedom to private parties. He said the country needed a uniform education system, not just a uniform syllabus. Ossie Fernandes, Director, Human Rights Advocacy and Research Foundation, said the move to allow private parties will only encourage more commercialisation.

“Instead of the State taking on a pivotal role, permitting private parties is only going to turn education, which should be meant to foster social change, into a business.”

Meanwhile, CPM politburo member Brinda Karat criticised the move saying the Government was essentially funding the private institutions from the public exchequer.

“They are going to allow private parties to run the schools without any control, even on fees,” she said, adding that the Government should, instead, look at increasing the budgetary allocation towards education from the current 3.7 per cent to the proposed six per cent of GDP.

Under the scheme, the private party is required to build the infrastructure, and acquire land from State Governments. Experts fear the land would be provided at subsidised cost. Further, management would be in the hands of the private party.

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MHRD dissolves Distance Education Council; UGC to frame guidelines

MHRD

Indian Education Review

3-june-2013

Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has dissolved Distance Education Council (DEC) with immediate effect and University Grants Commission has been given the responsibility of Open and Distance Learning (ODL).

The DEC under Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), was the apex regulatory body for distance education offered by universities across the country.

UGC Secretary in his letter addressed to the Vice Chancellors of all the universities has said, “Distance Education Council (DEC), has been repealed and deleted with immediate effect. Accordingly, DEC of IGNOU stands dissolved.”

Ministry of Human Resource Development, government of India has entrusted all the regulatory responsibilities of ODL education system in the country upon UGC. UGC, in the meantime is working on development of appropriate regulations for maintaining standards in ODL programmes,” the letter says.

UGC has also asked the universities not to affiliate any new centre of ODL till it comes up with new regulations.

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World Bank approves USD 500mn education project for India

Finances & Budgets, MHRD

In a bid to make quality education accessible to young people at the secondary level, the World Bank on Friday approved a USD 500 million credit to support India’s secondary education project.

The project will support all activities as envisioned in the USD 12.9 billion Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) programme, a flagship Government of India programme for gradual universalisation of secondary education.

The Project would be financed by a credit from the International Development Association (IDA) the World Bank’s concessionary lending arm which provides interest-free loans with 25 years to maturity and a grace period of five years, World Bank said in a statement.

Roberto Zagha, World Bank Country Director for India, said, “RMSA is a young programme which is expected to grow rapidly and hence it is an opportunity for the World Bank to support the Government of India in building effective systems as the Programme expands while improving quality.”

Under the RMSA programme, expansion, repair and renovation will take place in some 60,000 existing government secondary schools; some 44,000 upper primary schools will be upgraded to secondary schools; and about 11,000 new secondary and senior secondary schools will come up mainly in underserved areas.

“The skills and knowledge requirements of the labour force in a globalised economy requires high quality secondary graduates. This necessitates revamping the secondary education system in India,” Venu Rajamony, Joint Secretary in the Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance said.

Net elementary enrollment rate in India stands at 96 per cent and girls are almost equally represented in elementary education as boys.

However, attention is needed for secondary education where the gross enrollment rate stands at about 50 per cent and quality of education is very low. Besides, it is also not affordable for poor households, the statement added.

Besides, most of the economic and employment growth in India is taking place in skilled services like information technology, financial services, telecommunications and skill-intensive manufacturing, all of which require, at a minimum, a secondary education degree, it said.

Deccan Chronicle, 23 March 2012

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Centre calls state education ministers to set reform agenda

Licenses and Regulations, MHRD, Right to Education

Meeting will also debate the need to bring skills education in schools as well as the implementation of the RTE Act.

New Delhi: The Union government has called a meeting of state education ministers to build consensus around its plans for education reforms before the 12th Five-Year Plan kicks off in a couple of months.

On the agenda for discussion is a proposal to introduce a common entrance exam for all science and engineering colleges and another to start community colleges on the lines of those in the US and Canada.
The meeting called by human resource development (HRD) minister Kapil Sibal on Wednesday will also debate the need to bring skills education in schools as well as the implementation of the Right to Education (RTE) Act across the country, as per ministry documents. Mint has reviewed a copy of the discussion agenda.

An HRD ministry official, who did not want to be named, said that while a number of legislative initiatives on education, including the Foreign University Bill and the Education Malpractice Bill, face opposition in Parliament, some reforms can be rolled out through executive decisions and here “taking states into confidence would be of paramount importance.”

The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government “has to take reform measures in the next two years before it starts preparation for the general election due in 2014. With education being a subject that touches mass lives, the ministry would like to put in place some visible reforms,” the official said.

An HRD ministry spokesperson confirmed the meeting of state education ministers, but didn’t divulge details.

The Union government has come under attack from many states for not consulting them while formulating policies and initiatives, resulting in reforms initiatives being held up.

In that context, meetings such as the one proposed with the education ministers are critical for building consensus, said Yamini Aiyar, director, accountability initiative, at the Centre for Policy Research.

“It’s critical to have dialogue with states. The Centre should facilitate, build consensus and set the standard rather than impose,” Aiyar said, adding if the Union government takes suggestions from the states in the right spirit, “implementation will be much better.”

Several committees set up by the Union government have suggested a common entrance exam for all science and engineering colleges, according to HRD ministry documents.

A plan is being devised to merge the Indian Institute of Technology’s Joint Entrance Examinations (IIT-JEE) and the All India Engineering Entrance Examination (AIEEE) conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education, for admissions into 15 IITs, 30 National Institutes of Technology and other central science and engineering colleges.

Since at least 95% of engineering and science colleges fall under state jurisdiction, any plan to create a common entrance test for these disciplines needs the support of state governments.

India has nearly 8,000 engineering colleges.

“The above methodology does not curtail the autonomy of Universities/Institutions and the States to structure their own admission process but provides for a standardized frame of reference for evaluating inter-se merit amongst applicants,” the ministry says in its note, adding, “The prevalence of categorization (reservation for castes, sports quota, ex-servicemen quota, etc.) in the admission process can also be continued unhindered…”

The HRD ministry also has plans to introduce some 100 community colleges—industry-oriented institutions with one or more specializations and with a high employment-generating potential.

“…it would be better if Community Colleges are started on a pilot basis (about 100 or so) in 2012-13 and then after evaluation scaled up gradually…,” the ministry says in its note. “Accordingly, in 2012-13, 80 colleges from the UGC list …and 20 polytechnics in the government system may be identified by UGC-AICTE (University Grants Commission-All India Council for Technical Education) in consultation with the respective state governments for implementing the Community College Programme.”

With regard to RTE, the ministry believes that since education is primarily a concern of the states, the Act cannot become a success without their support.

Only 19 states have so far put in place a monitoring mechanism for RTE. States that are yet to put in place an RTE protection authority or state commission for protection of child rights include Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, Tripura, Meghalaya and Nagaland.

“States are requested to initiate steps to set up a Grievance Redressal mechanism under the RTE Act,” the ministry says in its document.

Livemint, 20 February 2012

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HRD nod for 353 model schools in AP

MHRD

HYDERABAD: Union minister for HRD Kapil Sibal called the chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy to inform him on Wednesday that the central government has sanctioned 353 model schools at block level for the state. The Centre was also releasing Rs 409.77 crores to the state as first instalment.

This has been sanctioned to the Andhra Pradesh Secondary Education Society, under the central government sponsored programme, “Schemes for setting up of 6,000 model schools at block level as benchmark of excellence” for the educationally backward blocks in the country.

The amount sanctioned will go towards plan expenditure and will be utilized as per the approved guidelines of the scheme in the first phase all over the country.

The state government will also release its share to the AP secondary education society soon. The HRD ministry also said that the next instalment would be released after the receipt of expenditure statement with respect to grants is received, and that at least 50 per cent of the grants released have been utilized.

The HRD ministry also sanctioned Rs 2.32 crores to AP secondary education society as grant-in-aid under the same scheme. The Adilabad, Ananthapur, East Godavari, Guntur, Krishna, Kurnool, Mahabubnagar, Rangareddy, Nalgonda, Nizamabad, Medak, Warangal Prakasam, Nellore, Kadapa, Srikakulam districts have been identified for the construction of the model schools.

The CM thanked Kapil Sibal for releasing funds and explained his government recent drive to improve literacy by improving infrastructure.

The Times of India, August 04, 2011

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Education scheme yet to cover all – 1 lakh plus out-of-school children in Assam

MHRD, Teacher performance

Guwahati, July 14: More than one lakh out-of-school children in Assam are yet to be covered under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma told the Assembly today. He was replying to a question by All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) MLA Sirajuddin Ajmal.

“According to the district information system for education (Dise) 2010-2011, altogether 1,24,577 out-of-school children are yet to be covered under SSA as on March 31, 2011,” Sarma said.

Dise, which is a key database on information about schools, enrolment, teachers and other school-related data, is compiled at the state level and then sent to the Union ministry of human resource development.

According to the district-wise list of out-of-school children in the state for 2010-11, Sonitpur is at the top with 14,892 such children followed by Dhemaji and Nagaon with 14,272 and 13,264 children respectively. Jorhat, Bongaigaon and Dima Hasao districts fare better than other districts with 732, 1,295 and 1,659 out-of-school children respectively.

Sarma said from 2008 to June this year, Assam had received Rs 80,670.89 lakh as central grant for the SSA and added that for the academic session 2011, altogether 3,56,71,366 free textbooks in 17 mediums and languages had been printed and distributed among 64,62,447 students.

Responding to another question from AIUDF MLA Majibur Rahman, Sarma said there were 7,691 single-teacher lower primary schools in the state. He also furnished the district-wise list of vacancies in the posts of upper primary and lower primary schoolteachers as on May 31, 2011, in reply to a question by Hafiz Bashir Ahmed of the AIUDF.

According to the list, a total of 7,800 posts of lower primary schoolteachers and 4,499 posts of upper primary schoolteachers are lying vacant in the state.

The Telegraph, July 15, 2011

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HRD says no to move for limited ‘for-profit’ higher education institutions

MHRD

NEW DELHI: The HRD ministry has rejected a Planning Commission proposal advocating “for-profit” higher education though limited to vocational and professional institutions.

In its draft note for the 12th Plan approach paper, the Plan panel said, “For-profit higher education limited to vocational and professional institutions may be explored to boost this sector, while keeping concerns about quality and equity in mind.”

The Commission argued that countries like US had a large for-profit higher education sector and others like China were experimenting with it. In the case of India, it said, private higher education accounted for about four-fifths of enrolment in professional higher education and one-third of overall enrolment. “This growth trend is likely to continue in the 12th Plan. Currently, this growth is restricted to specific areas and there are concerns about quality and use of unfair practices. A clear policy is therefore required so as to manage private education and statutory and transparent framework to be established for its operation for driving private growth further in a legitimate and balanced manner,” the note said.

HRD ministry said it was not averse to discussing the “for-profit” policy in higher education but implementation is not possible for various reasons. A ministry source said, “The existing education policy is clear — that education is a not-for-profit enterprise.” He also said that the Supreme Court had in a number of judgments stressed that profit-making should be avoided.

According to him, subsequent to the SC order government’s endeavour is to prevent profit making. The ‘no-profit, no-loss’ concept was underlined by the apex court in the Unnikrishnan judgment in 1993. “No-profit is our stated policy now,” the source said.

Though HRD ministry has decided to work on a new education policy, the idea is at the stage of infancy and would take a long time for fruition. Another official said the concept of formalising 2,500 secondary schools under public-private partnership itself has taken more than four years. “Private enterprise is not willing to accept conditions put by us. This is happening when the government is bearing 50% of the cost. Imagine the scenario when the government’s stated policy encourages ‘profit-making’ in education,” one source said.

The Times of India, July 3, 2011

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Minutes of the 58th Meeting of CABE on June 7, 2011

MHRD, Uncategorized

Shri Kapil Sibal Addresses 58th Meeting of CABE; Proposes Extension of RTE up to Secondary Level Moots Bill to Control Malpractices in School Education

The world of the 21st century will be driven by the power of ideas. Knowledge capital generation will lead to wealth creation and removal of poverty. The youth of the country would have to be at the forefront for leading the nation to social and economic progress. This can be done by empowering the youth and children through education to harness the demographic dividend. This was stated by Shri Kapil Sibal, Union Minister for Human Resource Development in his address at the inaugural session of the 58th meeting of the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE).

Read the full report here.

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