Maharashtra Times has carried an article titled, ‘Balanced and enlightening’ attributed to Mr. Ninad Karpe

http://maharashtratimes.indiatimes.com/business/information-technology-budget-2014/articleshow/38162152.cms

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‘Budget sets tone for higher growth trajectory, job creation’

http://www.thehindu.com/business/budget/budget-sets-tone-for-higher-growth-trajectory-job-creation/article6197317.ece

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Unleashing private sector

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‘What Indian IT industry expects from the new government’

http://www.informationweek.in/informationweek/news-analysis/295952/indian-industry-expects-government/page/1

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Rebooting the education sector

The new HRD minister Smriti Irani is staring at multifarious challenges in her office. For one, she needs to prioritise the gargantuan problems facing the education sector. If she succeeds in making an impact, she can truly make a big difference to this sector and ensure that India reaps the benefit of a demographic dividend of a large and young population. India is at the crossroads of opportunities and challenges and hopefully, the new minister will grab the opportunities and make some path-breaking changes.
The BJP manifesto had covered a wide range of topics on skilling and education. Importantly, it had mentioned that public spending on education would be raised to 6% of GDP. Presently, it is around 3.2%-3.5%. If the new HRD minister manages to get a budget allocation of 6%, it can truly revolutionise this sector. By doubling the amount of funds, it can vastly improve access to the “last man in the line” and also the quality of education.
There is a huge shortage of teachers across all the sectors. As per an analysis done by Technopak in 2013, India requires a faculty totaling 1.16 million for all the Universities. As against this, India has a total faculty strength of 810,000, which means that there is presently a shortage of 350,000. In 2020, the shortage will rise to 1.38 million. The BJP manifesto has made a repeated mention of shortage of teachers and the need to address it. We will have to wait for the execution plan that Irani rolls out for this.
So, what are the other initiatives which need the urgent attention of the new minister? Availability of finance for education needs urgent attention. In most developed countries, if a deserving student is unable to finance her education, she gets financing on easy terms, without collaterals. In India, education financing is largely based on collaterals provided by the student—invariably, by her parents. This should stop. Collateral-free financing can be made available if a robust framework of credit guarantee funds is made operational.
Our Prime Minister is known to be an innovative thinker and one who comes up with bold, original ideas. In this context, is it possible to conceive the idea of allowing “for profit” institutions in the education sector? Why not? In Gujarat, the Modi government has been aggressively pursuing privatisation, even in the education sector, and allowing “for profit” institutions will become a game-changer.

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PERFECT 2400 !

Arunavha Chanda from Kolkatta made history when he scored a perfect 2400 in his SAT II scores.
Son of a neurosurgeon in Kolkatta, Arunavha was convinced by his father to pursue under-graduate studies in the US.
With his perfect score of 2400, Arunavha was offered admissions in the top Universities in the US – Stanford, Columbia, Duke, Dartmouth and Georgia Tech. Wanting to pursue computer science and engineering, Arunavha chose Columbia University, where he has been awarded the prestigious Prescott Davis scholarship. Apparently, Duke University had also offered 100% scholarship.
Arunavha joins a growing number of students who are pursuing education in the US, hoping to benefit from a multi-cultural, world class education system.
With a perfect score of 2400 in SAT II and admission into Columbia with a scholarship, Arunvha will remain an inspiration to many students from India, who want to pursue their studies in the US.

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17 Indian Universities in Asia’s top 300

The annual Asia rankings of QS has been published. It is a coveted list of the top universities and the Asia rankings are a variant of the world university rankings.
Seventeen Indian universities have made it to the list of top 300 universities in Asia. Last year, eleven Indian universities had made it to this list.
IITs lead the rankings of Indian universities, with IIT Delhi at 38th position. IIT Mumbai is at 41st position and five other IITs feature in the top 100.
In the list of traditional universities, Delhi University leads with a ranking of 81. Six new universities have made it into the list – Benaras Hindu University, Punjab University, Manipal University, Amity University, Birla Institute of Science and Technology and the Indian Institute of Information technology.
There are various weightages given to arrive at these rankings:
• 30% for academic reputation
• 20% for student/ faculty ratio
• 5% internationalization
• 10% employer reputation
• 15% papers per faculty and citations per paper
If Indian universities focus on improving these parameters, we will see many more Indian universities in this QS ranking list.

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IIT, GUWAHATI BREAKS INTO THE TOP 100!

The Times Higher Education is the most coveted list of the top 100 Universities in the world. For the first time, an Indian institution has entered this list.
IIT Guwahati has entered the list of top 100 universities that are less than 50 years old. It has been placed at 87.
The ranking is based on a complex model of a composite score of teaching, research volume and research citations.
IIT Guwahati fared extremely well in the score on teaching and it is creditable that it has broken into the top 100 ranking.
Let us hope that IIT Guwahati improves its rankings in the years to come.

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The Kota Model

Kota is a small town in Rajasthan, which has now become the path to seeking admission to IITs.
More than 100,000 students come to Kota every year to get coached for the entrance exams of IIT. It is unparalleled – nowhere in the world will you see such a vibrant coaching industry for a high stake exam.
Although a student has to appear for IIT entrance after class 12, the coaching classes in Kota start enticing students to come to Kota at the age of 11. Hostel facilities are provided to the student and if a parent is accompanying the student, there are ample guest house facilities in the town.
Students are given a combined offering of coaching and schooling though various tie-ups. There is excessive emphasis on the coaching element and students eventually land up doing a lot of rote learning. The true experience of schooling is lost and all the students who come to Kota come with the only mission of seeking admission to IIT – everything else is secondary!
Till the time we do not have more high quality educational institutions which have the same “pull” as IIT, the Kota model will continue to attract more students and the coaching industry will continue to thrive.

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BJP MANIFESTO & SKILLING

The BJP manifesto is far more “wholesome” on the topic of skilling. It has covered a vast area and laid emphasis on some of the more critical aspects of Education – shortage of teachers. If the acute shortage of teachers can be tackled, it will change the landscape of education in India.
The manifesto also promises to set up a National Commission on Education, which will report on the State of Education within 2 years.
Interestingly, there is also a mention of setting up online courses and MOOC.
All in all, this manifesto covers a lot of ground on Education and Skilling.

Excerpts from the manifesto:

Education – Enroll and Excel
BJP believes that education is the most powerful tool for the advancement of the nation and the most potent weapon to fight poverty. Education in India needs to be revitalized and reorganized to make future generations proud of their culture, heritage and history and also for creating confidence in the vitality of India. Every effort shall be made to ensure ‘equality of opportunity in access and success’ to all learners; creating a harmonious, and cohesive egalitarian society that practices democratic values.
This would be possible only when Education accords due emphasis on national integration, social cohesion, religious amity, national identity and patriotism. It must also be analyzed how far education has contributed to moral, ethical and humanistic values in the individuals and the society.
Education must create minds free from superstitions, hatred and violence and become an important vehicle to cement national unity, social cohesion and religious amity. Our endeavour should be to inculcate moral, ethical and humanistic values in the individuals and the society. India has to become a knowledge society and has to reverberate with educated skilled manpower of high standards required to meet the challenges of 21st century. This requires a bold and visionary leadership to introduce appropriate policy and structural changes.
Highest priority would be given to address the acute shortage of teachers and researchers, quality of education and research, and also the employability factor associated with most of the courses. Education should not only lead to employability but also job creation and entrepreneurship by introducing a national multi-skills orientation program.
We intend to review and revise education system; the salary structures associated with the teaching staff and most importantly, address the shortfall of faculty and related issues in the country. The system shall be made people-friendly and the credibility of the system shall be restored. Investment in education yields the best dividend. Public spending on education would be raised to 6% of the GDP, and involving the private sector would further enhance this.
Under the scheme of ‘Quality education for all’, BJP would take the following steps;
School Education
• NDA’s flagship program ‘Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan’: Mechanism would be set up for its performance
audit and to have real time information about its performance. Programme shall be strengthened
and expanded with a goal to remove illiteracy.
• Universalization of secondary school education and skills development through functional school
shall be seriously pursued with particular focus on rural, tribal and difficult areas.
• The content and process of school education shall be thoroughly reviewed to make it dynamic,
stress-free, attractive and responsive to the emerging national needs.
• Girls shall be provided all possible help to continue and complete school education.
• The digital divide shall not be allowed to create further divisions in the learning situations of children.
• Special pedagogy would be developed for differently-abled students.
• On priority, a national modernization programme for madrasa’s would be started.
• Mid-day meal scheme would be revitalized in terms of management and delivery.
• We will explore ways to reduce the daily burden of carrying books to school for children, which
would also entail use of technology for education as a mission mode project.
• Establish a national E-Library to empower school teachers and students.
• Initiate a multi-country student exchange programme for broadening the horizon of school going
children.
• Creative talents of students will be recognized and encouraged.

Higher and Professional Education
The basic objective of higher and professional education is not only rapid advancement of the affluent sector of the society but also to improve the lot of the last man in the line. The content should be designed to prepare the students to understand the current challenges and equip themselves to be able to readily adjust in a fast changing global scenario. Policy interventions would include:
• enhancing the pivotal role of the teachers by reworking the work culture of teacher training institutions
• with a goal to prepare committed and performing teachers.
• optimum utilization of physical and manpower resources.
• a mechanism for close interaction between industry (including SME), academia and community
would be instituted.
• needs assessment exercise will be done for identifying the future needs across sectors, and the
• same would be used for developing appropriate courses for higher education, to ensure that the
country has adequate manpower for every sector, both established and emerging, in the economy.
• will provide autonomy with steps to ensure accountability for institutions of higher learning.
• will raise the standard of education and research, so that Indian universities become at par with
• the top global universities and find their place in the global league.
• the credibility of the regulatory bodies shall be restored. The procedures to make appointments to senior positions shall be made transparent and merit and ability shall be the sole criterion.
• UGC will be restructured and it will be transformed into a Higher Education Commission rather
than just being a grant distribution agency.
• we will revisit the Apprenticeship Act to facilitate our youth to Earn while they Learn.
• Vocational Training
• Would set up Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) and virtual classrooms to make it convenient
for working class people and housewives to further their knowledge and qualifications.
• Correspondence courses will be started in new domains for self-employment, family run businesses,
• entrepreneurship and innovation, and these courses would be provided for free to women. The goal
• would be to prepare the youth for jobs being created by the emerging sectors, foster a spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship, leading to more incomes and job creation.
BJP will set up a National Commission on Education to report in two years on the state of education and the reforms needed. Based on the report, BJP will implement a National Education Policy to meet the changing dynamics of the population’s requirement with regards to quality education, innovation and research, aiming to make India a knowledge superpower by equipping its students with the necessary skills and knowledge and to eliminate the shortage of manpower in science, technology, academics and industry.
Skills – Focusing on Productivity and Employability Skillful hands, bright minds, discipline and perseverance makes Indian talent an asset worldwide. We have to live up to this potential, preparing the World’s Largest Workforce. We have to make our youth productively employed and gainfully engaged. We also have to develop India as a Knowledge Powerhouse. We have to train and nurture our human resource. We have to use it for leap-frogging our Nation into the future. Unfortunately, the initiatives taken by Congress for this have fallen woefully short, being almost non-starters.
We will take up skill development on a mission mode, at an unprecedented scale.
• Skill Mapping – to help scientifically plan our national human resource development that India
• would need (like engineers, architects, doctors, nurses, lawyers, accountants, plumbers, carpenters, welders, etc.).
• Launch a ‘National Multi-skill Mission’
• We will run short-term courses, in the evenings, focusing on employable skills.
• We will also set up Centres of Excellence in various sectors in partnership with the Industry.
• To ensure industry responsive manpower, we will bring together industry, universities and government.
• We will promote vocational training on a massive scale. Rigid segregation of formal education and skill development will be broken; a mechanism will be established to give vocational qualifications of Academic Equivalence
• We will also create institutional mechanisms to refresh and upgrade abilities through h continuing education – to make them employable.
• We will focus on need based skill development and employability; making our youth employable even in the most sophisticated jobs.
• We will put emphasis on imparting soft skills to enhance employability including a national program on foreign languages.
• launch a national programme for digital empowerment through computer literacy of the people, especially the youth.
• we will assess the talent and capacity of our youth from an early age; so they can be groomed accordingly.
• we will push for greater practical and research training encouraging real world experience
• through internships and apprenticeships.

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