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Thursday, 25 August 2016

The government has introduced several programmes improve in mini science centres give rural education a boost


MYSURU: With the focus on better primary education in rural schools, the government has introduced several programmes to improve the quality of education and attract more students.

In rural areas, government school children are talented but need good education and skills. Science and English education in primary schooling can boost the academic performance of these children. Towards this end, city-based Ace Education Trust, in collaboration with United Breweries Limited, Nanjangud, has jointly set up Mini Science Centres in Nanjangud taluk.

These centres in select schools benefit students from class 1 to class 7 and help them learn basic science principles and concepts through working science models.

Two centres were opened last year in Hulimavu and Kempisiddanahundi. The good response motivated them to install five more centres in various schools of Hadinaru, Bokkahalli, Srirampura, Thandavapura and Kanakadasa Government Higher Primary Schools in the same taluk. UBL funded all these centres under its Corporate Social Responsibility projects.

Nanjangud BEO M Chandrakanth said that initiatives like this will lift the quality of primary education in government schools. It cha nged teaching methods in government schools and for attractive teaching using models, UBL spent on an average Rs 10 lakh per centre, he said.


Science models designer Ace Education Trust coordinator N Karthik said, "We want to improve rural government schools. Infrastructure and curriculum modernization is the first step in this process; we decided to open the mini science centres based on primary school syllabus. About 50-60 working science models have been installed at these centres. We approached UBL to fund such initiatives in rural government schools and they did it under CSR."


"It's a unique model in the country. Now, more organizations and companies visit the centres and are ready to install them in various parts of the country. Our trust has been working to develop science education models for school students," he added.


On Monday, primary and secondary education minister Tanveer Sait inaugurated the centre and congratulated both organizations to come up with innovative programmes to improve rural government schools.


http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mysuru/Mini-Science-Centres-give-rural-education-a-boost/articleshow/53838069.cms

Andhra and Telengana in poor standards education

HYDERABAD: The national achievement survey (NAS) conducted by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has exposed the poor standards of education in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Both states failed to meet the mandatory pupil-teacher ratio (PTR) in schools.

The survey revealed that 32.03 per cent of schools in AP and 35.79 per cent in Telangana failed to meet the pupil-teacher ratio. The national average of pupil-teacher ratio at primary school level is 24:1, upper primary level 17:1, and secondary school level at 28:1. The NCERT has also expressed concern over increasing number of teacher vacancies.

Andhra Pradesh, which has a sanctioned teacher posts of 1,47,139 has 17,129 vacancies. As many as 13,049 teacher posts are vacant in Telangana. The survey revealed that 31% of headmaster posts are vacant. It also pointed out the high absenteeism among teachers. Citing the survey by Michael Kremer of World Bank that pegged teachers' absence from schools at 25 per cent, the NAS noted that 50 per cent of the teachers were found not to be teaching at all.


The nationwide survey was conducted on a sample of 2,77,416 students in 7,216 government, aided and private schools. Urban students performed better than their rural counterparts in English, mathematics, science, social sciences and modern Indian languages. Girl students have scored significantly higher than boys in languages and one-third of students could not answer 33 per cent questions in English, mathematics and science.


The survey showed that students from schools with ICSE and CBSE performed better in academics than students of state boards. Only 16.61 per cent primary and 68 per cent secondary schools in AP have electricity supply, and 10.25 per cent primary and 69 per cent secondary schools in Telangana have power connection. Only 29.30 per cent schools in AP have computer and internet facility while in Telangana 23.17 per cent schools have such facilities. However, schools fared better on the library front. As many as 86.19 per cent schools in AP and 77.38 per cent in Telangana have libraries.The NCERT expressed concern over untrained teachers in government schools. It recommended separate cadre of head-teachers to be filled up through direct recruitment. It also recommended induction program for headmasters, in-service training for school leadership and setting up leadership academies in every state.

A new program called national program on school standards and evaluation (NPSSE) will be put in place with an aim to evaluate the performance of schools.


http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/Education-standards-poor-in-Andhra-Telengana/articleshow/53852337.cms

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Fund Education Of Underprivileged Australian Woman To Run 3,800 km In India


New Delhi:  To raise funds for education of millions of underprivileged children in India, Australian ultra marathoner, Samantha Gash is set to begin a 3,800 km run across India.

Kicking off from August 22, Ms Gash will attempt to run nearly 3,800 km from Jaisalmer in Rajasthan to Mawsynram in Meghalaya within a period of 76 days.

A former lawyer by profession, the 31-year-old has taken this Run India project challenge to raise funds to support six World Vision Area projects that focuses on education.

"This is the biggest challenge I have ever undertaken. When you consider the challenges many children face on a daily basis, this is not comparable," she said.

On choosing the world's second largest populous country to run, Ms Gash said "I fell in love with India's diversity. But the problem children here face are heart breaking." "I am ready to make my hands dirty to make sure their hands are clean," she added.

The Run India project aims to raise funds to support six World Vision Area Development Projects that focus on education in Jaipur, Barmer, Kanpur, North-West Delhi, Hardoi and Pauri.

Australia's High Commissioner to India, Harinder Sidhu also appreciated Samantha's determination and vitality. She was pleased that Samantha's run will raise money for less-privileged children's education in India. "I commend Samantha for undertaking such a challenging adventure. Her run is in keeping with the spirit of adventure for which Australians are known," Mr Sidhu said.
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When asked if she would be following a special diet plan during the run, she said "What is the meaning of reaching out to Indians if I don't taste the Indian cuisine. I will love to have dal, roti, palak paneer. But will definitely avoid high carbs."

In 2010, Ms Gash became the youngest person and first female ever to finish the Four Desert Grand Slam. At 25 she was the youngest person to attempt the race.

She has run through some of the extreme locations. From deserts in Chile, China, Egypt and Antarctica, to the mountains of Nepal, New Zealand, India.

The journey of her 2010 marathon has also inspired a movie named 'Desert Runners' in which she is the main character.

She follows a mantra to reach out to people -"use what you're good at to impact what you are passionate about".

Samantha is the second ultra marathoner to take such a challenge this year. In January- March, former Australian ultra-marathoner Pat Farmer undertook a 4,600km run through 12 states from Kanyakumari to Srinagar.


http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/australian-woman-to-run-3-800-km-in-india-fund-education-of-underprivileged-1445544

Education is important aspect of human development more Inclusive in India

Education is an important aspect of human development. This makes it crucial that we be aware and alert as to what is being taught in our schools today and conscious of whether it is contributing to the overall growth of our children. Is our present education system in India doing that?

Here are 12 components that I think should be immediately included in school curricula for the development of the full potential of students. Even if some of these are part of the syllabus in a few schools, they need more attention and the scope of the subjects needs to be expanded:

1. Road SafetyThe topic of road safety should be included in the syllabus to teach students about the essential safety practices they need to observe on the road. Along with theoretical classes, students should also receive practical exposure for better results.
2. Logical Reasoning

A major drawback of our education system is the lack of focus on critical and logical reasoning skills. Using the classroom to teach these will help students build analytical and reasoning skills and boost their confidence as well.
3. Comprehensive Sex Education

Students should be given proper education on sex and sexuality so they can build healthy relationships in life. This knowledge will help them learn about and be sensitive towards the nature of multiple sexualities also. Additionally, teaching them about safe-sex practices is crucial for their health.
4. Mental Health

A healthy person is someone who has achieved both physical and mental well being. Proper mental health education develops the cognitive ability and emotional quotient in students. They develop the ability to cope with stress and adapt to various environments.

5. Physical EducationThe World Health Organisation confirms that physical inactivity is one of the leading causes of lifestyle diseases. Proper physical training can counter the ill effects of the sedentary lifestyle that most of us adopt. It is quite common in our schools to not have specialised teachers for physical training. This needs to change.
6. Art and Crafts

The benefits of art in improving cognitive abilities and building confidence among students have been well established. This subject also provides a creative outlet for many students.

7. First AidProper first aid education can transform every student into a lifesaver. First aid training doesn’t just help in the individual development of each student, it also serves the wider community, health institutions and people who are in need of urgent care.
8. Social Media

These days, every other school student possesses a smartphone and has accounts on various social media platforms. This has both positive and negative impacts. Many incidents have been reported regarding the malicious use of social media. Our education system should disseminate knowledge regarding the responsible use of social media.
9. Soft Skills

Soft skills development from a young age helps students polish their communication skills, creativity, leadership skills, etc., which helps them in both their personal and professional lives.

10. AgricultureAgriculture education should be made compulsory in schools. Students should know that we survive because of agriculture. And also that the food we consume comes because of the hard work of farmers. This will help students respect food and farmers, along with teaching them about the need for environment conservation.
11. Financial Education

Students should know the importance of money and should learn about the adverse effects of being careless with their finances. They should cultivate the habit of saving and should also be taught about how banks work, what are taxes, what is an investment, etc.

12. Legal EducationStudents should learn about child rights and other related policies. This aspect of their education will allow them to question illegal activities and also prompt them to advocate for more child friendly laws.


http://www.thebetterindia.com/65329/improvements-to-make-learning-more-holistic-in-india/

Saturday, 13 August 2016

The Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, Telangana and Odisha slams Centre's education policy

Hyderabad: Calling the draft new education policy as 'directionless', the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, Telangana and Odisha (JIHTO) on Thursday accused the Centre of trying to resuscitate a "dead language" even as the socio-religious organisation demanded that it be rewritten with a fresh panel of experts.

Addressing a gathering of media persons at Hotel Harsha in Nampally, JIHTO president Hamid Mohammed Khan criticised the government for giving "a lot of weight" to Sanskrit. "They have made Sanskrit an optional subject. It appears to us that they have given it extra weightage. Sanskrit is a dead language. Nobody speaks it. The government is trying to resuscitate this language," Khan claimed.

The JIHTO also claimed that the draft new education policy seeks to water down the Right to Education Act of 2009. In this connection, Khan said that the government, by means of the draft policy, is trying to force minority educational institutions to reserve 25 per cent seats for students who do not belong to minority groups or communities. "It raises questions about reserving 25 per cent seats for minorities in non-minority schools but wants 25 per cent reservations for non-minority students in minority schools. This is injustice. Muslims are backward. They are away from education and need seats," he said.Describing yoga as a practice deeply rooted in Hindu mythology, Khan raised strong objections to its introduction in the draft new education policy. "They are saying that for schools which do not have grounds, yoga can be done indoors. According to stipulations, a high school should be constructed on a six acre land parcel. Yoga isn't just an exercise, it is a polytheistic practice. Slokas being recited while yoga is practiced are also polytheistic in nature," he claimed.


Khan termed the introduction of yoga as a 'conspiracy', he said: "Surya namaskar is an un-Islamic practice. The sun and the moon are creations. Muslims worship the creator. The introduction of yoga is to marginalise Muslim students. This is not democratic."Khan claimed that sex education is being renamed as 'adolescent education' in the draft policy. Sex education, he claimed, is against Indian culture and values.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has brought about a saffronisation of education, the JIHTO president said. "Education from class I to X has been saffronised. It is higher education which is posing a problem for them. The Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and University of Hyderabad (UoH) issues are fresh. The students in these varsities have an atmosphere conducive to unbridled learning," he added. The policy also seeks to undermine student activism, he shared.


http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/Jamaat-e-Islami-Hind-slams-Centres-education-policy/articleshow/53661874.cms

Applied to elementary education of human resource development the idea that district planning

The extensive media coverage of the 25th anniversary of the launch of economic reforms had brought to light some unknown facts thanks to the personal accounts of key players.

It is apposite to narrate yet another untold story: the unintended and decisive impetus that the 1991 reforms gave to India’s quest for universal elementary education (UEE). India was home to a third of the world’s out-of-school children in 1993, and to a 0.3 per cent in 2010 when the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, (RTE Act) came into force.

The remarkable turnaround was due to the District Primary Education Programme (DPEP) and its progeny, the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA).

DPEP was developed in 1992 and predominantly funded by the World Bank, European Community and Britain’s Overseas Development Agency.

SSA, launched in 2001, was predominantly domestically funded thanks to the remarkable enhancement of the fiscal capacity of the Indian government because of economic reforms.

DPEP covered about half the districts of India and, with a programme outlay of $2.4 billion, was the largest education programme of the country till overtaken by SSA.The conventional strategy for UEE focused on expansion of the school system, construction of school buildings and organising school enrolment drives once in a while. In 1966, the Kothari Commission had recommended that each district should prepare and implement a perspective plan for achieving UEE.

However, till 1992, it remained an idea whose time had not come. The Total Literacy Campaigns caught the nation’s attention in 1990. The success of quite a few districts in becoming ‘totally literate’ imparted a new thrust to UEE as it was realised that the success would be a nine-day wonder if an inadequate schooling system spawned year after year a new brood of illiterates.

That success also gave rise subliminally to the question why the District-based strategy that made many districts ‘fully literate’ cannot be applied to elementary education. By November 1991, ministry of human resource development (HRD) veered round the idea that district planning should be the main plank of the Eighth Five-Year Plan strategy for universalising elementary education.

Resource availability was so grim that the HRD ministry’s budget was cut not only for development programmes but also for maintenance expenditure to meet dayto-day running expenses of universities and other institutions.

When the idea of district planning was being given up as a hopeless dream, the unexpected struck. In May 1992, the HRD ministry was informed that the World Bank was insisting on a social safety net (SSN) loan be accepted as a condition for financing the National Renewal Fund (NRF).

The NRF’s creation was announced in the finance minister’s July 1991Budget speech and was designed to alleviate the problems of workers who might be affected by the restructuring of industry. The SSN loan was a fast disbursing credit that would provide balance of payment support.

The counterpart rupee funds were to be used to restore the budgetary cuts as well as to finance existing programmes or start new ones in elementary education, basic rural health, family welfare and child development.

GoI’s response was a Committee of Secretaries whittling down the conditionalities so much that they amounted to no more than the government implementing what it had already announced it would in these social sectors.

The resources available for education from the SSN loan were used to develop district plans that could be posed to the World Bank for funding. The decision to avail funding for elementary education was not taken under pressure from the Bank, but after a long dialogue with it from 1987.

Also, World Bank president Barber Conable assured Prime Minister V P Singh that the Bank considered ownership and capacity building to be essential for project effectiveness and sustainability, and was willing to be as flexible as New Delhi considered necessary.

Further, in March 1991, the Central Advisory Board of Education (Cabe) comprising state education minsters and experts laid down the parameters for accessing external funding for education that specified that externally funded projects must be in total conformity with national policies, strategies and programmes.

The manner in which the DPEP meticulously adhered to Cabe parameters, addressed the multifarious challenges in adhering to them, and introduced many practices commended by the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, 2005, is a long saga.

Some hold the view that while poverty has declined significantly since 1991, inequality in access to education has increased as quality of the public education system has suffered. It would be more accurate to say that while the infrastructure and facilities of government schools have improved substantially, the learning outcomes have not.


http://blogs.economictimes.indiatimes.com/et-commentary/1991-economic-reforms-and-indias-quest-for-universal-elementary-education/

Thursday, 11 August 2016

The cuts to education system plan for budget cuts in government special needs education, school buses, teacher


The cuts, as reported by Channel 10 on Tuesday evening, will result in the cancellation of weekly school hours for all grades—from elementary school through middle school and high school—which would help save NIS 500 million.

The remaining NIS 500 million will be cut from the Education Ministry's budget. In addition to the teachers, at-risk youth are also expected to pay the price of the cuts, as the program aimed at dealing with drop-outs will suffer budget cuts.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett's office has declined to comment on the planned cuts and their ramifications.

Officials in the Education Ministry, however, attempted to allay the fears. "There's a plan for budget cuts in all government ministries. It doesn't necessarily mean teachers will be fired; we can make cuts in other places. The Education Ministry has a budget of NIS 53 billion a year and we can also cut instead from special needs education, school buses, teacher's assistants, and in other areas. We still don't know where the cuts will be made. We're negotiating with the Finance Ministry."

The officials added that "firing teachers is the most complicated action we can take, as teachers have a lot of protection and their unions would object."

Yossi Wasserman, the chairman of the Israel Teachers' Union, said on Tuesday: "Under no circumstance will we accept or allow the firing of teachers. The education system needs support and an upgrade, not cuts and dismissals."

In addition to the cuts to the education system, the Finance Ministry is planning on cutting some NIS 100 million from higher education.

"The Finance Ministry is working to improve and streamline the education system," the ministry said in a statement. "The Education Ministry's budget has increased by a significant percentage in recent years and is expected to grow this year as well. The claims that teachers would be fired are baseless."


http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4839819,00.html

The Scottish government Senior councillors from across Scotland to discuss the education policy


The Scottish government has said raising attainment is a key priority.

Education conveners from 28 local authorities, which run schools, will debate the issue at the meeting hosted by council umbrella body Cosla.

They are expected to focus on how money resulting from council tax changes will be spent.

From next April, people in the most expensive homes will pay more.This is because the multiples between the different property bands will change - those in the most expensive bands will pay more, irrespective of whether a council decides to put up the basic level of the council tax.

The government wants the £100m this is expected to raise handed to headteachers to spend directly on their schools - specifically on schemes to help raise attainment and close the gap between how well youngsters from relatively rich and poor backgrounds do.

Some in local government want to ensure councils retain the freedom to decide for themselves just how much they need to spend on education and would want to automatically retain all the extra money from the council tax changes.
Attainment fund

Critics also fear that the government could, in effect, decide to put the money into a national pot to redistribute back to councils or individual schools. Some areas would receive more or less than they would have raised locally.

Some councils would react furiously to any attempt by central government to take the money from them or dictate just how it would be spent.

No decisions have been taken yet by the Scottish government although it has made it clear it wants all the extra money spent on education.

The issue is likely to come up during the talks between councillors and the government over next year's funding package.

On Monday, Education Secretary John Swinney told BBC Scotland there were "detailed arrangements to be discussed with local government" on future changes.

He explained: "We made clear in our election manifesto that we would change some of the aspects of council collection, to expand the bands and increase some of the thresholds and that would generate £100m which we would invest in the attainment fund."


http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-37032110

Monday, 8 August 2016

Higher education system is time to reform India now


The writing is on the wall. India’s higher education system is in crisis and everyone is paying a hefty price for it: students, parents, industry, society and the nation.

Private coaching costs of preparing for premier institutions such as the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) have soared by 250 to 500 times in the last 30 years. Over the same period, the time required to prepare for the IIT Joint Entrance Examination (IITJEE) has gone up from a one-year grind to four years at a minimum.

As if this wasn’t enough, parents are investing in 24/7 preparation by sending their children to coaching factories in places like Kota. Students are facing extreme pressure, anxiety and uncertainty of receiving admissions into premier institutions, and some pay the ultimate and tragic price of committing suicide.

This pressure has found another outlet: cheating and corruption. The Vyapam scandal, where students cheated, parents paid bribes to politicians and bureaucrats, and all of them colluded with police to facilitate the cheating, is a case study of everything that is wrong with the higher education system in India.

Adding insult to injury, 75-90% of students graduating from colleges are considered unemployable by the industry. As a result, corporations are investing in training of six to 12 months to make these recent graduates ready for productive work. India is facing many mega-scale challenges such as water, energy and health. These challenges can also be tracked back to inadequacies of the current higher education system.

Families are voting with their wallets and their feet. Middle-class parents are spending one-third of their monthly income on private coaching. Lower-income parents are selling their assets or taking loans for the same cause. Those who can afford to send their children overseas for university.

There is a full-blown crisis on India’s hands. In the recent past, the nation has done well in times of crisis: the green revolution for the food crisis, and the white revolution for the milk crisis. Today, it is time for a Gray Revolution for the “gray matter” or the nerve center of society and the nation: its higher education system.Gray Revolution: Transforming India’s higher education system

In India, higher education is all post-secondary education, which includes universities, colleges and vocational schools. The higher education system prepares professionals for all sectors of the economy, including teachers for primary and secondary schools. In a vibrant system, colleges and universities are the enablers of research, innovation and entrepreneurship. Perhaps, most importantly, they prepare individuals for their lives and future careers. They also address problems facing society and the nation.

The Gray Revolution alludes to comprehensive reforms of India’s higher education system. It focuses on three key dimensions: scale and speed; scope and structure; and excellence and impact.

This author discussed these at length in the recently published book, Building Golden India: How to Unleash India’s Vast Potential and Transform Its Higher Education System. Now. A few key ideas from the book are outlined below.
Scale and Speed

India must provide excellent higher education to all within one generation.

The gross enrollment ratio (GER) is a percentage of students enrolled in higher education institutions out of the total number of people aged 18-23 years old. Most developed nations have a GER in the 50-95% range. By contrast, India’s GER is around 23% and lags behind developed countries by a wide margin.

India is a young nation of 1.3 billion people where an additional 20-26 million children are born every year. These demographics could be a dividend but also a liability. Students with inadequate knowledge and skills will be unable to compete in the global marketplace that seeks well-prepared professionals. Unemployment or underemployment for youth, especially after getting worthless degrees, could be a catalyst for violence and a forceful demand for more reservations in education, jobs and promotions. There are several early warning signs on this front.

Delivering a demographic dividend will depend entirely on providing excellent higher education to all. Thanks to Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC), technological advancements and related innovations, scaling at speed with excellence is a real possibility.
Scope and Structure

India’s colleges and universities must aspire to prepare young men and women for their lives and careers. They also have to provide multiple pathways for students to realize their potential.

India’s colleges and universities are structured to have a narrow scope. Elite institutions, including the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) and the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), serve less than 0.5% of the total students enrolled in colleges and universities. These are all narrowly specialized institutions focused on just engineering, business or medicine.

At the other end, the affiliated college system, which serves over 75% of students in higher education, has become a thriving hub for making money and printing degrees. As a result, most undergraduate students do not have access to research and innovation. Rote learning is rampant.According to Devesh Kapur and Pratap Bhanu Mehta, “Politicians have emerged as the single largest provider of new higher educational institutions.” With 50-80% of the colleges owned or operated by politicians or their families, this nexus is driving a race to the bottom. It is no wonder why India is still using British Raj regulations and “divide and conquer” philosophy.

India must end these British-era thinking and practices such as narrowly specialized institutions and an affiliated college system.
Excellence and Impact

India’s higher education institutions must aspire to become world-renowned and make an impact to society and the nation.

Existing multidisciplinary universities have lost their way and most have seen a decline in their reputation, selection and rigor. After nearly 70 years of independence, India does not have one world-class multidisciplinary research university, and just one university, the Indian Institute of Science Bangalore, is ranked in the top 500 globally.

These three big ideas will address the scale and speed, scope and structure, and excellence and impact dimensions:

1) Establish world-class multidisciplinary research universities

2) Create a master plan for every state and union territory

3) Attract the best and the brightest talent to be faculty members
Establish world-class multidisciplinary research universities

India must establish 50 to 100 world-class multidisciplinary research universities. This could include a mix of newly established universities and transforming some of the existing premier institutions.
Create a master plan for every state and union territory

Each state must establish an integrated higher education master plan to provide an excellent education for all its residents. The mix of institutions could include world-class multidisciplinary research universities, Master’s and Bachelor’s degree-granting colleges, and community colleges. The community colleges would be responsible for vocational education, remedial training and preparing students to transfer to research universities and Master’s and Bachelor’s degree-granting colleges.
Attract the best and the brightest talent to be faculty members

The success of the Gray Revolution rests entirely on the shoulders and gray matter of India’s faculty members. One of the fundamental changes India must institutionalize is a radically new compensation and incentive structure for faculty members. Their total compensation and incentive structure has to be benchmarked with the local industry and global faculty compensation, and not pegged to the Indian Administrative Services (IAS) or any other government category pay scales. A flexibility to pay differential salaries based on market forces and merit must be part of this transformation.

Along with the transformed compensation structure, culture and rewards and recognition, India must also ensure that the processes to train, select and retain faculty members are of the highest standards.Finally, India must adopt the tenure system to improve accountability in the faculty as the United States and many other countries have done.

Most dynamic societies are defined by their higher education institutions. Once, Nalanda University from ancient India was home to great minds, and scholars from around the world flocked there. Today, Harvard, Stanford and many US universities rule the roost. A staggering 146 universities in top 500 of global ranking are in America. These universities add tremendous cultural, intellectual and economic heft to the US.

California was the first state to develop the master plan that has been adopted across the US. Due in large measure to its higher education system, California is home to a thriving economy and diverse industries such as agriculture, entertainment, financial and business services, manufacturing, tourism, life sciences and health care, trade and high-technology.

Stanford University transformed from a regional university in 1940s to its current elite status by attracting the best and the brightest talent as faculty members. In 2014, Stanford University start-ups generated $2.7 trillion in annual revenues.

China is taking a leaf out of the US playbook by transforming its higher education system. India can and must do better. A country that can send an orbiter to Mars, build nuclear bombs, have its people win Nobel prizes and lead Fortune 500 companies can certainly transform its ailing higher education system.

To quote a Chinese proverb: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is now.” The time to plant the sapling of higher education transformation is now.


http://www.fairobserver.com/region/central_south_asia/time-reform-indias-education-system-now-23203/

Adhitya Iyer education system is the deadliest terrorist organisation in india

.says Adhitya Iyer, author of The Great Indian Obsession, who left home for two years and travelled across the country to find out why Indian parents are obsessed with getting their children to study Engineering.

If 3 Idiots were to be remade, Adhitya Iyer would be glad to play Aamir Khan’s Rancho. For him, learning is more important than the college degrees and only logic does the talking. That’s probably why he didn’t like the idea of engineering from day one. What did he do instead? A start-up that sells T-shirts with lines from the average frustrated engineering student printed on them. And, ironically, that’s what exactly got him into the list of the country’s top 30 young entrepreneurs. But that’s just the beginning of the story.

He then came down to Bengaluru, worked in another startup that essentially sold chai (tea), spoke to dozens of IT workers and quit that job to travel across 10 states to find the answer to one simple question — “How did I end up here?” This led to another interesting story which the world knows as The Great Indian Obsession — the book that became the highest selling crowdfunded book in India and the sixth highest in Asia. It was through this journey that Adhitya Iyer presents to you the world’s most interesting educational story. Excerpts from an extra witty interview...How did you go from taking a trip to writing a book?

It was a series of experiences. Firstly, even I was tricked into getting into an engineering college because I was good with Maths and Physics. And as we know,  this combination is pretty lethal, by default. During my college days, I realised that engineering is not my thing. So to vent my frustration, I set up this start-up while in college. This earned me a lot of laurels, including the tag of top 30 young entrepreneurs of the country. Then I moved to Bengaluru where I essentially sold tea. Ummm well, it was a start-up. Bengaluru has more engineers than all of Silicon valley. Not just engineers, they are engineers frustrated with life. Most of these customers I used to talk to, while at the start-up, had similar experiences about how they were tricked. That was the last straw and I wanted to write a book on this issue.

You said you sold tea? Really?

Yeah, it sounds weird, I know. But we are so intrigued by our lives that people fail to see the absurdity of it. For me, it was a start-up founded by a Howard graduate and I wanted to explore thigs. But for my mother, it was a nightmare. I had so many cousins and not surprisingly, they were all engineers. It is embarrassing to tell people that you work at a chai point. “Can you tell me something fancy about it or at least make it sound fancy in front of the relatives,” she used to tell me.Coming back to the book, the funds were all from random people?

I took to crowd funding and 301 generous people gave me money to write a book, so it turned out pretty well. My challenge was to make people understand what crowdfunding is and then make them pay. We had a good campaign video that helped. But the usual engineering student’s last moment brain did wonders and things fell in place. I could write another book on the crowdfunding experience.

Did your childhood play any role in writing this book?

I come from a TamBrahm family, so you can do the math (chuckles). We moved from Saudi to India just so that they could put me into engineering. It is just a natural thing in my family. Ever since a kid, I didn’t know anything else. Growing up, I wanted to figure out the cause of this obsession.

So, what do really think of the Indian Education system?

The Indian education system is India’s deadliest terrorist organisation. Even if you look at the numbers, the number of kids that have killed themselves due to the pressure of academics is just disturbing. But the only bright spot is the competitive environment. So, I knew there was no point competing with these people because no matter how hard I try, this is not something I want to do. It was not my thing and thus I started exploring other things, started reading, and then the start-up happened. That’s where I found my space.

Let’s talk about your 10-state tour. What was that like?

I quit in 2013 and thought a small tour will help me write the book. But my visit to Kanpur changed this. There were people shooting each other in Kanpur, there was a proper gang war. Unfortunately, these were not gangsters but educated coaching class teachers. That day, I knew that there is a larger story and I should spend more time travelling.

Let’s talk about the highest and the lowest points of your journey.

My lowest point of the journey was in Hyderabad. I basically call it the prison journey. Have you seen the movie The Shawshank Redemption? There are places in Hyderabad where students are locked inside a room and they are not allowed to come outside. They are cut off from the outside world. In that coaching institute, one boy had blood cancer. His mother did not know it, his father knew it, I knew it and the hostel dean knew it. He was still made to study in that institute. How crazy was that? For all we know that guy may not have lived till the exam and still, his father wanted him to crack IIT. That was the darkest point in my journey. To be very honest, the journey did not have many high points. It is just the way the book is written that people find it interesting and can relate to it.

There must have been something that kept you going?

It was curiosity. I wanted to know how I ended up like this. We are such a diverse country and we have been given so many choices in everything from language to food etc. How are we obsessed with this? In the process, I knew I was also catering to the curiosity of other people like me.

So, how is your super-traditional family taking it?

They were not really happy. But fortunately, I had awards, I had a good 10-minute coverage on TV. So, they had something to tell others. But now that I am 27, the alarm is ringing again.

What’s next? Another witty book?

The book has taken a lot of my energy, both emotionally and physically. But, I want this same story to come out from some other medium. I want this to reach people in every way it can. So, maybe it will be a movie or a short video. Well, I am an engineer, I will figure it out at the last moment somehow. (laughs)

On the indian trail

“There are places in Hyderabad where students are locked inside a room and they are not allowed to come outside. They are cut off from the outside world. In that coaching institute, one boy had blood cancer. His mother did not know it, father knew it, and I knew it and the hostel dean knew it. He was still made to study in that institute.”

“There were people shooting each other in Kanpur, there was a proper gang war. Unfortunately, these were not gangsters but educated coaching class teachers.”

His visit to a cram school in the city of Hyderabad was the darkest point of his journey. Boys and girls aren’t allowed to talk to each other and are forced to study 16 hours a day.Just days before his visit a young boy just escaped out of the window. He did not bother to take any of his belongings.

When 301 people from all over the world contributed more than $14,000, crowdfunding history was created. The crowdfunding was for the book The Great Indian Obsession

The book happened because Adhitya Iyer, author of the book, left home on a backpacking trip across 10 states of the country to understand the obsession of engineering among the students and their families

The book is about his experiences while travelling, experiences of students that he met while traveling and how the Indian education system needs to be transformed from “the deadliest terrorist organisation to something people can be happy about”

The book is inspired by his own childhood as well. Adhitya grew up in a Tamb-Brahm family. His family moved from Saudi to India just so that they could put him into engineering, something he says is normal for his family. Ever since then, he was desperate to find the cause of this crazy obsession with engineering

Adhitya wants people to hear this story through other media as well. He hopes to produce a short film someday

http://www.newindianexpress.com/education/edex/Indias-education-system-is-the-deadliest-terrorist-organisation-Adhitya-Iyer/2016/08/08/article3563973.ece