News Plus: Dec 14-Jan 2015

 

State Education Ministers Endorse Credit Framework for Skills, Choice Based Credit System

Education ministers from all the States endorsed the Credit Framework for Skills and the new Choice Based Credit System Guidelines issued by the University Grants Commission at a meeting of all State Education Ministers looking after Higher/Technical Education, on 6th January 2015, to discuss adoption of the Credit Framework for Skills and the Choice Based Credit System in Colleges and State Public Universities.. A presentation was also made on reforms in teacher education and the recently approved regulations of the National Council of Teacher Education for improving the quality of B. Ed. Courses. The States welcomed the initiative.

The Conference was unanimous that adoption of the Credit Framework for Skills and the Choice Based Credit System is one of the best ways to bring about changes to meet student aspirations and employment needs. The Credit Framework for Skills also signals respect for skills and vocational courses in mainstream higher education, an initiative that will help change the mind set about vocational education being an inferior option. The Choice Based Credit System opens up possibilities for students pursuing skills and courses of their choice to enhance their employability.

A suggestion of the Ministers from Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra to set up a Joint Working Group comprising Central and State Government nominees to sort out the critical issues in the  implementation of the Credit Framework and the Choice Based Credit System was accepted. Ministry also agreed to the setting up of a Grievance Cell in the University Grants Commission addressing challenges emanating from its implementation.

IMT Ghaziabad launches analytics lab

IMT Ghaziabad, a top ranked B school in the NCR region, in association with Genpact Limited (NYSE: G), a global leader in designing, transforming, and running intelligent business operations, has announced the launch of an analytics lab to facilitate collaboration and innovation between professors, students and industry experts. IMT Ghaziabad has been running a research and analytics program in association with Genpact since 2012, which was a first-ever MBA analytics program developed jointly by Indian academia and the industry. The analytics lab consists of infrastructure for machine learning and open source toolsets & technologies to enable hands-on training in the rapidly growing field of analytics and is a further extension of the program.

This new analytics lab will augment IMT Ghaziabad and Genpact’s efforts in developing a high impact pool of professionals comprised of data scientists and risk professionals who are conversant in modern analytics tools and technologies, and are proficient in conducting key activities such as build-phase design for new products and implementation and commercialization to support product development.

The state-of-the-art lab housed in IMT Ghaziabad campus contains open source tool sets and technologies to foster creation of solutions. On the launch of the analytics lab, Dr Bibek Banerjee, Director IMT Ghaziabad and Academic Mentor, IMT Group said, “The analytics lab gives an opportunity to our faculty and students to work together with the subject matter experts on ‘live projects’ with ‘real’ data to augment and guide course curriculum. Through this kind of symbiotic relationship with learning-oriented organizations, our faculty and student research drive new knowledge and create best practices.”

Paul Burton, senior vice President and business leader  Analytics & Research at Genpact said, “We want to address the gap between theory and practice. By experimenting with the actual tools that they would use later as professionals, students get a unique opportunity to gain hands-on experience using the latest technology.”

Manish Chopra, Senior Vice President and Business Leader  Risk Services at Genpact said, “A key use case for the lab will be financial services operations. Banks and financial institutions are seeking to make their risk and compliance processes and operations more robust, and more intelligent  able to learn from their actions. This unique initiative will expose IMT students to Genpact’s innovative technology based solutions for building smart risk processes.”

PARAS GROUP Forays into Education Sector

Paras Group a major in dairy products, real estate and health care sectors has forayed into education. The group is all set to open the first campus of ‘The Paras World School India’ or TPWSI in Gurgaon sub city which will impart education as per newly introduced CBSE-International curriculum.  The group has earmarked an initial corpus of Rs. 100 crore for the venture and has plans to open more such schools under the same brand TPWSI in North India in next five years. The Group will build, manage and run all the schools on its own for the next five years and may go with the franchisees model thereafter. It has plans to open schools abroad too at the appropriate time.  All these schools will impart school-level education under a highly specialised curriculum. Priyanka Nagar, Vice Chairman says, “Our country is all set to enter the next phase of development where its position will not be of a developing country, but a reigning global power. To carry out that process and assert our position in global order, we will need confident and globalized Indians and that is where the school education is going to be crucial. The TPWSI is not just a venture to us, but our participation in that process.”  The curriculum philosophy of first school in Gurgaon will be based on Harvard’s Project ‘Making Learning Visible’ conducted by Mara Krechevsky and Howard Gardner at the Harvard Graduate School of Learning. To ensure the overall development of children, the schools will have the co-curricular programs as per international standards cultivating physical and cultural finesse by providing facilities for performing arts, various sports, an environment club, robotics club, debate society, science club and editorial board. To establish international connect among students, the ‘Global Connect’ programme will expose the children to global milieu through collaboration with schools in other parts of the world.

 

REF Confirms Birmingham’s Position Amongst World’s Leading Research Universities

More than 81 per cent of all research carried out by the University of Birmingham (UK) is rated as internationally excellent (3*) or world leading (4*) according to a UK-wide research quality survey published on 18 December.

The results of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 also show that 87 per cent of the University of Birmingham’s research activity has a global impact, confirming its position among the world’s top universities for research in a broad range of areas from History and Education to Chemical Engineering and Psychology.

The REF measures the quality and impact of research conducted in universities and higher education institutions in the UK against international standards of excellence, and enables higher education funding bodies to distribute public funds on the basis of both the quality and volume of the research as well as its wider impact.

The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Birmingham, Professor Sir David Eastwood, said: ‘At Birmingham, pioneering innovative solutions that address big issues, unlock value and benefit society is at the heart of our research agenda. Today’s results put us among a handful of institutions that can demonstrate world-leading or internationally-renowned research across such a broad range of subjects.”

 

DataWind felicitated for innovative digital solutions

DataWind, famously responsible for low cost Akash tablets and low cost internet connectivity was presented with the award for Most Innovative Solution for meeting the Vision of Digital India, by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) at CMAI’s 8th NTA ICT World Communications Awards on December 17, 2014. The awards ceremony was attended by luminaries from academia, ICT industry, and government officials including Dr Malcom Johnson, Deputy Secretary General, ITU, Geneva Dr. Govind, CEO, National Internet Exchange of India; Prof (Dr) H.S Chahal, Vice Chancellor, Maharishi Dayanand University,  Dr. Ajoy Kumar Roy, Vice Chancellor, IIEST, Prof (Dr.) R.K Khandal, Vice Chancellor, Uttar Pradesh Technical University,; Dr SS Mantha, Chairman, All India Council of Technical Education, Dr Ashwini Kumar Sharma, MD,NIELIT (DOEACC) and Director IT, CBSE.

Suneet Singh Tuli, President & CEO, DataWind said, “We believe we have only so far, just uncovered the tip of the iceberg in terms of creating affordable accessibility for the digitally disenfranchised. We are committed to pursue this journey of helping India achieve its Vision for a truly Digital India and we will continue to strive to discover innovative ways in helping the young India bridge this digital divide.”

TISS & Whistling Woods International to collaborate for Graduate Degrees programs

In an endeavour to mainstream Film & Media education, Mumbai-based Whistling Woods International (WWI) has partnered with the Tata Institute of Social Sciences to validate Film & Media education is offered to students through TISS certification. Prof. Parasuraman, Director  TISS, said “Filmmaking, Communication and Media Studies are as much a part of society as any other field. Over the years, TISS has always delivered progressive education in all the social sciences. We have closely observed WWI, interacted with the management team of WWI and observed that they demonstrate the same degree of quality consciousness as TISS. We at TISS felt it appropriate to partner with WWI to offer degree programs in Filmmaking, Communication & Media Studies.”

M-reading to increase reading & knowledge transfer

Variables such as mobile network penetration rise in sales of smartphones & tablets will play a critical role in boosting the digital reading adoption rate in India. Currently the knowledge based sector is skewed towards physical ownership, with the numbers reflecting the same- ebooks account for approximately 2% of the overall $ 2 billion book market annually. However a market intelligence study predicts that the Indian ebook market will grow by 20 to 25 percent in the next two to three years, reflecting the growth potential of the industry.

According to a report by GSMA, India had 111-million smartphone connections in the second quarter of 2014, trailing leader China, US and Brazil. In rural parts of India, 70% of the population accesses the Internet from mobile phones, often in regional languages.Also 70% of the daily mobile internet users fall under the age group of 20-34 years, making the youth one of the largest consumers of mobile content.

Sharing his outlook for 2015,  Praveen Rajpal, CEO, Rockstand, the leading free mobile App for eBooks, eMagazines & ePapers, available across Android, IOS & Windows platforms aligned with more than 1000+ publishers and 300+ mainstream eNewspapers from 20+ states recently stated that the m-reading (mobile) industry is currently at an exciting juncture. “Rapid adoption of digital content and shifting consumption patterns will lead to more people accessing the mobile content.. Additionally m-reading will open up new pathways to literacy for the rural segment, particularly women & girls and by extension, the educational, social and economic benefits associated with increased reading,” he added.

Global Impact Competition (GIC) in India on ‘Smart Cities’

Haryana’s Ashoka University has signed an MoU with Singularity University (USA) to develop a global network of innovation ecosystems alongside a coalition of entrepreneurs, business leaders, universities, government agencies and nonprofits.  The two universities also announced the first initiative under this MoU with the hosting of Singularity University’s Global Impact Competition (GIC) in India. Divya Sornaraja, Singularity University’s Ambassador for India, commented that, “Global Impact Competitions are annual competitions held in partnership with sponsor organizations worldwide and we are glad to partner with Ashoka University in India. The GIC India will serve as a platform to identify outstanding entrepreneurs, leaders, scientists and engineers with the most innovative ideas to positively impact the Indian Government’s agenda of building 100 smart cities within the next 3-5 years. “We are excited to see the ideas generated, and the winner of this competition will be invited to attend the Graduate Studies Program (GSP) free of charge at SU,” said Rob Nail, CEO of SU.  The GIC will be open to university students in the final years of undergraduate programs, as well as to graduate and post-graduate students from universities and young academics having an Indian nationality. The best, most innovative ideas will be judged by an expert jury, which for the Indian stage of the competition consists of academics, entrepreneurs, government officials and development institutes, as well as competition winners from previous years

Applications for the contest will close on the 15th of February, 2015 and the winners will be announced mid-March. The winner will attend the Singularity University Graduate Studies Program starting June 2015.