News Plus: Sep-Oct 2014

IITs top ranked in Entrepreneurship Education

Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) are ranked fourth on a list of 50 best entrepreneurial undergraduate institutes in the world. This was revealed by the union HRD Minister Smriti Irani at a conclave organized by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) on September 19  to discuss the relevance and importance of “Entrepreneurship”, Start ups and incubation centers in our Academic Institutions.

The ranking has been compiled by PitchBook Data, a US-based private equity and venture capital research firm. Irani said the feat calls for further celebrations as the IITs have been ranked higher than some of the best Ivy League universities such as Harvard.

In the study, the research firm found that the IITs had a total of 264 entrepreneurs, who have founded 205 companies and cumulatively raised USD 3.15 billion.

Irani also said thather ministry would soon operationalise a ‘council for higher education and industry’ so that “together we can bring about solution that our nation has so long sought”.

The paradigm of education, she said, should be such that it is able to cross the knowledge with analytical skills and logical reasoning, helping students acquire skills and entrepreneurial qualities. To help realise the objective, “we hope to revamp our pedagogy and curriculum to make it more relevant to our society and our students market-ready not just domestically but also internationally”. “We would also like to inculcate an entrepreneurial mindset not only in schools and colleges through changes in curricula but through introduction of teaching training and teaching material designed especially for entrepreneurship,” she said.

Noting that innovation has become increasingly open and collaborative today as opposed to the existing close inhouse innovation models, the minister suggested development of innovation clusters to promote collaboration between research organisations, industry and university.

“This would help exploit knowledge that would otherwise be left commercially unused by university,” the minister said, underlining the need for a rigorous, transparent and outcome based method in evaluating the impact of programmes.

 New Cybersecurity Certificate

Global IT association, ISACA—creators of the Cybersecurity Nexus (CSX)— has launched the Cybersecurity Fundamentals Certificate. Intended for university students and recent graduates, entry-level security professionals, and those seeking a career change, the certificate is knowledge-based and requires passing a proctored online exam. The Cybersecurity Fundamentals Certificate is aligned with the Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA) and the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) Cybersecurity Workforce Framework. It tests for foundational cybersecurity knowledge in five areas: Cybersecurity concepts,  Cybersecurity architecture principles,  Cybersecurity of networks, systems, applications and data, Incident response, Security of evolving technology. “Candidates with a proven level of cybersecurity knowledge are in strong demand worldwide, given today’s global cybersecurity skills crisis,” said Robert E Stroud,  international president of ISACA. With IT and e-governance in the spotlight of a resurgent India, the latest Cybersecurity Fundamentals Certificate is a great opportunity.

 Cambridge University Press ‘Centre for Excellence’ for SAARC inaugurated  in New Delhi

Cambridge University Press, who has been active in South Asia for the last decade on September 20 inaugurated its ‘Centre for Excellence’ for the South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation in New Delhi.  The ‘Centre for Excellence’ in New Delhi is the third largest of the global offices, and whilst Cambridge University Press is the oldest University Press in the world (founded in 1584), the ‘Centre for Excellence’ embodies the latest cutting edge facilities with a modern, vibrant and dynamic outlook. Vice Chancellor of Cambridge,   Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz who was present on the occasion said, “The ‘Centre for Excellence’ will further Cambridge University Press’s mission in South Asia, strengthening engagement with India by disseminating knowledge in the pursuit of education, learning and research at the highest levels of excellence.”

The new centre empowers Indian academics to take their research to the world, affirming Cambridge University Press in India and South Asia as a world-leader in educational content production and research across all ages. Managing Director of Cambridge University Press South Asia, Ratnesh Kumar Jha said “Our mission in South Asia is to provide students with the tools to achieve their potential, through delivering curated, quality content. We are a mission-driven organisation – profits made from publishing are invested back in publishing and education.”

 100 micro classroom innovations from STIR Education make grade

STIR Education_Empowering teachers to be Changemakers1

STIR Education (Schools and Teachers Innovating for Results), an NGO that works with teachers and principals of Government and Affordable private schools across India, in its efforts to build a national movement of teacher changemakers who can improve learning for children, brought together hundreds of over 300 teachers, partners and government officials together from over 12 states across on October 5, the World Teachers Day in New Delhi. The occasion marked with a one-day education conference was also meant for selecting  100 innovations across five themes (Teaching and Learning, Parental and Community Engagement, Teacher Recruitment and Accountability, Student tracking and assessment and External Factors).  Those making the grade will be certified for their effort by Roehampton University, UK.

According to STIR, it reached out to over 12000 teachers in the past three months and asked them to submit micro-innovations (low-cost, replicable practices to improve learning) that they use in their classroom or school. 5000 of these teachers submitted their innovations to STIR and after extensive consideration, 250 of these innovations made it to the final selection day.  The day saw an exciting interactive format used where both NGO members and Indian Education Experts analysed the innovations and their potential, alongside a process that allowed the 250 teacher finalists to present their innovations and vote for their top innovations. The participants also got a taste of what it feels like to be a part of the teacher changemaker networks that STIR runs for teachers across the country. Dr. A.R. Indira, Teacher, Delhi Tamil Education Association Sr. Secondary School, Motibagh said “Getting selected by STIR was exhilarating because no one had bothered to seek out teachers before now.”

Nikita Khosla, Director, STIR Education said, “Today teachers from across the country shared their innovations with each other, many of these teachers will go back and become a part of the STIR teacher changemaker movement where they will continue to meet in smaller groups to share,  collaborate and motivate each other to find ways in which they can improve learning outcomes for students in their classrooms. This initiative is a call for every teacher who wishes to become a changemaker”.

 Budget Schools Voice

At the  third annual School Leaders Summit (SLS) jointly organized by National Independent Schools Alliance (NISA), along with Centre for Civil Society (CCS) in New Delhi on September 27, speakers sided with the cause of budget schools in the country. The theme of the conference was ‘Budget Private Schools: Challenges and Opportunities’.

Parth J Shah from CCS said that the situation is alarming because 3,494,520 children are currently out of school, due to the fact that 19,414 private schools across 17 states have been closed or issued notice for closure for not fulfilling the input-centric norms laid down by RTE (such as infrastructure and teacher salaries). These schools are primarily private, low-fee schools that cater to the poorer sections of society. Various researches have shown that these schools often deliver better learning outcomes than government schools, and do so at a per-child cost that is much lower than what the government spends in public schools. Member of Parliament, BJP, Vijay Goel who delivered the keynote address said that no government can do everything on its own and it needs to depend on private sector to provide services, so is the case with education. He further said that parents refrain from admitting their children to ‘public’ schools because they doubt the quality being delivered there. He said that “I don’t believe that anything should be completely free, education is no exception. Private schools are an important value addition and under Modi’s government, we will never allow the private schools to shut down.” Archana Mehandale, a prominent researcher on Child Rights, speaking on regulatory Challenges for Budget private Schools said that schools are grappling with a body of regulations that is very large, also therefore, inaccessible. The system is functioning in a framework of confusion. Regulations are complex, incoherent and sometimes inconsistent.

Dilip Thakore, Editor, Education World magazine, said that media has not kept school education as a priority and has not represented budget private schools adequately, and not in a positive light.

 Tata Institute of Social Sciences launches of ‘School of Vocational Education’

Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS, esb 1936 now a deemed university) on September 24 announced the launch of ‘School of Vocational Education’ at Mumbai. TISS SVE has been set up to create an ecosystem that would bring back the dignity of labour for blue collar streams of work and create a sustainable source of income. The approach adopted by TISS SVE is called the Work Integrated Training Programme (WITP).  Incidentally, this would be first time that  vocational educational programme is being implemented a university with a focus on job specific skills rather than providing only a broad based education. The aim is to enable the students to learn the skill by engaging in on-the-job training along with classroom theoretical inputs. Through this ‘Earn while you Learn’ model, the trainee may also earn a stipend during the on-the-job duration of the course. The courses will be conducted pan India through Hub Partners (supporting effective delivery of classroom based inputs) & Skill Knowledge Partners (an industry partner who will provide on the job training). Vocational courses have been designed with a definite vision to improve the lives of disadvantaged and marginalized youth especially who are excluded by the formal school education system.

S. Ramadorai said, “I am confident that this program will not only help create a highly inspired and skilled future workforce, but also has the potential to become the operating model for other institutions and programmes across the country.” Prof. S. Parasuraman, Director T.I.S.S said “Our idea is to develop a people-centred, ecologically sustainable society that promotes & protects the dignity for all through application of knowledge. The goal is to help organizations to upgrade the skills of the blue collared work force by accrediting them with recognized degree/diploma.”

“The key feature of the program is that it integrates multi-skilling, general education and industry specific theory while permitting participants to continue with their jobs. We signed up for the program as it offered flexibility and had the backing of a prestigious university such as TISS. Today we have 190 students enrolled in the program and they are currently going through the first semester,” said S Padmanabhan, Director- Head HR CTOs, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd. Besides Bachelor of Vocational Education (B.Voc) degree course, the new school will offer short term skill enhancement courses in 15 disciplines (Automotive, Travel& Tourism , Retail,  Pharmaceuticals. Media& Entertainment, Construction, Hr& Sales, Healthcare, Industrial Safety, Industrial Tool Manufacturing,  Dialysis Technology,  Printing Technology,  Logistics, ITeS,  & BFSI).

 New chapters in Indo-US education collaboration

Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) and the U.S. Department of State for cooperation in the field of higher education will collaborate for Study Webs of Active-Learning for Young Aspiring Minds (SWAYAM), a programme for online education. Under the cooperation, the SWAYAM platform server will be based in India and US universities will be invited to offer post-graduate academic programs with certification on the SWAYAM platform.

The new Indo-US Partnership for Online Education (IUPOE) programme will comprise a mechanism that will enable the top universities of the US (top 100 in global ranking ) to create and share post graduate online courses (and associated assets) on the Indian “SWAYAM” platform. SWAYAM is an online platform of the Ministry of HRD through which online programmes/courses will be offered to students in India. Each American University will share courses created by its top educators. The cooperation programme will be integrated to strengthen the National Mission on Education through the use of ICT (NMEICT) in India. Similarly the union ministry of HRD and the National Science Foundation (NSF) of the United States of America, to initiate a new program entitled Global Initiative of Academic Networks (GIAN) in Higher Education. GIAN aims at tapping the talent pool of scientists and entrepreneurs to engage with the institutes of higher education in India to augment the country`s existing academic resources, accelerate the pace of quality reforms, and further strengthen India`s scientific and technological capabilities.

The proposed India-US Cooperation will be beneficial for adoption of newer methods of pedagogy; infuse creativity and innovation driven learning and professional rigour at a relatively lower cost; boosting research in cutting edge technologies and to build stronger academic networks between both countries. The US faculty would undertake teaching at Indian Universities, networked research initiatives in topics of mutual interest and development of international entrepreneurship programmes by making the curriculum more industry oriented for better employability.

The proposal envisages the creation of a channel for US academics in science, technology, engineering and mathematics to spend part of their time teaching in academic and research institutions across India. To start with, the programme would facilitate inviting up to 1000 faculty every year from amongst the best institutions in the US, who will be deputed to identified institutions in India.

 Cambridge English engages Indian academic leaders

Cambridge English, the UK-based English language assessment provider organization, is pushing for big role in emerging pro-skilling environment in India. In a first,  hosted the 1st Cambridge English – India Partnership Summit in New Delhi on September 22,which was attended by Vice Chancellors from leading Indian Universities – along with Directors of School, Technical, and Higher Education institutions, together with Heads of leading School Groups in India. In his augural address, Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge said that excellence requires higher levels of skills and his university does everything in context of excellence. Saul Nassé, Chief Executive of Cambridge English commented: “Future collaboration and sharing of best practice between Cambridge and India will be the key to opening up more language learning opportunities for the future youth of India, regardless of their background. Skill development is at an exciting phase in India, and we’re seeing some really encouraging government initiatives that are helping bridge the gap between the needs of industry and the outcomes of education. One of the main outcomes from today’s summit is to build platform for moving forward so we can share ideas and expertise in the future to ensure teachers get the support and technology they need to deliver effective English language education.” In the plenary, while Ashok Thakur, Secretary, Department of Higher Education, MHRD provided the government’s viewpoint, TV Mohandas Pai, presented the Education Industry perspective. School perspective was given by Fr C M Jose Aikara, Chairman, Council for the Indian School Certificate Examination. This was followed up by Focus group discussions on “Improving access to education by leveraging the power of technology”, “Measuring the success of educational projects” and “The role of assessment in raising standards.”  The summit was able to create a beneficial platform for partnership between India and Cambridge. The representatives from Cambridge English were able to share success models in India and South Asia. Another important announcement was the launch of a teacher framework, which will help in teacher development. They were also able to share the success story of Cambridge English in India, as it has over 500 schools and 300 colleges working with it, in the country. One of the key outcomes of the summit is action plans serving as the basis for a continuous dialogue with relevant stakeholders to initiate implementation.

 SHRM India’s 3rd Annual HR Conference and Exposition Held

The 3rd annual conference of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the world’s largest association of H, held on September 25-26 in Gurgaon attracted over 650+ delegates, including mid & senior level HR professionals, corporate leaders and over 60 acclaimed thought leaders from all over the world.

The key agenda of the conference was based on the theme “Connect Inspire grow”. The two day event addressed the critical issues concerning superior service culture, Future of work in a technology world, Talent management, role of social media and HR function in defining leadership. The sessions included addresses and discussions from the keynote speakers and other panellists emphasizing on their experiences and journey through out, while also putting the light on key HR trends shaping up globally. Achal Khanna, CEO, SHRM India said, “I am sure each one of us has lot of takeaways from this conference as we seek to frame policies aimed at both employee benefits and enhancing productivity.”

SHRM India also announced the winners of SHRM HR Awards 2014 held on the eve of the conference. SHRM annual HR Awards acknowledge the organizations that work passionately towards raising the bar for the profession and their workforce through constant innovation.

 Dr. Apathukatha Sivathanu Pillai felicitated with Shastri National Award 

Lal Bahadur Shastri Institute of Management conferred the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Award for excellence in public administration and management 2014 to Dr. Apathukatha Sivathanu Pillai, distinguished Scientist & Chief Controller (Research & Development), DRDO and Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director, BrahMos Aerospace, Ministry of Defence for the prestigious LAL BAHADUR SHASTRI AWARD. The award was given away by the President of India at Rashtrapati Bhavan. It is noteworthy that this is the only award in India, instituted by a private educational institution, and given away every year by the President of India in the premises of Rashtrapati Bhavan. The said award is given away every year to a highly accomplished public figure that has excelled in public administration.

Speaking on the occasion, the President of India, Shri Pranav Mukherjee stated, “I take the opportunity to congratulate Dr.Pillai and his team of scientists for their innovative approach and precision that has made India join the league of world leaders like US, Russia, European Union in the field of aerospace. I also urge the youth of India to adopt the values such as courage, integrity, and selfless service from our greatest leaders such as Gandhi ji and Shastri ji”. During the acceptance speech, Dr.Pillai highlighted the role that such award plays in raising the benchmark in societal developments and he quipped, “India was a knowledge and wisdom giver to the world at one time, but by independence its confidence went down. But now the time has come again for the youth to adopt the spirit of freedom and knowledge leadership in the world.”

Anil Shastri,Chairman, Board of Governors LBSIM and Former Union Minister, on this occasion said that Dr. A. Sivathanu Pillai’s contributions to the successful development of SLV-3 – India’s First Satellite Launch Vehicle, as a core team members and the evolution of PSLV configuration for ISRO have been remarkable.  His innovative approach and skills in networking multiple institutions and industries for the development of critical missile technologies overcoming denial regimes enabled realization of Agni, Prithvi, Nag and Akash missiles under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (GMDP) as its Programme Director.  Realization of these capabilities with indigenous effort made India one of the lead countries in Launch Vehicles and Missile Technologies. Dr. Pillai’s outstanding leadership qualities made India proud to possess the fastest, highly precise and the most potent missile BRAHMOS which is now inducted in the Indian Armed Forces.

Ceremony was attended by around 300 distinguished invitees comprising of several dignitaries including heads of various missions, senior government officials, and captains of private sector, students and faculty members of LBSIM among others.

An all-through service for Study in UK

Anglo Schools International Services (ASIS), which manages a Federation of top UK Boarding Schools, and SI-UK Education Council, the leading university recruiter operating in Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai, have decided to forge a new partnership providing free counselling and placement services for those wishing to study in Britain’s top educational institutions.

The partnership was announced at a press conference in Delhi on October 10th, provides a one-stop-shop for families wishing to secure an international education in Britain.  Counsellors, operating out of the SI-UK offices, will guide parents and children on the benefits of starting their overseas education at a top British boarding school before moving through to undertake their university studies. Commenting on the partnership, ASIS Principal, David Boddy said: “ When we came to India with our scholarship and pupil recruitment programme for some of Britain’s best schools we always planned to extend the process through to the next stage. The tie-up with SI-UK, who have relationships with every UK university, expands significantly the learning opportunities for Indian pupils. They can now secure their educational futures by graduating from a top school in Britain before moving seamlessly into an elite university institution. “

Puneet Soin, the Country Manager, India, ‘SI-UK’ said: “This partnership with the ASIS Federation of schools opens up some of the best schools in the UK for them, covering not only academic excellence but also music, drama, art and sport.  UK universities want this variety of experience. Especially for children who may not achieve the very top grades, this is a brilliant opportunity. “

Educomp innovations shine at the South Asia Education Summit 2014

Educomp’s Evolve Teacher Training System wins “Best in Ongoing Teacher Enhancement” while  its E-DAC Learning System bags “Best in Academic Innovative Curriculum”

Educomp Solutions, a leading education solution provider, on September 30 was conferred with two awards at the South Asia Education Summit Award 2014, a prestigious SAARC regional summit that draws competitors from the south Asia region. Educomp has won top honours in two categories – Best in Ongoing Teacher Enhancement – where its ‘Evolve Teacher Training System” won accolades and Best in Academic Innovative Curriculum – where its “E-DAC Learning System scored.  The South Asia Education Summit Award is organized by ICT post in association with UNESCO with an aim to create inclusive knowledge societies and empower local communities across all eight countries. The awards are judged basis several parameters like innovation for Inclusive education, leadership and impact on society.

Dr. Bindu Rana, Director- Research and Development, Educomp Solutions, said, “It is a significant recognition of our mission to provide accessible, quality education by designing innovative products. This award reinforces our commitment to offer scientifically designed solutions to help students.

 India’s champions at UNICOM’s Technology Olympiad

Over 500 companies from across India participated in the Tech-Olympiad organised by UNICOM Learning, a knowledge sharing forum in partnership with IBM in Bangalore on September 29.  Sachin Malik and Nishant Pundir from Dronacharya College of Engineering, New Delhi emerged as the winner at the Students Technology Olympiad and grabbed the gold medal. Harsh Kumar and Arun B from GE Healthcare Bangalore were announced as winners of the Technology Olympiad for Professionals. The Students Technology Olympiad is an initiative taken by UNICOM with support from IBM in order to find India’s most knowledgeable student in the field of emerging technologies. 1000 colleges participated in the students Olympiad which aims to provide a global recognition to students and was supported by various technological institutes. The first round of the Olympiad was online Multiple Choice Question (MCQ) based quiz followed by the finals. Each participating team had two members taking part in the tech- quiz. Some of the topics covered in the Technology Olympiads were Social, Mobility, Analytics, Cloud, Big Data, Programming, Testing and IoT.

“We aim to bring technology awareness to as many people as we can. Platforms like these are big opportunities for youngsters to get a recognition and stand out among the crowd” said Sugandha Shri Kanteshwaram, Program Director, Mobility & Emerging Technologies IBM.

MY LEARNING TRAIN wins IDA award in Product/ Solution in Early Learning category

The Oxford University Press’s My Learning Train, an activity-based pre-school series won awards at the 2014 IDA Awards. While My Learning Train was awarded in the Product/ Solution in Early Learning category, Oxford Educate won in the category of Digital Content in Education for the second time in a row.

Speaking on the occasion Ranjan Kaul, Managing Director of OUP India, said: “By winning in both print and digital categories we have once again reaffirmed our status of a world-class provider of education products and services.”

 Performance Assurance Service for Students

Entrance Prime,  e-learning and online test preparation portal has come up with yet another innovation to enhance students’ performance with the launch of its Performance Assurance Service for Students (PASS). The service operates through a team and system which ensures that the registered students take their tests with utmost regularity and seriousness and achieve the best possible academic results.

Ashutosh Modi, Executive Director, JIVEM Education said, “PASS is the latest initiative through which we aim to leave no stone unturned when it comes to monitoring the performance of students.”

PASS also keeps a check on students’ attainments in their respective tests. Also PASS engages with students through SMS alerts and emails. In order to create a seamless flow of information with parents, Entrance Prime is in constant communication with them in case the performance of their children demands more attention.

‘Tanmatra’: Women’s Leadership Development Program being launched

IBM (on October 13 announced that it has collaborated with The Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore (IIM-B) and Catalyst India WRC to launch a cross-industry women’s leadership development program, ‘Tanmatra’ (means ‘potential’ in Sanskrit). The program will leverage the best collective practical experience and research to prepare women for leadership in the Indian business community. The program will also create a common networking platform for high-potential women. Open to organisations across the country, it will train a batch of 30 high-potential women across industries with at least 12 or more years of industry experience across a span of 10 months.

In this collaborative program, IBM is the knowledge partner, aligning to the organization’s focus on advancement of women as essential to successful business. Catalyst India WRC is the research partner, offering its research experts as part of Tanmatra’s faculty. IIM-Bangalore is the education partner, bringing to life a suite of high quality, relevant leadership modules led by world class faculty, for the cohort. Tanmatra will be conducted at the IIM-Bangalore campus. Highlighting the benefits of the program, Prof. Vasanthi Srinivasan, Program Director, IIM-Bangalore, said, “Women currently represent less than a quarter of the labour force employed in organisations. We find that several individual and personal factors contribute to women not able to invest sufficiently for career advancement. Tanmatra is a one-of-a-kind developmental program for high-potential women that will enable them to gain exposure to business concepts, mentoring and networking opportunities with established leaders”