Education Notes

Education Notes


TET exam cancelled

The Haryana Teacher Eligibility Test Level 3 (PGT) exam — scheduled to be written by over 460,000 candidates in the state on November 14 — was cancelled on suspicions of a question paper leak. Speaking to mediapersons in Chandigarh on November 14, Pankaj Kumar, secretary, Haryana School Education Board, said fresh dates will be announced soon.

According to Kumar, “it was prima facie established that the question paper of the level 3 examination was available with a person in an unauthorised manner before the prescribed time (of exam).”

A special investigation team has been constituted to probe the paper leak, and four individuals, including a woman aspirant, have been detained by the police for questioning.

Andhra Pradesh

Remedial teaching initiative

The state government, which signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Pratham Education Foundation, Mumbai and MIT-based Abdul Lateef Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) in May this year, is set to introduce a programme to improve learning outcomes in government primary schools across Anantpur district. As per the MoU, the ‘teaching at the right level’ programme will be introduced in the district’s 1,700 schools for classes III-V in the first year of the three-year partnership.

The initiative has been prompted by the dismal findings of the Annual Status of Education Report 2014, published by Pratham, which revealed that half of class V children in the country cannot read a class II text or solve a simple two-digit subtraction sum. While Andhra Pradesh performed better than the national average, significant gaps in student learning outcomes persist.

Under the new programme, government school teachers will reorganise classes III-V students into groups according to their learning levels and conduct remedial teaching-learning activities for two hours per day, using a specially developed resource kit and teaching manual.


Gender segregation protest

Protests are intensifying against the decision of Farooq College, affiliated with Calicut University, to suspend a male student last month (October) for defying its directive for segregated seating of men and women students on campus. A group of activists, artists and writers led by former naxalite K. Ajitha and human rights activist V.P. Zuhra staged a massive demonstration in early November at the Mananchira grounds in Kozhikode to protest the suspension order.

Dinu K, a first year student of the college, was one of a mixed group of students who defied the management’s directive. Following the incident, students were asked to tender written apologies for ‘defying disciplinary rules’. All complied except Dinu, who was handed a suspension letter.

Speaking with mediapersons in Thiruvananthapuram on November 4, Dinu alleged that the college management had imposed several gender discriminatory rules on students and the “ban against mixed seating was the latest in the series”.

Madhya Pradesh

Food poisoning incident

More than 40 students of a government-run middle school in Begamganj Tehsil took ill after consuming food served under the state government’s mid-day meal scheme, block medical officer Dr. Somand Das informed the media in Raisen on November 3.

According to Girdharilal Sahu, acting headmaster of the middle school, the students became violently ill and started vomiting eight hours after consumption of the mid-day meal. “As usual, we administered iron pills to the children after serving them puri with a cooked potato dish and kheer as part of the mid-day meal. I don’t know what went wrong,” he said. Block education officer Rajesh Invati said the food samples have been sent for forensic testing.


Student suicides alarm

The Rajasthan government is “deeply alarmed” by the rising number of suicides being reported among students of test prep/coaching institutes in Kota and is mulling ways to prevent such deaths, the state’s technical and higher education minister Kali Charan Saraf informed media in Kota on November 21. Saraf has directed the district collector of Kota to formulate guidelines in consultation with directors of coaching institutes.

“The coaching institutes in Kota have been asked to add recreational activities to their curriculums and provide psychological counseling to students to help them deal with exam stress and anxiety. All students are not of equal talent and merit. This should also be explained to parents through counseling,” he said.

However, Saraf said he was unaware about a recent National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) report which said that 45 students had committed suicide in Kota in 2014. According to NCRB data, Kota registered 100 suicide cases in 2014, 45 of whom were students. The report highlights failure in exams among the key causes of student suicides.