Education Notes

Education Notes


Preschools upgradation drive

The Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) is all set to revamp 65 balwadis (preschools) of VMC-run primary schools in the city in a phased manner. The objective of the upgradation drive is to provide the 4,160 children enrolled in them with facilities on a par with the best private preschools.

Five balwadis have been chosen for a pilot project at a cost of Rs.12 lakh. “We have made provisions in the VMC budget to upgrade our balwadis. Work tenders for five preschools have already been approved,” Keyur Rokadiya, chairman of VMC’s education committee, informed media personnel on February 13.

According to Rokadiya, VMC has drawn up a blueprint to equip its balwadis with contemporary teaching-learning materials. Every year, five preschools will be shortlisted for the “facelift” exercise, he said.

Jammu & Kashmir

DCP demands teachers audit

The deputy commissioner of police (DCP) of Udhampur district has recommended an education audit of all government schools statewide after 17 “highly qualified teachers” of two government schools failed to answer curriculum-related questions posed by him. “I asked students of the Government City High School to define ‘fossil fuels’. When they failed to answer, I posed the same question to their teacher who has a Masters degree in science and education. He answered that fossil fuel is the waste material we throw out of our homes,” DCP Shahid Iqbal Choudhary informed media personnel in Jammu on February 8.

“Later I asked another science teacher who teaches biology to class X students to name parts of the digestive system, but she couldn’t name even one,” he added. Likewise, 17 teachers of two schools failed to give “satisfactory” answers to questions posed by him. Disturbed over teachers’ lack of basic subject knowledge, Choudhary has asked the chief education officer to conduct an education audit and initiate stringent action against teachers who fail it.


Girl child celebration

In a first-of-its-kind initiative to increase awareness about rights of girl children and promote gender sensitivity, the state government of Haryana (which has the country’s lowest sex ratio) has announced plans to observe kanya janamdin utsav, a special monthly programme to celebrate the birthdays of girl students, in all government schools statewide. An education ministry spokesperson announced this in Chandigarh on February 7.

The birthdays of girl students falling in the same month will be celebrated as an utsav (festival) every second Tuesday of the month, the spokesperson said. The celebrations will be staged during the mid-day meal break. During the morning assembly, the school headmaster will announce the names of the girls and greet them individually in the presence of village panchayat members and the girls’ parents.


IIT-H-McMaster partnership

The Indian Institute of Technology-Hyderabad (estb. 2008) has signed a research partnership agreement with the Ontario (Canada)-based McMaster University — a public research university ranked #94 in THE’s World University Rankings (2015-16) — to promote innovation, intellectual property creation and commercialise research and development (R&D) projects. The agreement is among seven MoUs signed between Ontario province, Canada and Telangana state in the areas of education, infrastructure, IT and research, during the visit of Kathleen Wynne, premier of Ontario, to India.

Addressing a press conference on February 3, Wynne said India and Ontario have a long history of working together. “The seven agreements signed today will benefit Telangana and Ontario for years to come, and will help strengthen commercial ties across key sectors, including infrastructure, information and communications technology, and education,” she said.


Tight board exams security

The Meghalaya Board of Secondary Education (MBSE) has been assured all help and cooperation by the state’s police department to tighten security arrangements ahead of the secondary and higher secondary board examinations scheduled for later this month, a government official told media personnel in Shillong on February 4.

Last year, the board faced major embarrassment when the class X science and technology question paper was leaked hours before the exam. An inquiry report revealed several anomalies in the process of transporting the “sealed and confidential” question papers to exam centres statewide.

In a recent circular, MBSE deputy director M. Marbaniang directed all schools to collect the sealed exam question papers from the nearest police station. “We have directed all institutions to collect question papers from police stations an hour before the exams begin. The person collecting the question papers will be required to produce proof of identification and make an entry in the police register,” said Marbaniang.