Showing posts with label Education. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Education. Show all posts

16 April 2017

India’s Education Is At A Crossroads: Time For Some Hard Decisions

Gautam Desiraju

Corruption, chronic shortage of funds and caste reservations are endemic to our institutions.

Unless we train young men and women in an enlightened, holistic manner, we are in trouble.

Modern India urgently needs to create educational opportunities for its people at all levels. Education is like defence, national security, finance and health, with the responsibility to disseminate it, shared by the centre and the states.

Any modern country needs one decent university for per million population. By this token, India needs 1,200 good universities. We have around 400 universities that exist perfunctorily, with many of them languishing, practically lifeless. The large majority of them are state universities.

The solution to this huge imbalance between demand and supply with regard to employment cannot be solved by opening new universities in remote places, or by handing over the whole education enterprise to the private sector, but rather by a total cleansing, of what I would term, the salvageable state universities.

Our education policies, at both the central and state levels have failed. At the central level, our efforts have probably been well meaning, but insufficient. At the state level, they have been unsatisfactory.

13 April 2017

Big-Bang Reform Agenda For India’s Distressed Education Sector

Swarajya Special

Why gradual decentralisation and private sector participation is key to revamping the Indian education sector

“Our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education” - John F Kennedy

It is trite to say that our education system needs a rejig. While ideas for reforming the archaic macro structure of education in India will call for a whole book, a few strategic moves outlined in this column could help infuse vigour and enforce clarity in the system.

Education is in the concurrent list of the constitution. Both school education and higher education are under the purview of the central and various state governments. The Ministry of Human Resource Development(HRD) has under its ambit, a cognitively-impossible number of institutions and organisations to keep track of, leave alone administer efficiently from a central pulpit. This calls for rationalisation of the structure for some efficiency in the distribution of labour.

At this point, it is worthwhile to note that our constitution framers had placed education in the state list. In 1976, it was transferred to the concurrent list through the 42nd amendment, leading to stealthy appropriation of powers by the centre to push through its socialist agenda.

8 March 2017

The Importance Of Teaching Arts And Literature To The Management Students


Sanjoy Mukherjee

Arts and literature can break open the stagnant chambers of management education dominated by linear thinking and binary logic.

Austrian psychotherapist and Holocaust survivor Viktor E Frankl, in his seminal book Man’s Search for Meaning, had identified in clear terms that the real problem of human beings in our modern world is not nothingness but “nothing-but-ness”. The implications of this diagnosis are deep and far-reaching. While it may appear that a kind of purposeless existential vacuum (nothingness) has engulfed the mind and life of people, a deep look at the behaviours, lifestyles and aspirations of jet-setters and go-getters among management students and corporate executives, the so-called torch-bearers of global economic progress, reveals a much deeper malaise. It stems from an uncritical bond signature to a worldview that celebrates and champions the logic of market economy, aggressive competition, linear undifferentiated growth, single-point drive for profits and relentless acquisition of material “goodies”.

The phenomenon of nothing-but-ness consists of systematic bulldozing of alternative models of progress and development in work and life that are still vibrant but beyond the margins. A random sampling of the usual language of conversations in the “educated” mainstream milieu will show an abundant use of such phrases as “great”, “perfect”, “absolutely” and the like. This often amounts to a vulgar display of arrogance that is hollow, distasteful, culturally impoverished - all pointing to a poor understanding of the life-world.

As the voice of the “other”, alternative modes of thinking and living increasingly face the peril of fading into oblivion. We hear the burning question on choosing life from German psychologist Erich Fromm: “To have or to be?” And T S Eliot makes the point sharp and clear in his three profound questions in the poem ‘The Rock’:

2 March 2017

** Keeping the score - Predators in an academic jungle

Sukanta Chaudhuri

Nowadays the University Grants Commission requires that college and university teachers be appointed and promoted on the basis of their academic performance indicators or APIs. These are used for academic assessment in many countries, but there is no standard format: each country, authority or institution devises its own. The UGC, too, allows each university to modify its general guidelines, subject to some overall stipulations.

The API system is intended to prevent the selection of teachers by subjective judgment, shading into nepotism and corruption. Like most schemes for academic improvement by mechanical means, it has not only failed to select the best candidates, but created a set of practices to ensure that this does not happen.

The problem can be traced to a growing policy of the world's leading academic journals. Under cover of the disarmingly named 'open access' model, whereby users can consult the journals online without charge, they are extracting money from researchers contributing papers. British academia tellingly calls this high road to publication the 'gold route'. There is also a 'green route', whereby a trickle of papers are printed without charge. Researchers in a hurry to publish their findings, in order to secure a job or pre-empt rivals in the field, can seldom afford to wait.

This system is gradually replacing the earlier one whereby journals were marketed at such exorbitant cost that the world's richest universities had begun to protest. Both new and old systems assume without contest that the electronic circulation of knowledge should command profit margins wildly disproportionate to costs. (No scholar associated at any stage - author, editor or reviewer - is paid a penny, and papers must be submitted in ready-uploadable form.) The technology of electronic publication gained ground in the post-Cold-War era. The upswing of global capitalism around that time captured this new territory from the start, overturning the earlier economics of academic print publication.

The threat from within

BY JOHN ETCHEMENDY

Former Provost John Etchemendy, in a recent speech before the Stanford Board of Trustees, outlined challenges higher education is facing in the coming years. Following is an excerpt from that talk.

Universities are a fundamental force of good in the world. At their best, they mine knowledge and understanding, wisdom and insight, and then freely distribute these treasures to society at large. Theirs is not a monopoly on this undertaking, but in the concentration of effort and single-mindedness of purpose, they are truly unique institutions. If Aristotle is right that what defines a human is rationality, then they are the most distinctive, perhaps the pinnacle, of human endeavors.

John Etchemendy(Image credit: L.A. Cicero)

I share this thought to remind us all why we do what we do – why we care so much about Stanford and what it represents. But I also say it to voice a concern. Universities are under attack, both from outside and from within.

19 February 2017

In an age of robots, schools are teaching our children to be redundant


George Monbiot

In an age of robots, schools are teaching our children to be redundant

A regime of cramming and testing is crushing young people’s instinct to learn and destroying their future 

In the future, if you want a job, you must be as unlike a machine as possible: creative, critical and socially skilled. So why are children being taught to behave like machines?

Children learn best when teaching aligns with their natural exuberance, energy and curiosity. So why are they dragooned into rows and made to sit still while they are stuffed with facts?

We succeed in adulthood through collaboration. So why is collaboration in tests and exams called cheating?

Governments claim to want to reduce the number of children being excluded from school. So why are their curriculums and tests so narrow that they alienate any child whose mind does not work in a particular way?

The best teachers use their character, creativity and inspiration to trigger children’s instinct to learn. So why are character, creativity and inspiration suppressed by a stifling regime of micromanagement?

27 January 2017

Why Does India Refuse to Participate in Global Education Rankings?

By K.S. Venkatachalam

India’s troubling record on education won’t go away by boycotting PISA. 

For the third time, students from East Asian countries have outperformed their peers in the rest of the world in science, math, and reading in the 2015 Global Education International Triennial Survey. Popularly known as PISA (Program for International Student Assessment), the survey is conducted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to test education systems by comparing the test performance of 15-year-old pupils.

The two-hour test not only evaluates the cognitive skills of students in science, math, and reading, but also assesses their ability to solve problems in new and unfamiliar conditions. The approach of PISA, according to the OECD’s director of education, “reflects the fact that modern economies reward individuals not for what they know, but for what they can do with what they know.”

The latest results show that students from Singapore, Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, and China (Hong Kong, Macao, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangdong, and Jiangsu province) were among the top performers. Over 540,000 students, from 70 countries, participated in the tests.


How did India rank? We’ll never know. For some reason, India refused to participate in the global survey.

India’s refusal to participate in PISA is hard to understand and also defies logic. In the 2009 survey, students from two Indian states, Tamil Nadu and Himachal Pradesh, participated; India placed 72nd among the 74 participating countries. Since then the Human Resource Development Ministry in India has chosen not to participate in PISA, as they perceived that there was a socio-cultural disconnect between the questions and Indian students, because of India’s peculiar “socio-cultural milieu.” Although India’s concerns have been backed by educational experts, that doesn’t change the fact that the PISA results can help in assessing standards of education in India, especially at the primary level.

22 January 2017

** A new class act Higher education in India is failing. Overhauling the system can salvage it

By Pranab Bardhan

Let me start with a blunt statement: India’s higher education is in general a decrepit, dilapidated system, it’s afflicted by a deep malaise.

The National Knowledge Commission—Report to the Nation (2006-9) put it only a bit more mildly: “There is a quiet crisis in higher education in India which runs deep”. Three widely acknowledged criteria for judging an education system: Access, Equity, and Quality. We have failed our young people by all three criteria.

On account of financial hardship, inferior schools, lack of remedial education and social compulsions for early marriage for girls, the majority of young people from poor families drop out of school at or before completing secondary education. So they have no access to higher education. In addition, for socially disadvantaged groups discrimination at workplace and occupational segregation lower the rate of return from (and hence demand for) higher education for them compared to other groups.

Even for those who complete secondary education and are willing to enter, entry into premier higher education institutions is riddled with various kinds of inequity (only marginally relieved for some people by lower-caste reservations). For example, the currently almost indispensable intensive entry examination preparation in coaching classes (or private tuition) with high fees is often out of reach for poor students. (NSS data suggest that in 2014 nearly 60% of male students in the 18-24 age group cite financial constraints or engagement in economic activities as the reason for discontinuing higher education).

13 January 2017

The Quality Education Imperative for Military Children


Military life is a nomadic one. Every few years the order comes to move to a new duty station. While it can be challenging for adults, the test for military-connected children can be even worse.

The average military-connected child moves six to nine times between the time he or she starts kindergarten and the time he or she graduates high school.

That is a new school every 18 months to two years. It is not a situation that leads to a consistent educational foundation.

As an Air Force senior non-commissioned officer, my husband, also a senior non-commissioned officer, and I moved 12 times around the world while raising our four children. Our youngest son went to four different high schools in four years.

To handle the constant change, our family had our coping techniques. Besides doing our due diligence, we relied on the resources of the Air Force’s Airmen and Family Readiness Centers. We looked at issues such as the quality of the neighborhood and the level of excellence of the schools. 

When it came time for the move, we gave our children a backpack. Each of the children could put their favorite toys and some snacks into the backpack. It was our way of making them feel comfortable as military requirements sent them from the United States to Europe and Asia and back again.

11 January 2017

Noam Chomsky: You can’t educate yourself by looking things up online

ALEXANDRA ROSENMANN

Fake news has been around long before Facebook, but it was the tech company’s goal to appear like a newspaper that eventually misled its users far more than ever before.

“Technology is basically neutral,” author Noam Chomsky explained. “It’s kinda like a hammer . . . the hammer doesn’t care whether you use it to build a house or a torturer uses it to crush somebody’s skull . . . same with modern technology [like] the internet. The internet is extremely valuable if you know what you’re looking for.”

Unfortunately, that’s almost the antithesis of Facebook. And while Paper, the ad-free Facebook news feed app ultimately failed, the social media network had by then successfully developed tools like Smart Publishing. The latter tool for publishers aimed to boost stories on Facebook that were popular with the user’s own network, amplifying the performance of fake news in a scandal-obsessed hyperpartisan era. But until five weeks after the election, there was little distinction on the platform between “news” published by conspiracy theorists and actual trusted news sources.

“If you don’t have [an idea what you’re looking for], exploring the internet is just picking out random factoids that don’t mean anything,” Chomsky stated. Without a specific strategy, he believes the internet is far more likely to be harmful than helpful.

30 December 2016

* Why doing a PhD is often a waste of time


On the evening before All Saints’ Day in 1517, Martin Luther nailed 95 theses to the door of a church in Wittenberg. In those days a thesis was simply a position one wanted to argue. Luther, an Augustinian friar, asserted that Christians could not buy their way to heaven. Today a doctoral thesis is both an idea and an account of a period of original research. Writing one is the aim of the hundreds of thousands of students who embark on a doctorate of philosophy (PhD) every year.

In most countries a PhD is a basic requirement for a career in academia. It is an introduction to the world of independent research — a kind of intellectual masterpiece, created by an apprentice in close collaboration with a supervisor. The requirements to complete one vary enormously between countries, universities and even subjects. Some students will first have to spend two years working on a master’s degree or diploma. Some will receive a stipend; others will pay their own way. Some PhDs involve only research, some require classes and examinations and some require the student to teach undergraduates. A thesis can be dozens of pages in mathematics, or many hundreds in history. As a result, newly minted PhDs can be as young as their early 20s or world-weary forty-somethings.

21 December 2016

EDUCATIONAL OVERHAUL IN NEW ERA

Shrihari Honwad

In this age of e-learning, conventional courses have become passé. Students must, therefore, choose educational institutions that offer new-age courses, backed by robust placement mechanism, quality faculty and modern facilities. Present and future realities are crucial

The Internet era which lives in e-space, has rendered traditional thinking, of choosing programmes of study with decade-long steady career path, redundant. Fast changing market scenario and learning requirements have taken its place. For example, once-hot careers such as computer hardware engineering and jobs in BPOs are today riddled with lower prospects or benched employees. Thus, present and future realities become crucial for career decisions.

Today, education has become an investment that is expected to pay throughout one’s life time. While market uncertainties may require additional investments, careful thought in choosing a proper course, with excellent career prospects, is critical. Plain vanilla programmes make no sense nowadays because many will become redundant soon, if not already. Indeed, digital technologies can disrupt any business model. It is time, therefore, for students (and parents) to rethink on career options, keeping present and future realities in mind. Traditional courses no longer guarantee a lifetime of secure career opportunities.

25 November 2016

Can India Deny Power Of Technology To Bring Educational Reforms? – Analysis

NOVEMBER 23, 2016
Digital India has been envisioned as an ambitious program to transform India into a digitally empowered society and a knowledge economy. The young population in India in the last decade has become increasingly technology-driven, revealing considerable potential and readiness to imbibe and learn using digital media.

Also there have been unprecedented reforms in the education system in India at all levels, where much effort and commitment has been directed at improving the quality of education at all levels, especially at the schools.

One of the important debates in the Indian education policy has been how to improve the educational outcomes within schools. In this context increasing the quality of teachers and thereby the student outcome, is one such issue that is discussed by policy makers time and again. Digital education today is no longer limited to the four walls of a classroom. It has paved way for virtual classrooms, making learning attainable and providing easy access everywhere and every time.

The latest trends in digital education space also include adaptive and collaborative learning where a student is engaged by practicing, experiencing, sharing things and gaining knowledge in a collaborative environment. The fourth generation of communication technology is speculated to revolutionize the digital education space by providing cutting-edge user experience. Thus, the government’s focus is to integrate technology in digital learning for both urban and rural India. It is also looking at public-private-partnerships to enhance reach to rural and remote areas.

23 November 2016

Skills in the digital age—How should education systems evolve? Education and skills


October 5, 2016 

Skills in the digital age—How should education systems evolve?


This report is part of a series of essays by the Global Economy and Development program—a 10th anniversary edition. The series, available here, delves into the critical issues facing all those concerned about globalization. You can join the conversation on Twitter using #11GlobalDebates.

1.1 WHAT’S THE ISSUE?

At no point in history have more children been enrolled in formal education. Thanks to global commitments and movements such as the Millennium Development Goals and Education For All, more than 90 percent of all primary-age children are now in school.

But efforts to expand children’s education have served to obscure the surreptitious rise of a global learning crisis. An estimated 650 million children have not reached foundational developmental and learning milestones: 200 million under the age of five are not meeting basic socio-emotional and cognitive growth indicators; 250 million (half of whom are in school) lack basic literacy or math skills; and another 200 million youth do not possess the basic set of literacy and numeracy skills they will need for work.

Education and the acquisition of skills are crucial to solving some of the world’s most pressing problems. Education is a basic right that promotes other rights such as health and civic participation. It is key to unlocking the developmental potential of children, communities, and countries. An educated workforce can help lift people out of poverty, reduce premature mortality, strengthen gender equality, and promote civic participation. Children must also learn skills that can be flexible and adaptable in the age of uncertainty and economic change. Workers will need breadth of skills such as literacy and numeracy as well as the ability to think critically and to solve problems collaboratively. In the digital age, citizens must be prepared to respond to the challenges presented by globalization, climate change, health epidemics, and economic uncertainty.

22 November 2016

Skills in the digital age—How should education systems evolve?



Editor's Note: 

This report is part of a series of essays by the Global Economy and Development program—a 10th anniversary edition. The series, available here, delves into the critical issues facing all those concerned about globalization. You can join the conversation on Twitter using #11GlobalDebates.

1.1 WHAT’S THE ISSUE?

At no point in history have more children been enrolled in formal education. Thanks to global commitments and movements such as the Millennium Development Goals and Education For All, more than 90 percent of all primary-age children are now in school.

But efforts to expand children’s education have served to obscure the surreptitious rise of a global learning crisis. An estimated 650 million children have not reached foundational developmental and learning milestones: 200 million under the age of five are not meeting basic socio-emotional and cognitive growth indicators; 250 million (half of whom are in school) lack basic literacy or math skills; and another 200 million youth do not possess the basic set of literacy and numeracy skills they will need for work.

Education and the acquisition of skills are crucial to solving some of the world’s most pressing problems. Education is a basic right that promotes other rights such as health and civic participation. It is key to unlocking the developmental potential of children, communities, and countries. An educated workforce can help lift people out of poverty, reduce premature mortality, strengthen gender equality, and promote civic participation. Children must also learn skills that can be flexible and adaptable in the age of uncertainty and economic change. Workers will need breadth of skills such as literacy and numeracy as well as the ability to think critically and to solve problems collaboratively. In the digital age, citizens must be prepared to respond to the challenges presented by globalization, climate change, health epidemics, and economic uncertainty.

The world needs to urgently rethink the way education is done, how it is delivered, and what skills children will need in a digital age to become healthy and productive members of society.

1.2 WHAT’S THE DEBATE?

9 November 2016

Education In India: Skill Development Is The Key – Analysis

By Sudip Bhattacharyya* 
NOVEMBER 7, 2016

According to Hindu philosophy, everyone is born with the duty and obligation of ‘Pitririn’, ‘Rishirin’ and ‘Devarin’. The first means obligation to the family and ancestry, the second means obligation to the heritage and tradition and the last, formulated in modern terms, will boil down to obligation to the environment. The overall obligation is to repay more than what one has got so that the family, the heritage and the environment get more rich. And to be able to repay adequately, individuals need to be imparted required education and skill.

To the Western educated, the undertaking of education is necessary in a society to make a person productive so as to be useful to society and thereby earn his or her livelihood.

True education is one that is experienced, tasted and digested so that it becomes one with the blood, and not an external establishment. The central purpose of all education is that the nation as a whole should become self-sufficient in clear thinking and appropriate skills.

Most definitions of education essentially speak of building of character comprising sincerity, honesty and integrity and then acquiring skill in order to earn livelihood. It is really the parental education that can teach and help character-building whereas the institutional education does skill building. Responsibility towards the state and the nature are to be learnt in both the platforms.

16 October 2016

India’s Education Challenge – and How Technology Can Help

Oct 05, 2016 

On a recent trip to India, Anant Agarwal, an entrepreneur who has founded several companies including Tilera Corporation which manufactures semiconductors, had an interesting experience. He was thanked by a person at the Bangalore airport for “saving” his life. Narrating this incident during a panel discussion at the Wharton India Economic Forum held earlier this year, Agarwal said that the man was talking about edX, a free online education provider where Agarwal is currently the chief executive. Founded in 2012 by Harvard and MIT, edX, offers courses from universities and institutions around the world.

“EdX has about seven million students all over the world, and about 800,000 students in India alone,” said Agarwal. Unlike conventional universities, he explained, edX provides micro-credentials and programs that have skill-based outcomes, rather than coursework aimed at more theoretical specialties that rarely generate direct job opportunities. Students sign up online for edX courses of their choice, which they take at their own pace. After completing a program, if they want they can also receive a certificate from edX (for a small fee) verifying the student’s mastery of the coursework. This can be used to highlight the students’ skills on their resume or LinkedIn profile.

Huge Skills Gap

17 September 2016

The Top U.S. Universities For International Students

by Felix Richter, Statista.com
13 September 2016

Which U.S. university can boast the most international flair?

974,926 international students were enrolled in U.S. universities last year, accounting for just under five percent of the total undergraduate population. NYU hosted the most of them, 13,178, according to Institute of International Education data published by the Wall Street Journal. It was followed by the University of Southern California (12,334) and Columbia University (11,510).

This chart shows the number of international students at U.S. universities in 2014/15.



You will find more statistics at Statista

9 August 2016

Pumping More Subsidies Into Education Will, Predictably, Result In Student Debt


August 05, 2016

Subsidies in higher education build bureaucratic empires with ever-larger numbers of administrators— while money devoted to the classroom shrinks.

Normally, leftists get upset if there’s a big industry that charges high prices, engages in lots of featherbedding, and manipulates the political system for handouts.

But, for some reason, when the industry is higher education, folks like Hillary Clinton think the answer is to shower colleges and universities with ever-greater subsidies.

She says the subsidies are for students but I point out— in this interview— that the real beneficiaries are the schools that simply boost tuition and fees to capture any increase in student loans.

And I also pointed out that the colleges and universities don’t even use the money wisely.

Instead, they build bureaucratic empires with ever-larger numbers of administrators while money devoted to the classroom shrinks.

Sort of a pay-more-get-less business model.

Though that only works when there are government subsidies to enable the inefficiency and bloat.

23 April 2016

HRD ministry for IPR status to massive open online course,to make it global brand

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/hrd-ministry-for-ipr-status-to-massive-open-online-courseto-make-it-global-brand/articleshow/51918252.cms

By Anubhuti Vishnoi, ET Bureau | 21 Apr, 2016,