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Haryana: New prep programmes

The state government’s education ministry has launched new skill passbook and catch-up schemes to prepare students for the new academic year 2017-18. Skill passbooks completed by teachers of their 2016-17 classes will reflect each student’s capabilities in Hindi, English and maths. 

“The aim of the project is to prepare children for their new classes before start of the academic year by introducing interesting and activity-based informal learning. The catch-up programme will be undertaken in the first two months of the new academic year as a refresher of the curriculum covered in previous classes,” said Haryana’s education minister Ram Bilas Sharma, addressing the media in Chandigarh on April 5. 


Varsity recruitment scandal

The Maharashtra government has suspended higher education director Dhanraj Mane for alleged irregularities in the recruitment of 53 officials of the Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University, Aurangabad. This was announced in the state legislative assembly by education minister Vinod Tawde on April 6.

Earlier, Shiv Sena legislator Subhash Sabne alleged that despite Mane being held guilty by a three-member committee constituted by the education directorate to investigate the complaints against him, some government and university officials are shielding him. 

Moreover, a retired judge will investigate the role of higher education ministry officials reportedly involved in the recruitment scandal, the minister informed the house. 


China scholarships for KISS

The Bhubaneswar-based Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS, estb.1993) announced scholarships for 20 class XII school-leavers to pursue undergraduate education in China’s Yangzhou Polytechnic College (YPC).

Addressing the media in Bhubaneswar on April 25, Dr. P.K. Routray, chief executive of KISS, said the scholarships were awarded after Dr. Achyuta Samanta, founder-director of KISS, signed a collaboration agreement with YPC during a visit to the People’s Republic of China in March. Under the agreement, YPC will provide free-of-charge undergrad education to 20 KISS students from the term beginning September.

In the first year, the KISS students will study a foundation course in Mandarin which will qualify them to select higher study programmes. Moreover, YPC will ensure job placements for these students in Chinese multinationals with offices in India after they graduate, added Routray.


Leaked question paper enquiry

Education minister Prof. C. Ravindranath has ordered a thorough investigation into the alleged leak of a state board class X mathematics question paper following a first information report filed by education secretary Usha Titus. 

Addressing the media in Thiruvananthapuram on April 1, a government spokesman said Titus has demanded a probe into a nexus between the teacher who set the maths question paper, and a private test prep coaching institute in Malappuram.


Sexist textbook row

A physical education textbook titled Health and Physical Education published by the New Saraswati House Press, Delhi for class XII students and approved by CBSE, has provoked outrage on social media. 

The textbook, authored by V.K. Sharma, opines that the “perfect female body” should be of 36-24-36 proportions. This description was widely denounced by academics and feminists as “sexist” and “unacceptable”.
Questioned by the media in Delhi on April 13, Union HRD minister Prakash Javadekar, making common cause with the protestors, said: “The text is non-defendable. However, this is not an NCERT textbook but privately published. CBSE schools have no mandate to prescribe textbooks of private publishers in the interest of earning profits.” 

Since then, Saraswati House Press has stopped printing and distributing this textbook with immediate effect.


Uttar Pradesh
School fees regulation agitation

Scores of parents led by the Shiksha Bachao Abhiyan Samiti (SBAS) and the All Schools Parents Association (ASPA) of Ghaziabad staged a demonstration outside the district magistrate’s office on April 13, protesting a steep rise in tuition fees levied by private schools for the academic year 2017-18. 

Addressing the gathering, SBAS convener Satyapal Singh warned that if the state government doesn’t regulate private school tuition fees, SBAS and ASPA will block students’ access to “profiteering” schools. 

Responding to the parents demands, district magistrate Nidhi Kesarwani said a three-member committee will convene meetings of private school managements and parents associations to arrive at amicable solutions. 

Paromita Sengupta with bureau inputs 

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