Muzaffarpur, January 5. Speaking at a college seminar on ‘Quality education and teachers condition in Bihar’, Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Union minister of state for health and family welfare, said acquiring knowledge of English language is more important than clearing an exam on the subject. “The current education system is focused on passing examinations and getting a degree without stressing the importance of acquiring knowledge,” the minister said.
Endorsing the optional provision of passing in English of former chief minister Karpoori Thakur, the minister said: “That was the right decision… One should have knowledge of the English language, but making it mandatory to pass in English is incorrect.”
Gujarat: Ayurveda education initiative
New Delhi, January 8. The Delhi-based University Grants Commission has conferred Institution of National Importance status on the Jamnagar-based Institute of Teaching and Research in Ayurveda (ITRA), a cluster of Ayurveda medicine institutes affiliated with the Gujarat Ayurveda University. ITRA comprises the Institute for Post Graduate Teaching and Research in Ayurveda; Shri Gulabkunwerba Ayurveda Mahavidyalaya and the Institute of Ayurveda Pharmaceutical Sciences.
The consolidation of Ayurveda teaching institutes will reduce government expenditure on public health. “There is rising interest and demand for Ayurveda knowledge and services all over the world. India is the country of origin of Ayurveda and the world is looking up to India to showcase state-of-art institutions providing international-level education and training in Ayurveda,” says a UGC statement.
Maharashtra: Education think-tank proposal
Mumbai, January 12. The state government is set to constitute a think-tank to devise strategies to improve quality of K-12 education in Maharashtra, announced school education minister Varsha Gaikwad.
Addressing the media, the minister said the think-tank will include elected representatives, education experts, teachers, parents, retired bureaucrats with experience of formulating education policy, NGOs and media covering the education beat. “I plan to start interacting with them. This will help us in coming up with something constructive to upgrade the quality of education in schools across the state,” she said.
A leader of the Congress party which allied with the Shiv Sena and Nationalist Congress Party to form the tripartite alliance government of Maharashtra in November 2019, Gaikwad was given charge of the ministry in January.
Uttarakhand: Mobile phones referendum
Dehradun, January 14. The state government is contemplating a referendum in institutions of higher education to ban mobile phones in classrooms.
“A poll will soon be conducted in colleges of the states to ascertain majority opinion on the government’s proposed ban on use of mobile phones in classrooms. If 51 percent of students vote in favour, we will go ahead with it,” said the state’s higher education minister Dhan Singh Rawat in a public statement.
The proposed ban is a response to growing concern expressed by teachers and parents over excessive use of mobile phones in classrooms, the minister added.
Jammu & Kashmir: Swachh Bharat initiative
Jammu, January 24. Low-cost sanitary napkin vending machines will soon be installed in government schools in Kashmir’s Bandipora district to promote menstrual hygiene among girl children, announced Imtiyaz Ahmad, joint director (planning), at a function to mark the National Girl Child Day (January 24).
Addressing the media, he said vending machines will be installed in 65 urban secondary and higher secondary schools in the first phase, and in rural schools in the next. The machine’s unit will comprise a dispenser and an incinerator for proper disposal of used napkins.
The napkins will be sold to girl children at one-third market price, and the vending machines are being provided to the education ministry under the Central government’s Swachh Bharat Mission programme, he added.
Madhya Pradesh: Promotion policy notice
Bhopal, January 2. Over 1,000 faculty of six government medical colleges in Madhya Pradesh have threatened to resign from service if a “clear-cut promotion policy” is not formulated urgently, said Dr. Rakesh Malviya, secretary of the state unit of the Central Medical Teachers’ Association.
Addressing media personnel, Dr. Malviya warned that the protest will severely disrupt public outpatient services in hospitals attached to 13 government-run medical colleges. “We urge the state government to formulate a clear-cut promotion policy for us and address anomalies in pay and perquisites under the Seventh Pay Commission award,” he said.