New Delhi, May 25. CBI sleuths arrested six people in connection with alleged involvement in the manipulation of the online entrance examination of the top-ranked Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani. Search operations conducted at several addresses in Delhi, Ahmedabad, Vadodara and Mumbai resulted in the arrest of the managing director of Delhi-based Pathway Education Service, a senior manager of the Ahmedabad-based Disha Education and two cyber experts.
According to a CBI spokesperson, the accused offered to enable school-leavers writing BITSAT to clear the exam through unfair means in consideration of cash payment of Rs.10 lakh. The exam was held on May 17-22. “The accused had developed the technical expertise to hack into BITSAT while it was in progress and rewrite the answer papers of candidates by using remote desktop technology,” said the spokesperson.
Coaching centre fire tragedy
Surat, May 24. Following a massive fire which engulfed a four-storey commercial building killing at least 22 teenage students of a coaching centre housed in the building, chief minister Vijay Rupani ordered a fire safety audit of all education institutions including test prep coaching centres statewide. According to media reports, the fire brigade of the Surat municipal corporation was unable to save anybody because it lacked basic fire fighting equipment including ladders, power hoses, safety nets and tarpaulins. Several students jumped from the building and fell to their deaths while some died of suffocation.
The fire audit will also cover hospitals, malls and other commercial buildings of major cities and towns in the state, said Rupani. Forensic experts have been brought in to examine the exact cause of the fire, he added.
Indo-French education entente
Panaji, May 4. Indian student enrolments in higher education institutions in France are set to rise substantially. Addressing media personnel, Sonia Barbry, Mumbai-based consul general of France, attributed this phenomenon to the Mutual Recognition of Academic Qualifications agreement signed between the French and Indian governments during president Emmanuel Macron’s visit to India last year.
Under the agreement which came into force last month, the French government will recognise four Indian academic qualifications — senior school certificate of specified exam boards, bachelor’s, Masters degrees and Ph Ds from government-approved institutions.
“Currently, we have 9,000 students from India studying business management, engineering, social sciences, among other programmes in France. President Macron gave us a target of 10,000 Indian students by 2020. Now we are almost there. We expect to host 15,000 Indian students in 2025 and 20,000 in 2030,” said Barbry.
KIIT in THE 350
Bhubaneswar, May 8. The Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology, Bhubaneswar (KIIT, estb.1992) is the sole private university in eastern India to be ranked in the Asia Top 350 league table of Times Higher Education Asia University Rankings 2019, according to a KIIT spokesperson.
According to the spokesperson, KIIT — a deemed university — is highly rated on the parameters of full-time enrolments (19,633), faculty-student ratio (1:14), percentage of international students (2 percent) and female-male students ratio (37:63).
Jammu & Kashmir
Private schools under scanner
Jammu, May 9. Show-cause notices have been served to 19 private schools in Jammu district for allegedly charging “exorbitant” tuition fees and forcing parents to purchase non-prescribed textbooks and stationery from selected vendors.
Among the Jammu schools served notice are the CBSE-affiliated KC Public School; Heritage School; British International School; Presentation Convent; Doon International School; Banyan International School; JK Public School and the IAF School.
“This is a violation of CBSE rules governing recognition and affiliation of schools. Moreover, most of these schools are charging higher tuition fees than permitted by the Fees Fixation Committee of J&K appointed by the high court,” says Anuradha Gupta, director of school education (Jammu).
Young scientists camp
Thiruvananthapuram, May 20. A five-day science and maths camp titled ‘Crafting Young Scientists of Tomorrow’ (CRYSTAL) was jointly hosted by the city’s Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) and the Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment.
During the camp 25 winners — all in the 10-14 years age group — of the National Children’s Science Congress 2018 interacted with IISER faculty and were exposed to hands-on learning experiences, science demonstrations and opportunity to engage with gifted peers.
Paromita Sengupta with bureau inputs