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Himachal Pradesh: Education over-drive

EducationWorld October 17 | EducationWorld

Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh has proposed attaching pre-primary schools to government primaries to stem the flight of children to private schools. At the fourth governing council meeting of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan in Shimla on September 19, Singh asked education ministry officials to identify primary schools in district headquarters and sub-divisions suitable for starting pre-primaries, which should be introduced in phases. Moreover, the chief minister exhorted primary school teachers to “work with zeal” to improve standards in primary education.

Singh’s other engagements on September 19 included inauguration of an ITI (Industrial Training Institute) at Delath (Rampur), and laying foundation stones for government degree colleges at Jai Nagar, Darlaghat, Tikkar, Jeori, Multhan, Dehra, Haroli, Basdehra, Renuka Ji, Dadahu and Ronhat. 


Jindal Global cleanest varsity 

In its first ever Swachhta Bharat (Clean India) national rankings of higher education institutions, the Union human resource development (HRD) ministry has ranked the Sonepat (Haryana)-based O.P. Jindal Global University (JGU) as the country’s cleanest higher education institution. Union HRD minister Prakash Javadekar presented an award in recognition of this status to JGU in New Delhi on September 15.

Altogether 3,500 higher ed institutions were assessed for the HRD ministry’s swachhta ranking. Of them, 174 were shortlisted and following inspection, the top 25 were selected.

“For JGU, providing a physical environment that is clean and environmentally sustainable, inspires creativity, promotes collaboration and innovation and encourages a sense of inclusivity and community is a high priority. I’m pleased that our efforts to this end have been recognised,” said C. Raj Kumar, vice chancellor of JGU, speaking on the occasion. 


Ideal village programme

Students of Nagpur’s Tirpude College of Social Work (estb. 1966) have adopted Ladai Village in Kalmeshwar taluk for five years with the objective of transforming it into an “ideal village”. The village hosts 316 tribal farmers and their families. Rajkumar Tirpude, president of the Yugantar Education Society, which manages the college, says that falling agricultural production due to irregular rains has burdened Ladai’s farmers with large debts. 

According to Tirpude, over the next five years the students will focus on livestock management and alternative farming technologies, water management and sanitation systems. The villagers will also receive training in sericulture, poultry, goat and quail farming.

“The students are guided by well-known water conservationist Dr. Rajendra Singh. The programme has been undertaken by the society without any government financial assistance,” says Tirpude.


Another mass cheating incident

Veer Kunwar Singh University in Bihar cancelled its BA Part II examination held in the affiliated Veer Kunwar Singh College, Ara, after pictures of hundreds of students writing the examination with open books and notes went viral on social media on September 1. The state government has ordered a thorough investigation into the incident.

“We received information about use of unfair and irregular practices in the examination — including proxy candidates writing the university’s exams. We immediately cancelled all examinations written by the first batches at the Veer Kunwar Singh College centre,” the university’s vice chancellor Syed Mumtazuddin informed the media on September 2. 

The university has rescheduled the examination for September 20. “Meanwhile, the superintendent of the college has been replaced,” said Mumtazuddin.

A similar incident at a secondary school in Vaishali in 2015 received international attention when photographs of men scaling the walls of a four-storey school building to smuggle in chits to examinees within, went viral on social media and were published in renowned international magazines including The Economist and Time.


Two new medical colleges inaugurated

Odisha (pop.42 million) welcomed a new government medical college — its fourth after an interregnum of 54 years — when chief minister Naveen Patnaik inaugurated the Saheed Laxman Nayak Medical College and Hospital in Koraput on September 4. Two days later, a fifth government medical college — the Pandit Raghunath Murmu Medical College, Baripada — was inaugurated on September 6.

Chief minister Patnaik described the inauguration of the new government medical colleges as evidence of his government’s resolve to ensure inclusive, equitable and sustainable development in the state. “My government is working earnestly towards promoting healthcare through strengthening of medical education and tertiary care by bringing it closer to the community,” he said.

Paromita Sengupta with bureau inputs

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