Chandigarh, April 29. Two women hostel wardens and two security guards of the privately-run co-educational Akal University in Punjab’s Bathinda district have been suspended on charges of ‘dereliction of duty’ for strip searching several women students after a soiled sanitary napkin blocked the hostel toilet. Suspension orders were issued in response to a public protest staged by over 500 women students of the university. They alleged that proper disposal bins had not been provided by the university management.
A similar incident was reported last November, when 15 schoolgirls in Punjab’s Fazilka village were allegedly strip searched by women teachers after a soiled sanitary napkin was discovered in the school toilet.
Improved matric results
Patna, April 6. Of the 1.6 million students who wrote the Bihar Matriculation (class X) examination conducted during February 21-28 this year, 80.73 percent passed, announced R.K. Mahajan, additional chief secretary of the state’s education ministry to the media.
“The pass percentage this year is significantly higher than 68.89 percent of the previous year (2018),” said Anand Kishore, chairman of the Bihar School Examination Board (BSEB). Of the 1.3 million class X students who passed the matriculation examination, 683,990 were boys and 636,046 girls. Sawan Raj Bharti of Simultala Awasiya Vidyalaya, Jamui topped the examination with an aggregate score of 486 out of a maximum 500 marks, he added.
Although state government officials have discerned improved learning outcomes in Bihar’s primary-secondary schools, the Pratham Education Foundation’s ASER 2018 indicates that 65 percent of class V students in rural government schools cannot read class II textbooks. Moreover 76 percent of class V children are unable to solve simple division sums.
Election code violation notices
Hailakandi, April 11. District Election Officer of Hailakandi, Keerthi Jalli, issued showcause notices to five government primary-secondary schools for violating the Election Commission’s model code of conduct (MCC) by sending students to attend a political rally addressed by Congress president Rahul Gandhi.
Taking exception to the presence of a large number of students in uniform at the Congress rally in Panchgram, Jalli’s notice to the schools said: “You have insulted your position as an educator, the noblest of professions.” She also questioned the headmasters as to why immediate action including cancellation of certification and licences of the schools should not be initiated for violation of MCC and Representation of People’s Act, 1951.
The headmasters of Adarsha Vidyalaya, Panchgram Quomi Madrassa, Moulana Abdul Ali Memorial Jaliliya Madrassa, Oxford High School and Cambridge High School — all sited in Panchgram — were issued notices, a government official confirmed.
Jamia Millia’s new VC
New Delhi, April 11. Prof. Najma Akhtar is the newly appointed first woman vice chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia University (JMI, estb.1988), Delhi. An alumna of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), Warwick and Nottingham (UK) universities, Akhtar has four decades of rich experience including service as controller of examinations and director of AMU.
“In exercise of powers conferred under statutes of Jamia Millia Islamia Act, 1988, the President of India, in his capacity as Visitor of JMI, has been pleased to appoint Prof. Najma Akhtar, NIEPA, New Delhi as the vice chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, for a period of five years,” said an official order.
“Under her able leadership, JMI will expand, prosper and provide safe and robust environment of learning attracting the talented from all parts of the country and abroad. The realisation of the goal of massification of professional higher education and achievement of other national educational targets of GER, SDG goals and introduction of new professional courses is also on the cards. Jamia Millia Islamia, under the new leadership, will strive to achieve the status of a world-class university,” says a JMI communiqué.
Bribe demand arrest
Indore, April 2. A state education ministry official was arrested for allegedly demanding and accepting a bribe of Rs.50,000 from a retired teacher.
Mukesh Verma, an accountant of the Government Higher Secondary School, Kodariya, was caught red-handed accepting a bribe from retired teacher Kamal Kishore Soni in his office, said Praveen Singh Baghel, DSP (deputy superintendent of police) Indore.
“Verma had demanded a bribe of Rs.1.5 lakh from Soni for clearing his Rs.4.71 lakh cumulative leave reimbursement application. A trap was laid and Verma was caught accepting the bribe of Rs.50,000,” said Baghel, who added that Verma has been charged under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.