3-language policy: National Education Policy draft revised, 2 members object

3-language policy: National Education Policy draft revised, 2 members object

The criticism forced the HRD Ministry to issue a statement Saturday clarifying that the policy was only a draft and will be finalised after incorporating public feedback and views of the state governments. (Representational image)

Two members of the government-appointed committee led by scientist K Kasturirangan are learnt to have objected Monday to their chairperson’s decision to revise a contentious paragraph in the draft National Education Policy (NEP) 2018, dropping a reference to Hindi and English in the recommendation on the three-language formula.

Following protests by political parties, mainly in Tamil Nadu, on what they called the “imposition” of Hindi, the HRD Ministry, at Kasturirangan’s behest, has shared a revised document on its website, which dropped the recommendation that stipulated the languages that students must choose to study from Grade 6.

Committee members Ram Shankar Kureel, former founder vice-chancellor of Baba Saheb Ambedkar University of Social Sciences in Madhya Pradesh, and K M Tripathy, former chairperson of Uttar Pradesh High School and Intermediate Examination Board, are learnt to have registered their opposition to the revision of the draft with the government.

Responding to an email sent by an HRD Ministry official, informing all committee members of the change effected at the behest of Kasturirangan, Kureel is learnt to have called the move unfortunate, while Tripathy objected to the changes made without consulting the committee members — especially since the changes had been discussed and decided against during the panel’s deliberations. The panel has a total of 11 members.

When contacted, Tripathy refused to comment on the matter. Kureel told The Indian Express: “The committee had submitted the hard copy to the HRD Minister (on May 31) and that is the report of the NEP. I stand by that report. The three-language formula is in the interest of national integration.” He did not wish to comment any further.


The formula, the opposition

The three-language formula, dating back to 1968, means students in Hindi-speaking states should learn a modern Indian language, apart from Hindi and English and, in non-Hindi-speaking states, Hindi along with the regional language and English. Tamil Nadu has always opposed this policy, and the new row is over the draft NEP proposing its continuation.

Advocating for bringing in flexibility in the implementation of the three-language formula, the earlier version of the draft NEP, uploaded on the ministry’s website on May 31, read: “In keeping with the principle of flexibility, students who wish to change one of the three languages they are studying may do so in Grade 6, so long as the study of three languages by students in the Hindi-speaking states would continue to include Hindi and English and one of the modern Indian languages from other parts of India, while the study of languages by students in the non-Hindi-speaking states would include the regional language, Hindi and English.”

The revised version states: “In keeping with the principle of flexibility, students who wish to change one or more of the three languages they are studying may do so in Grade 6 or Grade 7, so long as they are able to still demonstrate proficiency in three languages (one language at the literature level) in their modular Board Examinations some time during secondary school.”

The draft NEP was submitted to the new HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank on May 31, following which it was made public for feedback and suggestion.

The earlier version of the draft’s pitch for the proper implementation of the three-language formula in schools across the country drew strong reaction from the DMK, which dubbed the suggestion as an effort to “thrust” Hindi on Tamil Nadu.

The criticism forced the HRD Ministry to issue a statement Saturday clarifying that the policy was only a draft and will be finalised after incorporating public feedback and views of the state governments.


Delhi government facilitates expansion of educational institutions in the national capital

Another project put forth by DTTE received a nod by EFC, which involves the construction of six building in NSIT Campus in Dwarka, which is estimated to cost Rs. 202.12 crores.


Delhi govt facilitates expansion of educational facilities (Representational Image)  |  Photo Credit: Getty Images

New Delhi: The Delhi government on Friday approved proposals at a meeting of the Expenditure Finance Committee (EFC) that will facilitate the expansion of educational institutions in the national capital.  The committee approved the Directorate of Training & Technical Education’s (DTTE) proposal for the construction of Smart classrooms in Netaji Subhas University of Technology (NSUT) Campus in Dwarka. The project is estimated to cost around Rs 26.79 crore.

The project was approved as the name of Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology (NSIT) was changed to Netaji Subhas University of Technology (NSUT) in 2018, leading to an increase in the number of students in the campus. The building will now be able to accommodate an additional 1500 students. Accordingly, a consultant has been appointed to prepare detailed drawings of the classrooms.

Another project put forth by DTTE received a nod by EFC, which involves the construction of six building in NSIT Campus in Dwarka, which is estimated to cost Rs. 202.12 crores.

DTTE contented that the present infrastructure is planned for 2650 students, while the total strength is 3500, therefore, to cater to the increased student strength at the campus, infrastructure is required.

For this, approval of Delhi Urban Art Commission (DUAC) has also been received, while other approvals such as Fire, Environment, forest clearance are being pursued.

Family Welfare Department (FWD) proposal for the construction of G+22+ double basement building at Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital, estimating Rs 533.91 crore was also cleared in the EFC meeting. The building will be used as Medicine, Maternity and Advanced Paediatric Centre.

At present, the total number of beds in the hospital is 2550 and another 1570 beds are proposed to be added. Statutory clearances from DUAC, Fire Department and Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) for the project has been obtained, while environment clearance is under process.


Row In Assembly Over Kashmir Cricketers Detained Over Pak National Anthem

Row In Assembly Over Kashmir Cricketers Detained Over Pak National Anthem

This is not the first time cricket matches have led to arrests in Kashmir. (Representational photo)

SRINAGAR:  A video of Kashmiri cricketers standing up for the Pakistani national anthem in north Kashmir’s Bandipore has gone viral on social media, triggering a controversy. Two Kashmiri cricket teams have been booked and several players reportedly detained for standing just when Pakistan’s national anthem was being played at a cricket match last week.

The issue was raised in the state assembly today. Bandipore legislator Usman Majeed made a fervent appeal to the government to release the cricketers and show leniency for them on the pattern of stone throwers.

“There were some mischievous elements who created this problem, it is a far flung area and I think people were made to do this under pressure, police is now after the cricketers and this has also come in the media, but I don’t think cricketers had any bad intentions,” said Mr Majeed.

Joining the chorus, independent legislator Engineer Rashid – who was marshalled out of the assembly – said it was no crime to sing Pakistani anthem and the government action smacks of hypocrisy.

“If this is a crime, Mehbooba Mufti used to wear green clothes for eight years and wave green handkerchiefs, even Mufti saab thanked Pakistan after the elections, then case must be registered against them also,” Mr Rashid said.

But the ruling BJP says it won’t allow anti national activities in the state.

“Those who do such mischiefs like wearing Pakistani uniform and singing Pakistani anthem, government has put such elements behind the bars. Jammu and Kashmir is India and only Indian anthem will be played here and Indian tricolour unfurled,” said BJP legislator Ravinder Raina.

This is not the first time cricket matches have led to arrests in Kashmir. Several Kashmiri cricketers were reportedly detained last year in Ganderbal district after a video clip surfaced in social media showing them wearing the Pakistani team’s jersey with the neighbouring country’s national anthem playing in the background.


JAMIE DIMON: There is a ‘national catastrophe’ in American education

Image result for JAMIE DIMON: There is a 'national catastrophe' in American educationJPMorgan is making a $6 million commitment to education in the South Bronx, New York as part of its New Skills for Youth initiative.

The investment will go towards an initiative to connect career and technical education schools in the South Bronx to employers in New York City. Career and technical education schools have been a particular focus for CEO Jamie Dimon, who has repeatedly cited Aviation High School in Jackson Heights, Queens as a success story in this field. Following is a transcript of the video.

Jamie Dimon: When I say out loud, “50% of inner-city school kids do not graduate high school,” that is a national catastrophe. We should be ringing the alarm bells. It’s not fair.

We’ve made a huge effort globally, but in the United States, about getting kids jobs. So, this is one piece of it, but the South Bronx, the inner-city schools need it more than most. It’s obviously our hometown, so JPMorgan Chase banks a lot of people here.

We need to get kids getting out of high school, who go on with a job, or go on to college and that leads to a job.

You saw the kids today. They’re all getting jobs, they’re smiling, they’re proud of themselves. That’s what we need to do in our inner-city schools.

Matt Turner: You’ve said “the lack of opportunity for kids growing up in this area is a moral and economic crisis.” How did that happen, exactly?

Dimon: Yeah, it’s not just this area. So, you have unemployment now going below 4.4% this morning, but if you go to a lot of inner cities, unemployment among youth, like think of 17 to 25, is 20% or 25%.

So, the fact that part of the country is doing well doesn’t mean we shouldn’t focus on the part that isn’t. And so, I think part of the problem is that jobs haven’t been done locally. So, these kids can get jobs in the MTA. There’s a distribution company down here, they know what these kids are being trained in, they were part of the training effort.

Business has to be involved locally with civic society, in this case schools, to get the kids trained to have a job. There are plenty of jobs out there.

And so, when people talk about the problems, I would say, “Well, what’s the solution? What do you want? What’s the outcome you want? How are you going to get there?”

I think civic society and business have to do it together. It’s not going to work with one without the other.

When I say out loud, “50% of inner-city school kids do not graduate high school,” that is a national catastrophe. We should be ringing the alarm bells. It’s not fair.

We were a land of opportunity. We’ll never have equal outcomes, but you can have equal opportunity. Among those kids, we might have had a Colin Powell, or an Albert Einstein, we may never know.

So, I just think it’s just part of running a good society. People should get involved in fixing that particular problem.


2017 Masters Live Blog: Final Round from Augusta National

Who will triumph on Sunday at the 2017 Masters? Follow along .

Who will triumph on Sunday at the 2017 Masters? Follow along .

The final round of the 2017 Masters at Augusta National is upon us, and numerous storylines are hanging over the action. Can Rickie Fowler or Sergio Garcia win their first major and green jacket? Or will Jordan Spieth overcome his demons to take home his second Masters title? GOLF.com is live blogging the Sunday finale beginning at 2:00 p.m. ET. Follow the action below.

LIVE SCORES: Follow Round 4 of the 2017 Masters


Michael Flynn: Trump’s national security adviser resigns

Michael Flynn arrives at the White House in Washington, February 13, 2017

US National Security Adviser Michael Flynn has resigned over allegations he discussed US sanctions with Russia before Donald Trump took office.

Mr Flynn is said to have misled officials about his call with Russia’s ambassador before his own appointment.

It is illegal for private citizens to conduct US diplomacy.

US reports said earlier the White House had been warned about the contacts last month and had been told Mr Flynn might be vulnerable to Russian blackmail.

The national security adviser is appointed by the president to serve as his or her chief adviser on international affairs and defence.

In his letter of resignation (PDF), Mr Flynn said he had “inadvertently briefed the vice-president-elect and others with incomplete information regarding my phone calls with the Russian ambassador” late last year.

The White House has appointed Lt Gen Joseph Keith Kellogg as his interim replacement.

In his first public comments about the controversy, President Trump tweeted on Tuesday: “The real story here is why are there so many illegal leaks coming out of Washington? Will these leaks be happening as I deal on N Korea etc?”

Mr Flynn, a retired army lieutenant-general, initially denied having discussed sanctions with Ambassador Sergei Kislyak, and Vice-President Mike Pence publicly denied the allegations on his behalf.

In this file photo taken on 10 December 2015, Russian President Vladimir Putin is seen centre right with retired US Lt Gen Michael Flynn, center leftImage copyrightAP
Image captionMr Flynn was pictured dining with Russian leader Vladimir Putin in December 2015

But he came under further pressure on Monday when details of his phone call emerged in US media as well as reports the justice department had warned the White House about him misleading senior officials and being vulnerable to Russian blackmail.

According to the Washington Post, the message was delivered by then-Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, who was subsequently dismissed by President Trump for opposing his controversial travel ban.

The UK Defence Secretary, Sir Michael Fallon, said it was always best to be wary in dealing with Russia.

“We should be under no illusions, and be very clear, that Russia sees itself, not as a partner to the West, but very much as a competitor,” he told the BBC.

What is the White House saying?

Kellyanne Conway, a close aide to President Trump, told US TV networks that he had supported Mr Flynn out of loyalty but the situation had reached a “fever pitch” and had become “unsustainable”.

“By night’s end, Mike Flynn had decided it was best to resign,” she told NBC’s Today show.

“He knew he’d become a lightning rod, and he made that decision.

“We’re moving on,” she added.

How are the Russians reacting?

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia would not be commenting on the resignation.

“This is the internal affair of the Americans, the internal affair of the Trump administration,” he added. “It’s nothing to do with us.”

Other Russian lawmakers have spoken out in defence of Mr Flynn, with Senator Alexei Pushkov tweeting that he had been “forced to resign not because of his mistake but because of a full-fledged aggressive campaign”.

“Trump is the next target,” he tweeted (in Russian).

Mr Flynn had encouraged a softer policy on Russia but questions were raised about his perceived closeness to Moscow.

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Is Trump implicated? – Anthony Zurcher, BBC North America reporter

From inauguration to full-blown scandal and a high-level resignation in 24 days. That simply has to be some kind of record.

Donald Trump never does anything small. If his administration is going to have a political crisis, why waste any time?

Mr Flynn has now been cut loose but that may not be enough to staunch the bleeding.

Congressional Democrats – and perhaps some Republicans – will want to find out who was informed about Mr Flynn’s contradictory stories and why nothing was done earlier. How far up the chain of command does it go?

All of this has some observers dusting off language from the mother of all presidential scandals, Watergate.

What did the president know, and when did he know it?

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What happens next?

Senior Democrat Adam Schiff said Mr Flynn’s departure would not end questions about contacts between Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia.

Congressional democrats John Conyers and Elijah Cummings have demanded a classified briefing to Congress on Michael Flynn by the justice department and FBI.

Meanwhile, US House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes told reporters on Tuesday he wants to investigate the leaks that led to Mr Flynn’s resignation.

“We in Congress need to know who authorised his actions, permitted them, and continued to let him have access to our most sensitive national security information despite knowing these risks,” their statement said.

Several House Democrats had already called on Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz to launch an investigation into Mr Flynn’s ties to Russia.

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What the US media say

Mr Flynn’s resignation had “dragged on too long”, says Fox News’s Howard Kurtz. What finally sealed the deal, he said, was the “cardinal sin” of “not being straight with his bosses, putting [Vice-President Mike] Pence in the embarrassing position of defending the hard-charging official based on an incomplete account”.

“Mike Flynn might be done – but Trump’s nightmare has just begun,” writes Richard Wolffe in the Guardian US, asking why Donald Trump had not simply fired Mr Flynn. This, he points out, was what the president had done to the woman who had warned him about his national security adviser (Ms Yates).

Chris Cillizza, of the Washington Post, takes a more favourable view of the situation, saying Mr Flynn’s resignation “proves that even for this most unorthodox of presidents, some of the old rules of Washington politics still apply”.

“It was a prototypical Washington scandal that played out like hundreds of similar ones before it. It felt, dare I say it, normal.”

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Who will replace him?

While Mr Kellogg has been appointed acting national security adviser, former CIA director David Petraeus and Robert Harward, a former deputy commander of US Central Command, are also under consideration for the post, White House officials say.

[Source:- BBC]

National Teaching Service dropped, government confirms

Secondary classroom

A scheme to recruit good teachers to work in deprived areas has been dropped, the government has confirmed.

The National Teaching Service was announced by England’s then Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, in 2015.

The plan was for 1,500 outstanding teachers and leaders to be deployed by 2020 “to the schools that need them most”, with a pilot in the North West.

But following the pilot “we can confirm that we will not be progressing”, said a Department for Education spokesman.

Teacher shortages

The original plan was to send “the country’s best teachers and leaders to underperforming schools that struggle to attract and retain the professionals they need”, according to a speech made by Mrs Morgan to the Policy Exchange think-tank in November 2015.

The initiative was part of a government plan “to give every child an excellent education”.

“Too many places are lagging behind, meaning young people in these areas are not being given a fair shot,” said the government at the time.

NTS staff would work with schools for a period of up to three years in a bid to drive up standards.

An initial pilot was launched to enlist up to 100 teachers and leaders to work in primary and secondary schools in the North West from September 2016.

But according to the Times Educational Supplement, just 54 teachers were recruited after only 116 applied.

The government says the pilot was launched “to test the concept of how a National Teaching Service could work”.

“We are pleased with the level of interest in the pilot and the calibre of the successful candidates,” said a Department for Education spokesman.

“However, following a review of the outcomes, we can confirm that we will not be progressing with the further rollout of the National Teaching Service

“We recognise that it is vitally important that schools, particularly in challenging areas, can recruit and retain excellent teachers, and we are determined to continue to support them to do this.

“We will use the lessons learnt from the pilot to secure a better understanding of to support schools in the future, and will set out future plans in due course.”


On Thursday, Ofsted’s annual report highlighted serious problems in recruiting teachers and school leaders, particularly in northern England, where, it said, heads were reporting an “auction” for teachers.

Labour’s shadow education secretary, Angela Rayner, said Ofsted’s verdict on the government’s teacher recruitment record was “damning”.

“We now learn that they’ve are scrapping the much lauded National Teaching Service after just a year,” she said.

“Last week, we learnt that the Tories have missed their recruitment target for the fifth year in row.

“And last year, the highest number of teachers left the profession in a decade.”

“The chronic teacher shortage continues to threaten standards under the Tories, and they are completely failing to take this crisis seriously.”

[Source:- BBC]

National phonics check ‘too basic’

Child reading with teaching assistant

Children can pass the phonics test with just a basic knowledge of the government’s preferred system for learning to read, research suggests.

Six-year-olds have to read aloud 20 real words and 20 made-up words in the check, testing their ability to sound out words using the phonics system.

It is meant to test knowledge of the system’s 85 letter combinations, but looks at only two-thirds of them.

Pupils also needed vocabulary knowledge to read the test words, the study said.

The research, presented at the British Educational Research Association conference by Dr Jonathan Solity and Dr Cat Darnell, is a detailed analysis of the words pupils have been asked to read in the check between 2012 and 2014.

‘Pseudo words’

The controversial test was introduced in 2012 to ensure all children at the end of Year 1 had what the government believed was sufficient phonics knowledge to develop their reading skills.

And so it was designed to check only how well children were deploying their knowledge of the letter combinations or “graphemes”, rather than using their knowledge of vocabulary to read.

Hence the inclusion of 20 so-called “pseudo words”.

But the researchers said, because of the complexity of the English language, children needed to use vocabulary knowledge to work out how to pronounce 40% of the words in the test.

For example, the word “brown” was included in the 2014 test.

But as the “ow” sound can be pronounced in two different ways – to rhyme with “cow” or “slow”, the researchers said it was only by knowing the meaning of the word “brown” that children would be able to pronounce it correctly.

They also said children could get high scores in the test even if they were able to read only words made up of simple sounds such as the sound “d” in “dog”.

‘Language rich’

Ministers strongly advocate the teaching of systematic synthetic phonics in schools.

This is where children use only their knowledge of graphemes in order to sound out simple words – before they go on to tackle more irregular words that they simply have to remember how to pronounce.

The researchers said schools may be wasting their time teaching more complex graphemes of little use to children in reading.

And the children, particularly those who are disadvantaged and from less “language rich” homes, would benefit more from efforts to build vocabulary.

This undue focus on the rarer language sounds could leave pupils struggling to read, the researchers said.

Dr Solity, an honorary research fellow at University College London, said: “This is not an anti-phonics argument. It is absolutely clear that children need to be taught phonics, and systematic synthetic phonics in particular.

“What we are questioning is whether it is worth teachers spending a great amount of time making sure pupils learn all 85 , rather than concentrating on the most frequent ones and then building pupils’ vocabulary.”

The government has insisted that its test works well to pick up the children struggling to read using phonics and enables interventions to be put in at an early stage.

[Source:- BBC]

Private schools A-level dip reflects national trends

Brighton College A-level students

Private schools saw a dip in top A-level results this year, largely reflecting national trends, figures released by the sector suggest.

The proportion of private school A-level entries gaining grade A or better was 48.7%, down from 49.3% last year, says the Independent Schools Council.

This is still almost twice the national average of 25.8%, itself down slightly from 25.9% in 2015, says the ISC.

Council chairman Barnaby Lenon called the figures encouraging.

Overall, the 2016 A-level grades, published earlier this month, showed a marginal fall in top grades for the fifth successive year – but the Joint Council for qualifications described outcomes as relatively unchanged.

The ISC figures, for 495 UK independent schools offering A-levels, reflect the results of 36,992 candidates and suggest:

  • 17.9% of pupils achieved at least one A*, down 0.6 percentage points, but more than double the national average of 8.1% (itself down 0.1% on 2015)
  • 6.8% got at least three A* grades, down from 7% in 2015
  • 55.5% got ABB – unchanged on 2015

Overall the pass rate for private school A-level students was 99.1% – one percentage point better than the national average, says the ISC.

And three-quarters (75.2%) of grades were B or higher, it adds, compared with 52.9% nationally

According to the ISC, more private schools are choosing to offer the International Baccalaureate, with the number rising by 5% on last year.

The ISC says the figures show academic success is still a “top priority” at independent schools, with a strong focus on good grades in the subjects preferred by the most selective universities.

“A concerted effort to halt grade inflation in recent years has seen the top grades both nationally and in independent schools level off and fall slightly, so it is encouraging to see the headline A* and A figure remain solid,” said Mr Lenon.

“Of particular note is the number of students achieving ABB grades, which will see many of them moving on to the university of his or her choice, a high number to the top institutions.”

[Source:- BBC]

Assocham Offers to Set Up National Cyber Data Bank

Assocham Offers to Set Up National Cyber Data Bank

Industry chamber Assocham said on Monday that it has offered to set up a national data bank from the billions of e-transactions for use for India’s strategic needs, as well as by common citizens.

The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) said in a releasein New Delhi  that it has written to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval offering the “creation of a cyber ‘National e-Information Data Bank’ of classified and heritage documents for national archive” as a “proposal to break wall between the government and private organisations”.

“With the advent of the ‘information super highway’, the real issue lies in deriving intelligent information out of junk data that can help various stakeholders take cognitive decisions.

“With the quantum growth in volumes, variety and velocity at which data is generated on every click in this electronic age, the availability and practical use of such intelligent information is one of the most immediate needs,” Assocham said.

“While a similar concept has now been proposed by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), we had submitted a blueprint way back in December 2015,” said Assocham secretary general D.S. Rawat.

Underlining the need for nationwide co-ordination and regulation of information resources, Assocham noted, however, that a clear legal framework is required for creating such an archive “which can be integrated with the National Information Policy, demarcating information into broad three categories – information in public domain, information to be used by government for generation of social security number ID, passport, voter ID etcetera, and classified information restricted by law”.

The industry chamber said there is “need to leverage these data assets which are disparate, lying in isolation with various government agencies working in silos”.

“This is also leading to duplication of data resulting in effective loss of efforts and loss of effective planning and co-ordination amongst various agencies,” it said.