New Education Policy: Non-inclusion of teachers in core committee deprived panel knowledge of on-ground challenges

Editor’s note: The draft New Education Policy, which intends to introduce broad reforms, is now open for public scrutiny. In this three-part series, Firstpost examines the structural efficacy of the proposed policy. This is the first part of the series.

“When was the last time you used a quadratic equation in your life?”

I have not used it in at least seven years. I am not suggesting that learning quadratic equations is not important, because it is, for a small set of people. But why is every child grilled through the same, then?

 New Education Policy: Non-inclusion of teachers in core committee deprived panel knowledge of on-ground challenges

Representational image. Reuters

Looking back, I would have benefited more if the school years taught me how my identity shapes my actions, how I may have been less misogynistic (#YesAllMen), handing rejections without being harsh on myself, normalising writing gratitude letters and learning to disagree without being bitter or losing the fondness for the other.

I believe I would have benefited more by combining music and science, history and physics, and computers and environment. I think others too would have benefitted from these. Instead, we were learning quadratic equations’ formulas.

It is in the context of such a disconnect between our individual as well as collective needs that having examined the specific provisions of the policy, I zoom out to examine the broad principles and approach of the New Education Policy.

New Education Policy is a piece of mixed news. It has its fair share of good news and a fair share of areas where the committee disappoints.

Several studies including the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) shows that more than 50 percent of our class 5 children are unable to read the basic text and perform basic arithmetic. This is a national emergency that is neither adequately discussed nor acted upon. With the majority of the children unable to read basic text, it is difficult to predict the future of these children or India because there does not seem to be one.

In that context, the New Education Policy lays emphasis on building foundational literacy and numeracy. The policy goes on to recommend sound measures such as dedicated time for foundational skills, reviewing textbooks for primary grades, redesigning teacher education modules to reorient focus towards building foundational skills, among others.

The committee acknowledges that the syllabus currently imposed on students is unwarranted. Harvard professor Lant Pritchett has demonstrated negative consequences of overambitious curricula.

Ours is not only ambitious but disconnected. Recall the last time you used trigonometric equations? He showed that two countries with exactly the same potential learning could have massively divergent learning outcomes just because of a gap between curricular and actual pace—and the country which goes faster has much lower cumulative learning.

Ironically, the learning could go faster if curriculum and teachers were to just simply slow down, the research proved. Therefore, the recommendation of the committee to reduce the content curriculum making space for critical thinking and the arts is a progressive step forward.

The policy, however, falls short of establishing the connection between our national needs with that of its proposals. One of the most significant challenges our democracy faces today is the menace of fake news. The responsibility of building citizens that can identify the difference between fake and real news, facts and fiction, campaign and propaganda lies in our schools. The menace is eating up our democracy with no foreseeable sign of it relenting. In that light building institutions that can resist and counter to this menace is the key responsibility that the committee has failed to even take into account.

The committee that drafted the New Education Policy did not have a single school teacher in it. One is unable to understand the reasons and explanation for it if there can indeed be any. There are nearly 80 lakh teachers in India and they remain the most important unit of effecting changes proposed in the policy. Without their involvement and considerable say in the making of the New Education Policy, it remains to be seen as to how the teaching community responds to it. The fate of the No-Detention Policy is well-known because the teachers did not want it. Within two years of Right to Education, a review committee was set up and within seven years, the provision has been diluted significantly.

Not one school teacher can be found in the list of 217 eminent persons the committee consulted. However, the committee rightfully laments the loss of prestige of teachers and its approach provides evidence for it.

 The author works as a Secretary-rank officer in Delhi Commission For Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR), Government of Delhi.

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[“source=firstpost”]

In 2 weeks, government gets 50,000 suggestions regarding the draft New Education Policy

human resource development,HRD,NEP

A human resource development (HRD) ministry official said they have so far received nearly 50,000 suggestions and inputs from across the country.(HT Photo)

Opinion | New education policy misses a critical chance to address inequalities in system

Not specifying a common minimum standard below which schools cannot fall, creates conditions where quality of facilities in some schools will only sink lower. (Mint)

The draft National Education Policy (NEP), 2019, is full of provisions that many in the education sector have been desperate to see for decades. The conferring of the Right to Education to children under six and above 14, doubling of the overall financial allocation to education and strengthening the teaching profession bring cheer. However, many of the policy’s omissions and contradictions, combined with the previous track record of central and state governments in implementing existing education policies, diminish this hope.

The omissions: While the policy talks about the need to bring “unrepresented groups” into school and focus on educationally lagging “special education zones”, it misses a critical opportunity of addressing inequalities within the education system. It misses to provide solutions to close the gap of access to quality education between India’s rich and poor children. It proposes to remove the expectations that all schools meet common minimum infrastructure and facility standards, and that primary schools be within a stipulated distance from children’s homes.

India’s schools already vary across the scale—from single room structures without water and sanitation, to technology-enabled international schools. Not specifying a common minimum standard below which schools cannot fall, creates conditions where quality of facilities in some schools will only sink lower, widening this gap.

This is even more of an issue since it proposes a roll back of existing mechanisms of enforcement of private schools making parents “de-facto regulators” of private schools. Parents, and particularly poor and neo-literate parents, cannot hold the onus of ensuring that much more powerful and resourced schools comply with quality, safety and equity norms.

India should have moved towards a national system of education that shapes India’s next generation and enforce standards of quality across the country.

The contradictions: While the policy places considerable emphasis on the strengthening of “school complexes” (clusters of schools sharing joint resources) and decentralized mechanisms for supporting teachers, their everyday management appears to have been tasked to the head teacher of the secondary school in the cluster.

Furthermore, no separate funding appears to have been earmarked for this. This is false economy, since this is a full time activity and needs to be staffed and resourced accordingly.

Lessons from non-implementation of past policies: The policy’s implementation is predicated on the assumption that the education budget would be almost doubled in the next 10 years through consistent decade-long action by both the centre and states. However, the revenue is decentralized to the states and it is unclear what would be done to ensure that resources needed will be allotted. The sheer scale of changes expected, the rapid timeline, the absence of a strong mechanism for handholding states on this journey and the probable inadequate budget raises questions on the full implementation of this policy. India’s history is littered with ambitious education policies that have not been fully implemented. The National Education Policy risks following this tradition, unless the government addresses the reasons behind the past policy-practice implementation gap and makes conscious efforts to carry all of India on the same road towards improvement in education.

[“source=livemint”]

Tesla eyes ‘robotaxis’ by 2020 with new self-driving technology (Update)

Tesla CEO Elon Musk maintained that the electric carmaker had developed the "best" computer chip for autonomous drivin

Tesla CEO Elon Musk maintained that the electric carmaker had developed the “best” computer chip for autonomous driving

Tesla said Monday it is expecting to deploy self-driving “robotaxis” by 2020 as it unveiled its upgraded technology for driverless vehicles.

Chief executive Elon Musk told an investor presentation he expected regulator approval in some jurisdictions for autonomous ride-hailing that could use some of the Teslas on the road if their owners agree to share the vehicles.

“I feel very confident in predicting autonomous robotaxis next year,” Musk told the event, saying he expected the plan to operate on a model similar to that of Uber or Airbnb.

He said Tesla would be adding a rideshare app and that owners who chose to participate in the network could benefit from that.

“The fundamental utility of the vehicle increases by a factor of five” with a rideshare system, he said.

Musk commented on the robotaxi plan after the company unveiled computer hardware for “full self-driving” capabilities—part of its strategy to bring autonomous cars to the mainstream.

Tesla already enables partial autonomy for its cars, but the road to full autonomy faces considerable legal and regulatory hurdles.

The chip announcement comes as Tesla races with Waymo, Uber and traditional automakers to bring autonomous vehicles to market.

Musk said its custom-designed chip for the vehicle, which he called the best available, was a significant milestone in self-driving.

“At first, it seems improbable—how could it be that Tesla, which has never designed a chip before, could design the best chip in the world?” he said.

“But that is objectively what has occurred.”

The new chip is being installed in all its vehicles, clearing the way to improve its software and “neural networks” that will effectively drive the autonomous vehicles.

“All Tesla cars being produced have all the hardware necessary… for full self driving,” Musk told the event.

“All you need to do is improve the software.”

Despite Tesla’s claims, its electric vehicles are not using the standard definition of “level 4” autonomy that would handle all functions with a human on standby or “level 5” autonomy that would need no human.

Musk said he expected that with Tesla technology, drivers “would not need to touch the wheel” sometime early next year and that he hoped for regulatory approvals in some areas later in 2020.

He maintained that Tesla’s approach using data from its vehicles on the road was better than those of its rivals, which rely on simulations.

“We have quite good simulation too, but it does not capture the long tail of things that happen in the real world,” Musk said.

“The real world is really weird and messy.”

Musk also argued that the neural network technology, based on artificial intelligence, was better than the Lidar systems used by rivals that are based on light pulses.

Musk said his space exploration firm SpaceX uses Lidar for some purposes but that “in cars it’s pretty stupid, it’s expensive and unnecessary.”

[“source=techxplore”]

Windows 10 May 2019 Update release date & new features

windows 10 april 2019 update 19h1

By now you’ve probably got the October 2018 update on all your PCs and laptops which run Windows 10, but what’s coming next? Well, Microsoft has two updates planned for 2019, one in the first half of the year and another in the second half. Don’t expect any big changes, though, as this next update is all about refinements and improvements to the interface to make Windows 10 easier and nicer to use.

Windows 10 May 2019 Update release date

Along with everyone else, we thought this would be called the April 2019 Update, but because Microsoft has decided to do extended beta testing it has pushed the release back a few weeks so the official name is the May 2019 Update. The codename is 19H1, rather than the expected Redstone 6, but it’s no secret that Microsoft’s roadmap is for twice yearly updates to Windows 10, so it makes sense.

There’s still no exact date when the update will be available, so keep this page bookmarked as we’ll update it when there’s new information.

One big change is that – based on user feedback (i.e. people not liking big updates being forced upon them) – Microsoft is putting the decision on when to update in your hands. You’ll also be able to pause updates in all versions of Windows 10 for up to 35 days.

Windows 10 May 2019 Update

Windows 10 May 2019 Update new features

There aren’t really any major new features in this update. The much-vaunted Sets, a new way to group apps that you want to keep together, seems to have been quietly dropped. The changes are mostly quality-of-life tweaks, such as the ability to customise the shortcuts in Action Centre instead of being redirected to the Settings app. Also, when this version of Windows 10 is installed fresh or arrives on, say, a brand new laptop, the Start menu is simplified with fewer tiles and now offers the ability to unpin whole groups.

It’s still in beta, but you can already try out the May 2019 Update! Just sign up to the Windows Insider Program, join the Fast Ring (which receives updates more frequently) and then in the Settings app click on Update & Seciruty > Windows Insider Programme > Get started. From the menu pick ‘Skip ahead to the next version of Windows’.

Windows 10 Insider Programme

Naturally, you won’t want to run these beta versions of Windows 10 on a computer you rely on since bugs are common and it is intended only for testing, not general use.

Anyhow, here are the main new features you can expect from the May 2019 Update.

Light theme

There’s a new light mode which makes the Start menu, Taskbar and other windows a white colour and lends them a modern, airy feel.

Windows 10 April 2019 Update

Your Phone

As shown above and below, you can mirror your Android phone’s screen to your Windows 10 laptop or PC and use your keyboard and mouse to control apps and type more easily.

Windows 10 April 2019 Update

Sign-in

The login screen features new Acrylic blur effects, but it’s the actual sign-in settings which have seen the biggest changes. In the Settings app you’ll see a cleaner, less-confusing interface for choosing how you log in, including Hello Face, Hello Fingerprint and Hello PIN.

Windows 10 April 2019 Update

Cortana & Search

Cortana and search are going their separate ways. This means you can enable or disable the Cortana icon and search box independent from each other and have only the features you want on the Taskbar.

Windows 10 April 2019 Update

[“source=techadvisor”]

Weekly Tech Recap: New Apple Services, Mission Shakti, PUBG Mobile Beta Update 0.12.0 and More

Image result for Weekly Tech Recap: New Apple Services, Mission Shakti, PUBG Mobile Beta Update 0.12.0 and MoreApple Announces TV+, Arcade Game Streaming, New News+ app And Updates to Apple Pay With Apple Card

The much-awaited Apple TV app update is finally here. The first addition is Apple TV Channels, which adds HBO, Showtime, Epic, Starz and more services, which can be subscribed and accessed from within the TV app. Apple will continue to curate content for individual preferences, with advanced machine learning

Huawei P30 Pro Goes Official With Quad-Cameras, 5x Optical Zoom, 4,200mAh Battery And More

The new P30 Pro was announced yesterday which offers a unique quad camera setup with the company’s SuperSpectrum 40-megapixel sensor, an optical zoom lens offering 5x zoom, and a time-of-flight (ToF) camera to capture depth.

Mission Shakti: What Exactly is an A-SAT Weapon Deployed to Defend Space Frontiers

The ‘Mission Shakti’ operation by the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), the PM said, involved the A-SAT destroying the live satellite, all in three minutes.

Exclusive: Meet The Aspiring Doctor Who’s Also a Pro PUBG Mobile Gamer

One of the qualifying pro-PUBG Mobile players in the tournament was Angad Singh Chahal, AKA TheExper1ment. Angad is a part of team ‘The Dreamers’ which managed to reach the top 20 finalists during the India Series 2019.

BJP Supporters Dominate Ads on Facebook, And we Know Because of The Transparent Political Ads Policy

An advertiser with the name Bharat Ke Mann Ki Baat spent Rs 11,562,550 on putting out 2,498 adverts on Facebook during the month. The same advertiser also spent Rs 10,831,546 on 1,227 adverts, which ran without a disclaimer.

Apple Pushed Another Critical Service With News+, Apple Card, TV+ and Arcade, And it is Called Privacy

It has been brewing for a while. The entire privacy debate has been raging on ever since the explosive Cambridge Analytica data scandal that damaged Facebook’s credibility. Apple has often positioned itself above the rest of the tech companies, when it comes to user data privacy. Just this month, Apple pushed out a series of iPhone advertisements with the “privacy matters” pitch.

Mumbai Youth Bags Rs 1.2 Crore Package at Google’s London Office. And No, He’s Not from IIT

The coding enthusiast is currently a student of Shree LR Tiwari Engineering College, Mira Road, Maharashtra. He was called for an interview by Google after the company saw his profile on a programming website that hosts various competitive programming challenges, as per a report.

Dhanbad Scores 95.3 Percent 4G Availability, Highest Among 50 Indian Cities

According to OpenSignal’s measurements for 4G availability, Dhanbad scored 95.3 percent, becoming one of only two cities among India’s 50 cities to pass the 95 percent mark. The other city was Ranchi which scored 95 percent in 4G availability.

Sony WI-C600N Wireless Earphones Review: Impeccable Quality And Noise Cancellation, But Pricey

The company recently launched the WI-C600N wireless earphones that come with noise cancellation and support for Google Assistant. The Sony WI-C600N wireless earphones are priced at Rs 10,990. Now while I was a little sceptical about how efficient these earphones would be at blocking noise, boy was I in for a surprise.

PUBG Mobile 0.12.0 Update Beta: New Weapons, Updated Zombie Mode, Friendly Spectate And More

The new beta update for PUBG Mobile is out. We recently spotted version 0.12.0 that is rolling out globally and brings some new features, which could eventually be added to the commercial version of the game. Expect two new weapons, a new Zombie mode, friendly spectate, crosshair colour options, quick chat updates, companion eagle and more.

[“source=news18”]

New global blogging platform allows bloggers to earn Bitcoin SV

A new blogging platform has emerged to little fanfare. Literatus allows authors to publish their content for free or to offer it for a fee. In order to make payments, readers will need to have a Bitcoin SV (BSV) wallet, as this is the only cryptocurrency accepted.

Literatus is the brainchild of Emre Özdemir, a Turkish blogging fan and novice programmer. He began working on the platform several months ago, releasing the alpha version only last month. He explains of the site, “It’s multilingual by design and can be easily extended to many languages on demand. The homepage has been google-translated to multiple languages as a proof of concept.”

The site flows nicely and already has a considerable amount of content. Unlike other blogging sites, there is real value to bloggers through Literatus, as it allows them to earn for the content they produce. Accepting BSV simply makes sense, as it is quickly becoming the go-to crypto and continues to offer a fast network with extremely low transaction fees compared to other digital currencies.

According to Özdemir, “I believe that it can bring thousands of transactions and non-crypto users from all over the world to the blockchain if it’s used correctly thanks to its multilingual nature. People in third and second world usually tries to find alternative ways of making money and alternative platforms. Contrary to this, well-situated people usually don’t seek and don’t like alternatives. So I think non-English languages will be important for Literatus.”

The site is still young and, as is the case with any site, will be tweaked as it progresses. Some users have already suggested that Özdemir include the Money Button application, which will make paying for content with BSV even simpler.

Özdemir adds, “It’s obvious that I am not able to manage and moderate different sections of the site alone. So I’m planning to offer some people in the SV community to manage the site together. I think it should be started with as many languages as possible for the success. I’ll take care of Turkish section in such a case.”

Check it out and get involved—Literatus is a user-friendly blogging platform that is based on community input and deserves to have the support of the BSV community.

[“source=coingeek”]

Apple’s FaceTime eavesdropping bug resolved with new iOS 12.1.4 update: What’s new

Apple has finally released the iOS 12.1.4 update to fix the FaceTime eavesdropping bug. The new iOS 12.1.4 update for Apple devices is available to download on iPhones and iPads.

Apple releases new iOS 12.1.4 update to fix FaceTime bug

Apple releases new iOS 12.1.4 update to fix FaceTime bug

Apple has released the new iOS 12.1.4 update for iPhone and iPad users to fix the FaceTime eavesdropping bug along with this; the latest iOS update also comes with a fix for two-zero days security threats. iPhone and iPad users can now download the iOS 12.1.4 update which is now available via OTA update. However, devices with iOS version 12.1.3 will still not be able to use FaceTime.

The FaceTime eavesdropping bug was exposed last month where the users were able to eavesdrop or overhear the audio and video of the person they were calling on FaceTime even when the phone was unanswered. Owing to the issue, Apple faced a backlash from the users over privacy concerns with FaceTime. Consequently, Apple had to take down the FaceTime app because of the issue.

But, now Apple has resolved the issue and have released a new iOS 12.1.4 update which means Apple users will now be able to use the FaceTime app on their devices error-free. While introducing the latest update on its support page, Apple stated, “A logic issue existed in the handling of Group FaceTime calls. The issue was addressed with improved state management.”

How to Download new iOS 12.1.4 update on iPhones and iPads

The new iOS 12.1.4 update is compatible with iPhones and iPads. To start using the FaceTime feature on your device again, Apple users will have to head to Settings and then tap on General where users will find an option ‘Software Update’. A list of instructions will be provided for users to help them download the latest update on their devices.

[“source=timesnownews”]

New WhatsApp beta update for Android allows users to download single sticker

New WhatsApp beta update for Android allows users to download single sticker

WhatsApp is having a busy 2019. It has been adding new features every other day and now with the new beta release the Facebook-owned company has added another nifty feature. The WhatsApp for Android beta version 2.19.33 gives the messenger app the ability to download a single sticker from a pack. Earlier, there was no option to download a single sticker and the users had to download the whole pack even if they wanted only one sticker from the pack. The beta testers for the WhatsApp can check this new feature before it is made available for everyone.

In case you are a beta tester, you can update your WhatsApp Messenger to the new Android beta version 2.19.33. After downloading the update, open the in-app WhatsApp Stickers Store and long press on a sticker in a stickers pack you have not downloaded yet. WhatsApp will then prompt to ask if you want to save that sticker as favourite. It will show you the download size of the single sticker and offer a download option at the bottom for saving the sticker in the app.

First spotted by WhatsApp beta news tracker WABetaInfo, the ability to download just one sticker is very useful. First of all it will save your phone’s space and will make your sticker menu uncluttered. It will be nice to have the relevant stickers at your disposal. It also saves valuable internet data for all the limited pack users.

WABetaInfo also said that the Android 2.19.33 beta update also indicates that WhatsApp plans to introduce its WhatsApp Pay feature in some more countries like Mexico and USA. It also added that the new features about private sharing in groups and improvements for stories would also be introduced soon.

Earlier in February 2018, WhatsApp had introduced WhatsApp Payments in India for both Android and iOS apps. However, the Payments feature got stuck in the regulatory hurdles and has not taken off yet.

[“source=businesstoday”]

Google My Business App Redesigned, Brings New Features for Small and Medium Businesses

Google My Business App Redesigned, Brings New Features for Small and Medium Businesses

Google on Wednesday released a revamped version of an app – Google My Business – meant to help small and mid-size businesses (SMBs) manage profile on-the-go and boost customer engagement.

The Google My Business app is a simple and free tool for SMBs to start their digital journey through listings on Google and keep their business presence up-to-date on Google Search and Google Maps, the company said. The new app allows businesses to update their profile, converse with customers on-the-go. It is now available for Android and iOS.

New features such as the new post button, a customer tab and the bottom navigation bar, allow businesses to follow and message customers directly from the app, enhancing engagement between both the parties.

“The new Google My Business app deepens our commitment to help businesses grow online. The new app will encourage businesses to manage their presence on Google in real time, make their profiles more appealing and interact with customers,” Shalini Girish, Director, Marketing Solutions, Google India, said in a statement.

“For instance, if you’re a restaurant owner and have a packed house on a Friday night, the app allows you to create a post with a picture of the restaurant to engage with prospective customers on Maps and Search,” Girish said.

“It’s this real-time presence that we hope will go a long way in helping businesses attract new customers and bring back existing ones,” Girish added.

[“source=ndtv”]