Academic Collaboration of Indian and Foreign Institutions Needs Soul-Searching

The new UGC regulations for academic collaboration are said to have three possible formats of collaboration, namely, joint degree, dual degree, and twinning programmes, with a liberal view of UGC to encourage collaborations. The intent of exposing Indian students to the education system abroad sounds reasonable, nevertheless, the affordability of practising such engagements and their relevance to students calls for honest introspection. The private sector HEIs market their programmes by showcasing their foreign collaborations to woo new students during admissions. In most cases, the poor socio-economic conditions of Indian families may not allow their children to take advantage of the foreign collaborations unless they get sponsorships to sustain the expenses.

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Publicizing Caste and Religion in Electoral Politics: Representation or Appeasement?

Dependence on caste and religion to win elections is observed frequently in India. Few call it appeasement while few others call it representation. Is it not paradoxical? Classification of victorious public representatives by their caste/religion tacitly enhances their importance in the country’s democracy. Apparently, it messages about corroborating the wide representation of communities through the leaders belonging to them. But at the same time, it evinces the unfading pertinence of caste/religion in our society. It is inevitable to delve into the disquietude nucleating from the issues of publicizing representation and appeasement of communities based on caste/religion for strengthening coherence in the society.

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Goggling UP Assembly Elections

The fight in UP assembly elections remained primarily between the BJP and the SP. The star campaigners of ruling dispensation raked on the incidents during pre-2017 rule with few prominent ones being Kairana riots & associated migration in western UP, dynastic politics, law and order, camouflaged polarization, nationalism, etc. The law and order, women’s safety, free gas connection, free toilets, free houses, elimination of mafias, welfare schemes of a free ration on account of COVID disruption, direct benefit transfer, health care schemes, infrastructure, various freebies, etc. remained the mainstay for the BJP. Astoundingly, the SP leadership maintained reasonable decency in language while referring to the political opponents across the electioneering. The SP leadership continually reminded of its works, including the “Dial 100”, “Dial 1090”, police reforms, free ambulance service, solar energy initiatives, power plants, power station networks, farmer mandis, sugarcane procurement, the four-lane connection of district headquarters, Agra-Lucknow Expressway, Lucknow Metro, IT park, tourism, welfare schemes of food, pension, etc.

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Challenges and Strategies of Better Online Assessment

The preparedness of the country’s education system and its stakeholders for resorting to the online mode in an efficacious manner is still reeling under the question mark of feasibility. Reducing the weightage of final examinations or the end-of-course examinations and increasing the weightage of continuous assessment will envisage good quality student assessment. The open-book type unproctored examinations hold the potential to resolve the institutional problems of likely use of unfair practices in online examinations. The teacher engagement, too, increases in, both, the continuous assessment of students and the open-book examination.

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Withering Public Sector and Bourgeoning Private Sector in Higher Education

The blossoming of few private sector HEIs as evident from their good rankings and sizeable share among top ranking institutions establishes that self-financed institutions too can achieve excellence, provided there is a strong will. Flourishing private sector HEIs is a positive sign in overall higher education; nevertheless, the shrinking number of public sector HEIs in the top 100 ranks is concerning because of the inadequacy of quality output from the public sector HEIs established and run by taxpayers money.

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Metamorphosing Industry 4.0 to Industry 5.0 Requires Engineers From All Domains

Why do engineering aspirants opt only for Computer Science and Engineering when the future Industry 5.0 shall require engineers and technologists from all disciplines to sustain and upgrade civilization?
The future lies in the application of digital know-how to the existing and upcoming systems from various domains.  
The cross-fertilization of a variety of concepts may call for technical professionals possessing a broader range of expertise which is enabled by the new policy framework. This enjoins technical professionals from every engineering discipline with vital competencies, and the same can not be merely taken care of by computer and IT-related professionals alone.

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Equitable and Accessible Education in COVID-hit India: A Mirage?

Supreme Court has remarked limitations of students from poor sections of society in access to online education and exhorted for corrections. Juxtaposing Indian socio-economic conditions with the education model of the nations having significantly strong IT infrastructure and much better capabilities as compared to India is irrational. The penury coercing the poor to the extent of leaving the mainstream education has not only flouted the constitutional provisions regarding the right to education but also forbidden the talented ones to chip in for the good of humanity and civilization. In a country with around 1.3 billion population of varying economic stature, it is inevitable to holistically assess the feasibility of the so-called new normal of education, i.e., online education and blended mode of education before starting it.

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The Great Indian Distressful Examinations: An Introspection

The apprehensions to fail in examinations usher students to a distressful state. The education system should strategize to avert the fear psychosis in students in respect to any examination. The examination is not the end of the road. Instead, it is an opportunity of knowing the individual’s capabilities even through failure and move on to the other possible avenues for a successful life. Holistic improvement in the quality of primary education and secondary education holds the key to keep students away from any distress.

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Quality Education: A Luxury or A Fundamental Right?

The increasing costs of education have presented us with a pressing question: Is quality education still a tool to reduce disparity, or has it transformed into a luxury deepening the already-existing divide in our society? Any deprivation emanating from the constantly increasing cost of education at any level in the public sector and private sector institutions may create a deepening divide in terms of knowledge, skills, competence, and capabilities. Large number of students dropping out of the formal education system due to extreme and stingy frugality may turn into imperious problems in sustaining social harmony. NEP 2020 has come as a blessing in disguise with the decree of universalization of education while ensuring access, equity, quality, affordability, and accountability.

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Anniversary of NEP 2020: Education needs intensive care

On the commemoration of the first anniversary of NEP 2020, it will be prudent on the part of the regulators to revisit the progress made in the on-ground implementation of provisions of NEP 2020 and reschedule the milestones laid in it, else the disorderliness created through it may disarray the existing education system as well. The predominant disruptions caused by the pandemic and the pragmatic view on the desired transformations ought to be taken into consideration before a realizable road map is relaid.  

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Blended Learning in Indian Higher Education: How Feasible is it?

Accolades to University Grants Commission (UGC) for out of the box thinking in allowing the higher education institutions (HEIs) to teach up to 40% syllabus of each course (other than SWAYAM courses) through online mode and remaining 60% of the syllabus in the offline mode along with their examinations in the respective mode.
Holistic and collective brainstorming across the HEIs is required before exercising the major shift from the conventional face-to-face teaching approach lest blended learning may have limited cosmetic value.

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Calibrate Crappy Education in COVID Aftermath

The regulators of education for all levels should inevitably ponder upon the concerned stakeholders and palliate the damage incurred to the younger generation of the country which is blessed with a 37-year advantage of demographic dividend. The opportunity loss on account of youth remaining disengaged from their pursuits of getting educated well warrants strategizing for immediate correction.

Let’s deliberate and discuss extensively to create a well-laid framework based on the holistic considerations for negotiating the past, present, and future disruptions in the education system lest it is late again.

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Work-life balance of teachers in digital learning environment

The otherwise distinct work and life domains now appear to have smudged boundaries. Consequently, digital learning environments have thrown a challenge of work-life balance to the teachers. Teachers, being the sculptors of future generations, should take necessary precautions and strike a healthy work-life balance alongwith inculcating a similar sense in students through their actions.

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Do cent percent marks evince cent percent learning? – A Vantage point

It dates back to a century earlier when some examiner commented on the academic performance of Dr. Rajendra Prasad, the first President of India, that the examinee is better than the examiner. A more or less similar situation is evinced again in the results through 100 % marks obtained in the recent results announced by the examining boards at the secondary level. However, the award of cent percent marks is seen for the last few years. It is not to cast aspersions on the individual children scoring cent percent marks, but the scenario of examinees scoring full marks requires introspection. The moot point is “Does cent percent marks evince cent percent learning?”

The marks obtained should always allude to the scope of further improvement by the students.

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Don’t Compromise on Quality Education While Formulating Contingency Plans

“Inclusive, good-quality education is a foundation for dynamic and equitable societies.” – Desmond Tutu
Very few higher education institutions (HEIs) of India, like the IITs, IISc and few other good Indian universities, find a place in the world rankings. The education processes got disrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic since the last week of March this year. So, it has become important to maintain the standards of excellence in education as we ‘Unlock’ as per the COVID-19 Recovery Plan.
The uncertainty in the decision-making process at the end of the institutions has been due to lockdowns. As a result, academic governance has been unable to comprehend a congenial contingency plan. Owing to it, the higher education regulators of the country have come out with broader outlines to handle this disruption. The disruption embedded with uncertainty raises concerns with the proposed guidelines too.

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Reform Examinations to Promote Deeper Learning

“Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.” The higher education system of India has major dependence upon the final examinations. This has been there despite the continuous evaluation system being in place for most of the programs. The cumulative performance of students in the prescribed evaluation framework leads to the award of degree with grade/marks/division. Therefore, it is important to introspect the prevailing examination system and envisage reforms to promote deeper learning.

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