How Students can benefit from Technology and Digitization in Education

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world “

Nelson Mandela

What better tool than Technology and Digitization to testify this famous quote! The educational ecosystem is evolving fast from the traditional classroom session into a more dynamic E-learning Environment. Students of today are blessed to be in this exciting era where digitization and technology has redefined, so to say, the pedagogical landscape and the way teachers and students connect with each other.

This has turned out to be a game changer that many of the earlier generations of students were deprived of. The good old Private tuition system was the only supplement to the traditional Classroom sessions for students to fall back upon. But today, the digital revolution has thrown open a world of opportunities for students who can use the facility effectively to shape their academic journey and also the careers that follow. Besides, it constantly challenges teachers to keep upgrading into innovative methods of teaching to help students define their goals and career ambitions and then translate them to reality.

Let us look at some of the online resources that Students can utilize effectively and benefit from:

  • First of all Internet gives access to a wealth of knowledge on just about any topic that students can pick to enrich their knowledge. The digital India thrust is a boon to the students as it is aimed at providing high speed connectivity and internet access even to several remote areas.
  • Lot of institutions have been using Computer aided instructions and audio visual tutorials already in Classrooms. These facilities allow students to access classes beyond school hours and continue learning at their own pace.
  • Online learning platforms provide a virtual intellectual environment for students to interact with through Student portals and Tutorials. Time is no longer a barrier to those who wish to enrich knowledge and skills beyond their curriculum. There are several platforms that offer very diverse topics on E learning where teaching, evaluation and feedback happen on real time basis.
  • E-Library is another concept that is popular in the west but also catching up in India. Content is made available instantly and is accessible online by converting paper documents to e-documents. File storage and retrieval that hitherto consumed vast amounts of valuable staff time in libraries and universities have now been replaced by a lot more efficient E-library concept.
  • Online Career counseling and profiling platforms act as mentors to students who can utilize online portals  to evaluate what career options are available, what are the respective skill sets required and what is the aptitude of the Students that best fit into a particular career option.

Technology and digitization is a revolution that will continue to challenge and empower students immensely in knowledge enrichment and also in terms of efficiency in learning. Needless to mention, students need to embrace this swiftly in order not to be left behind in a highly competitive environment that we are all in.

Written by Asha Sampath

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How important is the role of Environment in Quality Education

“Education is not the learning of facts but the training of the mind to think”

-Albert Einstein

A good part of everyone’s student life gets spent at School. The environment  that surrounds us during the formative years greatly impacts our personality, character and creative skills. Schools are the main platforms that define ambiance and environment for students during this phase. Therefore parents, teachers and other players in the education ecosystem have an onerous task in the matter of selection of the right school for the children and in providing an environment that can radiate positive vibes necessary for a student’s  holistic development.

Let us look at some of the ways that environment makes an impact on the student’s future:

  • Influencers: The teachers are the main influencers because students spend a significant part of the day with them. Teachers tend to make an invisible impact in shaping the student’s thought process and molding student’s academic and personal growth. They play the role of both mentors and role models that students silently tend to follow.
  • Choice of right peers and school mates. Choosing the right company at school can help to create a healthy competitive spirit required to dream big and translate them to reality. When a student is surrounded by intellectual environment, the goals get set, by default at a higher level and challenges the limits of the students and aspirations grow naturally.
  • Residential school system offers unique advantages. Students learn to manage time better. The community concept enhances spirit of collaboration and sharing. Besides, they also benefit from the competitive ambiance and help to fill gaps from family background. It also allows space between fun and studies, making the schedule balanced and enjoyable. A wide spectrum of recreational and cultural programs on Campuses will help to expand the horizon beyond just academics.
  • Teaching methodologies should be innovative and create a hunger for creativity amongst students by making learning engaging and relevant so as to connect them to the outside world. Integrated teaching with field experiences will make the learning complete. Allowing students to express themselves, encouraging them to have a contrary opinion, giving them opportunity to experiment without fear of failure would mould them into more confident people.
  • Mentoring: Counseling and mentoring has assumed great significance in overall success of the student. Schools can be the best platform for counseling as student’s transition from childhood to adolescence. The counselors at schools work one on one basis with students by creating an ambiance that encourages them to open up freely on various issues- be it behavioral issues ,academics or career related matters and largely mitigate risk of wrong decisions or becoming vulnerable to negative situations.
  • Physical ambiance also adds to the extent that it keeps students engaged in building dreams and stays motivated. Inspirational quotes, practical sessions and team work helps in inculcating and nurturing a spirit of research, experiment and creativity. Infrastructure such as robust sports facilities, relevant reading opportunities and a healthy meal system in place are all the essential amenities that help to keep students both mentally and physically fit.

In essence, parents have to keep in mind that intellectual company and an intellectual environment are both keys to the future success of a student and make the right choice of schools for the children.

Written by Asha Sampath

Relevance of good writing skills for Students – Part 2 of 2

“Who wants to become a writer? And why – Because, it’s the answer to everything. It’s the streaming reason for living. To note, to pin down, to build up, to create, to be astonished at nothing, to cherish the oddities, to let nothing go down the drain, to make something, to make a great flower out of life, even if it’s a cactus.”   —Enid Bagnold

Doesn’t this quote just about sum up how writing is such an integral part of our lives, no matter which professional career we choose.  In Part 1 of Subject topic, we covered few pointers on what generally qualifies as good writing. In part 2, we look at how good writing skills is a prerequisite in some commonly chosen careers.

  • Corporate workplace:

      Let us take an example of a person working in an organization, no matter what the functional role is. An employee has to communicate effectively upward with bosses, multiple of them, if in a matrix environment. Equally important will be the need to communicate with peers and subordinates in order to achieve effective cross functioning. There are several occasions where mails and letters need to be exchanged also with external stakeholders such as Customers, Vendors, and Government agencies. At senior levels, interaction is also warranted with Investors and Shareholders. So it is hard to imagine any job that does not involve extensive communication and therefore good writing skills become a prerequisite for any job whatsoever. Ambiguity and use of wrong words can actually mislead the intent and damage the relationship very easily.  Many a time, the message to be conveyed may be rather unpleasant or demanding but yet the tone with which the message is conveyed can greatly enhance chances of a positive reaction at the other end. So the name of the game is to be polite, assertive and yet non-offensive while writing in order to enhance chances of achieving the intended objective and yet maintain robust relationships.

  • Print and Mass Media Journalism:

      Print and Mass media are an integral part of the society as they not only create awareness but also influence and  impact people’s minds significantly about what is right and what is wrong . So this is yet another field where writing skills play key role in the journalist’s success and of the media channel because here the message is intended to reach masses at large. Consequently, it is even more challenging to convey events and situations in a manner that can be perceived as reliable, unbiased, factually correct and at the same time politically acceptable to the targeted readers. One wrong or misleading communication even if unintended can actually lead to commotion and unrest due to sensitivity involved. This is even more relevant in Print media where damage control in the form of Corrigendum is largely ineffective, given the time involved to reach them out to the audience.

  • Script Writer: 

       These are the people who make careers in Television media, Theatres and Movies and Video platforms. The role of the script writer is to translate accurately the creative imagination into a script that can capture the intended emotion in its depth. So the creative and writing skills can help craft the scenes successfully and develop the plot stage by stage such that the attention of the audience is captured and sustained through the entire script.

  • Content Writing:

      Needless to mention, today we are in an era where online media has overtaken us by revolution and it is hard for anyone to stay out of the system. Even if reluctantly, one has to adapt into this environment. A Content writer has an onerous responsibility to convey story in a manner that can emote and enhance the brand and so every word counts and impacts the perception of the targeted audience. The role of good writing skills for a content writer goes just beyond online platforms into several PR and Marketing Content in the form of Press releases, brochures, pamphlets etc and therefore the ability to narrate stories in an engaging manner can define the success of content writers and of the brand.

  • Legal profession:

       A legal profession is one where the lawyer would have to submit briefs to the court and also provide memorandum to clients. From writing simple correspondence to drafting complex legal documents, writing is an integral function of nearly every legal position. Drafting effective legal documents such as motions, briefs, memorandums, resolutions, and legal agreements demands a command over written language besides of course legal terminology  . Only then, they can advocate the position or cause both to the legal platforms and to the client in a clear, concise and logical manner. Here the responsibility would be to be articulate, analytical, and persuasive and yet factually correct, all of which warrant exceptionally good writing skills.

 Editor:

       There is a quote that “It is perfectly okay to write garbage—as long as you edit brilliantly”. Such is the impact that an editor can make through his editing skills .It does go without saying that an editor has to be a good writer first before he can edit. Through his command over language, he can work wonders. On the other hand, job of an editor can destroy author’s credibility and reputation if they ignore or dilute author’s intention in the course of editing .So good writing skills will ensure that the originality in the author’s work is maintained even as they enhance the write up and make them error free.

Well, one can certainly think of many more such career options where writing skills become a prerequisite. This article is intended to convey the message through few commonly chosen career options.

Written by Asha Sampath

Do’s and Dont’s: CBSE Class X Examination

  1. Complete revision of the subject one day prior to the exam date and have   sufficient  sleep.
  2.  Wear cotton clothes to feel comfortable during the examination.
  3.  Avoid oily and spicy food during the period of examinations
  4.  Check whether you have all the required things like pens (Blue/Black), Pencils,       Scale, Eraser, Sharpener, Geometry Box etc.,  before leaving home.
  5.  Reach the examination centre 1 hour before to the commencement of the exam.
  6.  Make sure that the answer book pages are properly serialized in number(including title pages) as soon as you receive it in the examination hall.
  7.  On receiving the answer book and question paper read the instructions and all the questions thoroughly.
  8.  Mention your Board Roll No. properly in the space provided on the answer booklet  and compare with the number on the Admit Card.
  9.  Mention the question number on the left margin of the answer booklet. Avoid  circling and half circling the question Numbers
  10. One should not write his / her name or any miscellaneous unrelated words inside the answer booklet or graphs, maps etc.,.
  11.  Verify all answers once again before submitting to the invigilator.

Good luck!!

Written by Ch.Sambasiv Rao, Principal & Chief Administrative Officer, Vikas Vidyaniketan

Relevance of good writing skills for Students – Part 1 of 2

“Some of us are born sensitive. And if, on top of that, we are pulled about in different directions (both emotionally and physically), we might just end up becoming writers. No, we do not become writers in schools of creative writing. We become writers before we learn to write. The rest is simply learning how to put it all together”

These are some inspiring lines about writing from Ruskin Bond, the Indian author of British descent and one of the most favorite authors of many a school kidTo a lay person, these motivational words, sound like oversimplification of the art of writing.

On the other hand, we are all familiar with the old adage “Pen is mightier than the sword”. These words were written by novelist Edward Bulwer in 1839 in his historical play Cardinal Richelieu.  They simply imply the power that good writing has in evoking emotions and creating the intended impact.

While writing is not as arduous as it seems, it is also not complete as long as it does not convey the intended message effectively.  How relevant and important is it to be equipped with good writing skills, in this era of Electronic media? Regardless of our likes and dislikes, social media is indeed taking charge of our lives and the long conversations on the phone and personal interactions are becoming a passé.  Is it not worthwhile then, to draw the attention of students towards the need to develop good writing skills from an early age?  Writing skills are an important life skill that can make a difference in their careers significantly.  Inculcating good writing skills impacts careers across phases, as Students enter Internship jobs, or prepare CVs  for campus placements and goes well beyond  as  they chase and perform regular jobs.

In Part 1, let us look at few tips that can all add up to make a good writing.

  • First of all art of writing is an art that  needs to be developed and honed over a period of time through constant writing efforts at every opportunity.
  • It is believed that good writing is one when the readers can visualize the context, experience the content and can evoke a sensation in the reader’s mind. That means they are able to relate well to the writing.
  • Good reading habits can help to improve effective writing skills. This is because an avid reader actually understands how to reach out to the audience effectively.  Besides, good reading habits enhances our vocabulary and helps us to choose the right words easily.
  • Writing comes naturally when we have something to say and feel strongly about the topic. Only then we not just enjoy what we write but the content also flows out naturally.
  • Best writings most times are the ones where thoughts are conveyed in a language that is lucid, precise and short. Complex jargons tend to stress people out and drive them away from reading due to uneasy comprehension.
  • Before we write, it is extremely important to have clarity of thought in our own minds on what is intended to be conveyed and to who our target audience is. Thoughts should sync well with the storyline, and this is true not just of creative writing but also professional writing.
  • Opening paragraph should articulate well on the topic, to grab the attention of the reader and stay engaged. As the content progresses, the writing should create suspense on what follows and induce a desire to continue reading. Finally, the concluding paragraph should connect as a full circle to the opening paragraph in order to leave a lasting impression on the single most important intended message. Thus the experience journey through the read is very crucial.
  • Last but not the least, an often ignored attention to details while writing, is the punctuations, diction and grammar. They are equally important requirements to qualify as a good writer.

Those were some of the universal points that can probably help in crafting a writing that is logically termed as well written. However, what makes a writing stand out is a unique style or an element of humour or a knack of storytelling that can add a touch of personality to the writing. In Part 2, we will look at how a command over writing is a priceless gift that students can give to themselves. That will equip them with the much needed edge to be successful along the professional journey, no matter what field they choose.

Written by Asha Sampath

How Indian Educational Institutions can improve in global rankings – Part 2 of 2

In Part 1 published earlier, we talked about International and National Rankings of Educational Institutions and how these rankings could help Students in choosing the roadmap for their academic career. We also gathered how limited the representation is of Indian Institutions when it comes to Global ranking.  Based on the parameters used by the Surveys for purposes of ranking, we summed up at least 3 benchmarks that educational institutions in India could focus on to improve rankings and they are:

  • Internationalization
  • Graduate employability
  • Quality of Relevant Research

That said, Students also play an equally important role in complementing efforts of Government and Educational institutions in elevating Indian Education system in the International Arena. Let us have a look at the three criteria in a bit more detail in this Part 2.

Internationalization

What makes this an important parameter?

  • It provides necessary certification to students to pursue academic courses internationally for advanced studies.
  • Besides, from a country perspective, it opens up doors for international students and provides a diverse and cross culture environment for Indian students, thereby widening perspective and outlook.

Some of the focus areas to achieve this recognition and trust are –

  • Through the medium of globally conforming Syllabus.
  • To build trust and recognition through Excellence in education to match global standards.
  • Sync with International assessment practices.
  • Participate in Global Exchange programs.
  • Inclusion of foreign languages in curriculum.
  • Getting accredited by International bodies.

Graduate Employability:

Employability is the single most benefit that most students seek from education and so this is an important benchmark   that determines student preparedness for jobs once they graduate. As per a survey, only 4 pc of work force in India are skilled while the percentage is much higher in other countries and so improving this percentage is a daunting task. It involves a major shift in attitudes in the different players in the education ecosystem and the pedagogical approach also needs revisiting. Training of trainers, revamping of syllabus besides financial outlay  are some of the several challenges specially since many of the  educational institutions have embroiled themselves in the traditional non vocational system for several decades now .

Nevertheless, it is not impossible to make this a reality. We should consider some of the following aspects here.

  • Opportunity to work during studies makes students more competitive in job market after education.
  • Industry academia interface and Campus placements is another aspect of ecosystem that helps to prepare students for better employability.
  • Focus on projects and case studies gives them an opportunity to engage with employment process early.
  • Flexibility to choose academic courses aligned with skill sets and interest of students.
  • Course curriculum designed to provide graduate employability and career counseling programs early in academics.

 Quality of Relevant Research:

This is key parameter used by Surveys and aimed to assess Impact of Research on Industry and Community in general. Factors to be kept in mind to elevate the ranking in these Criteria could include the following.

  • Research should not just be high quality but should also be relevant in order that the target community can relate to and appreciate the use of research.
  • Industry Academia partnerships can help teaching methodologies and Research topics to be oriented towards industry requirements and community in general.
  • Creating environment where students can experiment with technology through audio visual tutorials and improve quality of research outputs and stretch the limits of research.
  • Opportunity to conduct research jointly by researchers across globe and coauthored research findings could significantly improve value of research findings.
  • Students also need an affordable socio-economic ecosystem where they can access lab facility, Industry interface and high level faculty needed to purse  quality research.

On a closing note,  it  is worthwhile to note that as part of the thrust to the education sector, Government of India has come out with several initiatives in this regard and the ones very relevant to the criteria we discussed are –

  • An initiative called Global Research Interaction Network (GRIN)aimed at encouraging research collaborations between the IITs and global institutes.
  • Global Initiative of Academic Networks (GIAN) which is focused on global exchange of content by inviting foreign faculty members to teach at Indian institutions.
  • The National Skill development mission launched by PM Narendra modi is aimed towards Skilling 400 million people by 2022 through 15 Skill Development Schemes announced as part of the mission to make India the Skill capital of the world.

So, with a concerted awareness and teamwork from all players in Education ecosystem, Indian Education system can sure elevate  internationally in the coming years and pride itself in the Top 200 rankings of Global surveys.

Written by Asha Sampath

Why Life skills training are an important part of Curriculum

“Give a man a Fish – You will feed him for one day . Teach a man to fish – You will feed him for life”

This proverb can be most appropriate to differentiate between academic education and life skills education.  Academic education aims to impart knowledge and  prepare students for their careers but life skill training is aimed at children’s overall development and preparing them for life’s challenges and making them responsible citizens . Students spend their formative years in schools and the minds can be both vulnerable and receptive and so the students will be at cross roads, so to say. Effective life skill training during this phase can actually mould the children’s mind into a healthy personality well prepared for life’s challenges resulting from a dynamic and complex environment.

Life skills is defined by World Health Organization, WHO as “ the abilities for adaptive and positive behavior that enables the individual to deal with the demands and challenges of everyday life”. There are 10 life skills as identified by WHO and categorized as

  • Thinking Skills
  • Social Skills
  • Emotional Skills

THINKING SKILLS :

The skills are latent already in most children. The challenge is to unleash the skill and help children recognize that they have it. Then the children can use the skills to accomplish their goals, small and big.  In this context, we can recall a simple example of how a child turns all the multi colored and multi shaped blocks out of the bag and on the floor before starting to build a castle.  Clearly, here the child is in fact preparing the thought process. Thought process could be rational or intuitive and both have their own significance in lives. But how can we help children discover and hone these latent talent .There are several ways –

  • Encourage children to ask questions at every step of their growing and not force them to accept things blindly. This develops rational thinking
  • Assign them work of art to be created from inexpensive things or articles lying at home. This can hone creative thinking.
  • Use negative situations in storytelling to develop problem solving skills to help them think resourcefully.
  • Organize simple team competitions in informal settings involving decision making and ask them to justify their decisions. This will improve both team work and decision making skills.
  • Encourage them to work within time frame so they consciously avoid negative procrastination skills.

SOCIAL SKILLS :

The simple “golden rule “of Social skill is “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. The Mosaic Law contains a parallel commandment: “Whatever hurts you, do not do to any other person.” Social skills are very important to make them good human beings and responsible citizens. These skills need to be nurtured at a very young age because negative social habits die hard and very difficult to overcome in older age.

Here are some examples of building social skills that can make or break personality development.

  • Get them involved in NGO activity or even spend some time in less privileged environment so children learn to empathizeand also count their blessings .
  • Encourage making and sustaining healthy friendships so that they learn to live in an inclusive environment and develop interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Making them enact roles of parents, teachers, siblings will help them understand better the value of love,affection  and tolerance .

EMOTIONAL SKILLS: 

“Emotional skills refers to a child’s ability to deal with, manage, express and control his or her emotional states, including anger, sadness, excitement, anxiety and joy. Emotional self-regulation is an important aspect of resiliency “ .These are the skills that shape mental strength of the Children and help them to react in a balanced and rational way even in  negative and challenging situations.  Here are some ways to  build a strong and resilient emotional quotient.

  • Impart Stress Management techniques.
  • Guide them not to suppress emotions but express them in a morally acceptable way.
  • Avoid jealousy, hatred and violence.

Worldwide, educational institutions are adapting curriculum to National Life skills education policy but the students should also make an effort to make the best use of opportunities provided by Schools and Colleges. After all, they will benefit from it all through their life’s   journey at every stage as they transition from College to Careers and to family life, alongside.

Written by Asha Sampath

What does it take to crack the IIT-JEE!

“When the going gets tough, the tough get going “– Joseph Kennedy

As we approach the due date for enrollment into IIT-JEE Mains 2017 , it is worthwhile to flash back on the IIT-JEE results 2016 to put things in perspective to Students aspiring to come out winners, qualifying to enter the prestigious IITs across India. As per a Statistical table published (Source: Indiatoday.in 27th April 2016) a total of 1,128,636 students appeared for the IIT-JEE Main exams. Out of this, only 198,228 students qualified for the IIT-JEE Advanced examination. Furthermore, the total number of students who qualified to make it to the leading IITs across the country was just 36,566.  What this tells us is that the success rate in IIT-JEE Mains is as low as 1:5. From 2017, however, 20,000 more candidates will be eligible to write the JEE (Advanced) after clearing JEE (Main) thus taking the eligibility number of candidates to 220 k.

Syllabus and Weightage 

As per the notification issued by the ministry of HRD on 8th April 2016, the following changes are effective for IIT-JEE Main 2017

  • “There will be no weightage for higher secondary marks in calculating the ranks in JEE Main examination.Class 12 scores will be a crucial parameter only for determining the eligibility criteria for the exam.
  • For the applicants to qualify for admission in IITs, NITs, IIITs & such other CFTIs whose admission are based on JEE ranks; they must have score minimum 75% marks (65% for reserved categories) in higher secondary standard or be in the top 20 percentile in higher secondary exam.”

What therefore makes IIT-JEE, one of the toughest Competitive Examinations is the sheer high level of competition and complexity and therefore the intensity of preparation needed to crack this examination should not be underestimated by the students aspiring to get into IITs.

Here are some factors that Students can take note of as they embark on their IIT –JEE dream journey.

  • Organic preparation:  IIT-JEE is certainly not one of those exams where preparation can begin and end few months prior to the examination. Besides a thorough understanding of the syllabus, what is also needed is a gradual, phased out and disciplined preparation and building of skills right from high school level spread out until Class 12 ,nearer the examination schedules.
  • Pick the right School: There are very few institutions that have a scientifically devised and integrated curriculum that combines CBSE Syllabi with IIT-JEE coaching. Picking the right School can reduce duplication in preparation and also avoid stress leading to burn out, fatigue and the consequent ills leading to failure.
  • Attitude and Mindset:This is an extremely important aspect that differentiates the Winner from the crowd. High level of commitment and perseverance to achieve the dream no matter what it takes is an important factor. Also, students need to have a strong sense of self belief and conviction that success will follow from sincere and focused efforts.  It is sometimes quite natural to go through temporary phases of lack of confidence and fear of failure.  But the students should realize this is only a momentary phase and develop a mentally strong personality to bounce back, stay focused and self motivated on the big picture which is the dream destination called the IIT!  As Thomas Edison said “Many of life’s failures are people not realizing how close they were to success when they gave up “So never make the mistake of giving up what you have set out to achieve.
  • Scientific preparation and mastering the technique:  Students need to be aware that unlike in Board exams, what brings success in IIT-JEE is problem solving skills and understanding of practical concepts in application as opposed to mere knowledge of the subject. Besides, speed is of the essence in this exam and this is something that can be developed through constant practice.
  • Find the right mentor: No matter how hard work and Intelligence helps, a good mentor has no substitute. And who better than an IITian can play this role because he is the one who has seen it all and more by way of experience in successfully handholding aspiring IITians through their successful journey. The Complex pattern of the exam and the negative marking makes it most challenging and the mentor can play a key role in honing the aptitude of the student in the direction that assures success.
  • Cherry picking not possible:It is quite likely that in the total syllabus, there could a subject or topic that one dislikes but unfortunately there is no cherry picking here. The performance in that particular subject is as important as any other in the syllabus for the overall results. So it is important to realize there is no escape route here. Students should find a way to manage this by immersing into the subject and then start enjoying the learning process. Another trick would be to allocate the best part of the day to the not so favorite subject so  the learning becomes easier and less stressful and then the other subjects are well taken care at ease with a sense of relief at other times of preparation Schedule.
  • Finally, Dare to dream big .Have the courage! –

As Mark Twain said, and I quote – “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, dream, discover “

Written by Asha Sampath

How Indian Educational Institutions can improve in global rankings – Part One of Two

There are several premier organizations  that conduct survey of Education Institutions globally and rank them based on various criteria.  A good starting point before we go into the subject topic on how Indian educational institutions can raise the bar for themselves , will be to refresh our minds with some of the global rankings results for 2016/17.

We have QS World University rankings for 2016-17 which was based on 6 different criteria having varying weightage.

Academic Reputation 40%

Employer Reputation 10%

Student Faculty Ratio 20%

Citations per faculty 20%

International Faculty ratio and International Student ratio 5% each

Based on Overall criteria, only 4 Institutes from India featured in the top 250 of the 936 surveyed. Indian Institute of Science ranked at 152, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi at 185, IIT Bombay at 219 and IIT Madras at 249. While  ,there are few other IITs that were featured further down  in the list in the 300-400 ranking,  a point worth highlighting is that the only Indian University that featured at all in the list is University of Delhi that ranked somewhere between 501-550.

However, based on Individual parameters, we do have some representation from Indian University in the Global Ranking.

  • In the Academic Reputation, we have  Jawaharlal Nehru University(JNU) ranked at 240 and University of Delhi(UOD) at 249
  • In the Employer reputation , we have UOD at 180
  • In the Citation per faculty  , we have University of Calcutta and Banaras Hindu University (BHU)featuring in the list at #425 and #469

Another prominent survey released by the Times Higher Education (THE)survey which can be viewed here.  The Criteria for the evaluation were based on Citations, Teaching, Industry Income, International Outlook and research.  In this survey, Indian Institute of Science is the only Indian representation claiming a spot in the top 250 in the 201-250 band of the 980 institutions.

Alongside, let us also have a look at the first of its kind Indian Rankings 2016announced by the Union  Human Resource Development Ministry. Besides IISc claiming the Numero Uno position, there are other Indian Universities that are featuring in the top 10 and these include, JNU ranked as country’s third best University followed by Hyderabad Central University at #4, UOD at #6, BHU at 7th position and Aligarh Muslim university at #10.These rankings were based on demographic parameters such as gender and geographic diversity, facilities for differently abled and representation of students from socio-economic backward communities.

What these surveys do tell us:

  • One, they can be very useful for Students to make informed decisions about  where they would like to study, depending on the academic or employment pursuit they have in mind.
  • It also tells us that there are a handful of Indian Universities besides the IITs and other Institutes of Repute that are actually trying to go that extra mile to bring themselves up to International standards and find themselves a place in global rankings. Good example of this is the University of Delhi which features not just in India’s top 10 rankings but also in global list, though not quite on top.
  • It gives clarity on what parameters Indian Universities should be looking for to improve and raise bar for themselves in order to qualify for or upgrade themselves in global rankings.

Summarizing the key parameters that each of the above surveys have used in the rankings, we could sum up at least 3 benchmarks that educational institutions  should be working on to improve rankings.

  • Internationalization
  • Graduate Employability
  • Quality of Relevant Research

There are multiple ways in which each of these benchmarks can be worked upon. In Part 2 of this blog, we will look at how this can be achieved  and we will also try and relate them to the Government of India’s efforts  in its new Thrust to the Education sector. Stay tuned!

Written by Asha Sampath

All you want to know about the KVPY examination

Scholarship tests and qualifying examinations always sound scary for students who are pursuing schooling at their 11th and 12th standards. Many a times these examinations appear to be much easier if you understand it in the right manner. Lack of proper information about the exam and how it is conducted results in this fear. So here, let’s try to have a closer look at the KVPY examination or the Kishore Vaigyanik Protsahan Yojana for the 11th and 12th graders.

The Department of Science and Technology of the Government of India introduced the KVPY scholarship scheme to promote students to pursue research in the field of basic sciences, medicine, and engineering. The program bestows scholarship and contingency allowances until the pre- Ph.D. level to chosen scholars. The KVPY program marked its beginning in the year 1999 and is controlled by the Indian Institute of Science.

The key intentions of the scheme are:

  • To discover students with flair and propensity for research
  • Help students comprehend their prospective in their studies
  • Support them to engage in research in basic science
  • Guarantee the augmentation of the best scientific minds for research and progress in the

KVPY exams are considered equally important and esteemed to the JEE examinations in India. Successful completion of this exam would offer students admission in the prestigious IISC and other IISERs in the country, which are considered to be the excellent institutions to study courses in basic science like Physics, Chemistry, Maths, Biology, etc.

So, there are 3 major streams under which students can apply and they are – SA, SB, and SX.

  • Students attending 11thgrade can appear for SA.
  • Students attending 12thgrade can appear for SX.
  • Students attending 1styear graduation in Science can appear for SB.

As per the statistics of 2015-16, out of 1 lakh scholar who appeared for the esteemed KVPY exam, around 881 scholars of 11th grade, 1554 scholars of 12th grade and 96 scholars of the graduation 1st year got qualified for the scholarship. The KVPY test generally takes place in November and the interviews take place in January and February. Answer Keys of the test are out on the KVPY official website within 10 to 12 days after the commencement of the test.  Scholars who come out successful in the KVPY test are entitled for the fellowship. A scholar with a KVPY fellowship receives 5000/- monthly scholarship during their 1st – 3rd year of either B.Sc, B.Stat, B.S., B.Maths, Integrated M.S./M.Sc along with a yearly contingency grant of 20,000/-. After the initial 3 years, the scholarship gets improved to 7,000/- per month through M.Sc/4th & 5th year of Integrated M.S./M.Sc along with a hiked yearly contingency grant of 28,000/-.

Now, let’s find out more details about the streams of the examination:

  1.  Stream SX/SB

Students of the 12th grade have the benefit of attending any of the subjects between Maths and Biology. The SX stream of examination is conducted for scholars studying Mathematics whereas the SB stream of examination is conducted for Biology scholars. However, the pattern of both the exams is the same.Usually the examination paper will have 2 sections which are section A and section B. Both sections will include all 4 subjects. Section A would contain 20 questions in every subject and section B would contain 10 questions per subject. Students are supposed to answer any 3 out of the 4 subjects given under section A, and any 2 out of 4 subjects given under section B. While coming to the scoring area, students will score under the +1 to -.25 marking scheme in the section A category and +2 to -0.5 marking scheme in the section B category.Both SX and SB will contain questions from 11th and 12th grade curriculum. The cut-off score to qualify for the interview would be around 50-55. Frankly speaking, this score is not so difficult to achieve as you think. 

Syllabus for the exam: As of now, there is no preset syllabus for the KVPY exam. If you are already preparing for the JEE or AIPMT exams, you could attend the KVPY exam as well. Consider studying NCERT/JEE exam books and a few of the previous year question papers for better proven results.

Interview: Interviews are usually the tricky part where you have to make use of your alert mind. Quite often people tend to forget or get the wrong answer for those questions which they already know. For KVPY interview all you have to do is get a thorough idea about your 11th and 12th grade science subjects and a little bit of confidence. The interview panel may shoot questions from different directions, but you have to keep calm and hear the questions clearly. You already know all the answers, all you have to do is focus and modify the answer to match the context in which it is asked. 

  1. Stream SA

Stream SA is designed for students attending 11th grade. Here, section A and section B will have Biology as a mandatory subject of the examination.The SA examination contains 2 sections which are part A with multiple choice questions and part B with descriptive questions for 100 marks. The subject areas consist of Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Biology.

  • For part A, students will get 1 mark for the right answer and lose 0.25 marks for the wrong
  • For part B, students get 5 marks for the right answer and no negative mark for the wrong one.

Syllabus for the exam: The SA exam would contain topics which you have already completed in the 10thgrade with basics of chemistry, magnetism, electricity and elementary geometry and algebra. 

Interview: Again the rules for an interview in this regard remains the same where you have to be confident about what you know and how well you can articulate it into words.

Written by Minu Aravind