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

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

Nutritional Challenge for Students battling with IIT-JEE and NEET

Students in general and in particular, those preparing for competitive exams such as IIT-JEE, NEET etc have only one focus ahead of them which is succeeding in the exam. Yes, this is the single most important step towards their professional future but at the same time, they can ill-afford to allow eating habits to take a backseat. They have to take sufficient care to balance out energy Intake and Offtake. But they tend to overlook both the short term and the long term impact. If eating habits get compromised, it could impact their health just before exams due to dehydration, fatigue and burnout so the whole year’s efforts and aspirations will be shattered.

With Students, dietary habits tend to take a back seat for several but very common reasons.

  • One, the average student is often under pressure having to prepare for highly competitive examinations. Peer pressure, expectations of parents & family elders to perform well and get into professional courses only make things worse. So the attention to food habits gets glossed over.
  • Given that time is at a premium, eating on the go becomes an easy option and therefore they resort to quick takeaways just to overcome the immediate hunger .Skipping meals is another common problem associated with students. Social needs and the hang out with friends tend to make fast food restaurants an attractive option.
  • Emotional turmoil associated with adolescence tends to distance them from parents’ and elders’ advice. It is also an age when they are in search of identity and autonomy.   So they will start to develop their own likes and dislikes when it comes to food, fashion and lifestyle. They tend to rebel when others try to advise them and in the process are also distanced from important health advices.

Here are a few quick tips for students to keep reminding them on how they can develop healthy dietary habits

  • Breakfast time: Morning times are the most precious for some relaxed “Me time “. They have to make the best of this slot by having a healthy and balanced diet that should include whole grain cereals, some fresh juice and fruits that can keep them invigorated for the rest of the day. Fruit flavored soft drinks having chemicals should be avoided.
  • Drink Plenty of water: It is important to drink plenty of water to keep body hydrated and more so where physical activity is vigorous. It is always advisable to carry a bottle of water all the time and keep drinking a little bit at regular intervals.
  • Fast food in moderation: No doubt the fast food joints are tempting with their offerings of instant delicacies that satisfy our appetite. It may be hard to totally avoid fast foods but it is good to remember to avoid or limit high fat stuff. Fast foods generally have low food value, high fat and therefore this could leave students undernourished and obese.
  • Avoid excessive dieting in order to lose weight: Skipping meals is generally not recommended to lose weight. Balanced diet and regular exercise is the only proven solution.
  • Calcium Intake: Doctors strongly advise adequacy of calcium intake even as early as twenties in order to avoid Osteoporosis in the later years. According to World Health Organization, Osteoporosis is second only to Cardio Vascular disease as global health concern. Sufficient quantity of low fat milk , cheese and green leafy vegetables can help build calcium levels.
  • Iron rich foods:Brown rice, Whole wheat bread, Broccolli ,  Oatmeal and Watermelon are some of the quick Iron rich options.
  • Relaxed Snacking while Studying: Almonds and Walnuts are a good option as opposed to fried snacks. Milk chocolates and dark chocolates are not just tasty but also healthy as they are said to contain antioxidants and can help beat stress.
  • Alcohol and its effects:  Studies suggest that moderate drinking can be good for the heart but leaves a dangerous impact on the rest of the body.
  • Excessive Coffee is best avoided.  The Coffee culture and the Caffeine content are a dangerous combination. Research studies have linked Coffee to very serious potential health hazards. Tea is a more recommended option as a stimulator.

Nutrition and health are closely interlinked. So no matter how hard pressed a student is for time, aminimum amount of time and attention has to be set apart for basics such as eating healthy and nutritious food, adequate amount of sleep and regular exercises all of which will also lead to positive thinking and better performance both in exams and in life.

Written by Asha Sampath

How “CBSE Class 10 Board Exam to be made mandatory” can uphold and Elevate Educational Standards in India

Speaking at the Centenary Celebrations of an Educational Society in Karnataka last week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealed to  Universities in the Country to aspire to be among the World’s top 100 Universities. So it is indeed a matter to introspect as to why we have not been able to reach the International standards despite a wealth of academic brains that India can pride about . Alongside, there is a recent  announcement made by Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar that the Centre is  bringing back the system of compulsory Board exams for Class 10 students studying in Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE)-affiliated schools and this will be effective from year 2017-18 .

Food for thought then, on how Board exams can actually align the Indian Educational system with International Standards and take India at least a small step closer towards featuring in the Global Top 100 Universities at some point.

Also, by virtue of CCE system introduced by CBSE in 2010, Students currently  have the  option to enrol for Class 10 examinations either in  State Government recognized Board examinations  or Central Board Recognized Examinations such  as CBSE, ICSE and other International Boards.  Also the “No detention policy “ as part of the CCE system had inherent problems that slackened the stringent academic and evaluations standards leaving the Class 10 State Exam students with difficulty to transition to  the Mandatory  Class 12  Board exams.  However, if Board examinations would be a non negotiable way forward also for Class 10 at all CBSE Schools , it can be a major contributor to bring Indian students upto International Standards for reasons more than one .

  • Besides the fact that CBSE follows Universal patters across all affiliates, making it the most preferred route for parents with transferrable jobs, there is more to it in terms of upgrading Indian Education.
  • All the major entrance exams such  as IIT ,AIPMT etc have Syllabus  based on CBSE model.
  • Given the fact that the CBSE Board is spread across more than couple of dozen countries,  it is more likely that Schools in India with CBSE syllabus would draw more students from International countries and create a diverse platform for Indian students
  • The CCE grading system introduced by CBSE for Students of Class 6 to 10, as opposed to the absolute marking system in  State level Examinations is another factor that brings about parity with the International Education system.
  • Focus on application based subjects, aligns well with much needed Skill development needs of the Indian Education system.
  • CBSE schools focus  as part of the Syllabus, on Life skills which can make students more resilient to Complex situations and better prepared for Global  competition as they move forward in their  career.
  • There is a common perception which to some extent is also real is that School Exams are easier than Board exams due to an overtly structured syllabus . This can dilute the quality of education if given a choice.
  • Numerous talent search examinations and scholarship exams  held at local and national levels base their content on CBSE syllabus so there is more scope to get students achieve higher goals.
  • Under State Board Syllabus , knowledge is treated as mere absorption of facts and therefore tends to make students strong in Book knowledge rather than at a practical level. In CBSE, due weightage is given during evaluation to grasp of ideas and potential  for  creativity  which not only augurs well  with International standards but also makes students more rounded individuals.
  • Class X Board exam will provide an uninterrupted preparation ground for students to cope better with the Class 12 Board exams and qualify themselves well enough for the Competitive Examinations like IIT-JEE and NIT.
  • CBSE being one of most widely and Internationally recognized syllabus, the level of visibility and access to updated Curriculum and Syllabus is very organized on the cbse.nic.in website which Students can make good use of, for preparing for exams .

There is of course, a valid fear on the part of Students that by opting for Board Exam, the ones who would not crack the entrance exams would then be deprived of preference for admission in State Universities that have a limited quota for the CBSE Board students . That said, it would infact create a healthy competitive spirit to excel and find themselves a top spot in entrance exams and quality for admission into premier institutes.