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Cabinet Approves continuation of SamagraShiksha Scheme


The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has given its approval for the continuation of the revised Samagra Shiksha Scheme for a period of five years i.e., from 2021-22 to 2025-26 today.

Financial outlay of Rs.2,94,283.04 crore which includes Central share of Rs.1,85,398.32 crore. has been allocated for this project. The scheme which covers 1.16 million schools will benefit over 156 million students and 5.7 million teachers of Govt. and Aided schools (from pre-primary to senior secondary level).

The Scheme aims to universalize access to school education; promote equity through the inclusion of disadvantaged groups and weaker sections, and improve the quality of education across all levels of school education. The major objectives of the Scheme are to Support States and UTs in:

  1. Implementing the recommendations of the National Education Policy 2020 (NEP 2020);
  2. Implementation of Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009;
  3. Early Childhood Care and Education;
  4. Emphasis on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy;
  5. Thrust on Holistic, Integrated, Inclusive and activity-based Curriculum and Pedagogy to impart 21st-century skills to the students;
  6. Provision of quality education and enhancing learning outcomes of students;
  7. Bridging Social and Gender Gaps in School Education;
  8. Ensuring equity and inclusion at all levels of school education;
  9. Strengthening and up-gradation of State Councils for Educational Research and Training (SCERTs)/State Institutes of Education and District Institutes for Education and Training (DIET) as a nodal agency for teacher training;
  10. Ensuring a safe, secure and conducive learning environment and maintenance of standards in schooling provisions and
  11. Promoting vocational education.

#MinistryofEducation #SamagraShiksha

Female enrolment in Higher Education shows rise of 18.2 per cent from 2016 to 2020


Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal yesterday announced the release of the report of All India Survey on Higher Education 2019-20, which provides key performance indicators on the current status of Higher education in the country. 

Key features of All India Survey on Higher Education Report 2019-20

1. Total Enrolment in Higher Education stands at 3.85 crore in 2019-20 as compared to 3.74 crore in 2018-19, registering a growth of 11.36 lakh (3.04 per cent). Total enrolment was 3.42 crore in 2014-15.

2. Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER), the percentage of students belonging to the eligible age group enrolled in Higher Education, in 2019-20 is 27.1 per cent against 26.3 per cent in 2018-19 and 24.3 per cent in 2014-2015.

3. Gender Parity Index (GPI) in Higher Education in 2019-20 is 1.01 against 1.00 in 2018-19 indicating an improvement in the relative access to higher education for females of eligible age group compared to males.

4. Pupil-Teacher Ratio in Higher Education in 2019-20 is 26.

5. Status of Institutions in 2019-20: Universities: 1,043 (2 per cent); Colleges: 42,343 (77 per cent) and stand-alone institutions: 11,779 (21 per cent).

6. As many as 3.38 crore Students have enrolled in programmes at under-graduate and post-graduate level. Out of these, nearly 85 per cent of the students (2.85 crore) were enrolled in the six major disciplines such as Humanities, Science, Commerce, Engineering and Technology, Medical Science and IT and Computer.

7. The number of students pursuing PhD in 2019-20 is 2.03 lakh against 1.17 lakh in 2014-15.

8. The Total Number of Teachers stands at 15,03,156 comprising 57.5 per cent male and 42.5 per cent female.


Validity period of Teachers Eligibility Test qualifying certificate extended from 7 years to lifetime


Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal announced that Government has decided to extend the validity period of Teachers Eligibility Test qualifying certificate from 7 years to lifetime with retrospective effect from 2011.

The respective State Governments and UTs will take necessary action to revalidate/issue fresh TET certificates to those candidates whose period of 7 years has already elapsed, he added.

Mr Pokhriyal said this will be a positive step in increasing the employment opportunities for candidates aspiring to make a career in the teaching field.


YUVA programme launched for Mentoring Young Authors


The Ministry of Education, Department of Higher Education has launched YUVA - Prime Minister's Scheme For Mentoring Young Authors, an Author Mentorship programme to train young and budding authors (below 30 years of age) in order to promote reading, writing and book culture in the country, and project India and Indian writings globally.

YUVA (Young, Upcoming and Versatile Authors), which was launched yesterday, is in tune with PM's vision to encourage young writers to write about India's freedom struggle. 

"This will also prepare a category of thought leaders that will decide the course of the future," said PM.

YUVA is a part of the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav to bring to the fore the perspectives of the young generation of writers on themes like Unsung Heroes, Freedom Fighters, Unknown and Forgotten Places and their role in National Movement, and other related themes in an innovative and creative manner. This scheme will thus help to develop a stream of writers who can write on a spectrum of subjects to promote Indian heritage, culture and knowledge system.

The National Book Trust, India under the Ministry of Education as the Implementing Agency will ensure phase-wise execution of the Scheme under well-defined stages of mentorship.


High level meeting to be held tomorrow to discuss conduct of Class XIIth exams, professional courses entrance exams


A high-level virtual meeting will be convened tomorrow with all the States/UT Education Ministers, Education Secretaries and Chairpersons of State Examination Boards and stakeholders to discuss the proposals for the conduct of exams for Class XII and entrance examinations for professional courses.

The meeting will be chaired by Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in the presence of Union Minister for Education Ramesh Pokhriyal, Union Minister for Women and Child Smriti Zubin Irani and Union Minister Information and Broadcasting Prakash Javadekar.

In a letter written by the Union Education Minister to States/UTs, he has stated that the Department of School Education and Literacy, Ministry of Education and CBSE are exploring options regarding the conduct of examinations, keeping in mind the safety and security of the students and the teachers. The Department of Higher Education is also deliberating upon the finalization of the dates of examinations for institutions of higher learning.

The letter has noted that COVID-19 pandemic has affected various areas including the Education sector, particularly the board exams and entrance exams. In view of the prevailing situation, almost all the State Education Boards, CBSE and ICSE have postponed their Class XII examinations, 2021. Similarly, the National Testing Agency (NTA) and other National exam conducting institutions have also postponed the entrance exams for admissions to professional courses.

As the conduct of Class XII examinations impacts upon State Board exams and other entrance exams across the country, and to reduce uncertainty among students it is desirable that a considered decision-based on inputs of different State Governments and UT Administrations is taken about Class XII CBSE examinations in the interest of all the students across the country.

Mr Pokhriyal has also sought inputs from all the stakeholders - students, parents,  teachers and others through Twitter.


FakeBuster, a way to safer virtual meets


A unique detector named 'FakeBuster' has been developed by researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology, Ropar in Punjab and Monash University, Australia to identify imposters attending a virtual conference without anybody’s knowledge.  

It is also capable of detecting faces manipulated on social media to defame or make a joke of someone.

In the present pandemic scenario when most of the official meetings and work is being done online, this standalone solution enables a user (organizer) to detect if another person's video is manipulated or spoofed during a video conferencing. That means the technique will find out if some imposter is attending a Webinar or virtual meeting on behalf of one of your colleagues by morphing his image with his own. 

"Sophisticated artificial intelligence techniques have spurred a dramatic increase in manipulation of media contents. Such techniques keep evolving and become more realistic. That makes detection difficult which could have far-reaching security implications," said Dr Abhinav Dhall, one of the key members of a four-man team that developed the 'FakeBuste'. "The tool has achieved over 90 per cent accuracy" assures Dr Dhall. The other three members include Associate Prof Ramanathan Subramanian and two students Vineet Mehta and Parul Gupta.

Dr Dhall said that the usage of manipulated media content in spreading fake news, pornography and other such online content has been widely observed with major repercussions. He said such manipulations have recently found their way into video-calling platforms through spoofing tools based on the transfer of facial expressions. These fake facial expressions are often convincing to the human eye and can have serious implications. These real-time mimicked visuals (videos) known as 'Deepfakes' can even be used during online examinations and job interviews. 

This software platform is independent of video conferencing solutions and has been tested with Zoom and Skype applications.

"The Deepfake detection tool-'FakeBuster' works in both online and offline modes. Since the device can presently be attached with laptops and desktops only we are aiming to make the network smaller and lighter to enable it to run on mobile phones/devices as well," informed Associate Prof Subramanian. He said the team is working on using the device to detect fake audios also.

The team claims that this software platform 'FakeBuster' is one of the first tools to detect imposters during live video conferencing using DeepFake detection technology. The device has already been tested and would hit the market soon.


All offline exams scheduled in May postponed


Due to the second wave of COVID-19, the Ministry of Education urged for the postponement of all offline examinations scheduled in the month of May 2021.

In a letter addressed to all the heads of centrally funded institutions, Secretary, Higher Education Amit Khare has urged the Institutions to postpone all offline examinations scheduled in the month of May 2021. The Online examinations, etc may however continue.

The letter also stated that the decision will be reviewed in the first week of June 2021.

The institutions have been further advised to ensure that if anyone in the institution needs any assistance it should provide immediate possible help so that he/she comes out of the distress at the earliest. All Institutions have to encourage eligible persons to go for vaccination and ensure that everyone follows COVID-19 appropriate behaviour to remain safe.

#COVID19 #MinistryofEducation

Centre develops linkage between educational institutions, Industries and R and D Institutions


The Union Government has taken certain steps for developing the linkage between educational institutions, Industries and R&D Institutions, Union Minister for Education Ramesh Pokhriyal informed in a written reply in the Lok Sabha today.

The steps are as follows:

  1. Impacting Research Innovation & Technology (IMPRINT): This initiative aims at providing solutions to the most relevant engineering challenges and translating knowledge into viable technology in 10 selected technology domains, viz. Health care, energy, sustainable habitat, nanotechnology hardware, water resources and river systems, advanced materials, information and communication technology, manufacturing, security and defence, and environmental science and climate change. It is a pan IITs and IISc Joint Initiative seeking to develop a roadmap for research. During 2018-2019, Rs 46.30 crore and during 2019-2020 Rs 47.20 crore has been released for the same.
  2. Research Park: Research park at IIT Delhi, IIT Guwahati, IIT Kharagpur, IIT Kanpur, IIT Chennai, have been established which provide an interface between entrepreneurship and Industry to establish their R&D units in collaboration with students & faculty members of the IITs. In the year 2020-21 Rs 144.50 crore has been released for the same.
  3. Uchhatar Avishkar Yojana (UAY): This initiative promotes innovation of a higher order that directly impacts the needs of the Industry and thereby improves the competitive edge of Indian manufacturing. The project envisages collaboration between academia and industry - within or outside India.
  4. In order to provide impetus to vocational education, the allocation in 2021-22 for the National Apprenticeship Training Scheme has been kept at Rs 500 crore. Further, UGC has already issued guidelines for the Apprenticeship/Internship Embedded Degree Program.


Linking of OTPRMS certificates with Digi Locker announced with complete waiver of registration fees


Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal today announced that in order to ensure hassle-free access to verified Online Teacher Pupil Registration Management System (OTPRMS) Certificates, the Ministry of Education has decided to link the certificates with DigiLocker.

The issued certificates will automatically be transferred to DigiLocker and the same may be traced at the website of National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) and DigiLocker. DigiLocker App may be downloaded on the Android phone and iPhone.

The Minister also informed that the registration fee of Rs 200, payable for obtaining OTPRMS Certificates, issued by NCTE has been waived off.

#MinistryofEducation #RameshPokhriyal

STARS to strengthen education in India

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi today approved the following:                                   

  1. Implementation of the Strengthening Teaching-Learning and Results for States (STARS) project with a total project cost of Rs 5,718 crore with the financial support of World Bank amounting to USD 500 million (approximately Rs 3,700 crore). 
  2. STARS project would be implemented as a new Centrally Sponsored Scheme under the Department of School Education and Literacy, Ministry of Education. (MOE) 
  3. Setting up and support to the National Assessment Centre, PARAKH as an independent and autonomous institution under the Department of School Education and Literacy, MOE. 

The project covers six States namely Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala and Odisha. The identified States will be supported by various interventions for improving the quality of education. Besides this project, it is also envisaged to implement a similar ADB funded project in 5 states namely Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand and Assam. All states will partner with one other state for sharing their experiences and best practices, a government release issued today stated.

The STARS project seeks to support the states in developing, implementing, evaluating and improving interventions with direct linkages to improved education outcomes and school to work transition strategies for improved labour market outcomes. The overall focus and components of the STARS project are aligned with the objectives of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020. 

The Project envisions improving the overall monitoring and measurement activities in the Indian School Education System through interventions in selected states. The project shifts focus from the provision of inputs and maintaining outputs to actual outcomes by linking the receipt and disbursement of funds to these outcomes, the release added.

#UnionCabinet #STARS #MinistryofEducation #NarendraModi #NationalEducationPolicy2020