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Education

Future Education and Sustainability 

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Future Education and Sustainability 

Altaf Hussain Haji

Foundational literacy and numeracyFor the sustainability of social justice and equality, learning for all is a global agenda. Thus, education is the single important tool for achieving social justice and equality. The education system aims to benefit children so that no child loses any opportunity to learn and excel because of circumstances of birth or background. 

As we know that the Indian education system and government policies have made steady progress towards bridging gender and social category gaps in all levels of school education, disparities still remain, especially at the secondary level. It is particularly true for Socio Educationally Disadvantaged Groups (SEDGs) that have been historically underrepresented in education. , 

There have been various successful policies and schemes, such as targeted scholarships, conditional cash transfers to incentivize parents for sending their children to school, etc. Also, providing bicycles for transport and other such incentives have significantly increased participation of Socio Educationally Disadvantaged Groups in the schooling system in certain areas. These successful policies and schemes need enhancement across the country as per the data available.

The new policy on education reaffirms that bridging the social category gaps in access, participation, and learning outcomes in school education may continue to be one of the main goals of all education sector development programmes for equitable and inclusive education.

In view of the New Education Policy (NEP) 2020, the various critical problems and recommendations made for equitable and inclusive education by the government for foundational literacy and numeracy, access, enrolment, and attendance are particularly relevant and necessary for underrepresented and disadvantaged groups. 

The official and administrative data show that some geographical areas contain significantly larger proportions of Socio Educationally Disadvantaged Groups (SEDGs). These areas have been identified as aspirational districts and require special interventions for promoting their educational development. Hence, it is recommended that regions of the country with a large population from educationally disadvantaged groups should be declared Special Education Zones (SEZs), where all the schemes and policies are implemented to the maximum through additional concerted efforts, to truly change their educational landscape keeping in mind gender-based quality education.

In addition, the Government of India will constitute a ‘Gender-Inclusion Fund’ to build the nation’s capacity to provide equitable quality education for all girls and transgender students. The fund will be available to States to implement priorities determined by the Central government critical for assisting female and transgender children in gaining access to education. These funds will also enable states to support and scale effective community-based interventions that address local context-specific barriers to female and transgender children access to and participation in education. Similarly, inclusive fund schemes should be developed to address access issues for other SEDGs. In essence, this policy aims to eliminate any remaining disparity in access to education (including vocational education) for children from any gender or other socio-economically disadvantaged group.

Education for Children with Disabilities

Ensuring the inclusion and equal participation of children with disabilities in early childhood care and education (ECCE) and the schooling system will also be accorded the highest priority. Children with disabilities will be enabled to fully participate in the regular schooling process from the Foundational Stage to higher education.

According to NEP 2020, schools or school complexes will be provided resources for integrating children with disabilities, recruiting special educators with cross-disability training, and establishing resource centres, wherever needed, especially for children with severe or multiple disabilities.

 It is to mention here that different categories of children with disabilities have different needs that the barrier-free access for all children with disabilities to enable as per the RPWD Act 2016. The children with benchmark disabilities shall have the choice of regular or special schooling. Resource centres in conjunction with special educators will support the rehabilitation and educational needs of learners with severe or multiple disabilities and assist parents or guardians in achieving high-quality homeschooling and skilling of such students. Home-based education will continue to be a choice available for children with severe and profound disabilities who are unable to go to school. The children under home-based education must be treated as equal to any other child in the general system. There shall be an audit of home-based education for its efficiency and effectiveness using the principle of equity and equality of opportunity. Guidelines for home-based schooling shall be developed based on this audit in line with the RPWD Act 2016. While it is clear that the education of all children with disabilities is the responsibility of the state, technology-based solutions are to be used for the orientation of parents/caregivers along with wide-scale dissemination of learning materials to enable parents or caregivers to actively support their child’s learning needs will be accorded on priority. 

Schools and school complexes will work for providing all children with disabilities accommodations and support mechanisms tailored to suit their needs and to ensure their full participation and inclusion in the classroom. In particular, assistive devices and appropriate technology-based tools, as well as adequate and language-appropriate teaching-learning materials, will be made available to help children with disabilities integrate more easily into classrooms and engage with teachers and their peers. Most classrooms have children with specific learning disabilities who need continuous support.

It is the duty of teachers to help identify such learning disabilities early and plan specifically for their mitigation. Specific actions will include the use of appropriate technology, allowing and enabling children to work at their own pace with flexible curricula to advantage each child’s strengths, and creating an ecosystem for appropriate assessment and certification. Assessment and certification agencies, including the proposed new National Assessment Centre, ensure equitable access and opportunities for all students with learning disabilities. This will also apply to all school activities, including arts, sports, and vocational education.

In the NEP, it is also recommended that all scholarships and other opportunities and schemes available to students under SEDGs will be coordinated and announced by a single agency to ensure that all students are aware of, and can apply in a simplified manner through a ‘single window system’ as per the eligibility.

Further, under the aegis of the Ministry of Defence, opening NCC wings in their secondary and higher secondary schools, including those located in tribal-dominated areas of different states, will be encouraged. This will enable harnessing of the natural talent and unique potential of students, which in turn would help them to aspire to a successful career in the defence forces. 

For all the above policy points, special attention is to be given to reduce the disparities in the educational development of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe students. As a part of the efforts to enhance participation in school education, hostels in dedicated regions, bridge courses, and financial assistance through fee waivers and scholarships be offered to talented and meritorious students from all SEDGs on a larger scale, especially at the secondary stage of education, to facilitate their entry into higher education.

All the above policies and measures are critical to attaining full inclusion and equity for all SEDGs, but they are not sufficient. What is also required is a change in school culture. All participants in the school education system, including teachers, principals, administrators, counsellors, and students, will be sensitized to the requirements of all students, the notions of inclusion and equity, and the respect, dignity, and privacy of all persons. Such an educational culture will provide the best pathway to help students become empowered individuals who, in turn, will enable society to transform into one that is responsible towards its most vulnerable citizens. Inclusion and equity will become key aspects of teacher education, including training for leadership, administrative, and other positions in schools. Efforts are needed to recruit more high-quality teachers and leaders from SEDGs to bring in excellent role models for all students.

 In the end, according to NEP 2020, students are to be sensitized through this new school culture, brought in by teachers, trained social workers and counsellors. As well as through corresponding changes to bring in an inclusive school curriculum. The school curriculum will include, early on, the material on human values such as respect for all persons, empathy, tolerance, human rights, gender equality, nonviolence, global citizenship, inclusion, and equity. It would also include more detailed knowledge of various cultures, religions, languages, gender identities and more to sensitize and develop respect for diversity. Any biases and stereotypes in the school curriculum will be removed, and more material will be included that is relevant and relatable to all communities. The above important mentions will also help to achieve success in process of quality education of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which is the main thrust for development and wellbeing at this stage of each UN member country for their nations.

Altaf Hussain Haji, ISS, is Deputy Director General National Statistical Office, Shimla. He can be contacted at [email protected]

AgriBiz

DDG ICAR on SKUAST-K visit to reviews World Bank-funded NAHEP

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DDG ICAR on SKUAST-K visit

BK Media

Srinagar, June 9: Deputy Director General (DDG) of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), New Delhi, Dr Rakesh Chandra Agrawal reviewed the institutional development plan (IDP) of Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural University of Sciences and Technology of Kashmir under the World Bank-ICAR funded National Agricultural Higher Education Project (NAHEP) and presided over a series of functions here at Shalimar campus on Thursday.

Dr Agrawal, who is also the National Director of NAHEP, is on a three-day visit to SKUAST-K to assess the progress of the prestigious Rs 30-crore project awarded to the farm university in July 2019.

The DDG, while addressing the review meeting on early Thursday morning, complimented SKUAST-K for being one of the top performers under the NAHEP. He said among 64 farm universities and institutes, SKUAST-K is doing remarkably well under the project, and both ICAR and World Bank monitoring and evaluation teams have given excellent reviews and have rated the SKUAST-K performance as outstanding.

While talking about the implementation of NEP-2020 in agricultural universities, Dr Agrawal said now the focus should be on own revenue generation so that these institutions can become self-reliant by 2035 as required by the policy. He said SKUAST-K has a lot of opportunities to create its revenue model from various entrepreneurial ventures and services it can provide.

While appreciating SKUAST-K’s proactive role in sending its faculty and students for overseas trainings and exposure trips, Dr Agrawal said, to become a global university, SKUAST-K must now work on bringing international students to the university and organise international programmes. During the meeting, he also interacted with the SKUAST-K students, who are on a visit to Kansas State University, USA. He said this kind of exposure helps making students future leaders and provides them with the confidence to overcome various challenges while building their careers.

The DDG stressed providing an eco-system to students so that after leaving the university they won’t be dependent on government jobs rather open their own entrepreneurial ventures.

Vice Chancellor, SKUAST-K, Prof Nazir Ahmad Ganai, while briefing the DDG about the progress of SKUAST-K under NAHEP said that the place the university has made for itself among the top farm institutions of the country is only because of the ICAR support and NAHEP. The changes that have happened in the university and the milestones achieved are because of the NAHEP. He said the university is conducting every day an event, training or workshop under the NAHEP.

Prof Ganai said earlier that students in the university would attend classes, complete the degree and go home to wait for a job but due to exposure and skills they got because of the project have changed their mindset. Now they are thinking of themselves as the solution providers. He said that SKUAST-K has to become the agent of change to work for making the J&K farm led bio-economy of the country. He said the project has also inspired us to set the goal of becoming the first innovation-led farm university in the country.

Director Education, Prof MN Khan presented a vote of thanks. OSD to Vice Chancellor, Prof Azmat Alam Khan gave a detailed overview of the NAHEP activities carried out in the university and the impact of these activities in terms of output and outcomes. He said that the university has already four private limited companies and a number of startups are in the process of registration. All the deans, directors HODs, faculty members and students attended the meeting.

DDG ICAR on SKUAST-K visit

On the occasion, the IDP newsletter ‘Agrucation’ and some other publications of the university were also released by the DDG ICAR.

After the review meeting, Dr Agrawal visited the startup exhibition and interacted with the startup founders about their ventures. The startup founders, innovators and faculty members, who went for overseas fellowships under NAHEP, presented their ideas and outcomes. outcomes and ideas

Later, Dr Agrawal inaugurated Vice Chancellor’s Sports Festival. A cultural programme by the students under Dean Students Welfare was also presented.

For the next two days, Dr Agrawal will be visiting the Faculty of Veterinary Sciences and Faculty of Forestry, where he will visit NAHEP created facilities, attend various functions and interact with students.

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Education

Smartphones in Educational System

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Smartphones in Educational System

Khalid Dar

Digitalization is the process of converting information into a digital form. In education, it can be used as a means to increase the efficiency of teaching and learning processes.

Smartphones in Educational System. In this era where one of the most significant challenges facing our society is teaching children all the necessary skills for growing up in a technology-dominated age, it seems imperative that we equip them with the knowledge necessary for them to follow best practices when using new technologies such as smartphones. The digital age has revolutionized the way we do things and so has it changed the way people are getting educated. There is a lot of debate now among people and educators about whether technology should be a part of essential education or not. Some have argued that it helps to apply life skills that can be used in real-life situations, while others think that it distracts students from learning more traditional skills. But as technology progresses, it’s becoming harder to ignore its influence on our lives—especially in the field of education. And with time, banning mobile phones will become an ineffective solution as they are being made more powerful and sophisticated by the day.

With the help of digital tools, students can learn at their own pace and time. They can also access information from all over the world without any geographical boundaries. (NDLI) National Digital Library of India, Project Gutenberg, Khan Academy, etc., are such examples of knowledge repository for students. This is why many schools are integrating digital education into their curriculum. Digital assets can be used to provide guidance and inform students about topics that are relevant in the modern world.

The role of digital assets in our education system has been a topic of discussion for many years. With the advent of new technologies, it is now possible for students to learn anywhere and at any time. We should not ban the use of smartphones in educational institutions. They provide a lot of benefits to the students and teachers. In developing nations like ours, children walk miles in order to get education. As more students are now able to afford smartphones and internet access, so their classrooms are now able to keep up. Smartphones can be a great tool for the education system, especially for poor students who cannot afford primary resources like paper, pencils, costly textbooks and reference books.

As technology continues to evolve, educators are using it more and more in the classroom. The advantages of mobile phones as an educational tool are increasing in numbers every day, making them an essential part of any curriculum plan. There is a research study that has proved that mobile phones can actually improve learning outcomes for students by reducing stress levels and making them more engaged with the lesson. Mobile devices provide an entry point for children to the eLearning world that has never had one before. They allow them to have access to educational materials at all times without having to travel miles just to go to the nearest library or school during the harsh winters or hot humid summers. A digital asset is a significant part of any educational program. They help students develop their digital literacy skills, as well as understand the consequences associated with getting on a particular website or app and how they can avoid them.—

Schools from across the globe are now turning to digital platforms for delivering content. Advantages of digital platforms for education are endless. They provide students with a wide range of resources, thereby giving them a diverse knowledge-base that is necessary for the future. Some of the examples of these resources include videos, eBooks, and simulations- all in one place. This helps students learn better and make connections between different topics which they probably would not have otherwise been able to do on their own. use of digital tools in the education system is becoming a trend. They can help improve students’ performance, it can also be used to capture their interest and provide them with the right kind of information. Digital assets are also making it easier for schools to track a student’s progress, thereby providing teachers with useful feedback that helps them plan their lessons better.

Mobile phones can be a boon for the education system. However, the adverse effects of smartphones in education cannot be ignored. Some studies have shown that academic performance declines when students use mobile phones excessively during lessons. But this does not justify a blanket ban on the use of smartphones by our students, to address this problem, schools should provide counselling to students and make them aware of the harms that illegal and excessive usage of digital devices can do to their academic performance. It is needed to have proper guidance for students to know how to use their mobile phones in an educational environment. This can lead to better efficiency of time, as well as better productivity in the classroom. Counselling plays a role in influencing students to use digital assets properly so that they do not hurt themselves while they are exploring new technology.

It is an important step for the future of our nation to promote digital assets in our education system. With this, remote students can learn better and more effectively. Digital assets are a great idea for the future of the Indian education system as it will provide many benefits to students – from being able to learn better and more effectively to the cost factor associated with teaching now a day.

The author is a teaching assistant in J&K Higher Education Department. You can reach him at [email protected]

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Education

Prof Nilofer Khan becomes first woman VC of Kashmir University   

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Prof Nilofer Khan VC KU

Malik Nisar

Srinagar, May 19: Srinagar, May 19: Lt Governor Manoj Sinha on Thursday appointed Prof Nilofer Khan as the vice chancellor of University of Kashmir.

Prof Khan is the first woman to become the vice chancellor of KU since its inception.

Lt Governor in the exercise of powers vested on him under Section 12 of the Kashmir and Jammu Universities ACT, 1969, in his capacity as the chancellor of University of Kashmir has appointed Prof Khan as the Vice-Chancellor of University of Kashmir, for the period of three years, mentions the order issued by the Raj Bhawan here.

Prof Khan worked as a senior professor at the KU’s Department of Home Science. She has vast experience as an educationist and administrator and has previously headed various departments and faculties.

She will replace earth-scientist Prof Talat Ahmed whose three-year term ended in August 2021.

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