HRD asks architecture council to stay out of exam regulations

The Council of Architecture (CoA) may have to withdraw its proposal to make a single national entrance test mandatory for admission to all architecture institutions as the HRD Ministry has reportedly questioned its authority to take such a decision. In a meeting called by the ministry on Tuesday, CoA president Biswaranjan Nayak was told that the council is expected only to register architects and regulate their practice and that maintaining standards of architectural education was outside of its purview. Nayak was then asked to review CoA’s proposal to make a common entrance test mandatory from 2018.

As earlier reported by The Indian Express on June 24, the Executive Committee (EC) of the Council had approved a new regulation — ‘Council of Architecture National Architecture Entrance Examination Regulations 2018 — on May 30 making a national level exam, conducted by an agency or CoA itself, mandatory for admissions in all undergraduate architectural programmes in all government and private institutions from the academic session 2018-19. It proposed to ban any other institution, university and agency from conducting an entrance test for architecture admissions.

On June 9, CoA registrar R K Oberoi circulated draft regulations for the approval of the council members. Oberoi’s letter said the regulations were approved by the Executive Committee as one of the measures to “improvise standards of architectural education in India”. Apart from Council members, a copy of the draft regulations was also shared with the HRD Ministry. A R Ramanathan, who is AICTE’s nominee to the CoA, and Habeeb Khan, who is Maharashtra government’s nominee, had replied to Oberoi’s letter objecting to the unilateral decision without consulting council members. The Executive Committee is a smaller seven-member body within the council which is supposed to execute decisions of the council.

The HRD ministry, however, is more concerned with the CoA encroaching in the government’s territory. The Ministry is learnt to have told Nayak during Tuesday’s meeting that whether admission to architecture institutions is to be done through a common entrance test or not is the government’s prerogative. Currently, most institutions offering architecture courses admit students through the score of the National Aptitude Test in Architecture, conducted by the CoA.

MPSC State Service exam 2017 final answer keys released at mpsc.gov.in

The Maharashtra Public Service Commission (MPSC) has released the final answer keys of the State Service preliminary exam 2017 on its official website – mpsc.gov.in. The preliminary examination was held on April 2, 2017. The Commission has on April 12 published the preliminary answer keys. Candidates can raise their objections to the answer keys by April 12. For submitting the objections, one need to mention the name of the exam (State Service Pre Exam 2017), question number and paper set (A, B, C, D).

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MPSC answer keys 2017, here’s how to download 
Step 1: Go to the official website of MPSC (mpsc.gov.in).
Step 2: On the homepage, under the recent news section, click on State Service preliminary Paper 1 and 2 answer keys
Step 3: The keys for all sets will appear
Step 4: Download and verify with your answer sheet
Earlier, the MPSC had released a notification to fill 155 posts through the State Service Exam 2017. There are two papers – in Paper 1 , 100 questions are asked of 200 marks while in Paper 2, 80 questions were asked.
The Maharashtra State Service Pre Exam was conducted across 37 cities. The candidates will be shortlisted on the basis of performance in the preliminary and main exam. Now that the answer keys have been released, MPSC will soon release the results.

The Commission will conduct the main exam in September.

SSC CGL 2017: Tier 1 exam in August, know how to prepare

SSC CGL 2017: Examinations conducted by the Staff Selection Commission (SSC) are ranked high in importance among job seekers across the country. About 15 lakh aspirants appear for the Combined Graduate Level (CGL) exam conducted by the SSC and this year, the commission announced the it received 30,26,598 online applications for the SSC CGL tier 1 exam.

The exam will be conducted from August 1 to August 20, 2017 in four tiers. With only half a month left for the exam, it is time gear up the preparation and formulate a proper plan to be ready for the exam when the day comes. Here are five points that will help you prepare for SSC CGL 2017 tier 1 exam in the last 15 days:

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1. Revision

The best way to revise is by using time you have to go through all topics and not get stuck on a few topics. Students should be aware of their strengths and weaknesses. Sharpen your strong areas to fetch more marks but do not ignore the subjects that you find more difficult. Revise GS as much as possible because it is very wide in its scope.

2. Notes

If you have notes written down in different notebooks and scattered, gather all this and read through them as you sort them in a more compact location and keep the important topics highlighted. Preparing short notes while revising will help you during the last few days before the exam.

3. Mock tests

As the SSC-CGL examination is online, practice online mock tests as these will let you experience an environment similar to the real paper. Analyse the mock tests that you try and check your scores in the different subjects/topics. Prepare a strategy to score well according to your analysis. This will definitely help you in increasing your accuracy and speed.

Do not be afraid to ask help from your teachers or experienced persons for help in case you find some topic difficult. If you are facing difficulties in solving particular questions, asking questions regarding these topics will not only solve the questions you are attempting, but may also help you understand certain topics that you could not before.

5. Take breaks

It is important to spend time on preparation for the exam in these last days. However it is just as important to take care of your physical and mental health. Take breaks between preparation, eat healthy and catch enough sleep. A healthy mind and body are as important in contributing to your performance during the exam as your preparation.

UGC revises qualifying criteria for NET exam

Changes have been introduced by the University Grants Commission (UGC) in the qualifying criteria of the UGC NET (National Eligibility Test). The test, which determines the eligibility of candidates for assistant professor or junior research fellowship in Indian universities and colleges, will take place in October this year. Earlier CBSE had said the exam will take place in November.

According to a statement issued by UGC earlier qualifying criteria for UGC-NET Exam involved qualifying top 15% of those candidates in each subject and category, who obtained the minimum required marks in paper-I, paper-II and paper-III according to the category of the candidates. “Subsequent to the orders of the High Court of Kerala, University Grants Commission had revised the procedure and criteria of qualifying candidates and as such it has been decided that 6% of the total candidates who appear in the UGC-NET examination will be declared qualified”.

However, UGC maintained that as such the number of candidates who would qualify in the future NET examinations is likely to increase. In June 2015 UGC-NET 4.83% had qualified out of those who appeared, in December 2015 4.96%, July 2016 it was 4.08%, January this year 3.99% and in future it will be 6%.

Parent moves Madras HC, says TN Class 11 public exam to put extra burden on kids

Madurai A Madurai resident on Wednesday moved the Madras High Court challenging the Tamil Nadu government’s decision to hold “public examination” at Class 11 level akin to the CBSE-held class 10 and 12-level board examinations.

A Madurai bench of the high court posted the matter for detailed hearing on July 19 after a brief hearing on the issue.

Petitioner K K Ramesh submitted to the bench of justices S S Sasidharan and G R Swaminathan that the government’s move to bring Class 11 students under the ambit of public exams, would put an additional burden on the pupils who work hard to score high marks in Class 10 and, then again, in Class 12.

This would mean hard work for three years successively from Class 10 onwards, leading to sleepless nights and frustration, he said while pleading with the court to quash the government order.

A parent has pleaded that bringing Class 11 students under the ambit of public exams would put an additional burden on the pupils who work hard to score high marks in Class 10 and, then again, in Class 12.

To this, the government counsel submitted that under the present system of examination, the students end up focusing only on plus two syllabus (Class 12) in order to secure engineering and medical seats in reputed institutes, ignoring the plus one (Class 11) syllabus.

By not paying attention to the plus one syllabus, they feel the burden after getting admitted to engineering colleges like Anna University, he said.

He argued that an expert committee set up to analyse the performance of the students during the first year of engineering courses also came to the same conclusion.

Accordingly, the government has decided to hold “public examination” at Class 11 level.

The Tamil Nadu government had in May this year issued orders for conducting public examination for students of Class XI, and proposed to revise school education syllabus “on par with CBSE standards” in the coming years.

 

 

Disabled student unable to board train misses DU exam, Delhi HC issues notice to Railways

The Delhi High Court on Friday issued a suo moto notice against the Railways in connection with an incident wherein a disabled student missed his exam due to lack of proper access for disabled passengers to train coaches.

The court issued a notice and sought a reply from the ministry of railways, the North-Eastern Railways and the University of Delhi (DU).

The court also issued directions to DU to examine the possibilities of conducting an examination for the student, Vaibhav Shukla, to enable him to secure admission, if he qualifies for the course and session for which he had applied.

Delhi University

As per the report, on July 5, Vaibhav Shukla, a 100% visually impaired student had to travel to Delhi to appear in an entrance exam for DU’s M Phil course. When his train arrived at Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao railway station, Shukla went to the coach reserved for the disabled passengers, which was next to the engine.

The doors were locked, after which his brother and the driver tried to open the gates.

However, the passengers in the compartment refused to come forward to open the door.

After he boarded another train and reached Delhi, Shukla informed DU authorities about his plight, but was told that nothing could be done.

Shukla was thus prevented from participating in the entrance exam.

One board and one exam: Is it a good idea?

The last couple of months saw the usual annual frenzy over the results of various board exams and entrance exams. Of late, these announcements are slowly acquiring a certain degree of predictability. The CBSE topper inches closer and closer to the unrealistic 100% total. The Bihar board exam topper routinely goes to jail. We see full-page advertisements from various IIT-training institutes claiming most of the IIT toppers as their own.

In the midst of all these, there was also a significant announcement by the Union minister of human resource development, Prakash Javadekar, saying there would soon be a single national board for India, which would be created by combining boards such as the CBSE, ICSE and others. As it is going to be a central government initiative, it may well be a case of CBSE board attempting to swallow some of the others.

On the face of it, it may not be such a bad idea. We are surely not going to miss the state boards like Bihar board, where ranks and results have been up for sale. Even in other state boards, where exams are conducted scrupulously, the questions are often repeated from the past years. Those staple questions typically test only rote-learning – betraying a lack of imagination and creativity on the part of the question-setters.

Board exams

However, CBSE itself does not come out in flying colours. There are more than 15,000 CBSE schools in all over India. Why is it then that in international tests like PISA and TIMSS, which benchmark school students in various countries, India languishes at the very bottom? Why does the corporate world constantly bemoans India’s unemployable youth?

Why is it that even our best schools are considered to be of poor quality compared to the international standards? In my opinion, the root cause is government regulations of the wrong kind, of which CBSE is the main flag-bearer.

To understand it, sample these rules from CBSE affiliation rulebook:

“The size of the library must be 14m x 8m and it must stock a minimum of 1500 books.”

“The head of the school should have a master’s degree and a degree in education and at least 8 years of teaching experience or 5 years of administrative experience in a recognised high school.”

According to the first rule, we don’t have to care about what sort of books we stock in a school library, we must be concerned more about its size. According to the second rule, our revered former president APJ Abdul Kalam would not have been eligible to run a school if he chose to set one up. Forget about running one – he would not even have been eligible to teach – as he did not have a degree in education.

So if we really have to set up a single national board, we must not use CBSE as the model. We must think anew. We must get over our curious obsession about input rather than output. We should banish the Soviet-style mindset that quality can be controlled by central diktat and a maze of regulations.

If we aim to create a single national board, it should focus on real-life skills and thinking orientation. Instead of dictating classroom sizes, it should promote a vibrant classroom environment. It should offer students a wide variety of choices, rather than forcing on them the same menu of subjects. It should aim to be at par with the best international boards like IB, CIE or Edexcel.

However, that may be too much to ask. Big bang reforms like that have less chance of materialising. Change happens incrementally. And if you look closely at the statement that the minister made, you find a glimmer of hope. He mentions that the main purpose of this single board will be to conduct examinations. If this proposed single board conducts a skill-oriented, world-class, aptitude test – which becomes a single window of the entrance to our colleges – that might well transform Indian education system.

We Indians can do everything if exams demand it. If exams demand that we have real-life skills – our teachers will prioritise those skills and students will try hard to acquire those skills. If exams demand that we get better at thinking, applying logic, and reading proficiently, then there is hope our students and teachers will focus on those areas. So, if there is really a single exam after the 12th standard which is skill-oriented, the whole school education system may change overnight.

This is not such a radical idea. Countries such as the US have a single exam – Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), which is the gateway to most colleges. It will be easy to implement – the minister does not have to take on entrenched boards and force every one of them to conform to the same curriculum. The whole issue of marks disparity between different boards will not arise either.

I run a school which has been celebrated for waging a battle against rote-learning. At Levelfield School, we teach students to read well, apply their mind, solve problems. We won awards, we have been compared to the Phungshuk Wangdu’s dream school. We have been regularly rated among the top-10 schools nationally in standardised tests. But even we are often held back by the stifling regulations of the board. Near the board exam times, our students get derailed from their quest of acquiring 21st-century skills. To find any kind of success (which begins by gaining entry into a college), they must first pay homage to our obsolete system of memory-driven board exams.

So, I would appeal to the minister – change the system. Make it easy for the innovators to create world-class schools in India. Use our obsession for exams to cure our obsession for rote-learning.