Times of India | 1 week ago | 19-01-2023 | 06:06 am
AHMEDABAD: The much feared learning loss during two years of Covid pandemic when academics shifted online is indeed a reality. The learning levels of children in the state, both in reading basic text and solving basic math problems, has registered a significant decline as compared to pre-Covid data, revealed findings of the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2022 for Rural India released by Pratham Foundation, Wednesday.The ASER tests for reading and arithmetic involved closed to 16,500 children of the age of 6 to 14 years and 15,200 households.Other noteworthy findings included the fact that government schools recorded a rise in the number of children in 6-14 age groups attending government schools. The pandemic saw this number rise from from 85.6% in 2018 to 90.9% in 2022.Gujarat recorded the sharpest decline of 20 percentage points in Class 8 where only 52% of state students in government schools could read Class 2 level basic text. In pre-Covid times in 2018, 72% of Class 8 students could perform this reading task. State recorded one of the steepest declines in learning in this category across Indian states. The number of Class 5 students who could read Class 2 level basic text also dropped from 52% in 2018 to 33.9% in 2022.The loss was lesser in Class 8 students who could do basic division which fell from 35.8% in 2018 to 31.3% in 2022. Marginal learning loss was recorded in Class 5 students who could do plain division which dropped from 18.4% in 2018 to 14.5% in 2022. In Class 3, number of students who could read Class 2 level text dropped from 32.3% in 2018 to 23.2% in 2022. Here, states like Kerala, Maharashtra and Himachal Pradesh recorded higher decline than Gujarat. The number of Class 3 students who could do substraction which was 22.8% in 2018 was found static at 22.9% in 2022.State education secretary Vinod Rao said that while learning loss due to Covid is universal, internal assessments by the state education department and National Achievement Survey (NAS) have indicated learning loss due to Covid has been minimal in Gujarat as compared to other states. "I will not be able to comment on ASER report as we are yet to study the findings," Rao said.President of Gujarat State Primary Teachers Association Digvijaysinh Jadeja said that absence of physical teaching took a toll on learning. "We are witnessing learning loss among students due to Covid which disrupted physical teaching at schools. Some 25% of students in each Class have suffered learning loss. We have been trying to reverse this by holding extra Classes before and after school hours and hope to reverse the same as soon as possible," Jadeja said. State, however, recorded an improvement in the percentage of multigrade Classrooms for Class 2 and Class 4 (standards with sections) which rose from 50.9% in 2018 to 69.3% schools in 2022. State also recorded an improvement in enrollment of children in the age group 6 to 14 years which increased from 85.6% in 2018 to 90.9% in 2022.
Nashy Chauhan,Director, Anand Niketan group of schoolsAs educators we have to understand when to educate kids about sexuality. Class 1 and 2 are ages when children have to be taught more about their surroundings rather than introducing them to body parts in a way meant for pre-puberty age. We teach children of age 11-12 about the body parts in a scientific language only. I have attended national, international seminars on the subject but have not come across the concept of introducing them to it at such a young age. For class 1-2 students, we stick to good touch and bad touch education, without using anatomical references.PrashantBhimani,Consulting PsychologistAt the age of 6 or 7 children’s cognitive, social and psychological development is underway. It is too early an age to introduce them to human anatomy. I have a simple question to educators who endorse it: ‘Do you take your kids to the moon when they ask about the moon?’ Naming the organs may create other issues of sexual orientation. I am not denying the fact that sexuality education is important and grades 5-6 are the right age to do it.Dhvanit Thakar,ParentAs a parent, I would not want my children to get exposed to subjects that are not appropriate to their age. Through these market-driven and commercial agendas, we have created a world of adults and are snatching away the innocence of children. It is unnatural to expose them to sexuality at such a young age. I believe in sexuality education to children at a right age, when their bodies are going through hormonal changes.Minal Desai,Director, Gems Genesis International SchoolIn our school, we teach the concept of good touch-bad touch without naming the organs. They are only taught to raise objections when touched in an inappropriate manner. At our school, body parts are named and introduced in grade 5-6. We impart such education to students of younger classes only when they raise queries and not push it under the carpet. We also include parents in the process and conduct sessions with the help of counsellors.Jaison Manjaly,Parent, faculty at IIT-GnI support the school (Redbricks) and feel it is a good practice to introduce education of body parts from the beginning. When my son came to us asking questions like: Where did I come from? We introduced him to the process in a responsible manner. His curiosity was addressed and he hasn’t asked the same question again. However, the means of introducing the kids to the subject of sexuality is also important. It’s best to take along the parents in the process.Prof Prashant Das,ParentI would want my kids to be sensitised about sex education and want them to be informed. I wish the narrative on the subject is normalised rather than being scandalised. It is unsettling at a young age to be introduced to sexual jargons. As a parent, I am not qualified to decide the right age and leave that to experts to decide. We need to sensitise young people via school curriculum in a responsible manner to set the tone for their future social behaviour.
AHMEDABAD: Gujarat on Saturday reported the deaths of two Covid patients, both from Banaskantha district. The last time the state recorded two deaths in a day was on September 23, four months ago. Since then Gujarat has witnessed the deaths of 12 patients.While active cases fell to an all-time low in the first two weeks of January, new cases picked up again in the third week with eight on Friday and four on Saturday. In all, Gujarat had 25 active cases on Sunday evening. Of these, 12 are in Ahmedabad and seven in Vadodara."Covid cases are very much under control, and there has been no major change in the sub-variants - as of today, BL, BA, XBB and BN are found in samples collected in the state. The state is carrying out 15,000 tests a day to find new cases," said a senior health department official.
The ATLAS International Faculty Week organized by ATLAS SkillTech University marks a new wave of ‘Internationalization at Home’ in India. It presents the young learners of India with a never-seen-before opportunity to access the best in world-class education from top-ranked universities on their very own campus in Mumbai. Throughout this week, ATLAS SkillTech University will host over 25 distinguished and eminent faculty members from 14 leading UK universities including Imperial College London,University of Bristol, University of Bath, Royal College of Art, University of Arts, London, University of Westminster, Nottingham Trent University and Manchester Metropolitan University. Emphasizing on the significance of this initiative for creating global leaders of the future, Dr. Indu Shahani, President and Chancellor, ATLAS SkillTech University said, “At ATLAS SkillTech University we are committed to empowering the ATLAS students as leaders who can fuel global innovation and impact. The ATLAS International Faculty Week is a reinforcement of our vision of creating meaningful collaborations with highly distinguished faculty to bring in the best of international practices in teaching, learning and research on the ATLAS campus”.During this power-packed week, the international faculty visiting the ATLAS SkillTech University will deliver nearly 400 hours of teaching across 175 credit-bearing sessions at the intersection of Design, Technology, Entrepreneurship and Management. Masterclasses, lectures and workshops have been designed to reflect the international curriculum, coursework, pedagogy and culture from universities that are considered the Ivy-League of UK. Highlighting the global impact created by the initiative taken by ATLAS SkillTech University, Dr. Veselina Stoyanova from the University of Birmingham said “The International Faculty Week by ATLAS SkillTech University will serve as a fundamental building block to add onto synergies between the East and the West. It lays a strong foundation to teach, learn, share and exchange knowledge that will enable us to collectively address global challenges around climate change, urban living, rising world population and various other issues”.Nearly 3000 ATLAS students will have the opportunity to be a part of this initiative and explore a diverse range of subjects such as Digital Finance, International Business Dynamics, Data Visualization, Sustainable Fashion Futures, Creative Entrepreneurship and Interaction Design. These new-age subjects have been very specifically curated by ATLAS SkillTech University to meet industry demands for jobs of the future and to enable the ISDI & ISME students with a global perspective on the most pressing topics being discussed globally.During one such interaction, Professor Iwona Abrams from the University of Westminster said, “It is impressive to see the level of conversation the students of ATLAS SkillTech University have been able to engage in and the personal connect they have established with us in such a short span of time. It clearly demonstrated that this initiative is a two-way exchange and while it will enable the students with international academic experiences, it will also be a unique opportunity for us faculty to find great takeaways from these young and bright ATLAS students”.The success of this landmark global initiative has established that ATLAS SkillTech University is on the forefront of reimagining the globalization of Indian higher education.Get in touch for more info.Abhinav Madan, Director – Strategy & Growth Operations+91 99309 25993, firstname.lastname@example.org
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has pulled up the Uttar Pradesh government for not taking action regarding an earlier commission direction, issued on December 8 last year, in which it had asked the state government to investigate allegations that Hindu children were being taught at madrasas. The commission had also written to the Uttar Pradesh chief secretary to map the unmapped madrasas in the state.In his letter to the special secretary of the minorities department of the UP government on Friday, NCPCR chairperson Priyank Kanoongo has said that while directions to the chief secretary had been forwarded to the department for “necessary compliance”, no action has been taken so far. “…no action taken report in compliance as sought by the commission has been received from your good office in the matter,” the letter says.The NCPCR has asked the UP government to take “urgent appropriate action in the matter”. It has also directed the UP government to submit an action-taken report to the commission within the next three days.Kanoongo has further raised the issue of the UP State Madrasa Board chairman allegedly saying that children of other faiths would be taught at madrasas.“Besides, the commission has come across various media reports wherein the chairman of UP State Madrasa Education Board Dr Iftikhar Ahmed Javed has given irrelevant and divergent statements in various media, advocating the continuance of children of other faiths in the madrasas. The commission totally disagrees with the statement of the chairman of UP State Madrasa Education Board which not only violates the constitutional rights of the children but also shows disrespect to the commission’s mandate,” it has said.“We have been receiving reports and complaints from UP that Hindu children are being taught at madrasas in the state. Why should this be? The UP madrasa board was set up to ensure that children studying at madrasas also receive some kind of formal education to make them employable. But this has not been the case. The medium of instruction, as prescribed by the board, is Arabic, Persian and Urdu – how can children build their careers based on this and without appropriate knowledge of English or Hindi? Besides this, the instructions imparted at these madrasas is religious in nature and about Islam – why should Hindu children learn this,” said Kanoongo, speaking with The Indian Express.
Search for the word “climate” on Twitter and the first automatic recommendation isn’t “climate crisis” or “climate jobs” or even “climate change” but instead “climate scam.” Clicking on the recommendation yields dozens of posts denying the reality of climate change and making misleading claims about efforts to mitigate it.Such misinformation has flourished on Twitter since it was bought by Elon Musk last year, but the site isn’t the only one promoting content that scientists and environmental advocates say undercuts public support for policies intended to respond to a changing climate.“What’s happening in the information ecosystem poses a direct threat to action,” said Jennie King, head of climate research and response at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, a London-based nonprofit.“It plants those seeds of doubt and makes people think maybe there isn’t scientific consensus.” The institute is part of a coalition of environmental advocacy groups that on Thursday released a report tracking climate change disinformation in the months before, during and after the U.N. climate summit in November. The report faulted social media platforms for, among other things, failing to enforce their own policies prohibiting climate change misinformation.It is only the latest to highlight the growing problem of climate misinformation on Twitter. Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, allowed nearly 4,000 advertisements on its site — most bought by fossil fuel companies — that dismissed the scientific consensus behind climate change and criticized efforts to respond to it, the researchers found.In some cases, the ads and the posts cited inflation and economic fears as reasons to oppose climate policies, while ignoring the costs of inaction. Researchers also found that a significant number of the accounts posting false claims about climate change also spread misinformation about U.S. elections, COVID-19 and vaccines.Twitter did not respond to questions from The Associated Press. A spokesperson for Meta cited the company’s policy prohibiting ads that have been proven false by its fact-checking partners, a group that includes the AP. The ads identified in the report had not been fact-checked.Under Musk, Twitter laid off thousands of employees and made changes to its content moderation that its critics said undercut the effort. In November, the company announced it would no longer enforce its policy against COVID-19 misinformation. Musk also reinstated many formerly banned users, including several who had spread misleading claims about climate change. Instances of hate speech and attacks on LGBTQ people soared.Tweets containing “climate scam” or other terms linked to climate change denial rose 300% in 2022, according to a report released last week by the nonprofit Advance Democracy. While Twitter had labeled some of the content as misinformation, many of the popular posts were not labeled. Musk’s new verification system could be part of the problem, according to a report from the Center for Countering Digital Hate, another organization that tracks online misinformation.Previously, the blue checkmarks were held by people in the public eye such as journalists, government officials or celebrities. Now, anyone willing to pay $8 a month can seek a checkmark. Posts and replies from verified accounts are given an automatic boost on the platform, making them more visible than content from users who don’t pay.When researchers at the Center for Countering Digital Hate analyzed accounts verified after Musk took over, they found they spread four times the amount of climate change misinformation compared with users verified before Musk’s purchase.Verification systems are typically created to assure users that the accounts they follow are legitimate. Twitter’s new system, however, makes no distinction between authoritative sources on climate change and anyone with $8 and an opinion, according to Imran Ahmed, the center’s chief executive.“We found,” Ahmed said, “it has in fact put rocket boosters on the spread of lies and disinformation.”