The Indian Express | 1 week ago | 24-06-2022 | 05:35 am
The first STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) laboratory in Gujarat was set up in Adarsh Primary School at Telav village of Sanand taluka of Ahmedabad. According to the Directorate of Information, “STEM laboratory project is a project-based, hands-on learning solution that enables students to use their knowledge. It is a mini science centre which is benefiting children from surrounding schools.”The laboratory has been set up with the help of two voluntary organisations Yuva Unstoppable and Curio O Box. “It took 15-20 days to build up the lab. Around two months back the lab was set up. It has 35-40 table tops equipped with experimental equipment. It allows 4-5 students at one such table,” said Utsav Patel, from Yuva Unstoppable.“STEM- Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths laboratory is provided by us to various schools. It is in tandem with the New Education Policy (NEP) of the government,” said Kushal Thakkar, the founder of Curio O Box. Principal of Adarsh Primary School Vijaybhai Patel said the initiatve was made possible with the help of Mukesh N Patel, the District Primary Education Officer, Ahmedabad“The lab was set up before the summer vacation. It’s been just a week that we have reopened the school and it is yetto become fully functional,” said Vijayabhai Patel.
China has been steadily climbing the world university rankings over the past decade as it continues to promote policies that strengthen the performance of its high-potential institutions on ranking metrics. The indianexpress.com analysed rankings data of Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) and Times Higher Education (THE) over the past decade to find that Chinese higher education institutions are consistently improving their share in the top-500 pie even as the dominance of countries like the US and UK has waned in recent years. Read |IISc top Indian university, overtakes IITs: QS World University RankingsIn QS World University Rankings (WUR), China has increased its tally in the global top-500 list from 16 universities in 2012 to 26 in 2022. In fact, in the latest edition, for the first time, China is home to two of the world’s top 15 universities — Peking University (12th rank) and Tsinghua University (14th rank). More Chinese universities have also broken into the top 500 club of the Times Higher Education (or THE) Rankings in the last decade. China’s representation in the top 500 here has gone up from 11 in 2016 to 24 in 2022.The performance of Indian universities pales in comparison. There were seven Indian universities in the top 500 of the QS WUR in 2012. That number has increased to just eight. Similarly, as many as 71 Indian institutes participated in the Times Rankings in 2022 compared to 69 in 2021, but only four figured in the top 500. In 2016, India had five universities in the top 500.Meanwhile, first-world countries like the US and the UK continue to dominate the top 500 of world rankings but their share of universities in this group is shrinking. For instance, in the QS rankings, the US had 103 institutes in the top 500 in 2012, which came down to 87 in 2022. The UK, on the other hand, had 52 universities in the top 500 in 2012, which is down to 48 in 2022. Other countries such as Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Spain, too, have seen their tally in the best 500 universities decrease over 10 years. Performing on research metricsThe relentless rise of Chinese universities in the QS Rankings has been powered by their performance on parameters such as academic reputation, employer reputation, and faculty-student ratio. However, it’s the ‘Citations per Faculty’ parameter, where China really shines. The ‘Citations per Faculty’ parameter represents the total number of citations received by all papers produced by an institution across a five-year period by the number of faculty members at that institution. Most Chinese universities — including Peking University (96.7 out of 100), Tsinghua University (98.1 out of 100), Shanghai Jiao Tong University (97.1), University of Science and Technology of China (99.9), and Nanjing University (96.1) — score very high on this metric. “Where patterns emerge for any given country as a group, those that gain have typically demonstrated a fixed or increasing level of real-term investment in higher education and research over several years,” said Ben Sowter, QS Senior Vice President.Sowter added, “Such investment programmes, tend to be high-profile and in addition to enabling the uplift of individual institutions, also draw attention to the country as a whole, either as a destination for students and faculty or as fertile ground for partnership and collaboration. The target in these cases is better, more competitive, more recognised universities – and in due time, the rankings tend to reflect this.”As per Times ranking parameters in 2022, Chinese universities score high on teaching (eg: Peking University’s score of 91.4 out of 100), research (eg: Tsinghua University’s score of 95.7 out of 100) and industry income (eg Zhejiang University, Shanghai Jiao Tong University score a perfect 100 on this metric). Excellence initiatives’Phil Baty, Chief Knowledge Officer, Times Higher Education, told indianexpress.com, that China’s gains in global rankings coincide with a series of state-sponsored decisions and policies (known as ‘excellence initiatives’) that are designed to improve academic research and, hence, consequently, boost the competitiveness of its leading universities.“China’s is perhaps the most significant initiative in the world – for three decades now it has been supporting a relatively small group of universities with a major injection of additional funding, but also a range of policies to support excellence in higher education, including, for example, policies to attract leading Chinese scholars who had established careers abroad to return to China and help strengthen their universities, and policies to support the development of strong research cultures and incentives to publish research in the world’s leading international journals,” said Baty.China has also substantially increased funding for its universities during the past decade. Between 2012 and 2021, the Chinese government is now spending twice the amount it did on higher education — from $24 billion to $47 billion.**Total universities in top 500 rankings Filling the gapDespite a huge number of international students choosing to study in China, its universities have failed to achieve high scores in the international student ratio parameters in both QS and Times world rankings. China still sends most of its students abroad for study, mainly to universities in the West. “But, it is now very competitive in attracting international students as some of its universities now compete with the best in the world,” added Baty of Times Higher Education.Akshay Chaturvedi, Founder and CEO, Leverage Edu, also told indianexpress.com that China and Russia have had the largest outbound student population over the last two to three decades, as a result of which they are now in a phase where top universities want to set up domestic shops.“This led to more investment, more competition, and many newer universities—all of which in turn attract the world’s best faculty, including a lot of returnees. Second, both China and Russia, and more prominently the former, have demonstrated great focus in mapping higher education to the country’s macro focus areas i.e not doing everything under the sun and instead focusing on subjects of study where the country actively requires more future talent, like manufacturing previously and hard-tech now,” added Chaturvedi.Rohit Kumar Yadav, a fourth-year MBBS student at Shihezi University, told indianexpress.com that most students who opt to study at a Chinese university pursue MBBS courses. The situation is similar at Russian universities that mostly attract medicine students.“One of the reasons Indians flock to China to pursue MBBS degrees is the low tuition fee. The average annual fee for MBBS courses in China is 21,000 Chinese Yuan (Rs 2.5 lakh), whereas the annual fee at an Indian private medical college ranges from Rs 4 lakh to Rs 20 crore. Another reason could be the cutthroat competition for a high rank in the NEET-UG (National Eligibility cumEntrance Test-Undergraduate), where over 16 lakh students take the exam for over 83,000 MBBS seats,” said Yadav.
From less than 50 per cent in Class 10 and over 100 students enrolled outside the village to private schools commuting a distance of as much as 100 kilometre, Kubadharol High School did a turn around to over 93 per cent result and not a single student from the village seeking secondary education outside the village.With the community resolution passed in 2017, Kubadharol, a small village in Sabarkantha district’s Vadali taluka, not only provided infrastructure to the village school but also decided that no parent will send their children outside the village for studies.“Until 2017-18, over 100 children from the village would go to private schools as far as Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad. The same year, the school’s Class 10 result was less than 50 per cent,” Kubadharol Yuvak Mandal chairman Ravindra K Patel said.“The same year, villagers got together, arranged for infrastructure in the school like computers and projectors while the Ahmedabad-based Dr K R Shroff Foundation helped the school with their teachers for Class 9 and 10. We held meetings with parents and passed a resolution that no child would leave the village for secondary education,” Patel added.The Yuvak Mandal is managing the high school—Class 9 and 10 of the Kubadharol grant-in-aid high school attached to the government primary school.Ravindra is one such parent whose son Chaitanya cleared Class 10 from the village with 87 per cent in 2020 while his daughter Nishtha, studying in Class 9, has achieved the first position in the National Merit cum Means Scholarship (NMMS) exam.Convincing parents was not easy initially, says Hiteshbhai Patel, the Prinicpal of Kubadharol High School. “We held repeated meetings with all the parents and convinced them that with the infrastructure facilities like digital aids and teachers available at the school, it is at par with any other private school to which they are sending their children,” Patel said.“It was tough initially but gradually as the results started improving, parents had faith in us and things got better. In 2020 SSC exam, 36 students had appeared in board exam, out of which, 78 per cent could clear. This year in the Class 10 exam, 30 students had appeared, out of which, 28 students could clear Class 10 with a pass percentage of over 93 per cent while 3 students have scored more than 90 per cent” he added.Vasubhai Patel, father of Kavya, who secured 94 per cent in 2022 Class 10 Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board results, said, “Because there were no teachers in secondary school, students were forced to move out of village for Class 9 and 10. But after Kubadharol school got support from the foundation with Math, Science and English teachers for Class 9 and 10 students and the infrastructure improved, we decided to not send our children outside the village and we are happy that we took this decision.”“Dr K R Shroff Foundation started working with Kubadharol school in 2012. At that point of time, children of farm labours and from economically weak background were studying in government primary schools and majority of the village children were studying in private schools in Vadali. Gradually, the school result and student attendance improved due to committed and dedicated effort made by Dr K R Shroff Foundation teachers,” says Uday Desai, president Dr K R Shroff Foundation.This also saw the increase in enrollment at the school. From an enrollment in the higher school (Class 9 and 10) to 52 in the year 2017, it is 76 in the year 2022-23.
The keys were handed over by Ambassador Naveen Srivastava in the presence of Devendra Paudel, Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, who also graced the event. Gifting of 75 ambulances also coincides with the India@75 celebrations being marked this year to commemorate 75 years of India’s Independence, the Indian Embassy said.In his remarks during the event, Ambassador Srivastava said that this has been one of the long-standing traditions of the Government of India under the Nepal-India Development Partnership Programme to bolster the efforts of Government of Nepal to strengthen its infrastructure in health and education.He also highlighted that this is part of the very robust and strong development partnership between India and Nepal, which has a long history and legacy, and has geographical spread throughout Nepal, touching people’s lives and bringing out a tangible progress in the development journey of Nepal.Minister Poudel, in his remarks, appreciated India’s various ongoing developmental projects in Nepal and said that these will continue to strengthen people-to-people connect and the bilateral relations between the two countries.Since 1994, India has gifted 940 ambulances and 184 school buses to various beneficiary organisations spread across various districts of Nepal, till date.It is part of Government of India’s continued support for the efforts of Nepal to strengthen health and education facilities and also facilitating easy physical access to these services, the embassy said.
Ahmedabad-based Gujarat State Cooperative Agriculture and Rural Development Bank Ltd, popularly known as Kheti Bank, Tuesday declared a 20 per cent dividend–the highest yet in its 70-year history. It also amended its rules to provide gold and education loans to farmers.“For the first time in the history of Kheti Bank, we announced a dividend of 20 per cent. The 70th Annual General Meeting (AGM) was called after four years. We could not call the meeting earlier due to the absence of the custodian. The meeting falls under the purview of the custodian,” Dollarrai Kotecha, chairman of the bank, said on the sidelines of the AGM. The dividend declared by the bank has never been above 12 per cent.In the financial year 2021-22, Kheti Bank clocked a net profit of Rs 29.29 crore, more than double the Rs 11.5 croreclocked in 2020-21. During the AGM held Tuesday, the bank also amended some of its rules and provided more credit to its three lakh members, who are mostly farmers.Under the changed rules, a farmer-member can avail 85 per cent of the valuation of the gold in his possession as a loan. Members have also been allowed to loan up to Rs 20 lakh if any of his kin is planning to travel overseas for studies. Similarly, a farmer could get a loan of up to Rs 10 lakh for building a house or purchasing a car or motorcycle. Under the changed rules, loans from the bank have also been made available for marriages and for incurable diseases within the family.🚨 Limited Time Offer | Express Premium with ad-lite for just Rs 2/ day 👉🏽 Click here to subscribe 🚨“We have always wanted to give gold loans. But we did not have the supporting infrastructure needed for this. Now, we will begin from six to seven locations,” K B Upadhyay, managing director of Kheti Bank, told The Indian Express. The bank will also be giving out education loans and credit for purchase of house, car or for marriage for the first time. “We will be asking for gold or property to be mortgaged against such loans,” said Upadhyay, a retired IAS official.The bank disbursed total loans worth Rs 158.28 crore during the financial year 2021-22. Officials from the bank said it disburses loans for more than 300 activities under the farm and non-farm sectors.
The Labour Skill Development and Employment Department of Gujarat signed an MoU with BBZ Arnsberg, Germany, to enhance the quality in technical, vocational education and training institutions.The MoU aims to create better job opportunities for students. The state labour department and BBZ intend to carry out knowledge sharing, joint workshops, exchange of experts, students and faculty. They will also exchange ideas for curriculum development and examination.Principal Secretary Labour Skill Development and Employment Dr Anju Sharma and senior officials attend the MoU signing ceremony. Anju Sharma said, “Focusing on dual vocational, education and training system, which is very effectively working in Germany, this MoU will help bring trainingexpertise and best practices with the collaboration of industries in Gujarat.”