Saturday, October 31, 2015

Universities can revive learning in Muslim world: Study

Universities in the Muslim world must become meritocracies with greater autonomy and aspire for true scientific excellence rather than playing for temporary gains in numbers or rankings, a new report says.

The recommendations came from a task force of international experts, formed by the Muslim World Science Initiative on the state of science at universities of the Muslim world.

To assess the state of science at the universities, the task force reviewed the rankings of Muslim-world's universities globally, scientific production (number of papers published and citations), the level of spending on research and development (R&D), female participation in the scientific workforce, and other indicators.

The results were compared to those of countries deemed comparable in terms of gross domestic product (GDP) per capita, e.g. Brazil, Israel, Spain, South Africa, and South Korea.

The study found that science education in most Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) member countries was extremely narrow in focus and did little to enable students to think critically, especially beyond their respective domains of specialty.

The task force has called for broad liberal education for scientists and engineers to enable them to function effectively in addressing complex multi-disciplinary challenges that the world faces today.

It called for the introduction and systematic study of philosophy of science and history of the sciences of the Muslim 'Golden Age' and beyond for students to navigate and develop a perspective on these difficult disciplinary boundaries and overlaps.

The language of instruction also created significant challenges.

Faculty members were also ill-trained to teach using cutting-edge methods such as inquiry-based science education and had little autonomy to innovate.

Director of the project Athar Osama noted that "the purpose of Muslim World Science Initiative is to jumpstart a dialogue within the society on critical issues at the intersection of science, society, and Islam."

A commentary on the findings and recommendations appeared in the science journal Nature.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Distance Education Bureau

About Distance Education

The open and distance learning system in India has emerged as an important mode for providing education to diverse sections of society. Besides, the changing dynamics of the ODL system in the last six decades have been encouraging. With the proliferation in the ICT, the boundaries of classroom or campus are becoming blurred. As it is said, the temporal and spatial boundaries have disappeared ( Kulandaiswamy, 2011). The impressive number of ODL institutions in the country bear testimony to the fact. Single-mode open universities have increased from four in number during the 8th Plan period to 14 in the 10th Plan period. The number of dual mode universities offering programmes through the distance mode (DEIs) has risen to more than 200. This is due to the fact that the growth in the infrastructure for face-to-face instruction is unable to match the educational demands of the ever-increasing number of aspiring students. At present nearly 25% students of higher education in the country are enrolled in the ODL system. 

In the last six decades the ODL system has registered a phenoimenal growth in the context of expansion and diversification of higher education. From a single institution in 1962 ( Delhi University) the number of ODL institutions has reached approximately 250 including Central, State, Deemed to be and Private Universities along with many stand alone institutions.

National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language


The National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language (NCPUL) is an autonomous body under the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD), Department of Secondary and Higher Education, Government of India. Set up to promote, develop and propagate Urdu language, Council started its operation in Delhi on April 1, 1996. In its capacity as the National Nodal Agency for the promotion of the Urdu language NCPUL is the principal coordinating and monitoring authority for promotion of Urdu language and Urdu education

The main objectives for which the Council has been established are:

  • To promote, develop and propagate Urdu language.
  • To take action for making available in Urdu language the knowledge of scientific and technological development as well as knowledge of ideas evolved in the modern context.
  • To advise the Government of India on issues connected with Urdu language and having bearing on education as may be referred to it.
  • To undertake other projects for the promotion of Urdu language as may be deemed fit by the Council.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Muslim representation on decline

The release of 2011 census data of religious communities by the registrar-general and the census commissioner of India last week has sparked off debate on its political ramifications, especially when the proportion of Muslims to total population has increased modestly in contrast to the slight decline in the percentage of Hindus. In absolute terms, however, the population of Hindus at 96.63 crore is 5.6 times that of the Muslims (17.22 crore) as per the latest census. 

There is no cause for alarm, though, because the decennial growth rate of Muslims during 2001-2011 has declined compared to earlier decades. Moreover, the growth rate of Muslims is in tune with that of the majority community in the Hindi belt and the southern states. The Muslim growth rates are declining faster in the southern states in tune with the trends for other communities. In the northern states, the decline in growth rate for Muslims is somewhat sluggish, again in keeping with the corresponding rate for other communities. 

The religion-wise data for 2011 is bound to be interpreted differently by the demographers, social scientists and politicians. But, the stark reality evident from the 2014 general elections is that amidst the growth in the numbers of Muslims across the country, there is a sharp decline in the representation of this largest minority community in the Lok Sabha. Thus, in the 16th Lok Sabha, there are only 23 MPs belonging to the Muslim minority. Their share in the total strength of 543 members of Lok Sabha thus comes to a measly 4.2 percent. 

There is, certainly, large-scale under-representation of Muslims compared to their population proportion of 14.2 percent. The community must have at least 77 MPs in the Lok Sabha but their number is only 23, accounting for a deficit of 54 members. There is no question of proportional representation for the minorities or other communities under the Constitution, except the reservations provided to Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs). But, the 16th Lok Sabha does not truly reflect the community and caste composition of the country's population, especially the Other Backward Classes (BCs) and the religious minorities. 

In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Muslim MPs were elected only from seven states—West Bengal (8 members), Bihar (4), Jammu & Kashmir & Kerala (3 each), Assam (2) and Tamil Nadu and Telangana (one each), besides one from the union territory of Lakshadweep. These 8 sates and UT account for almost 46 percent of Muslim population in the country. These states have 179 Lok Sabha seats. 

Surprisingly, there is no representation of Muslims from the remaining 22 States and six UTs, including Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Delhi. These 28 unrepresented states and UTs account for 54 percent of Muslim population in India and have 364 Lok Sabha seats. 

Out of the 37 parties represented in the Lok Sabha, only 11 parties have MPs belonging to Muslim community. These include Congress and Trinamool Congress (4 Muslim MPs each), PDP (Kashmir) (3), AIUDF (Assam), IUML (Kerala), CPI-M & NCP (2 each), AIMIM, AIADMK, RJD and LJP (one each). Incidentally, 26 other parties have no representation of Muslims in the Lok Sabha. These parties include the ruling BJP and its allies like Shiv Sena, TDP and Akali Dal, besides TRS, YSRCP, BJD, SP, AAP, JD (U) and CPI. The only NDA constituent with a Muslim MP is LJP of Ram Bilas Paswan. 

The Indian Constitution confers the right of adult franchise on every citizen. Nobody can disenfranchise Indian citizens, whether they are Muslims and other minorities. However, the BJP and allies have shown that without disenfranchising Muslims and other minorities, they can disempower them by denying them tickets to contest the polls on the one hand and by ensuring the defeat of minority candidates fielded by other parties on the other. This is what exactly happened in the 2014 general elections. 

Now, the time has come for all political parties, as well as all secular-minded Indians, irrespective of their community, to ponder over the future of the minorities in this country if the Hindutva forces further consolidate their base to entrench themselves in power for many more years to come. 

Indian democracy will become non-inclusive if almost one-fifth (19.3 percent) of the country's population, comprising mainly Muslim, Christian and Buddhist minorities, remains under-represented in the Lok Sabha. This is a challenge to both the minorities and the Indian polity to preserve and promote the country's secular ethos and to make every community an equal partner in the nation's progress and prosperity through their adequate representation in the Parliament and state legislatures. 

Muslim student dropouts higher than SCs/STs

HYDERABAD: Muslim students from Telangana lag behind scheduled caste, scheduled tribes and other backward classes due to very high drop-out rates (ADOR), says the National University of Educational Planning and Administration (NUEPA). 

While the general ADOR among students pursing secondary education in the state in 2013-14 period stood at 17.43 per cent, the ADOR in the Muslim community was almost twice as high, recorded at 30.95 per cent. This is much higher than the ADOR of 16 per cent seen in the SCs, 15.58 per cent witnessed among the STs and 18.69 among the OBCs. 

The trend of Muslims dropping-out in higher secondary stage of education was similar. Data recorded shows that while the general ADOR stands at 13.43 per cent, the rate is much higher in the Muslim community which has been recorded as 16.35 per cent. This, again, is significantly higher than the ADOR seen in SCs, which stands at 9.93 per cent, the STs at 13.56 per cent, and OBCs, recorded as 10.18 per cent. 

A gender-wise glance at figures show that boys from the Muslim community tended to drop-out of school more than those from the SCs and STs. The annual drop-out rate in the secondary state of education among the Muslim community stood at 32.29 percent while the rate seen among the SCs was 16.78 per cent, STs was 16.28 per cent and among OBCs it was recorded as 19.3 per cent. A similar pattern was observed among girl students from the Muslim community. The report also recorded that the annual drop-out rate among boys from the Muslim community was higher that that of girls from the same community. 

The enrolment of Muslims students in the primary and upper primary stages of education in the undivided state of Andhra Pradesh in 2013-14 lagged behind the SCs, STs and OBCs. While the percentage of SC enrolment in primary and upper primary classes stood at 17 per cent and 19.6 per cent respectively, the enrolment of Muslim students in primary and upper primary classes was recorded at 12.1 per cent and 10.9 per cent respectively. This is also lower than the enrolment rate of the OBCs which stood at 41.4 per cent in primary and 45.3 per cent in upper primary classes. 

Speaking to TOI over the phone, NUEPA's Dr A C Mehta, who is associated with the study said that data was collected from all kinds of schools, including government, private aided and even unrecognised schools. "The study was recently released. We have considered all kinds of schools. However, we have not delved into the reason for students dropping out," he said. 

Meanwhile, educationalists opined that one of the reasons behind the high ADOR in the Muslim community was on account of financial constraints. "It is usually seen that boys from weaker sections in the Muslim community are pulled out of school to augment the family's income. They are put to work in small garages as the helpers of mechanics, among other things. When the family cannot afford two meals a day, how will they pay school or college fee," an expert said. 

Times View 

The Centre must take note of the high drop-out rate among Muslim students. It should also seriously consider the long standing demand of making pre-matric and post-matric scholarships demand driven as against the present system of budgetary allocation. This would encourage a larger number of students to apply for and avail scholarships. As a consequence, education would be more accessible to those from the weaker sections.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

New Education Policy: Survey on Open and Distance Learning and Online Courses

The Ministry of HRD has entrusted the responsibility of developing Draft Policy on Open and Distance Learning and Online Courses to IGNOU.In this connection you are requested to provide us your valuable feedback in the questionnaire relevant to you available at below link:

We shall be thankful for your cooperation in this regard.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Time to revive Sir Syed's education movement

The phenomenal rise of the Islamic State and its promise to take Muslims back to the era of caliphates has become a global problem. The reach and influence of IS, an entity that is not recognised by any country, is on such rapid ascendance that its reverberations are being felt in India too. A large number of Muslim youth across the globe appears to be falling prey to the incessant propaganda of the IS through social and other media. 

Muslim intelligentsia including noted scholars of Islam have been condemning the IS, its use of cold-blooded violence and its objectives. But that does not seem to be working effectively. 

The idea of caliphate started losing its appeal as many as 150 years ago. Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, the pioneer of modern education among the Muslims of the Indian sub-continent, said, "A present day analysis clearly shows that no one is worth the title of Imam and also no one, not even a head of state, is worth being entitled to be called a khalifa (caliph) of the prophet," In an article titled Imam aur Imamat (in Urdu) he pointed out, "Although Muslims governing an area can aptly call their monarch as sultan (king) of that country, and in fact they are actually sultans, whatsoever they may call themselves." 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

10 life lessons we learned from Dr APJ Abdul Kalam

10 life lessons we learned from Dr APJ Abdul Kalam

Former President & eminent scientist Dr APJ Abdul Kalam passed away in Shillong on Monday. Kalam collapsed during a speech at IIM Shillong and was immediately rushed to the nearby Bethany Hospital.
Here are some of Kalam’s inspirational sayings through which he will be remembered forever…
“You have to dream before your dreams can come true.”
“If a country is to be corruption free and become a nation of beautiful minds, I strongly feel there are three key societal members who can make a difference. They are the father, the mother and the teacher.”
My message, especially to young people is to have courage to think differently, courage to invent, to travel the unexplored path, courage to discover the impossible and to conquer the problems and succeed. These are great qualities that they must work towards. This is my message to the young people.”
“To succeed in your mission, you must have single-minded devotion to your goal.”
“Let me define a leader. He must have vision and passion and not be afraid of any problem. Instead, he should know how to defeat it. Most importantly, he must work with integrity.”
“Great dreams of great dreamers are always transcended.”
“Let us sacrifice our today so that our children can have a better tomorrow.”
“Man needs his difficulties because they are necessary to enjoy success.”
“Look at the sky. We are not alone. The whole universe is friendly to us and conspires only to give the best to those who dream and work.”
“You see, God helps only people who work hard. That principle is very clear.”

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Launch of skill mission

Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently launched the National Skill Development Mission in Delhi, where he said if the IITs earned a name globally in the previous century, the Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) should achieve international recognition for producing quality skilled manpower in the 21st century. 

At the launch, he introduced the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY), a skill loan scheme and the national policy for skill development and entrepreneurship, 2015, as well. 

PMKVY is meant to incentivise skill training by providing financial rewards to candidates who successfully complete approved skill training programmes. It is expected to skill about 24 lakh youth around the country over the next year. Young people without formal certification, such as workers in the unorganised sector, can have their skills recognised for the first time. 'Recognition of Prior Learning' (RPL) would allow 10 lakh young people to be assessed and certified for existing skills. 

Under the loan scheme, amounts ranging from Rs 5,0001.5 lakh would be provided to 34 lakh youth who wish to attend skill development programmes over the next five years. The scheme was rolled out with sanction letters being handed out by the PM to aspiring trainees. 

The PM awarded skill cards and skill certificates to trainees who had completed training during the pilot phase of PMKVY, started in May 2015.Every skill card and skill certifi cate carries a quick response code (QR Code) which can be read through a QR reader on mobile devices. 

Experts and industry representatives appreciated the measures, adding that much depends on implementation. Kumar Kandaswami, senior director, Deloitte in India, said, "While these intentions are noble, the key will be execution. It is important to define and sustain a level of quality that is sought by the end-users. It is hoped that the quality and integrity of the initiative are not sacrificed for meeting number targets. Faulty execution would potentially create a crop of youngsters who are now aspirational but not good enough for what they are trained for."

Launch of skill mission