CBSE will now rate its affiliate schools

It was indeed a welcome move by CBSE in planning to start rating all its schools so that parents are not duped by mere brochures. The rating will be not only for quality of the school, infrastructure, its teachers but all about the transparency of the management and the admissions. Scant details are as yet available but around 40 out of the 10,000 schools under CBSE board, will be rated in the pilot.

KOOLSKOOL welcomes this steps by CBSE and hopes that the rating system itself is transparent and hence free from the corruption that quickly enters the system. Parents want their children to focus on different areas and this rating mechanism will be spread across extra-curricular areas as well.

All schools will have to proceed towards accreditation gradually. Under the accreditation plan, experts rating the school will, in addition to checking academic results, infrastructure and teacher qualifications, also invite feedback from parents, residents of neighbourhood areas and other stakeholders

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CAT is now costlier than MAT

Even about a decade ago, when the entrance test market was a crowded one, the Common Admission Test (CAT) was an institution, an unquestionable leader. Not only was it the passport to the elite IIMs, which conducted the test, but about 150 other Indian and foreign management schools accepted CAT scores. But over time, competition steadily inched closer, and in the fight for the pole position the Management Aptitude Test (MAT), conducted by the All-India Management Association (AIMA), has now upstaged CAT.

The threat is real. Although some top institutes like the IITs, the Indian Institute of Science, FMS and MICA have signed up to accept CAT-2011 scores, 58 B-schools across India like IMD, Delhi, have opted out this year. The total number of colleges that have retained CAT to admit students is 155, way below MAT’s tally of 1,800.

Management schools were forced to choose between CAT, MAT and the state-level CET after the All-India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) sent out a circular to this effect in August 2010. After the AICTE diktat, colleges opted for a test that suited the student profile they were looking for-for instance, the top colleges went in for the tougher CAT while those in the middle rung opted for MAT. Another factor in the CAT-MAT competition is that the former is more expensive than the latter-to be a part of the CAT group, a B-school must shell out a registration fee of Rs 2 lakh and another Rs 200 for verifying each score card, while the MAT registration is only Rs 50,000.

While CAT is taken mostly by working professionals, MAT is opted for by freshers who have just completed their graduation. Many colleges prefer MAT over CAT as it is conducted four times a year as against the latter that is conducted only in November-December. And all the colleges that accept CAT scores (except the 13 IIMs) also use MAT scores.”

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Nobel laureates to answer students’ questions

Guess who will be answering scientific queries of students at the Indian Institute of Information Technology-Allahabad (IIIT-A)? Nobel laureates.

The institute will link up with some Nobel laureates who have attended the annual science conclave organised by it since 2008. The queries will be send to them via e-mails by the authorities.”During the annual science conclave, students are given an opportunity to interact with the eminent scientists,” IIIT-A public relations officer (PRO) Pankaj Mishra told reporters in Allahabad, 200 km from here.

“We will make certain provisions on the institute’s website, through which our students will be able to get answers to their queries from the Nobel laureates,” he added.

IIIT-A authorities will sort out the queries to be sent and “The answers will be re-directed to the students’ e-mail IDs,” Mishra said.

IIIT-A said several Nobel laureates who attended the science conclaves have in principle agreed to allay the doubts of the students through e-mails.

The institute was established in 1999 as a centre of excellence in information technology and allied areas. The institute was conferred the “deemed university” status by the Indian government in 2000.

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Coca-Cola-NDTV telethon raises Rs.7 crore for school infra

Aided by three big-ticket donations in the closing stages, a 12-hour Coca-Cola-NDTV Support My School telethon here on Sunday raised Rs.7 crore, exceeding the target by Rs.2 crore. Now 139 schools across the country – against the targeted 100 schools – will benefit from the creation of basic facilities, particularly toilets for girl students.

Of the three major donations, the largest, Rs.1.35 crore, came from UNHABITAT, Rs.1 crore from Nita Ambani on behalf of the Reliance Foundation, and Rs.70 lakh from an unnamed NRI from Singapore.

“I think we have touched a chord that even 65 years after Independence, we haven’t been able to provide separate toilets for girl students in government schools. As a next step, we now pledge to visit each chief minister to urge them to provide in their next budgets Rs.50 crore to Rs.100 crore for creating basic infrastructure in government schools,” said NDTV chief Pranoy Roy as he wound up the telethon.

Batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar, who spent almost nine hours on the show giving valuable tips to batches of Mumbai school students and repeatedly appealing for donations, made a personal contribution of Rs.500,000 each on behalf of his children Arjun and Sara.

Among the other last-minute pledges were Rs.10 lakh each by actors Sanjay Dutt, who also spent considerable time on the show, and Ajay Devgan.

The money will be used, at Rs.500,000 per school, for creating toilets for girls and facilities for drinking water, rainwater harvesting, and sports and games in each of the schools.

When the show started at 9 a.m., just Rs.1.26 crore had been pledged for the initiative, launched in January and which has been spent on creating facilities in 26 schools.

“It is important that the entire nation gets together for this initiative. Our target is 100, which we hope to achieve over the course of the day,” Tendulkar said after NDTV anchor Vikram Chandra launched the telethon.

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Cambridge University on a look out for partnerships in India

With an aim to strengthen its engagement with India, Cambridge University is looking to form high quality partnerships in the areas of drug discovery and disease management.
Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, who on his second visit to India after taking over as Cambridge University Vice-Chancellor last October, is keen on cementing a long-term association with high quality players in India.
In an interview , Borysiewicz said that partnerships are the key to Cambridge remaining a successful university.
Responding to a question on whether the university is looking for partnerships in India in any specific areas, he said, “We are particularly in discussions (with Indian entities) in the area of drug discovery… in cancer and in the area of infectious diseases.” “The university is also in discussions in the area of disease management…,” Borysiewicz noted.
One of the oldest academic institutions in the world, Cambridge University is the alma mater of many famed Indian personalities, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Nobel laureate Amartya Sen.

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AIEEEs to be online at 22 centres by 2012

After successfully holding the All India Engineering Entrance Examination (AIEEE) online on a pilot scale this year, CBSE has decided to conduct the exam in this format next year in 22 identified cities from May 7 to 25.

Examinations in 65 other centres including a few in abroad will, however, be held on the pen and paper format on April 29, said a CBSE official.

“Examinees who will appear in online examination will be given a concession of Rs 150 to Rs 300 in examination fees,” the official said.

To acquaint the candidates wishing to appear in the cities notified for online examination, mock test software will also be uploaded on the CBSE website in December for the purpose of practice, he said.

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IITs seek common tests with NITs along with a complex fees hike

IIT Council on Wednesday decided to have a common entrance test for IITs/NITs, state government-run and private engineering colleges throughout the country from 2013. It also decided to go in for a complicated fee hike structure. But there is a catch — both the decisions are subject to approval from the state governments and the finance ministry. In case it does not meet the states’ approval, only IITs/NITs – under the central government – would have a common entrance test.
The fee structure decided by the Council which is the highest decision-making body of the IITs, is rather complex. While all students at the time of admission will pay the existing fee, after they pass out 25% of students (other than SCs/STs/OBCs) who can afford the hike of Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 2 lakh suggested by Anil Kakodkar committee, would be made to pay the amount to their institutions in easy installments.

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IIM-L signs an accord with US B-School

The Indian Institute of Management-Lucknow (IIM-L) on Thursday said it has signed an agreement with Kelley School of Business (KSB) at Indiana University, US, to promote research in global business education.

“Kelly School of Business and IIM-L will investigate avenues to enhance the research mission. Collaborative case studies would be developed, which would then be used for teaching purposes, designing and delivering series of faculty research workshops,” IIM-L said in “Kelly School of Business and IIM-L will investigate avenues to enhance the research mission. Collaborative case studies would be developed, which would then be used for teaching purposes, designing and delivering series of faculty research workshops,” IIM-L said in a statement.

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CAT 2011 Dates announced

The dates of the Common Admission Test (CAT 2011 – CAT 2012) have been released by the IIMs. The test would be conducted online during a 20-day testing window between October 22, 2011 and November 18, 2011.

This 20 day window for CAT 2011 was released by IIM-K on 25th July. This year CAT 2011 has also introduced 3 new cities namely Dehradun, Jammu and Bhilai in the already existing list of 33 cities making it available in 36 cities this year.

There are also some changes in the test pattern; the CAT 2011 from this year will only have two sections instead of three. The first section will purely focus on Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation while the second on Verbal Ability & Logical Reasoning. With 70 mins time for each section, CAT 2011 will be a 140 mins test spanned over 2 sections of 30 questions each. Each section will have an on-screen countdown timer for 70 mins. Once the time ends for the first section, test will move to next section and will no longer be able to go back. Hence, this year CAT 2011 time format is more like a GRE format.

A 15-mins help guide or kind of tutorial will also be presented before the test begins. The total duration of the exam, including the tutorial would be two hours and 35 minutes.

The official practice test will be made available within days and this will help CAT 2011 aspirants take get the feeling of the test and get familiar with the new format of the test.

Now candidates will also be able to purchase CAT vouchers from 201 Axis Bank branches, an increase of 30 outlets. This was done to reduce the difficulties in purchasing CAT vouchers.

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Anna movement to figure in Jharkhand school syllabus

The Jharkhand government is contemplating to include social activist Anna Hazare’s movement against corruption in school syllabus.

“When the Vinoba Bhave movement, the anti-British Quit India movement could be included in school syllabus, why can’t the Anna movement be included?” said Jharkhand Human Resource Development Minister Baijnath Ram on Saturday.
“We will talk to Chief Minister Arjun Munda over the issue,” he added.

The minister extended his moral support to Hazare’s movement and criticised the central government for trying to suppress the right to protest.

Hazare is getting support from large sections of society in Jharkhand like lawyers, businessmen, students and youths.

Lawyers boycotted courts in Ranchi, Gumla and other districts Friday. Businessmen also kept their shops closed till noon on Friday.

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