Monthly Archives: SEPTEMBER 2017

Punjab Cabinet okays proposal for global tenders to set up technology university
20.09.17 - TEAM PT
Punjab Cabinet okays proposal for global tenders to set up technology university

The Punjab Cabinet today gave a go-ahead for inviting global tenders to establish a world- class technology university at Mohali, an official said.

The cabinet approval was given at a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today, the official spokesperson said after the meeting.

The move will help creatr nearly 2,400 direct jobs while boosting the state's GDP by Rs 6,500 crore, he claimed.

The proposed university will focus on skill development in IT and IT-enabled services, biotechnology, biosciences, material sciences and nanotechnology and will help push up the tax revenue by Rs 600 crore, he said.

Based on the proposals received, an area of 50 acres earmarked for IT/ITES, may be allocated for setting up the university.

The cabinet also gave its assent to opening district bureaus of employment and enterprise in all district as a step towards implementing government's 'Ghar Ghar Rozgar' scheme.

These bureaus will function as a platform to facilitate all kinds of employment opportunities for the youth, including overseas employment, skill training, self-employment, enterprise and entrepreneurship development, he said.

The cabinet also decided to set up a state-level apex committee and a district governing council of the bureau to implement the 'Ghar Ghar Rozgar' programme.

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Govt schools set to start pre-primary enrolment
20.09.17 - TEAM PT
Govt schools set to start pre-primary enrolment

Chandigarh: Enrolment in pre-primary classes for the next academic session is all set to start in government schools across Punjab this month, with the state cabinet giving its nod to the proposal, announced earlier by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh in a bid to strengthen the school system in the state.
Following the cabinet approval, government schools will start enrolling children over the age of 3 in the pre-primary classes, which will become operational in the forthcoming academic session. Under the existing rules, government schools could admit children only over the age of six.
The move will help ensure holistic and integrated early childhood care and education, and also check the decline in enrolment of children in government schools.
Speaking at the cabinet meeting held here on Wednesday afternoon, the Chief Minister also suggested improvement in the government school curriculum, with historical events and heroes to be incorporated to help connect the children to their roots. Local Bodies and Tourism Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu suggested inclusion of cultural topics in the course curriculum.
Though Punjab’s child population in the age group of 6-10 years currently stands at 24.47 lacs, enrolment in government schools is a mere 9.6 lacs, with the number declining year on year. The decline is attributed to the fact that parents tend to send their wards at an early age i.e less than six years to schools whereas as per RTE Act and as per Government Policy, children below the age of 6 years are not admitted in government schools. The child population in the age group of 4-6 years is estimated at 5.33 lacs. At the same time, by not admitting the children in the age group of 4-6 years, the learning levels of the students becomes stagnant and such children lag behind as compared to their counterparts studying in the private schools.
In another decision, the Cabinet also approved an amendment to the Punjab School Education Board Act, 1969, to abolish the post of Senior Vice Chairman. It has also given its nod to amend Section 6 (a) of the Act, thus stipulating that no person shall be appointed as Chairman or Vice Chairman unless he/she has served with the Central Government or State Government or both on a gazetted post for a period of not less than 15 years.
Further, the amended Section 15 (1) envisages that the Secretary of the Board shall be appointed by the state government and will be an officer from Indian Administrative Service (IAS)/Punjab Civil Services of Additional Secretary rank. The amendment in Section 17 1 (i) prescribes the syllabi and courses of studies in consultation with SCERT, an official spokesperson said after the cabinet meeting held here on Wednesday afternoon.

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The Ryan Debate: How India missed the great cctv angle?
13.09.17 - KAMJAAT SINGH
The Ryan Debate: How India missed the great cctv angle?

IF YOU EVER want to learn how not to ensure the security of India's children, watch India's news television channels when they discuss issues related to security of children, particularly when a tragedy occurs like the one that claimed the life of a seven-year-old class II student of Gurgaon's Ryan International School.

It is very rare for the country's media to stay focussed on the issue of how secure our children are when they are in school. Indian media accomplished this for four consecutive days. Prime time news anchors delved deeper and deeper into the issue, armed with cctv footage, fee details, bus and van transport details, interviews with security men at the gates and finding holes in school's explanation.

And yet they succeeded in remaining shallow. Welcome to the pleasures, and tragedies, of prime time shrillness. Nothing gets higher TRPs than obfuscating an issue as serious as the life of your child. And yet, we watch riveted because the anchor shouts "Arrest Pinto," selling it as the ultimate solution to a highly complex issue.

Much of the debate on television, and even in Delhi newspapers' local shrieky supplements, remained confined to talk about cctv cameras, security in buses, appointing special teachers with each bus, keeping drivers and conductors away from the children, ensuring there are separate bathrooms for non-teaching staff and hiring private security guards.

Welcome to the pleasures, and tragedies, of prime time shrillness. Nothing gets higher TRPs than obfuscating an issue as serious as the life of your child. "Arrest Ryan Pinto" is sold as the ultimate solution to a highly complex issue.


And all this was being discussed in the name of India's children. The fact is that the debate was strictly limited to the security of the children who study in some of the most posh schools in India's metro cities. 
Majority of India's children study in schools that do not have adequate teachers; are acutely understaffed; lack enough classrooms; and often hold classes under trees, in grain market sheds, on railway platforms, and even underneath railway over-bridges. These schools often do not have boundary walls. At times, classrooms have a roof missing. 

Toilets remain a problem, but slightly unlike the one Ryan International School faced. We’ll come to that in a moment.

The children in these schools often come from working families - father works as a daily wage labourer and has to stand at the town square to sell his physical strength, while mother works in other people's houses, cleaning utensils, washing clothes, sweeping door fronts. Their problems are somewhat different than the hassles faced by working couples that were being discussed on India television in the last 3-4 days.

The children of these labourer parents are some of the most vulnerable in the country. Worse, while Indian media remains oblivious to this, their tormentors know it well. So, even if caught, they are covered by a guarantee that neither the local police will act with much alacrity in case a child of poor parents is assaulted, nor will Arnab Goswami and his ilk jump and down in their chairs, promising to bring you the exclusive coverage of every detail of a difficult life that a manual labourer couple lives.

Watch any debate – most are available online – related to Ryan imbroglio, and you will see the point. For starters, watch this principal of a top-of-the-line school making clear her understanding of India, clearly gained after years spent in the education domain. 

She thinks all schools in the country have cctv cameras and private security. No one on the panel, including the anchor, counters the "fact". Everyone has bought into the "stringent security check ups" argument.

What makes the life of a student more secure? More security personnel, or adequate teachers? If some elite schools need security personnel, by all means, demand that. But if you have any claims about debating the security of children in all of India's schools, please make out a case for more teachers. 

Cast aside the shameless economic elitism, and you will be hit by statistics that do not bore; instead, they shame us. The Human Resources Ministry says there are 5.84 lakh vacancies in primary schools alone, apart from an additional 3.5 lakh posts vacant in upper primary schools. But as Vimala Ramachandran, professor at the Delhi-based National University of  Educational Planning and Administration (NUEPA), further explains, even these dismal figures do not reflect the acute shortage of teachers in Maths and life sciences.

Up to 30% time of teachers' time is spent on non-education work, including housing survey, economic survey, industrial survey, census duty, voter identity card duty, Aadhaar card registration duties, opening bank accounts for school children, and managing the mid-day meal scheme.
The children of these labourer parents are some of the most vulnerable in the country. Their tormentors know it well. So, even if caught, they are covered by a guarantee that neither the local police will act with much alacrity, nor will Arnab Goswami and his ilk jump and down in their studios.
Half the teachers in government schools are contract employees. Some of them are often perched on water tanks, a bottle of kerosene in hand. They are an advertisement of our kids in schools not being very secure. If there are no teachers in schools, and the government is not recruiting any, then should the issue of security of children not move a little past the grave matter of separate bathrooms for bus conductors and drivers?

We are not spending enough on education. Right now, we are barely touching 4% of GDP. 

The debate that you saw on TV was not even about the security of metro's children. If it was, you would have heard the travails of Delhi's 13 schools run by a teacher single-handedly, sometimes operating out of just a room.

A report tabled in Parliament revealed that more than 1 lakh schools in India run by a single teacher who is a clerk, a mid-day meal manager, an administrative staff and a peon, all rolled into one. 

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) is completely dysfunctional. No one calls any Nira Radia to land the portfolio of Education Minister. It is not a sought after job, and when in a pinch, it can be entrusted to you know who.

The truth is that the media debate over Ryan did not even deal with the problems of parents whose children study in posh schools. Had that happened, you would have seen someone questioning the tag of 'international' that Ryan carries. As a matter of fact, none of the elite private schools have any global standing. 

The relentless focus on security revolved around what happened inside a toilet. One would have thought that at least the sordid Ryan saga would prompt the Indian media to talk about toilets in schools. If they had talked, you would have understood the difference between a ‘toilet’ and a ‘usable toilet.’

Data will tell you that 86% schools in India have boys’ toilets, 91% have girls’ toilets, but the moment you change the term from 'toilet' to 'usable toilet', the same date plunges to 65%.

In a country where only six out of every 10 schools have access to electricity, and one-third of states do not provide electricity to a majority of schools, we had the entire Indian media discussing security of children in school and yet succeeding in not mentioning this minor fact.

No wonder that Nitish Kumar's achievements in Bihar are discussed without mentioning that only 10% schools have access to electricity after all the claims by Lalu Prasad Yadav, Nitish Kumar and Sushil Modi, and after the tweets by Narendra Modi about changing the face of Bihar through a coalition of the honest. 

Average class size in India is 42. Average class size in Bihar is 78, in Jharkhand 67. In Bihar’s secondary schools, it is 97, in Jharkhand 94. You think that is an issue linked to security of children in schools?

The Gen-next schools, or five-star culture nurseries of India's future, which were being discussed by India's top television anchors, were proof of a country living in a comma, induced by conspicuous consumption. Fraternisation in such artificial environments desensitises children to the plight of the great majority of the poor and the disadvantaged. I am not even mentioning the Allahabad High Court judgement, but does the idea of equality carry any brownie points anymore?

At times, India is worried about its image. It knows the school in Uttar Pradesh's Jabrauli may harm India's standing in the world if Bill Clinton were to point out to a boy or a girl and ask a simple question. So when the former US president came calling on July 17, 2014, the helpful government made sure that the local Convent school lent a student to the government primary school.
The country's izzat is too important. 

The television anchors waxing eloquent about separate bathrooms for conductors and drivers to ensure the security of India's children in schools are also helping build the country's izzat.

Such touching concern can have no room to ask about the wages paid to conductors and drivers, their hours of duty, the log books of vehicles, the living standards of India's drivers, the schools where the children of India's drivers and conductors study, and the state of toilets in villages and towns from where India's drivers and conductors come.
Debates on Indian television have no room to ask about the wages paid to conductors and drivers, their hours of duty, the log books of vehicles, the living standards of India's drivers, the schools where the children of India's drivers and conductors study, and the state of toilets in villages and towns from where India's drivers and conductors come.
The kind of anchoring and debating on national television that we saw in the last three or four days would only have been possible if one was sure that the soul of a seven-year-old, murdered by a depraved person, was not watching.

For the rest of us, the question of safety of the children of NREGA workers who have to walk down to the school several kilometres from their homes and whose parents cannot find brilliant solutions like carpools, remain important. A little bit more important than separate bathrooms for drivers and conductors.

It is an India often not covered by television, perhaps because it is often not covered by cctv either. 


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Applications invited for recruiting 3582 master cadre teachers: Aruna Chaudhary
12.09.17 - TEAM PT
Applications invited for recruiting 3582 master cadre teachers: Aruna Chaudhary

CHANDIGARH: The Chief Minister, Punjab, has initiated a dynamic measure in the form of 'Ghar Ghar Rozgar' campaign as part of the strategy to provide employment avenues to the youth of the state. In furtherance of the novel plan, applications have been invited for the recruitment of 3582 new master cadre teachers. Earlier, the appointment letters were handed over to the 1000 teachers.

Disclosing this here today in a statement, Aruna Chaudhary, Education minister, Punjab said that the move by the Education Department to recruit 3582 teachers carries behind it the rationale of lifting the standard of Government Schools besides filling the every vacant post of teachers as per the directions of the Chief Minister. Giving more details, the minister said that these posts of master cadre include 1138 posts of Science, 739 of Maths, 521 of Hindi, 398 of Punjabi and 393 each of English and Social Science. Elaborating further, the minister divulged that recently the Education Department has recruited 1000 teachers who were handed over the appointment letters by the Chief Minister during 'Ghar Ghar Rozgar' function held at Mohali.

Disclosing more, the Director of Recruitment Board of the Education Department cum Director General School Education Prashant Kumar Goyal said that all the necessary information regarding the application process can be obtained by accessing the website He further said that the last date for online registration for these posts is 6th October, 2017 while the last date for depositing the bank fees is 11th October with 14th October being the last date for submitting the applications. The terms and conditions regarding submission of applications have also been uploaded on the website.

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Consistent Efforts Being Made To Uplift The Standards
Punjab Education department allots stations to 525 teachers on merit
11.09.17 - TEAM PT
Punjab Education department allots stations to 525 teachers on merit

S.A.S. Nagar (Mohali): The Education Department, Punjab, today allotted stations as per merit to the 525 newly recruited teachers of master cadre. The appointment letters to these teachers were handed over by the Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh at Mohali during 'Ghar Ghar Rozgar' job fair recently. The allotment was done here today at the auditorium of the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB).

Addressing the newly recruited teachers on the occasion, the Secretary of the department Krishan Kumar said that consistent efforts are being made to further uplift the standard of education in the Government Schools of the state under the guidance of the Chief Minister and in accordance with the directions of the Education Minister Aruna Chaudhary. He also said that the recruitment of teachers on the vacant posts is a part of the process. Congratulating the newly recruited teachers, he expressed strong hope that these teachers would do justice to their job with full devotion and would be instrumental in lifting of the level of education in Government Schools to further heights.

Welcoming the newly recruited teachers, the DPI (Secondary Education) Paramjit Singh divulged that the teachers were called today on the directions of the Education Minister and they were shown the list of the vacant stations as per merit after which they were allotted the stations of their choice. He also added that those teachers have been accorded priority in the station allotment who are differently abled or are suffering from any disease or whose child is suffering from a hazardous disease or is differently abled. The station allotment work has been accomplished under the supervision of the Deputy Director of the department Dharm Singh and Assistant Director Lalit Kishore.

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