Students protest against tuition fees

The “grants not debt” march came to a stop outside the Department for Business Innovation and Skills.

A small number of demonstrators dressed in black and with scarves over their faces confronted police and a firework was set off.

The protestors were calling for a “free education”.

A statement from the Metropolitan Police said a “small number of smoke bombs and eggs were thrown at police outside BIS”.

They said there were 12 arrests for public order offences.

Thousands of students had marched through central London, with chants and placards attacking the cost of going to university.

Earlier Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn sent a message of support for the cause of abolishing tuition fees and shadow chancellor John McDonnell addressed the students before the rally.

‘Betrayed’

“Your generation has been betrayed by this government in increases to tuition fees, in scrapping the education maintenance allowance and cuts in education,” Mr McDonnell said.

“Education is a gift from one generation to another, it is not a commodity to be bought and sold,” he told marchers.

John McDonnell
Image captionJohn McDonnell addressed the students ahead of the march

The National Campaign Against Cuts and Fees said that students from campuses around the country took part in the demonstration.

It wants to remove tuition fees, currently up to £9,000 per year in England, and to reverse a decision to convert means-tested maintenance grants into repayable loans.

‘More funding’

“The government is impoverishing the poorest students for minimal gains,” said the campaign’s Callum Cant.

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Media captionStudents protesting against fees gathered outside BIS in Westminster

“It is an attack on the least privileged students which doesn’t save much money and causes misery.

“It is austerity which targets the poorest students. Our worry is that it will make university a lot more inaccessible.”

Student protest 
Image captionThe students want to abolish fees and reinstate maintenance grants

But a spokesman for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, which is responsible for universities, said it was “committed to ensuring everyone with the potential to benefit from higher education has the opportunity to do so, regardless of their background”.

The student funding system was operated so that “lack of finance should not be a barrier to participation and more funding is available to support living costs than ever before”.

ISM faces school students’ wrath

DHANBAD: Students and teachers of Indian School of Learning (ISL) in Jharia blocked the link road to NH-2 for four hours on Monday morning in protest against the Indian School of Mines resorting to “unfair means” to vacate the place.

More than 1,400 students from classes I to XII were seen standing on the road, which connects Dhanbad with the national highway, with placards at 7.30am. The school administration alleged that the elite institute has dumped heaps of garbage, which include broken furniture and other scraps, in front of the school’s main gate, making it difficult for the students as well as vehicles.

The lease period of the school, which is an annexure of Indian School of Learning in Jharia and was established in 1989, ended in November 2013. Indian School of Mines (ISM) has been serving notices to the school for the last two years asking it to vacate the area. Though ISL moved court, it lost the legal battle against ISM and gave an affidavit that the school would be shifted by March 31, 2016.

“We have already agreed to vacate the place, but we don’t understand why ISM is using unfair means to harass us. Tons of scrap has been dumped at the main entrance of our school. This could cause accident. Guardians are not being able to park their vehicles and moreover the school vans and buses will face problems. At this point of the academic session, no school will admit the students and their future will be at stake” said principal Anil Kumar.

The road blockade continued till 11.30am and was not removed even after Dhanbad legislator Raj Sinha’s persuasion. Namrata Kumari, a Class XII student of the science section who was among the protesters on Monday, said, “We are preparing for our board exams and any disturbance will spoil our results.” The protest ended after sub-divisional magistrate Mahesh Santhalia assured that the garbage would be removed immediately.

Speaking on the issue, ISM registrar Col M K Singh said the garbage was not dumped there deliberately but it was “routine cleaning”. He said the college campus is being cleaned as a high-level team from Australia will visit on Tuesday. “The scrap is not blocking the gate, but if the school administration feels offended we will remove it from there,” Singh added.

SMVITM signs MoU with UAHS to promote collaborative project, research

UDUPI: Shri Madhwa Vadiraja Institute of Technology and Management, Bantakal has signed MoU with University of Agricultural and Horticultural Sciences, Shivamogga in order to promote collaborative project/research work and academic excellence. The MoU was signed at SMVITM, Bantakal, on Saturday in the presence of Sri Vishwavallabha Theertha Swamiji, president of Sri Sode Vadiraja Mutt Education Trust that manages the Institute.

UAHS is first integrated university in Karnataka having agricultural/horticultural sciences under its purview, serving with objective of imparting education in various branches of agriculture and promote partnership with national and international educational and research institutes. SMVITM will join hands with UAHS with objective of providing technical competency to resolve problems related to agriculture/horticulture through collaborative multidisciplinary projects.

The MoU will also contribute to achieve academic excellence through various joint initiatives utilizing the research experience of the scientists of UAHS and technical knowledge of faculty and students of SMVITM. P Srinivas Tantry (vice-president of SSMVET), Raghavendra Tantry (management representative), Harish Belman (technical advisor), Radhakrishna S Aithal (director), Thirumaleshwara Bhat (Principal) and officials of UAHS were present.

IIT-Delhi to award the highest number of PhDs in one year

IIT-Delhi to award the highest number of PhDs in one year
A total of 1880 students will collect their undergraduate, post-graduate and PhD degrees. (Representative image)

NEW DELHI: The Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, will award the highest number of PhDs in one year (221) on Saturday at its 46th convocation. A total of 1880 students will collect their undergraduate, post-graduate and PhD degrees. Reserve Bank chief, Raghuram Rajan will be the chief guest.

The number of students receiving PhD degrees is significantly larger than last year’s 178. This is consistent with the IIT-D’s stated objective of shifting focus away from producing graduates to producing good research. They hope to increase the number to 400 in the long term because, as acting director Kshitij Gupta observes, “that is the way we can provide man power to the large number of institutions coming up including the new IITs, NITs and others.” “Practically all have extreme shortage of teaching faculty and the major chunk of PhDs are from the IITs and Indian Institute of Science.”The number of undergraduate degrees being awarded has also been increasing — it’s gone up from 714 in 2014 to 770 this year. And the number of post-graduate degrees that’ll be awarded is 889.

The institute has also restructured its post-graduate curriculum after a decade – included a variety of elective courses and as dean, academics, Anurag Sharma explains, “redefined the credit to the post-graduates and included a component of self-learning.” As a part of the second reform, students will have to pick one segment of “defined syllabus” on which they’ll be tested but without any delivery.

The IIT-D’s master-plan has just been approved; they have the go-ahead for a number of infrastructure additions such as new hostels, a stadium, two major academic blocks and a science park on campus to promote startups. The pace of construction is, of course, contingent on the availability of funds. The estimated cost of the three science parks planned at its campuses at Hauz Khas, Sonepat and Jhajjar put together is about 400 crore. IIT hopes to get HRD funds for about 50% of it and will attempt to raise the rest through its own research, innovation and technology transfer branches. Currently, IIT-D has ‘units’ for about a dozen start-ups to “incubate” in but the park should provide for about a 100 more, explains Dean R&D, Suneet Tuli. Though they have a partner in Defence Research and Development Organisation, the administration hopes to have private firms set up research and development units at the park too. A new lecture hall complex is already in place.

The IIT at Jammu is being “mentored” by IIT-D and will start admitting students from July 2016. The research facility that IIT-D was developing in collaboration with Mauritius – IIT-Research Academy – is now in limbo. Once at the centre of much controversy, “at the moment there is practically no activity there,” says Gupta. However, IIT-D took on 164 “sponsored research projects” in 2014-15 with a total value of Rs.153.77 crore – over twice that of 2013-14’s Rs.68.65 crore.

Most Indians prefer engineering as a career option

Most Indians prefer engineering as a career option: Report
People in India, USA and Germany have rated engineering as a top career opportunity.

MUMBAI: Even as there are multiple career options, about 80 per cent of Indian students are interested in engineering as they believe that the profession offers high-earning potential and the opportunity to contribute to innovations, according to a report.

In countries with growing economies, engineering holds huge attraction for the next generation, a global report commissioned by Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering said.

“For example, in both India and Turkey, around 80 per cent of 16-17 year olds say they are interested in engineering,” it added.

In India, the interest in engineering was basically matched by the belief that the profession offers high-earning potential and the opportunity to contribute to innovations, as well as the belief that engineering is an interesting and stimulating career, it said.

“I am reassured the ‘Create the Future’ report confirms engineering outputs are valued around the world and considered genuinely life-changing. I take heart in the number of people who see engineering as a great way to contribute to society,” Dr Robert Langer, winner of the 2015 Queen Elizabeth Prize, said.

The inaugural ‘Create the Future’ report of the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering is an international survey of attitudes towards engineering, surveying respondents in global centres for engineering including USA, Germany, Japan, Turkey, India and Brazil.

Narayana Murthy, Founder, Infosys, India said, “Globalisation is changing things. While much of the developed world continues to experience moderate interest in engineering careers, emerging economies are providing a new breeding ground for engineers.”

People in India, USA and Germany have rated engineering as a top career opportunity.

Other favoured professions include business leader,lawyer, doctor and teacher, the report revealed.

It stated that the interest in engineering remains higher amongst men (66 per cent) compared to women (43 per cent).

“Whilst more men than women in all countries show an interest in engineering, the gap in interest is smallest in emerging economies such as India, Turkey, China and Brazil. UK, Japan and South Africa show the greatest difference,” it said.

The report revealed that 57 per cent believe engineering is critical in solving the world’s problems, particularly in USA, UK and Germany.

But in Japan, engineering is seen as a driver of innovation.

The report further said that most people think engineers’ contribution to society is undervalued, they deserve much more recognition.

“About 71 per cent claim that their country’s engineers do not receive the recognition they deserve for their contribution to society,” it added.

Government must step in to resolve Hyderabad’s JNTU crisis

Government must step in to resolve Hyderabad's JNTU crisis

HYDERABAD: Students caught in the tangle over college affiliations. It’s time for the government to step in and resolve the intensifying row between Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University (JNTU) and private engineering colleges, which has been taking a devastating toll on the careers of students for more than a decade.

The latest spat over payment of service fee dues worth Rs 60 crore has cast a cloud over the fate of thousands of engineering students, forcing educationists to call on the government to intervene immediately and resolve the crisis.

The controversies, resulting in complete confusion, is nothing new as every year dozens of new colleges spring up and many among the existing 180 (approx) colleges seek affiliation for new courses with the varsity . While unsuspecting students get enrolled for new courses in hordes, the colleges keep mum in the hope of getting clearance easily. Then the entire cat and mouse game begins.

Records dating back to 10 years show how JNTU has been cancelling affiliation of many colleges on the grounds of poor facilities, but the problems have always remained. In 2007, the varsity cancelled affiliation of 12 affiliation of 12 colleges, which did not have adequate number of computers, licensed software, computer labs and other facilities.

While the affiliation was lost in March-April, students had to wait till September to participate in the second phase of counselling. About eight colleges got back the affiliation after the committee’s re-inspection. But many students, who had paid lakhs of rupees to get admitted to these institutes, got disillusioned and some even opted out of engineering.

Cut to 2015, the issues continue to plague the education sector, with some colleges even getting fake staff list to clear the inspections.

Last year, with the high court cracking down on 174 private engineering colleges for poor infrastructure, thousands of students waited for months before colleges admitted that they were staring at a shutdown. College managements complained that a majority of them were not even issued show-cause notices before being dened permission to take part in Eamcet counselling.

In view of the massive impact on careers of students already studying in these colleges, educationists want the government to look into the issue proactively and help chalk out a better strategy for yearly inspections.

Now, the latest flare-up over the service fee dues could snowball into another controversy as Rs 60 crore is no nominal amount. While JNTU says it shot two reminders to all colleges seeking payment of the common service fee before October 28, the colleges have been knocking the doors of the government to release money for fee reimbursements.

Staring at withdrawal of exams as the varsity is adamant on not releasing stationery and hall tickets, students are all set to suffer without having the slightest inkling what hit them. In order to safeguard the interests of students, the government should immediately take steps to release the money due to colleges and sort out the fiasco over the common service fee.

Student Speak: A visual treat

CHIRAG KAPILA Diploma programme in Visual Effects for Film & Television Vancouver Institute of Media Arts (VanArts)

I started my education in the field of commerce. I did my BCom Hons from the University of Delhi and studied CA. But I knew that I did not want to do this for the rest of my life. I am more inclined towards the arts; I enjoy sketching and painting.
I decided to enter the animation field six years ago. I enjoyed watching animation films and wondered how they worked. I heard about this place where character animation was taught. It was a three-year course but after a year, I realised it wasn’t what I was expecting.

Vancouver Institute of Media Arts (VanArts) seemed like a good choice.World-class mentors, dedicated 3D character animation course, small class size -perfect for my needs.Wayne Gilbert, one of the best mentors for animation and Mark Pudliener, both taught us the language of animation.

I graduated in March 2012. To my surprise, in the graduation ceremony, I was awarded Honours, which is given to students who excel over excellent.

I applied at Technicolor Bengaluru for the post of 3D animator. I got a call and on the basis of my work done in VanArts, I was selected. I started working for Rockstar Games in Technicolor, one of the biggest names in the gaming world. I found the opportunity to work on the world’s number one game, Grand Theft Auto 5. After working for almost three years in Rockstar Games, I decided to resign and update my skills. In this evergrowing world of animation, one skill is not enough. Now my next goal is to learn visual effects for movies.

Use a strategy: How to prepare for CLAT

The Common Law Admission Test (CLAT), for entry to national law uni versities, is not difficult if you study regularly, work hard and manage your time well. It tests your aptitude. One should analyse past years’ papers to understand the type of questions asked.

I had a strategy for each subject. In English, there was considerable stress on comprehension, vocabulary, grammar, etc, for which I relied on notes provided by my coaching institute. I also used to read newspapers religiously to improve my comprehension skills and reading speed. When the CLAT went online, I started reading articles online to train myself to attempt the paper on the computer. Maths is elementary. Questions are generally based on what we have read up to class X. I studied a book on quantitative aptitude, which helped me prepare for the subject. For the legal reasoning portion, I referred to previous papers.

The legal path

While civil and criminal law are popular specialisations, a number of fresh law graduates now opt for niche fields. Here are a few upcoming areas students can consider:

PROPERTY LAW What is it?

Property law entails solving cases related to personal or real property.

Job role:

In general, the job of a property lawyer entails taking up property-related disputes, be it commercial or family. “Apart from their traditional role of solving these cases, a number of individuals as well as companies are now hiring property lawyers to assist them in buying the right property,” explains Anil Harish, partner, DM Harish and Co.

Scope:

“A certificate of title is an important document that must be verified while buying property. Hence, apart from hiring a lawyer to deal with an ex isting case, a number of private as well as corporate firms are now seeking legal advice from property lawyers while investing in property related expenses, increasing their scope in India,” says Harish.

COUNSEL PRACTICE What is it?

Counsel practice is broadly equivalent to a barrister’s practice in the UK. The principal function or involvement of a counsel is to argue in court or appear as a `junior brief’ with other counsel.

Job role:

The job of a counsel is to advise, present in the court of law and to anticipate issues and estimate risks strategically.”Counsel do not have any direct client relationship and do not file their vakalatnama. They are `briefed’ by solicitor firms or advocates to appear in court, draft or advise in a particular matter. A counsel would also advise on litigation matters or on cases filed in the courtroom, if they are briefed or engaged to do so,” says Sharan Jagtiani, counsel, High Court of Bombay.

Scope:

The scope of a career in this specialisation is vast since counsel not only fight in court, but also act as legal advisors. A number of companies as well as individuals seek expert and strategic legal advice.

FAMILY LAW What is it?

Family law is a practice area that encompasses the legal issues that families face among themselves.

Job role:

Typically, a family lawyer takes up cases revolving around issues such as divorce -child custody, maintenance, guardianship, etc. “The lawyer acts as a medium between two families or a couple and plays a crucial role in mitigating the disputed issue. To make a career in this field, one must possess the skills of a litigator and negotiator. Time management skills are a must. Apart from arguing in court, a family lawyer also counsels clients on the issues they face before going to court,” shares Sudhir Reddy, founder, Reddy and Reddy.

Scope:

In India, the scope of family law is vast.An increasing number of marital as well as inter-family disputes has led to an increased demand for qualified family lawyers. “The most popular way to extenuate a dispute is mediation since most family issues are being settled without going through the procedure of a court of law. This has further increased the scope of family lawyers in India,” details Reddy.

Logistical hurdles dog government move to reward quality PhDs

BHUBANESWAR: A state government initiative to reward quality PhDs is leading nowhere.

After a review of the performance of the higher education department in June, chief minister Naveen Patnaik announced that that PhD theses produced by state universities would get financial incentives if these get published by the top 400 internationally-acclaimed universities in the world. The top 400 universities would be decided on the basis of Time Magazine ranking.

Government sources said the idea was found to be ill-conceived as the universities as such don’t publish PhD theses. Only journals publish the research works. “After deliberations at the departmental level, it was found that it would be difficult to make a list of top journals,” a government officer said.

The higher education department tweaked the idea. The department is now working on another plan under which any Odisha native, who manages to get PhD from any of the world’s top 400 campuses, would get monetary incentive. The department has mooted a proposal to reward Rs 5 lakh to the scholar.

The sources said the higher education department is planning to advertise every year inviting applications from scholars enrolled for PhDs during a given time period just like various scholarship schemes.

Higher education minister Pradeep Panigrahy said the government wants to incentivize quality research work. “The department is working out on the appropriate modalities,” he said, but declined to elaborate.

Educationists feel there should be more clarity on the government initiative. Fakir Mohan University vice-chancellor S P Adhikary said though it is a good idea to provide financial incentives for quality research work, the government should come out with a doable method. “There should be measurable and objective parameters to identify quality research work,” he said.

Santosh Tripathy, president of Utkal University Teachers’ Association, said the government’s intension of financial reward for research is welcome. “However, the policy should be such that good works done in state universities also get recognized,” he said. Odisha universities produce around 800 PhD theses annually.