Wednesday February 21, 2018
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Education and Modi govt’s misplaced priorities

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By Sapan Kapoor

After days of protest by hundreds of students over the scrapping of the non-National Eligibility Test (NET) fellowship, the Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani, in a bid to assuage the concerns of the latter, clarified that the programme would continue. However, the students, notwithstanding the government’s assurances in this regard, are continuing with their ‘Occupy UGC’ demonstration, painting graffiti in black and red on the walls adjacent to the UGC building in New Delhi.

It read, “#OccupyUGC… This wall will fall.”

The students demanded written assurances from the powers-that-be and an increase in the amount of the grant.

The students have a point, for needless to say education in India is not just a socio-economic issue, but a national security issue as well. Thousands of people, both security forces and civilians, have died in India due to Maoist violence with the illiterate, unemployed and unemployable youth waging a sanguine war against the state. It only shows how if the youth is not provided with quality education and training, the much-vaunted demographic dividend – at present India has 50% of its population below 25 years and 65% below 35 years – that our country is supposed to enjoy can turn into a disaster.

The pathetic quality of education being imparted to Indians can be gauged with the following example alone that should suffice to give us sleepless nights.

In the second week of September 2015, 23 lakh candidates applied for just 368 vacancies for the post of a peon in the government secretariat in Uttar Pradesh. To be a peon, one is required to be but a fifth grader (duh). However, shockingly, the applicants for this post included 250 doctorates, 25,000 Postgraduates, 1.5 lakh graduates, 7.5 lakh Higher secondary school pass outs and 11.2 lakh class 10 or equivalent pass outs. When PhD holders and engineers start applying for the post of peon in a country, it should become obvious that there’s something seriously wrong with its education system.

We are in troubled waters, but the authorities do not seem to be losing their sleep over this pressing issue. It is a matter of great regret that when it comes to funding for the important sector of education, the treatment Modi sarkar has meted out to it does not inspire much confidence; and above all should be a cause of concern for one and all.

When the need of the hour is to spend more on educating India’s youth, the NDA government has chosen to walk in the opposite direction that leads nowhere but the abyss of darkness and ignorance.

Let’s have a look at some disturbing figures in this regard. The NDA government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has reduced India’s overall education budget from Rs. 82,771 cr to Rs. 69,074 cr. While under the previous government the Plan allocation went up by 18 per cent in 2012-13 and by 8.03 per cent in 2013-14, the Modi sarkar has reduced the Plan allocation for 2015-16 by 24.68 per cent.

The government’s apathy towards education is apparent from the fact that funding for the flagship Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) has been reduced by 22.14 per cent; the Mid-Day Meal Scheme by 16.41 per cent; the Rashtriya Madhyama Shiksha Abhiyan for secondary education by 28.7 per cent; and the Rashtriya Uchhattar Shiksha Abhiyan, to support state colleges, by 48 per cent.

Moreover, when the Smriti Irani’s Human Resource ministry demanded Rs 50,000 cr in 2015-16 for SSA, it received just Rs 22,000 cr from the current Budget. The Union Budget for 2015-16 also cut spending on child education, development, health and protection as compared to last year. “In absolute terms”, according to child rights NGO Child Rights and You (CRY), child budget decreased from Rs 81,075.26 crore in 2014-15 to Rs 57,918.51 cr in 2015-16.

Ironically, the government of India announced Rs 250 million assistance package for the preservation of the Pashupatinath temple in Nepal last year prior to Prime Minister Modi’s visit to the Himalayan country. Furthermore, PM Modi ‘gifted’ 2,500 kg of Shrikhanda (Sandalwood) worth Rs 2 crore for the temple, besides providing assistance in building a 400-bed ‘dharamshala’ inside the temple premises.

It is, therefore, a pity that when the need of the hour is to urgently boost spending on education, India’s scarce resources are being literally frittered away on temples that too in foreign lands, finding ancient rivers and funding cultural tours from relief funds meant for natural disasters, especially when hundreds of debt-ridden, wretched farmers have been compelled to put an end to their precious lives.

It is apparent the government has got its priorities wrong or, perchance, it does not fully understand the gravity of the situation. In the 21st century India, quality, affordable education ought not to be the preserve of the privileged few, for not everyone is as fortunate enough like PM Modi who despite being from a humble background has gone on to lead the nation.

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AP EAMCET 2018 Application Process: All You Need To Know

The application process has four steps: payment of application fees, filling the form with required details, uploading scanned images and printing the filled out form after submission

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Eligible candidates can apply for this exam via online mode only at the official website of JNTU. Wikimedia Commons
Eligible candidates can apply for this exam via online mode only at the official website of JNTU. Wikimedia Commons
  • The tentative date for the commencement of AP EAMCET 2018 application process is the second week of February
  • Candidates can apply for more than one course but only a single application can be submitted by a candidate for the Engineering, Medical and Agricultural courses
  • Applicants should make sure that they fulfil all the eligibility criteria and then only should proceed with the application process

The application form for AP EAMCET 2018 is going to be released shortly by JNTU. Eligible candidates can apply for this exam via online mode only at the official website of JNTU. The official dates for the application procedure have not been announced yet, however, the tentative date for the commencement of application process is the second week of February and candidates will be able to fill the form till the fourth week of March 2018.

Candidates can apply for more than one course but only a single application can be submitted by a candidate for the Engineering, Medical and Agricultural courses. The application process has four steps: payment of application fees, filling the form with required details, uploading scanned images and printing the filled out form after submission. Students failing to submit the application until the last date will be able to submit the form only after paying late fees ranging from INR 500 to 10,000.

Click Here to Know More About AP EAMCET

Candidates will be able to make modifications or corrections in their respective forms from April. They must make sure that the correction window will be active for a limited time period only.  Upon successful registration, candidates can avail their admit cards from April.

Also Read: How to prepare for your Engineering Exams in the Age of Digital Distraction?

Before filling the application form for AP EAMCET, applicants must ensure that they are ready with all the important documents including Aadhar Card Number, Date of birth, Hall Ticket number of Qualifying Examination, Hall Ticket number of SSC or equivalent examination, Caste Certificate (SC/ST/OBC candidates), PH, NCC, Sports etc., Annual Income of parents, Study or Residence or relevant certificate for proof of local status (12 years), Credit card/ Debit card/ Net Banking details.

Students are allowed to modify/ rectify some information but not all on the application form. Wikimedia Commons
Students are allowed to modify/ rectify some information but not all on the application form. Wikimedia Commons

Applicants should make sure that they fulfil all the eligibility criteria and then only should proceed with the application process. The online application process for AP EAMCET is carried out in 4 important steps. First, the application fee of INR 450 for one course and INR 900 for both the courses has to be paid in the online mode through credit card/ debit card/ net banking and the fee amount depends on the course applied for.

After fee payment, candidates can proceed to fill up the application form which includes candidates’ personal and academic details, qualifying examination details, details needed for common entrance test, the preferred location for exam centre – primary district, secondary district and preference of 3 cities to be chosen from options in each district.

Also Read: Exams are Knocking at the Door? Here are 10 Things you can do to Handle the Exam Pressure

After filling the form, candidates have to upload the scanned copy of a recent passport size photograph and scanned copy of the signature which should be maximum 30 KB and 15 KB respectively. Make sure that both of these are in JPG format. After filling the application form and uploading the required documents, candidates should verify that all the input details are correct and finally submit the form.

JNTU provides the facility to make corrections or modifications in the application form. But, only students who submitted the application form within the last date will be able to avail this facility. The correction window will be made active online only for a limited time period.

However, students are allowed to modify/ rectify some information but not all on the application form. To rectify the details that are not allowed to be modified, students have to submit a special written request along with relevant documents and the filled out application form and send all those via email.

Also Read: Boys tend to do better in science exams than girls

Details that can be altered include that of the qualifying examination, personal details, details of the study and the applicants’ address. However, there are certain fields which cannot be modified and these include stream, candidates’ name, signature, photograph and qualifying exam hall ticket number. So, fill all these details accurately else a special request will have to be made along with submission of valid documents and has to be sent via email to the concerned authorities.