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Kerala Education Department to bring Transformation: Over 9,000 Kerala Schools Get IT Boost

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kerala CM pinarayi vijayan
A school in Kerala, Wikimedia

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, May 27, 2017:  The Kerala education department on Friday announced the holistic intervention of ICT (information and communication technologies) that will assist education in 9,279 schools. Students of Class 1 to 7, through IT@School Project, would be benefited in the new academic year starting in June.

Kerala, being a role-model in ICT-enabled education, started IT education under IT@School Project for High School classes (Class 8 to 10) in early 2005 and with Friday’s launch, ICT-enabled education would be available from Class 1 to 12.

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“The scaling up of ICT enabled education in classrooms is a major step in achieving the educational goal of the government with respect to its General Education Rejuvenation Mission. Computer labs and Smart Classrooms would be set-up in all schools,” said Kerala Education Minister C. Raveendranath while launching this new initiative.

“IT@School has already imparted specific ICT training for 70,602 teachers in the state and we have roped in BSNL for providing broadband connectivity to all schools in the State and as on date 97 percent of the schools have been fully covered,” said K. Anvar Sadath, Executive Director of IT@school project. (IANS)

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Mahalaya: Beginning of “Devipaksha” in Bengali Celebration of ‘Durga Puja’

“Mahalaya” is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha” and heralds the celebration of Durga Puja

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Mahalaya morning in Kolkata. Flickr
  • Mahalaya 2017 Date: 19th september.
  • On Mahalaya, people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers; which is called ‘Torpon’
  • Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted in All India Radio
  • The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent

Sept 19, 2017: Autumn is the season of the year that sees the Hindus, all geared up to celebrate some of the biggest festivals of India. The festive spirit in the Bengalis all enthused to prepare for the greatest of the festivals, the ‘Durga Puja’.

About Mahalaya:

Mahalaya is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha,” and this year it is celebrated on September 19.

Observed exactly a week before the ‘Durga Puja’, Mahalaya is the harbinger of the arrival of Goddess Durga. It is celebrated to invoke the goddess possessing supreme power! The goddess is invited to descend on earth and she is welcomed with devotional songs and holy chants of mantras. On this day, the eye is drawn in the idols of the Goddess by the artisans marking the initiation of “Devipaksha”. Mahalaya arrives and the countdown to the Durga Puja begins!

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The day of Mahalaya bears supreme significance to the Bengalis. The day is immensely important because on this day people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers. Clad in white dhotis, people offer prayers and take dips in the river while praying for their demised dear ones. The ritual is popular as “Torpon”.

Mahalaya
An idol-maker in progress of drawing the eye in the idol of the Goddess. Wikipedia

As per Hindu myth, on “Devipaksha”, the Gods and the Goddesses began their preparations to celebrate “Mahamaya” or Goddess Durga, who was brought upon by the trinity- Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheshwara; to annihilate the fierce demon king named Mahishasura. The captivating story of the Goddess defeating the demon got popularized with the goddess being revered as “Durgatinashini” or the one who banishes all the evils and miseries of the world. The victory of the Goddess is celebrated as ‘Durga Puja’.

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Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted at dawn in All India Radio in the form of a marvelous audio montage enthralling the souls of the Bengalis. Presented with wonderful devotional music, acoustic drama, and classical songs- the program is also translated to Hindi and played for the whole pan-Indian listeners.

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Mahalaya
Birendra Krishna Bhadra (1905-1991). Wikipedia

The program is inseparable from Mahalaya and has been going on for over six decades till date. The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent! He has been a legend and the dawn of Mahalaya turns insipid without the reverberating and enchanting voice of the legendary man.

Mahalaya will keep spreading the magic and setting the vigor of the greatest festival of the Bengalis- the Durga Puja, to worship the supreme Goddess, eternally.

                 “Yaa Devi Sarbabhuteshu, Shakti Rupena Sanhsthita,

                     Namastaswai Namastaswai Namastaswai Namo Namaha.”

– by Antara Kumar of NewsGram. Twitter: @ElaanaC

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‘India Won the 1962 War and Gandhiji was not Murdered’: Are New Textbooks in India Misinforming the Youth?

How can the youth know the struggles of the ancestors of the nation if they believe that we have a all-too-glorified past?

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New School Textbooks in India are not telling the real history to youth. Wikimedia

August 25, 2017: Fake news has become the biggest evil to true information. Exaggerated/ altered facts to support an ideological agenda has become increasingly common, combined with photoshopped images and fabricated videos.

But this misinformation when breaches the sacredness of education and knowledge, it takes the form of the most dangerous thing. Such fabricated tales are now available in the new textbooks in India.

History, in particular, has been twisted and told to young students of India. It is unfortunate that the textbooks which are to shape the able youth of the nation and telling outright lies.

ALSO READ: Politics and Education: A Relationship that contributes a lot in shaping our Future

Below are some of the incidents that have been explained differently than the reality:

THE MUGHALS

The Hindus have always hated the Mughal chapter of the Indian History. The Mughal Dynasty came to India for conquest and occupied the majority of the nation. The Dynasty which came from Central Asia ruled over the Indian subcontinent from 1526-1857 after which the White people took over. The slavery of Hindus in their own nation is a sad but true fact. The Mughal rule was also perceived as the authoritarian nature of Islam, although the interests that the dynasty was pursuing were purely political. The people who opposed the Mughal Dynasty in India included Chattrapati Shivaji, the Maratha King, along with Assam Kings Commander Lachit Borphukan, are well respected among the Hindu sect.

There was also an incident involving Mughal King Akbar and Rajput Chieftain Maharana Pratap. Maharana Pratap rejected becoming subordinate to Akbar. Hence, a war was waged which later came to be known as the Battle of Haldighati. Although Maharana’s Rajput forces gave a tough fight, it was outnumbered by Akbar’s huge military.

In July 2017, India Today reported that in the Class X textbooks of history, it is said that it was the Rajput forces that defeated the Mughals in the battle. This change was approved by the Rajasthan Board of Secondary Education during the period of revising state textbooks.

MAHATMA GANDHI

Nowhere in the Class VIII textbooks do the students find the story of Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination. The book does explore Gandhi’s life span, but it does not inform how the father of the nation was killed by Nathuram Godse. The Rajasthan Rajya Pathyapustak Mandal has published the textbook.

JAWAHARLAL NEHRU

The same textbook that has omitted Godse’s name has also forgotten Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first PM and the longest one at that. While Nehru’s decisions during his leadership are of various debates, the book has not discussed the first PM and his role in reconstructing a newly independent and divided nation. However, the book has extensively mentioned the First President Rajendra Prasad and Sardar Patel. Indian Express reported how the political ideology has played a role here to hide the true picture of history. Nehru, for all his secular ideas and a different idea of the country, which was not so popular among some sects.

1962 WAR BETWEEN INDIA AND CHINA

India was taken off guard by an attack from the Chinese troops in 1962. India, which was still recovering from independence, lost embarrassingly. In the recent Dokhlam standoff, Chinese media has reminded India of the humiliating defeat. Needless to say, the 1962 Indo-Sino war left a mark on Indians.

But in Madhya Pradesh’s Sanskrit Textbooks for Class VIII students, it is claimed that India won the war. The book titled ‘Sukritika’ explicitly states, “What famously came to be known as Sino-India war of 1962 was won by India against China,” reports Times of India. The textbook is published by Kriti Prakashan and is used at CBSE affiliated schools in Madhya Pradesh.

THE UNFORTUNATE REALITY

Indian Express had also reported the dire need for improvement in Maharashtra. Important events of world history (and not just western history) such as the French and American Revolution, Magna Carta, Greek Academia, etc. are all replaced by the glorification of the Maratha dynasty.

These incidents are shameful when viewed from a citizen’s lens. How can one expect to believe knowledge and intellect when information itself is a lie? How can the youth know the struggles of the ancestors of the nation if they believe that we have an all-too-glorified past?


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National Book Trust (NBT) Chairman: Nurturing Creativity and Innovation in Children at an Early Age are Much Needed

How should current school curriculum be modified for an overall development of Children?

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Nurturing creativity and innovation in children
Nurturing creativity and innovation in children. Pixabay
  • Education should work in the direction of expanding the horizon of knowledge children
  • There is a need to shift educational learning for school goers from content mastery to competency mastery
  • To compete with the children worldwide, they need to have an understanding that is beyond books

New Delhi, August 21, 2017: There is a need to look beyond the world of text books and inculcate in children qualities like empathy towards society, humanity, sensitivity towards other human beings and nature.

Baldeo Bhai Sharma, Chairman of National Book Trust (NBT), talked about nurturing creativity, innovation in young minds for nation’s economic and spiritual development.

He was speaking at the FICCI’s first-ever Children’s Publishing Conclave called ‘Scrapbook’. Mr. Sharma said that it is crucial to observe and spot the creativity in children. To not just bound them to the school curriculum. The Supplementary books in school should teach them about the life lessons, that they should be good human beings. Such books will help them in the developing a good and positive personality; it will also strengthen their thinking and imaginative skills.

ALSO READ: 11 Facts about Education System Around the World: Do they prove to be Beneficial for Children?

In the conclave, he talked about how brave soldiers can inspire kids to be like that when they grow up and fight for their country someday. If not, even then such books will inculcate a feeling of patriotism in them. According to ANI reports, Mr. Sharma (pointing towards NBT’s efforts) said, “‘The Veergatha’ series had been introduced by NBT, which talks of the great acts of bravery by Indian soldiers.” The first series has a set of 5 books in English and Hindi, they are written so as to inspire the young minds and evoke feelings of patriotism in children from an early age.

Children are sometimes overburdened with books.  UNESCO encourages learning in mother tongue, especially at the early stage.  Sharma said that education should work in the direction of expanding the horizon of knowledge in a child and he agrees with UNESCO that teaching a child in mother tongue should be encouraged to retain cultural values.

Dr. Hrushikesh Senapaty, Director of NCERT, said: “There is a need to shift educational learning for school goers from content mastery to competency mastery, where competencies should be classified into character, intellectual and social.” He stressed upon the need to make the classroom environment vibrant where teachers would play the role of a facilitator- will provide them with an opportunity where they can develop and strengthen their competencies as well as communication ability. He added, “The Indian education system is moving from knowledge construction to knowledge processing with the help of technology, enabling children to explore, innovate and create.”

ALSO READ: Ragas for Preschool Children: Combining Classical Music with Fun Exercises

Appreciating FICCI’s initiative, Dr. Senapaty said that the goal of this publishing conclave is to produce content which is rich in quality and is innovative. It will enable them to learn in a collaborative environment. He added, “Indian children have performed well when they follow a prescribed school curriculum but to compete with the children worldwide, they need to have an understanding that is beyond books and focus on skills like building their applied knowledge.”

Children should explore, innovate and create
Children should explore, innovate and create. Pixabay

Ms. Urvashi Butalia, Chairperson, FICCI Publishing Committee and Director, Zubaan, said that the conclave focused on:

  • promoting book reading amongst young minds
  • government and children’s publishers- enhance learning outcome in educational space
  • policy advocacy- nurture collaboration between schools
  • addressed- gender misrepresentation in children’s books
  • concerns- children’s content in school books
  • implementing theory of multiple intelligence on children’s content- enhance learning outcome
  • changing role of technology in children’s content and its impact on K-12 (kindergarten (K) and the 1st -12th grade) education

Dr. A. Didar Singh, Secretary-General, FICCI, said that this platform will help to explore possible collaboration between children, content creators, offline and online service providers, publishers, technology disruptors, schools, teachers, parents, and policymakers. The conclave focused on the important aspects like learning requirements of an individual child, crucial role publishers can play to address it.

The conclave also had some interesting workshops for school children. The workshops had activities like creative writing, story-telling and received appreciation from the young minds.


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