Last Updated on : 26 .02.2004

DSC-2003: Urdu Fazil students in quandary
26 Feb: Education Department has bungled yet again; this time putting hundreds of candidates appearing for the ensuing DSC-2003 into a quandary. Declaring the Urdu Fazil course as not equivalent to Intermediate, the Commissioner of School Education has directed the District Educational Officers not to accept applications from those holding Urdu Fazil certificates for the posts of Secondary Grade Teachers (Urdu medium).

This has come as a shock not just to the students but also the Idara-e-Adabiyat-e-Urdu, which conducts the Urdu Fazil course. The Commissioner, School Education, has obviously gone by a letter issued by the Board of Intermediate Education in October last stating that the Fazil course is not equivalent to Intermediate. But subsequently the Principal Secretary, Higher Education, has clarified that the Fazil course continues to be equivalent to Intermediate. In this context the action of the Directorate of School Education is puzzling.

"Following representations, the Principal Secretary, Higher Education, wrote to the Secretary, BIE, to keep in `abeyance' the decision not to consider the Urdu Fazil course on par with Intermediate. "Allow the equivalence for this year," the Principal Secretary clearly instructed in a letter dated November 2003.

The Idara-e-Adabiayat conducted the examination for the Fazil course two months ago and the result was declared only recently. "Students who successfully completed the Fazil course have a right to appear for the DSC-2003," said Mohd. Faseeuddin, president, Urdu Struggle Organisation.

A school for autistic kids
06 Feb: Parents of six children suffering from autism, a developmental disorder, have taken up the task of starting a first-of-its-kind school in the state dedicated to autistic children.

Autism is a lifelong developmental disorder that occurs during the first three years of life, where the child fails to develop communication and social skills. There are no schools that cater specifically to autistic children, since they are good at something. While some grasp languages easily, others are good at mathematics.

"Our children are neither mentally retarded nor are they normal. So they do not fit into regular schools or special schools," said K Laxmi, mother of six-year-old Harsha, an autistic child. "They need a school where teachers can understand their disability and educate them based on their individual capabilities," she said.

Meet to explore technology use for language teaching

04 Feb: Participants at the 35th conference of the English Language Teachers' Association of India will explore the possibility of using technology to impart linguistic skills effectively to students.

The conference, to be held here on February 6 and 7, will look at ways of adapting to the e-world, using its devices to promote linguistic proficiency and develop soft skills. Technophobic teachers scarcely find space to accommodate technology in their learning scheme. However, following an orthodox, laid-back approach will only maim their learning potential. Delivering the S. Natarajan Endowment lecture, M.L. Tickoo, former professor of materials production, Central Institute of English and Foreign Languages, Hyderabad, will signpost the directions language teaching is likely to take in the country.

To provide hands-on experience to the delegates, parallel sessions of workshops, giving them access to e-learning devices, online resources and multimedia packages have been organised. Ten parallel sessions will be held on both days to accommodate more than 70 presentations, ranging from Spoken English with technology to mobilisation technology for creative writing.

English teachers can attend the conference and register themselves at the venue, Anna University. The Director of Collegiate Education, in a release, said leave taken by English lecturers to attend the conference would be treated as `On Duty', on production of a certificate of attendance. Further details can be had from 17, Muthalamman Koil Street, West Mambalam, Chennai 600 033, on phone (3712407) or Anna University (22203165).

Foolproof method to mark answer sheets
31 Jan: The SSC board has decided to introduce Optical Mark Reader (OMR) system for posting of marks during the evaluation of examination papers to eliminate human errors. Dispensing with the existing manual posting system, teachers from this year have to post their marks on the OMR sheet by blackening the ovals with a pencil. Besides, they should write down the marks secured by the students in digits at the separate boxes provided in the sheet.

The move, according to director of government examinations
D Ravindranadham, would eliminate human errors at the time of posting marks. During the spot valuation, many of the teachers have been rounding off the marks on the answer sheet, which often gives room for human errors.

The board has stipulated that the special assistants should verify the marks posted by the assistant examiner which should later be cross-checked and certified by the chief examiner. Further, questionwise and pagewise totals should be shown on the front page of the answer script in the space provided. Total marks should be written in words and the assistant examiner would have to sign on the answer script with the number assigned to him. They have to retotal the marks.The board has tightened the evaluation pattern after last year's experience.

Lighter bags for the little ones
24 Jan: There's good news for children of classes 1 and II from the next academic year. They will no longer have to carry heavy school bags, nor will they be given any homework.

While the Central Board of Secondary Education has set the ball rolling to implement this norm, school education officials in Andhra Pradesh are trying their best to implement this 'light policy'. "We have begun informal consultation with authorities of various schools. Some of them have agreed with us and decided to relieve students of classes 1 and II from the burden of carrying school bags everyday. We expect other schools to follow suit," director of school education, Manmohan Singh, said.

On an average, a child carries anywhere between 3 to 5 kg load of books to school everyday. Last year, CBSE officials in a circular to more than 6,000 Board schools, said the load of the school bag was one of the major concerns. On an experimental basis, CBSE director (Academics) G Subramanian asked schools to relieve the burden of the class 1 and II students.

"We kept 50 per cent of the books in the school itself so that children will not have to bring them everyday. From next year, we will try to relieve them of the burden completely," Vasavi Public School principal Krishna Mukherjee said, when contacted. To offload the burden of the tiny tots, schools, however, will be required to have lockers or cupboards. Many schools do not even have enough space for classes, leave alone lockers. Moreover, some parents reportedly insist that their children be given some homework.

Indian robot to star at US camp
20 Jan: A robot built by students will educate children at a NASA camp to be held in California in July. The International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) is working on building a low-cost mobile robot for education and research. The robot, which is being developed in collaboration with the Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), will be used at the annual Nasa-sponsored 'Robo-Camp' for high school students in California in July 2004. "About 25 students are working on the project. However, this is not a commercial robot, but the one being developed purely for educational purpose," Prof P J Narayanan, robotics coordinator at the IIIT,disclosed.

Minority college students assured of justice
8 Jan: The Government will provide justice to students of various minority colleges. This assurance was given by the Chief Minister, N. Chandrababu Naidu, to a group of students who called on him recently under the banner of Minorities Students' Organisation. The students brought to Mr. Naidu's notice the forcible collection of development fee by some minority colleges from MBA and MCA students. They urged the Chief Minister to ensure that the development fee collected last year be adjusted against the current year's tuition fee. The Chief Minister was also told about the lack of infrastructure facilities in the colleges.

Go to school with a kite in your bag
30 Dec: The Andhra Pradesh government has sent a directive to district educational officers telling them to organise kite festivals in schools during the Pongal holidays. Children are to be guided on how to make kites,which should be flown a day or two before Sankranti, the directive from District Primary Education Programme (DPEP) state project director V M Manohar Prasad says.

The kite flying contests are meant for the primary and upper primary sections. But even official guidelines find it hard to keep the rest out of the most popular pastime at this time of the year.

Schools are being asked to involve all community elders and people's representatives during the festival. All parents and teachers should join in the fun fest, the directive says. Schools have to make sure that children have enough kites to fly and there's no shortage of threads. For this, the schools will have to stretch a shoestring budget of Rs 200 grant sanctioned for every institution from the funds set aside for innovative activities and community mobilisation. On a more formal note, the directive says kites should ideally display "useful educational messages" and Telugu alphabets. However, the end purpose is to bring teachers, children and parents together to have fun.

High Court hauls up private medical colleges
27 Dec: The Andhra High Court on Friday declared the admissions made into medical and dental courses in certain private medical and dental colleges for the academic year 2003-04 under `B' category as illegal and said they were in flagrant violation of rules.

A. Gopal Reddy, a judge of the court, dismissed the writ petitions filed by private aided and unaided medical and dental colleges challenging the action of the NTR Health University in not approving the admissions made under "B" category which fell vacant due to the sliding of the students into `A' category. The judge while permitting the aggrieved students and the university to lodge a criminal complaint against the private institutions, imposed costs of Rs. 10,000 on the petitioner management.

It may be recalled that due to permission granted by the Medical Council of India to two new medical colleges, students of `B' category slided into the `A' category. The managements instead of allotting the seats that fell vacant under `B' category as per the stipulated rules and as per the merit of EAMCET, filled the vacancies. Challenging the action of the health university in not recognising the admissions under `B' category, private institutions like Narayana Dental and Medical College in Nellore, Pinamaneni Siddarthatha Medical College and certain other private medical and dental colleges filed the present writ petitions.

Similarly, Shyam Subrahmanyam and certain other students approached the court challenging the action of private institutions in not allotting `B' category seats by the sliding method, which fell vacant. Mr. Justice Gopal Reddy while dismissing the writs filed by the private institutions, declared that the court could not ratify the irregularities nor permit the institutions to perpetuate such irregularities under the garb of the judicial process.

The Judge directed the university to constitute a mechanism wherein a competent authority would monitor and take up the admissions which fell vacant and which were not approved by the university. He also directed it to consider admissions of the candidates who secured seats as per ranking and reservation, in these institutions. He gave liberty to the authority to take steps including counselling, forwarding the list to the Medical Council of India and the Supreme Court for extension of deadline, if required.

Urdu university yet to start regular courses
23 Dec:The Moulana Azad National Urdu University , which was set-up as both a regular and distance education institution, has confined its business to the latter and is yet to start regular courses. The university came into existence in 1998 based on the Moulana Azad National Urdu University Act. Interestingly, many think that it is an open university because other than a diploma in education (D.Ed.) it does not offer any other regular course.According to the Act's guidelines, the university had to start professional and other regular courses besides extending hostel facility within the campus, for which it was provided with more than 200 acres of land in Manikonda in the city outskirts.

The university is nearing its sixth year of existence, but many of its programmes are yet to be implemented. D.Ed. is its only regular course while some courses at the Bachelors level are run in the distance mode. There is an allegation that founder vicechancellor of the university Shameem Jairajpuri - whose five-year term ended in January 2003 - had not shown any interest to take up any of its intended programmes.

There were plans to set up departments of Urdu, English, Hindi, commerce, technical education, communication and journalism and women education. But the then vicechancellor neither presented the working papers to the academic council nor did he show any interest in implementing them. Though the course material for some courses including B.Ed. and journalism have been made available in Urdu, those courses have not yet started. The material being provided to the candidates of B.A. and B.Sc. are not of its own, but copied from Dr BR Ambedkar Open University based on an MoU.

Instead of concentrating on regular courses, the university has been increasing the number of study centres meant for distance education. The university even has centres in some Gulf countries. Several scholars and organisations have criticised the way in which the university is being run. They allege that the university has failed to serve the very purpose for which it was set up in the first place.The feeling among the public is that the Centre is showing apathy towards Urdu. They said that it should appoint more staff and start all the regular courses as per plan.

Prof Yousuf Kamal, retired professor of Osmania University , said that the university has not even appointed a bureau of translation, then "how can we expect it to churn out education material in Urdu?" Meanwhile, president of Urdu Struggle Organisation Mohammed Fasiuddin said that the university has not only failed to start a B.Ed. course, but has also limited the seats of D.Ed. course to only 75. The state government announces numerous posts for Urdu teachers but due to lack of sufficient qualified persons, they remain vacant, he said adding that at least 300 seats should be there in a national varsity.

Biotech award for State
22 Dec: Andhra Pradesh has bagged the prestigious "Bio State of the Year" Award, institute by Biospectrum, Bangalore-based exclusive biotech journal, for its proactive policy initiatives to promote biotech sector and for creating world-class infrastructure in the Genome Valley. According to a press release issued by the Secretary, Industries, B.P. Acharya, AP was adjudged the best in the country in terms of investments made by the Government and the involvement of the leadership as well as officials in promoting the biotech industry.

Mr. Acharya received the award at a function held in Bangalore, from Dr.M.S. Swaminathan, on behalf of the State Government. Presenting the award, the eminent scientist lauded the pro-active role played the State Government to promote the biotech sector. He praised the Chief Minister, N. Chandrababu Naidu's, keen interest to make the Genome Valley the biotech hub of the country.

In his acceptance speech, Mr. Acharya stated that the award would inspire the State in its pursuit of excellence in creating a world-class biotech cluster and provide an enabling environment for the industry to grow.

Skill courses for SSC-fail students
20 Dec: Students who have failed in the SSC examination need not waste an entire academic year any more with the Board of Intermediate (BIE) deciding to allow such students to pursue short-term vocational certificate courses.
he board has designed various courses of three-, six-months and one-year duration in agriculture, engineering and technology, business and commerce, home science and humanities. The fee for these courses would range from Rs 300 to Rs 350. The vocational courses are self-financing in nature and can be offered by any junior college, higher education minister N Md Farooq told reporters on Friday. The principals can select the courses to offer based on local needs and employment opportunities available. Even students who pass the SSC examination can also take these courses. As students who drop out of the education system are joining the ranks of the jobless having no employable skills, these vocational courses would be quite helpful, BIE secretary Shashank Goel said.

International employment academy launched in Hyderabad
19 Dec : A new academy is coming up in Hyderabad with a view to providing employment to youth on a global scale.

The academy, to be launched at the Youth Employment Summit (YES) regional forum for South and Southeast Asia, will conduct research and identify employment opportunities in various sectors and work towards capacity building.

The US-based Education Development Centre (EDC), the Andhra Pradesh government, the MS Swaminathan Foundation and some others are partners for the Academy, which will also undertake projects.

Poonam Ahluwalia, executive director of EDC that the centre had raised $200,000 through several UN bodies.

Various groups such as the Hyderabad-based Reddy Foundation, which is training youths for employment, have also come forward to become partners in the Academy.

Ahluwalia said the Academy was being set up in Hyderabad as the city had received global recognition due to several innovative projects in different sectors.

EDC is an international, non-profit organisation with 325 projects in 40 countries dedicated to enhancing learning, promoting health and fostering a deeper understanding of the world. The organisation raises $80 million every year.

The YES Campaign, launched last year at Alexandria, Egypt, is working to build the capacity of young people to create sustainable livelihoods.

"It was launched in response to the enormous challenge of youth unemployment facing most countries and affecting millions of young people around the world," said Ahluwalia.

IIT researching on hypersonics

9 Dec: Fly to London in less than two hours. It will not be wishful thinking or remain in the realm of imagination in a few years. The Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL) here is aiming just that as it has begun work on the `biggest aeronautical challenge' for the country. Giving flight to the imagination, all the IITs in the country are among the 12 academic institutions working with the DRDL to develop a hypersonic aircraft.

When the hypersonic aircraft becomes a reality, one can travel to London, perhaps attend a meeting, and travel right back in just a few hours. At present, a New Delhi-London flight takes eight hours - one way. In the ambitious programme to achieve what the United States and Russia too are competing. The IISc, Bangalore , the Osmania University, Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University (JNTU) and Hyderabad Central University in the city are also working with the DRDL.

City college belies image of Sarkari institution
5 Dec: The Government City College,forming a grand trio with the neighbouring High Court and the Osmania General Hospital standing on the banks of river Moosi in the old city, belies the image of a Sarkari institution. It is moving with the times and equipped itself with modern gadgets and paraphernalia on par with the private colleges.

The magnificent edifice is a three-storied building combining the Moghul and Hindu architecture. The ground floor has vast cellars and houses the college office, arts and commerce departments and physical education section.

The college has been keeping the torch of learning kindled for the past 75 years.It was the only institution serving the teaching needs of most of Telangana students till late 90s. It has biotechnology, microbiology and biochemistry laboratories with the latest sophisticated equipment besides four well-established computer laboratories in addition to the traditional courses.
Former chief minister of Maharashtra and union minister S B Chavan, former Lok Sabha speaker Shivaraj Patil, former Andhra Pradesh chief minister M Chenna Reddy, Congress spokesperson S Jaipal Reddy, BJP state unit president N Indrasena Reddy are some of the old students. The college forms an integral part of the history of the erstwhile Hyderabad state. Its history is associated with the awakening of the people of Hyderabad who realising the importance of education established the first English class in the Darul-uloom as early as 1865, which was later, converted into a high school. As the building of Darul-uloom was inadequate to meet the growing needs of the school, the English school was shifted to another building of Nawab Sir Salar Jung Bahadur and was designated as City High School .

The rapid expansion of the school necessitated the shifting of the middle and high school sections to yet another building of Sir Salar Jung, known as Moghul Hotel. Prasad said that the popularity gained by the school demanded yet another spacious and permanent building and the plans were drawn. The site found suitable for the plans was on the banks of the Moosi river where once stood the Charmahal palace of the Kutub Shahs, he said. When Khan Fazl Mohammed Khan took charge as principal in 1914, he sanctioned money and the present magnificent building came up. However, the credit for completing its construction in 1920 goes to S M Azam himself, an old student of the institution (later Nawab Azam Jung) who succeeded Khan Fazal Mohammed Khan. The school moved into the present grand edifice in 1921.

ISB girls create 'Perfect Professor'

27 Nov : Your search for the 'Perfect Professor' ends at the Indian School of Business (ISB) located in Hyderabad. At ISB, they don't just learn business. Observant girl students have even created the 'Perfect Professor', an imaginary being created with all the desirable traits they want, ranging from looks, talent to mentoring ability.The students made their 'Perfect Professor' public last month by listing the ingredients that go into the making of the ideal professor. The 'recipe' has been published in ISB's student newsletter The Harbinger. Prof Ziv Katalan's eyes, which the students seem to be enamoured of, forms the base of the cake. Katalan, who teaches 'decision models and optimisation', comes from Wharton. To this base, the students have added Prof Robert Stine's forearms and Prof Mark Finn's calves. Stine is also from The Wharton School while Finn, who teaches 'financial accounting in decision making', is from the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University.

Creating the 'Perfect Professor' was an all-woman affair. Amongst the ingredients for the 'first layer' of the cake, the students suggest "three tumblersful of Prof Jagmohan Raju's humour, 574.098 bathtubs of Prof Huggy Rao's presence, charm and charisma, Prof Anjani Jain's smile, a dollop of Prof Scott Ward's voice and six pegs of Prof Waterman's extremely amazing accent''. "We did it in good humour. There's been no negative reaction to our attempt,'' said some students.

CIEFL's new courses

26 Nov : The Central Institute of English & Foreign Languages is offering a part-time Certificate of Proficiency and Diploma courses in various foreign languages from January 2004. The languages offered are Russian, Japanese, Arabic, German and Spanish. Application forms would be available from the Dean's office from December 8.

ABVP activists spoil students' revelry

25 Nov : The national flag was allegedly torn and tied to a beer bottle by drunken participants at Chrysalis 2003, a festival organised by students of the Vignan Jyoti Institute of Management on the Osmania University campus on Monday. While a 'Treasure Hunt' game was going on in the Tagore auditorium after lunch hour, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) activists barged in and accused the participants of insulting the national flag by tying it to a liquor bottle and dancing with it.

Osmania University police registered a case under Section 2 of the Prevention of Insult to National Honour Act, 1971, and seized the torn flag and the liquor bottle. But they did not arrest the revellers and also failed to send them for a medical examination, allegedly because one of them is the son of a senior police officer. Kachiguda assistant commissioner of police A Venkateshwar Rao said the youngster was perhaps one among the several hundred students of the institute but was not involved in the incident. Vignan Jyoti managing director Brig. (retd.) Ravindranath Chowdary told reporters at the police station that no flag was torn by the participants. He said the ABVP raid was a pre-planned and orchestrated one.

Inter-district transfers irk Urdu Academy staff

18 Oct : The inter-district transfers of the staff being carried out by the Urdu Academy of Andhra Pradesh is leading to agitation among the staff as well as the members of the Academy's governing body.

The cause of concern for the employees is that their salaries are less than Rs 5,000 per month and it is difficult for them to sustain if they are transferred other than their native districts. This operation has been carried out for different departments in the Urdu Academy.The president of the Academy Ibrahim-Bin-Abdullah Masqati defended the move stating that only excess staff of the academy has been shifted to the places where staff is required."We can not pay the salaries for the work that they have not done," he said adding, the Academy wants to fully utilise the services of the staff and hence they are deputed where the academy requires services.

It is learnt that the staff whose services are transferred are approaching the TDP leaders of their respective districts and seeking their intervention. The staff are not provided with any other facilities so as they can manage the cost of living and accommodation at the new places.

Students told to develop savings habit

18 Oct : The Minister for Woman and Child Welfare, S. Saraswathi, on Friday called upon students to take up savings besides concentrating on studies and sports. Addressing a meeting after inaugurating a high school building built at a cost of Rs. 10 lakhs in Bommavaram village in Obulavaripalle mandal, she said teachers and parents besides encouraging childrenin their studies must inculcate in them the habit of savings.

She wanted girl children too educated on par with boys. The Rajampet MP, G. Ramaiah, assured funds for the school's development through his MPLADs. Earlier, the Minister inaugurated a dhobi ghat built with Rs. 1 lakh in Balireddipalle village and tar road laid from Bestavaripalle to Rallacheruvupalle at a cost of Rs. 29.70 lakhs. The NEDCAP chairman, K. Narayanaiah Naidu, was also present. .

Proper nutrition, sleep elude these students

16 Oct : For students of the Government Blind High School (GBHS) in Darushifa, normal activities such as eating, drinking and sleeping are major challenges because of the dearth of facilities at their institution. Students of the GBHS, established in 1939 in Devan Deorhi, and then shifted to Darushifa in 1974, have a lot to tell about their daily problems.

The school lacks proper eating and drinking water facilities. When night falls, the students problems are compounded by the fact that there is a major shortage of bed sheets in the hostel. The drinking water being supplied through tankers is inadequate and in the dry season this problem becomes acute. The students have no access to proper medical facilities. The doctor who is supposed to attend the students every Thursday has not been seen in the hostel for the past several years.

When the students fell sick they have to approach a nearby private clinic on their own expenses. Mohammed Shakeel, a Class VIII student, who is totally blind, said as there is no permanent cook for the hostel, the food being cooked by others lacks quality. The curry lacks taste and the dal is so watery, he said. Upender Reddy, a Class X student from Suryapet, said that there hordes of mosquitoes in the hostel. "We do not have proper bed sheets to cover ourselves. The cold and mosquitoes force us to have sleepless nights," he said.

Bureaucratic muddles aggravate the problem. Though both the buildings are located in the one-acre compound, the education department manages the school while the disabled welfare department manages the hostel. Of the 109 students who stay in the school's hostel, 80 students are totally blind and 29 are partially blind. Students from different districts of the state stay in the hostel that is situated in the school's compound.


B.Ed counselling likely to be delayed

15 Oct : Counselling for filling the existing 31,796 seats in the 283 B.Ed colleges in the State may be delayed by a few more days with the Government deciding to file an affidavit in the High Court tomorrow specifying the norms to be followed by private institutions. For candidates, the uncertainty continues despite completion of EdCET, and preparation of the statewide merit list. The delay is also due to the non-availability of the "approved list" of the colleges from the National Council for Teacher Education after renewal of recognition for the year.

The Minister for School Education, M. Venkateswara Rao, said at a press conference here. In the affidavit to be filed before the High Court, the Government would state that it had complied with the Supreme Court judgment by issuing a GO (No 1038 Dt. Oct. 10) providing for allotment of 50 per cent seats in private/minority institutions to managements without naming them as "management quota" and fixing a common fee for all colleges, Rs 10,800 per year. It would also seek a directive from the High Court asking the private managements to have their own common entrance test/counselling through two committees of judges as suggested by the Supreme Court in its August 14 verdict.

The Government would want the private managements to follow this as an alternative if they were not prepared to fill their seats honouring the merit lest prepared by the Government. The private managements too are in a piquant situation. Last year, they were allotted 15 per cent seats while 85 per cent went to the Government. When the apex court fixed the Government-management seat quotas at 50:50, the managements were happy.

They, in fact, approached the High Court seeking a directive to the State Government for complying with the judgment. However, the GO issued by the Government came as a dampener, specifying common fee for all the colleges, government as well as private, without giving scope for discretion. Now, it is stated, they want to revert to last year's ratio (85:15) .

Tourism clubs for schools on the anvil

15 October : Where are Niagara Falls, Statue of Liberty and Eiffel Tower? Answers to this question would come promptly from a majority of school students. However, ask them why is Pillalamarri famous or where the sacred Buddhist site Amaravati stupa is in the State, a majority of them could draw a blank. Students in schools will no longer experience these embarrassing situations, if the plans of the A.P.Tourism Department to form Tourism and Culture Clubs in schools to promote the popular tourist spots in the State apart from providing some educational value to high school students come to fruition. "The idea is to make the children learn, see and experience the glory of the State and its rich tradition and culture,'' says M. Lakshmi Jyothi, Chief Training Officer of Tourism & Hospitality Training Centre of the Government and involved in the formation of Tourism and Culture Clubs.

As a prelude to the exercise, the department held a meeting with principals of prominent private schools in the city recently apprising them of the concept. The idea is said to have generated a lot of interest among the principals who agreed not only to form the clubs but also spare a period every month exclusively to enlighten students about the prominent cultural places of the State with a tourism perspective. "We are targeting high school students as when they enter college life in a few years they will have a fair idea about tourism,'' Ms. Jyothi says. She says teachers from these schools would also be trained before the formation of the clubs.

Students need to pay Rs. 5 per year to become the member of the club apart from the initial registration fee of Rs. 20 while the school would contribute Rs. 2,500 per year and the Tourism Department would chip in with Rs. 5,000. The money would be used for the club activities, which also includes excursions to nearby prominent tourist spots. "Most students now go to excursions now also but these would be different where they would end up learning about the historic importance of the place apart from enjoyment,''

Ms. Jyothi avers. The club members would get a book with list of activities to be taken up during year which include exposing them to heritage, handicrafts, ecology, adventure tourism, cuisine, temples, religions, history, tribal culture and so on of the State. Each activity is followed by an exercise.

Deal clinched on medical seats

11 Oct : The controversy over admissions to vacant seats in private medical colleges has been sorted out with managements agreeing to admit students on the basis of merit and reservation rules. The government has also decided to approach the Supreme Court to seek extension of date of counselling as the deadline stipulated by the apex court ended on September 30. Further it would request the court to waive the Rs 50,000 fine for every late admission levied by the Medical Council of India.

The agreement came after senior health department officials met private college representatives on Friday. After two new colleges were started, students in the B category (25 per cent of total seats allotted by managements on the basis of merit) became eligible for 'A' category seats (outright merit seats). The deadlock arose out of how the vacancies in the B category created by this "sliding " would be filled.

A series of government orders added to the confusion. Some of the students who got admissions are demanding that the government should reveal the names of those officials who were behind an order (No 488) that sought to convert unfilled seats in the B-category into C-category seats (management quota seats).

The father of an Eamcet ranker said over 61 MBBS and 102 BDS seats that fell vacant were "sold" by private colleges.In a press release, the director of medical education K Sashi Prabha said the registrar of NTR University of Health Sciences has been instructed to furnish a report on the persons who did not take effective follow up action after GO 574, which authorised the competent authority to fill up vacancies, was issued.

Engineering student held on charge of stealing cell phones

10 Oct: The Mahankali(Hyderabad) police on Thursday caught an engineering student, Nagari Kumar Raja, red-handed while he was walking away with the cell phone of an unemployed person after allegedly luring the latter with a promise of securing job in a reputed software company. Raja confessed to have stolen 26 cell phones in a similar fashion in Mahankali and Abids police station limits in the last five months, the North Zone DCP, M.V. Ramachandra Raju, told a press conference.

Raja's modus operandi is to call up the jobless on their mobile phones introducing himself as the project leader of a software firm. He would invite unemployed youngsters for a talk at a hotel on SP Road. Pretending that his mobile phone was not working, he would request the victims to lend their cell phones to make a call and walk away with the instrument. "During a journey, a gentleman offered to sell his mobile phone to me.

When I asked him for the documents, he said there was no need for any document. Then, it struck me that I can rob and sell mobile phones without any difficulty," Raja told reporters. Asked as to how he got the resumes of educated youngsters, Raja said he used to frequent Satyam i-way Internet cafes, open the D-drive section and peruse the bio-data of jobseekers. However, some of the victims, present at the press conference, said they have never saved their resumes in any of the said Internet cafes.

The Police Commissioner, M.V. Krishna Rao, gave away Rs. 500 reward to each of the special police party members who laid trap and nabbed Raju. Mr. Rao commended the work accomplished by the Inspector, G. Someshwar Rao, and the Mahankali ACP, M. Divakar.

Ban on inter-dt. transfer of teachers may go

30 Sept :The State Government is likely to lift the ban on inter-district transfer of teachers shortly if the consensus reached at an all-party meeting convened by the School Education Minister, M. Venkateswara Rao, on Monday is any indication.

Participating in the meeting, members cutting across party lines unanimously resolved to ask the Government to facilitate inter-district transfer of teachers in accordance with the Presidential orders.
Briefing reporters later, the School Education Minister said that the Government would work out the modalities pertaining to the transfers shortly ensuring that the academic year of students was not disturbed. Once the ban was lifted, first preference would be given to spouses working in different areas followed by requests for mutual transfer. Preference would be given to the transfer applications of those whose spouses were posted in non-transferable jobs in the State and Central Government departments.

But, the transfers would be restricted to the vacancies created in the respective districts after the transfer of some of the teachers

College for women muftis opened

22 Sept :The first Dar-ul-Iftah (collegium of muftis from where fatwas are issued) for women was formally inaugurated in the premises of Jamiat-ul-Mominat on Sunday.
A panel of three mufthia (women muftis) issued the first fatwa on a issue relating to women as part of the inaugural ceremony. The fatwa says that in Shariah, women are permitted to wear make-up to make themselves look beautiful. The Shariah, however, does not allow women to use coloured contact lenses, bleaching and removing of hair from their body, trimming of hair and wearing the dresses of men.
The institution, located in Moghalpura, has been provided with a library-cum-research centre, a computer lab along with Internet connection and a chamber for the panel to meet women and discuss their issues and problems.It has been decided that the panel will initially take up only women-related issues. The institution also launched its website in Urdu, on the occasion. Anyone seeking guidance or fatwas on issues relating to women can get in touch with the institution on its website.

Most private varsities `illegal'

12 Sept :A senior UGC official has questioned the manner in which private universities are being registered and operated at present, terming it `illegal.'

Reacting to reports that private universities were being promoted by `for-profit' companies, which is prohibited in India,V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai, UGC Vice-Chairman, told media that most of them had not taken the mandatory UGC clearance before starting operations. Prof. Pillai said universities could not be established by mere `executive orders' of State Governments but required separate legislation in Parliament or legislatures for them to be legal.

A university promoted by the `for-profit' U.S. company, Sylvan Learning Systems has already started classes in rented premises in the city, despite not receiving deemed university status from the UGC. Sylvan has also been given 125 acres of land by the Government to set up its campus. Prof. Pillai said the UGC would give its recognition if these new degree-giving institutions conformed to all the provisions of the current laws. But they cannot launch academic programmes before getting this recognition, he cautioned.

London mayor's wife to visit city school

12 Sept : Carole J Blackshaw, wife of the London mayor, will visit the Government Red Cross School in Chandrayangutta on Friday. She is in the city accompanying alderman Gavyn Arthur, the Lord Mayor of the city of London. Later, she will visit the British Library. She will take a tour of the library and see facilities and services offered to members. She will also meet members of the Association of British Scholars, Web wizard master Ajay Puri and other dignitaries. Carole Blackshaw, a qualified lawyer, is a member of the Ethics Committee of the Human Factors Group based in Cranfield University, which vets aviation research projects..

More RTC services to women's college

8 Sept : APSRTC has introduced four additional buses for 120 single trips from Dilsukhnagar to Women's College in Koti with immediate effect.

This decision was taken due to the ban imposed by the police, restricting the entry of seven-seater autos into the city limits from Moosarambagh.

The buses would have 10-minute frequency between 7.30 a.m. and 9.30 a.m. for the convenience of commuters. The Regional Manager, C. Panduranga Murthy, said that more services would be introduced depending upon the demand.

Private schools' discomfiture due to transport problem

Aug 28 : Caught unawares by the sudden crackdown of the Transport Department on school buses in the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad , private school managements are at their wits' end even as they took recourse to hiring APSRTC buses. While the transport authorities vow to continue their drive against the `rickety' buses that commenced after the ghastly accident in Karimnagar, the school managements are crying foul against the authorities.

The school managements, however, argue that grounding their buses could send the academic schedule haywire. "How were the fitness certificates given all these years? Why didn't they insist on the prescribed guidelines while issuing them? Now, after cancelling them, we are being informed of new rules. Worried parents are already asking if we will declare holidays,'' says a school head. In this scenario, the private school managements are planning to take up the issue with the Chief Minister, N. Chandrababu Naidu.

Student files FIR against math teacher

27 Aug : A student studying in class VIII has lodged a police complaint against his teacher for beating him. In his complaint lodged at Shahinayatgunj police, boy said that the blood clotted in his fingers after he was beaten up.

The student, Navneet Mantri, 12, a student of Goodwill Public School Hyderabad, said that his mathematics teacher Rajkishore had beaten him with a stick on his fingers on Monday as he had not completed his homework.Mantri, who is a resident Begum Bazar, returned home and informed his father Kamal Kishore Mantri. He was taken to a hospital and later a complaint was lodged with the police. The case is under investigation.

All school buses to be tested for fitness

22 Aug. In the backdrop of the tragedy involving a school bus which plunged into a well killing eight children in Karimnagar on Tuesday, the State Government has taken up a massive exercise of inspecting each and every school bus throughout the State to test its fitness. Transport Minister, M. Damodar Reddy, issued orders to this effect. The vehicles were ordered to be seized if they failed the fitness test during inspection.

A press release of Transport Commissioner, A. Giridhar, listed the dos and don'ts the managements of the schools ought to follow in the running of the buses apart from ensuring they were road worthy. Among them are that they they cannot have drivers above the age of 50 and their health and vision should be checked up every quarter by managements at their cost.

One teacher and a parent will travel by the bus from the start to the end points everyday by turn. They should sit in the last rows to be able to watch the children all the time. When the appointments of the drivers were made, it should be ensured that the drivers were not smokers or alcoholics and had at least five years of driving experience. The managements have to get the licence particulars of the drivers verified with the RTAs concerned for their genuineness.

The buses should be painted in canary yellow and inspected by the principals and parents' committees every month for their mechanical condition. The speed governors of the buses should be locked at 40 kmph and the vehicles fitted with emergency brake systems. No one other than the driver shall drive. The buses should be parked within the school premises and the children made to board or disembark there only. The vehicles should carry the complete list of the children with all their particulars.

8 schoolchildren die as van falls into well

20 Aug: Eight children died and 14 others were injured when a school van fell into a well in Desarajupalli village in Karimnagar district on Tuesday morning. The driver of the van too lost his life in the accident.

The van was taking 25 children to a private school when it tipped over into the open well around 8.45 am. The victims are: Akhil, Mahender (Manoj Kumar), A. Rakesh, G. Rakesh, Swapna, M. Anup Reddy, J. Sampath, A. Rajesh and van driver Chotemiya. They were all residents of Desarajupalli village.

The injured students have been admitted to a hospital in Karimnagar town. Villagers said 23 children and school supervisor Vijayender Reddy boarded the bus at Desarajupalli as it rumbled in from Venkatraopalli. It was just starting off for Avudaripalli, when the brakes failed and the bus driver lost control. The vehicle fell into an open well with a deafening sound. The supervisor rescued 14 of the children. The rest died before villagers could join the rescue. District collector Sumita Dawra, Andhra Pradesh minister Damodar Reddy and other officials rushed to the spot.

Chief minister Chandrababu Naidu visited the village in the evening. The bodies were retrieved from the well and the van was hauled out in the afternoon. Naidu has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 1 lakh to each of the nine victims and Rs 10,000 to the 14 injured students.

OU students disrupt CFT meeting

19Aug : Students of Osmania University on Sunday barged into a meeting of the Congress Forum for Telangana (CFT) and insisted that 41 Congress MLAs from the region must resign in support of a separate Telangana.The CFT leaders were meeting to iron out internal differences over their separate PCC demand when about 400 students from different unions drove up to the CFT office in 50 Tata Sumos and raised slogans asking Congress MLAs not to succumb to party high command's pressure tactics. CFT leader Indrakaran Reddy had a tough time in convincing them that the Forum was discussing the strategy to be adopted on the Telangana issue.

The students demanded that the CFT must not succumb to pressure from the high command, as the spirit would die down if the tempo is relaxed. Addressing the students, CFT president G Chinna Reddy said that 'the demand for separate statehood for Telangana' was above party and they would intensify the agitation if the high command fails to heed their demand. Later, the students submitted a memorandum to the CFT urging it not to buckle under pressure and rectify the mistake of 1969.They virtually gheroaed Chinna Reddy.

Meanwhile, the CFT has put on hold its demand for a separate PCC for Telangana till November. However, the CFT leaders said, they would continue the demand for separate Telangana. The CFT meeting, held in the backdrop of four legislators tendering their resignation to Congress president Sonia Gandhi demanding a separate PCC, decided that they would abide by the decision of the high command.

School's reach out to HelpAge India

13 Aug : Ankita Jain of Pre-Primary and Akshay Mehta of Class Four in Kalpa School topped the list of highest individual collections, contributing Rs. 2,450 each, donated to HelpAge India.

At a function In Hyderabad, a cheque for a total amount of Rs. 95,609, being the amount collected by the school, was handed over by Kusum Gupta, the school's Director, to Amala Akkineni, who received it on behalf of HelpAge India.

Amala Akkineni and the State In-charge of HelpAge India, Mohd. Raza Mohammed, appreciated the gesture of the students and said the amount collected by them would be used to perform 95 cataract surgeries to the deserving poor in the twin cities. The students received social service certificates and mementoes from Amala Akkineni.

School kids tie rakhis to prisoners

13 Aug : A festive atmosphere prevailed in the Chanchalguda Central Prison as schoolchildren thronged the premises to tie rakhis to the inmates on the occasion of `Raksha Bandhan' here on Tuesday.

The students of St. Ann's, Secunderabad, Trinity Public School, SR Nagar, Sri Saraswathi Vidya Mandir, came to the prison accompanied by their teachers and tied rakhis to the prisoners, most of them undertrials and few convicts.

The students from various schools were let inside the imposing gates, school-wise accompanied by jail officials. They applied `tilak' and tied rakhis to the jail inmates who stood in a line. The St. Ann's students of VII, VIII and IX Std., belonged to their school's ``Social workers club.'' About 45 of them contributed to buy rakhis, sweets and fruits for the special occasion.

The students of Trinity Public School also visited Women's Prison and distributed rakhis and sweets to the 117 inmates there and clothes to the children of undertrials. "The women tied those rakhis to our boys,'' said a teacher.

Scholarship scam to be probed

30 July : The state government has ordered a fresh inquiry into the misappropriation of post-metric scholarships disbursed during the years 1984-87. The commissioner of enquiries has been asked to nominate an officer to probe the whole issue.

The government order comes in the wake of a newspaper report published on how inquiries into the earlier scandal proved futile and the enquiry officers did little to nail the guilty. The earlier scam, considered precursor to the present one, was incidentally committed by a group of people, including the main accused, U Santosh Kumar, who figured in both the cases.

The vigilance and enforcement (V&E) department, which detected the scam in 1988, noticed that about 31 officials and staff of the social welfare department siphoned off several lakhs of rupees in the name of bogus students from three city colleges. Based on the V&E findings, the government ordered an inquiry and appointed a senior IAS officer to probe the culpability of the staff. In the last 14 years, four inquiry officers have been changed and none of them completed the probe citing technical and procedural problems.

The last inquiry officer, additional director of the social welfare department, went on medical leave in April 2002 and subsequently retired in January this year. Thereafter, no officer had been named to probe the scandal. Principal secretary (social welfare) J Satyanarayana, in a report submitted to the Assembly house committee probing the scholarship scam, has said that the matter has been taken up with the commissioner of enquiries for nominating an enquiry officer to probe the previous scam also.

Govt contemplates grading in schools

28 July: While the grading pattern has almost become indispensable in most of the premier educational institutes in assessing the students' understanding level in higher classes, the government is exploring the relevance of the system in school education to ease out pressure among students and parents. A senior official in the education department revealed that the grading system would provide greater flexibility and suit the requirements of the institutions besides doing away with the system of failing students in the examinations.

The department would examine the relevance of grading system in the current academic scenario to fine tune the existing pattern Awarding of grades in the place of marks will considerably reduce the significance of numbers which is depending on inter and intra-examiner variability, imperfection of tools among others, according to NCERT director J S Rajput.

The NCERT has recently brought out a document titled Grading in schools outlining its advantages in school education. The system of awarding of marks is not foolproof as it had a lot of discrepancies like sampling of objectives within the content and arbitrary time limits for answering individual questions in testing situations, the official said. Further, the practice of declaring pass and fail merely based on the marks often proves traumatic for both students and parents.

Though the grading system will remedy most of the problems in the conventional method of evaluation, the government should make a concerted effort to dispel the misgivings about the systems, a spokesperson said.

Private schools need to be upgraded , says Minister

22 July: If private schools are touted as much better than Government schools, how come their results do not reflect that? This was the poser from the State School Education Minister, M. Venkateswara Rao. Of the 45,000 students who appeared for the SSC examination in Hyderabad district this year, only 5,000 were from the Government schools. Yet the district achieved only 60 per cent pass and remained low in the State while other districts registered 80 per cent and above. This only showed that private schools had to step up their standards, while Government schools with better qualified teachers than those in private schools, needed better facilities, right orientation, commitment and accountability. With facilities in Government schools being upgraded with right ambience, there was no reason for students of these schools to lag behind, he felt. "We are expecting significant improvement in results this year. In fact Government school students in the district can emerge as toppers''. The Minister who inaugurated the 229th school building in the district, at Banjara Hills recently, said there was no dearth of funds as already Rs.20 crores was released for the purpose. The remaining 880 Government schools would also be provided with own buildings and infrastructure, he said. The new school building was constructed with contribution from a private cargo transport company, Gati, under the Janma Bhoomi programme. The Rs.45-lakh upper primary school would be upgraded into Gati Government High School. Mr.Venkateswara Rao said that of 880 Government schools in Hyderabad district, buildings had been constructed for 229 schools during the last four years and 50 more were under progress. Assuring permanent representation to the `Gati' in the school education committee to have its say in the running of the school, he also asked them to chip in with their contribution for the maintenance of the building. The Minister said he would take it up with the Municipal Corporation of Hyderabad to allot the adjacent site to the school for its playground.

Engg. Counselling: ECE favourite

July 19. As a subject Electronics and Communication Engineering (ECE) emerged a clear favourite among the top rankers at the Engineering counselling which started in five centres in the State simultaneously this weekend..
The top 34 rankers chose ECE and opted for university colleges. More than 80 per cent in the top 100 preferred ECE. None of the top 12 rankers of EAMCET-2003 attended the counselling as they apparently chose other institutions like IITs, NITs, BITS, Pilani, and others.
The Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University (JNTU) was the favourite followed by the Osmania University Engineering College. Interestingly, the best ranker (13th rank) to have taken admission this year through counselling chose SRKR Engineering College, Bhimavaram instead of a free seat in the university colleges.
The counselling which began two hours behind schedule due to the dharna by student organisations was stopped for another hour after just two admissions due to problems at Warangal where student organisations held up counselling. However, there were no technical glitches.
Out of the 878 who were admitted, 390 chose ECE, 196 opted for EEE, 115 preferred 120 students chose CSE while Mechanical Engineering. Civil Engineering was opted by 14 and Chemical Engineering 15. One student chose Pharmacy while the rest of the courses were shared by the remaining. Interestingly, none on the first day chose Information Technology.
The trends in favour of ECE stream were observed since last two years with the slump in IT industry. The mood of the students and parents was reflected when several candidates appearing for counselling at the Hyderabad centre expressed apprehensions over the job prospects and a rewarding career in the Information Technology and Computer Science field.
It was the case with most other students, who after discussing the issue with their teachers thought ECE was a safe bet as it provided wider opportunities. Interestingly, the nearly 1,000 seats out of the 1125 seats surrendered by the private colleges from their management quota were from CSE and IT groups.


Primary education exam system to be reformed

July 16 The Progressive Recognised Teachers' Union, Andhra Pradesh, which held its two-day executive meeting here on July 12, and 13 demanded reforms in the primary education examination system and scrapping of the District Common Examination Board. The union said awarding of marks based on internal assessment (50) and on performance in the written examination (50) should form part of the reforms. Briefing presspersons later, the spokespersons said the stipulation of pass on the basis of school attendance percentage should also be done away with. They wanted the department to take steps for fool- proof conduct of the examination after evolving question papers. The executive, they stated, was of the opinion that the standards of students could improve if a 45-day training course on value-based education was conducted for teachers. The union would cooperate with the Government in the conduct of the course.

NSUI Students gherao V-C

July16 Students led by the National Students Union of India (NSUI) gheraoed the Vice Chancellor, Md. Iqbal Ahmed, and the Registrar, Y.V. Ramanaiah, of Sri Krishnadevaraya University here today on various student-related problems. On their demand for reduction of the qualifying mark in the RESCET-2003, authorities explained to them that any change would invite legal complications. Authorities assured the students that another entrance test would be conducted in December to fill the vacant seats. The authorities agreed to release the results of post-graduate final year results, construct a common mess, new hostel buildings and a de-fluoridation tank.

College case sent to statute bench

11July:Counselling for engineering, agricultural and medical streams in the state is likely to be delayed further in the light of the Supreme Court's latest decision to admit writ petitions in order to re-examine the issue of freedom for private unaided professional colleges in admission procedures. The hearing will begin on July 22.The apex court's decision will affect the counselling process as a major chunk of engineering and medical seats are available in private colleges. Though the SC did not direct the state government to stop the counselling process, the government will take a final decision after examining the judgment. Questioning the right of the state to regulate the admission procedure in certain colleges, a Bench of Chief Justice V N Khare and Justice S B Sinha referred the petitions to a five judge Constitution Bench Among others, minority institutions of Karnataka and Kerala moved the apex court for a final decision on the issue. Though the court sometime ago settled the issue, confusion has prevailed over the admission procedure in hundreds of unaided minority professional educational institutions (UMEI) across the country. The court issued notices to all states. It said the five-judge Bench would interpret the law laid down by it in an earlier judgment. Attorney-general Soli J Sorabjee will assist the court in the matter

Topper blames SSC board for flaws

July 10:: SSC topper J Vamsidhar Reddy on Wednesday came down heavily on the Board of Secondary Education for its 'irresponsible totalling' of his class X science script. Vamshidhar Reddy, a student of Brilliant Grammar High School, was initially awarded 575 marks in SSC-2003 with 96 in Hindi, 98 in Special English, 96 in English, 100 in mathematics, 88 in science and 97 in social studies, besides securing state sixth rank.

The student told the press that he had applied for recounting, as he was confident that he would secure more than 95 marks in science. After recounting, he obtained 98 marks as against 88 in science awarded to him, which helped him share the first rank with G Vijay Kumar.Vamshidhar Reddy observed that many students failed in the SSC examination despite their best performances. Meanwhile, director of examinations D Ravindranatham said the department had suspended examiner P Sridhar of Karimnagar for his negligence as the science script of Vamshidhar was evaluated by the teacher. The official said the department would further tighten the evaluation pattern from next year onwards. institute recognised by the DCI in the state.


Private colleges to contest govt fee

July 10:Counselling for admission into private medical and dental colleges in the state is likely to be delayed as the Andhra Pradesh Private Medical and Dental College Managements Association is set to challenge the management quota and fee structure stipulated by the government on Tuesday.This year 1,500 medical and 920 dental seats are available in the 14 medical and 10 dental private colleges in the state.

The government has fixed Rs 55,000 for medical and Rs 40,000 for dental seats for the Eamcet convener's quota. A fee of Rs 2 lakh has been fixed for medical and Rs 1.1 lakh for dental seats to be filled by the management on the basis of the Eamcet rank. This leaves 25 per cent of the seats for the private colleges to sell as they like.The association says the fee structure set by the government is not enough for private colleges which need a revenue of Rs 16 crore per annum to keep the classes going.

As per a study conducted by A F Ferguson & Co in 1994, the private colleges incurred an expenditure of Rs 3.18 lakh per student per annum. The study was conducted at the behest of the Medical Council of India and the Union government in accordance with a Supreme Court judgment. An earlier study conducted by the state government in 2001 found that the cost of imparting medical education was Rs 3.51 lakh per student per annum.

The association feels that the government should leave 50 per cent the total seats to the managements allowing them to charge a fee of Rs lakh per annum for each seat. If these contentions of the private colleges are not met, they would consider the option of conducting their own admission process, as per the apex court judgment.

Fake currency lands students in jail

June 17:It could well be a scene out of the Hollywood blockbuster Catch Me If You Can. Instead of attending classes on a Monday morning or being caught watching a movie, three students were caught by the Cyberabad police selling fake currency.In his very first attempt at selling fake currency, 22-year-old C Vamsi was arrested near Bairamalguda as he waited for a buyer. On being questioned by the police, he disclosed the names of his associates, 22-year-old G Hari Prasad, 19-year-old C Chaitanya and the kingpin, 25-year-old L Ravinder Reddy. Prasad and Chaitanya were caught even before they were introduced into the 'business' along with Ravinder Reddy.

Ravinder Reddy has a previous criminal record and was earlier arrested in connection with two murder cases and for possessing weapons. The currency was printed at a unit set-up at Kukkatpally by Ravinder Reddy with the help of his friend, Vadivelu, an adept hand at printing fake currency. Vadivelu a native of Tamil Nadu left for his home town last month.
A native of Khammam, Reddy was introduced to Vadivelu through his friend, Mustafa, also from Khammam. With Vadivelu away on some work, Reddy gave fake currency worth Rs 15,000 to the students for circulation. But Vamsi was caught in his first attempt and Rs 10,000 worth of fake currency in Rs 100 denomination was recovered from him.


Bare blackboards common in govt schools

June 13:All government schools in the state will reopen after summer vacations on Thursday. This year too, many government high schools will struggle to obtain their basic requirements such as chalk pieces."Unfortunately, it is the same situation as last year," an education department official told The Times of India on Wednesday.
Every year, the state government sanctions Rs 5,000 for a government high school for buying chalk pieces, dusters, a minimum amount of stationery and the like. However, this amount is barely enough to meet the needs of a school.It is only with great difficulty that headmasters manage to pull through the year. The annual sanction for each government high school falls in the category of a 'contingency fund'which is a 'controlled item' says the finance department.
Only if the fund position is comfortable does this money get released, an official explained. The fate of the primary and upper primary government schools appears to be slightly better, as far as the release of funds is concerned. Every year, these schools get Rs 2,000 for purchasing supplies. Interestingly, a vast chunk of the money comes from central government schemes such as the District Primary Education Programme and the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan.

Eamcet results to be announced shortly

May16 : The Eamcet results will be announced on May 17 at 7.30 am at JNTU, Masab Tank. The minimum qualifying mark will be 48 out of the total 160 marks, Eamcet examination convener L V A R Sarma announced. There will in the minimum qualifying mark, the convenor said. The government has decided that it will not change the existing 30 per cent of the total 160 marks as the qualifying mark.The details of the results will be furnished in one compact disc.Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University (JNTU) vice-chancellor and Eamcet examination chairman Y Venktrami Reddy said the committee will not delete any question both in the engineering and medical examination papers.Sudents will be given marks for one question in the engineering stream and four in the medical stream, he said. The students will get marks to one question in chemistry in the engineering category and two questions in chemistry, one each in botany and physics in the medical category as the questions had two correct answers, he said. Marks will be given if the student has attempted either of the two correct choices or both.Meanwhile, the Eamcet online counselling would begin on June 27 at Warangal, Visakhapatnam, Hyderabad, Guntur and Vijayawada in two phases and the notification will be released in May second weekk.

Islamic Book Fair

May 12: Mufti Moulana Ashraf Ali, noted Muslim scholar, inaugurated a 10-day All-India Islamic book fair in Hyderabad. About 5,000 books on different aspects of Islam in seven Indian languages are on display at the Eidgah Quddus Saheb on Miller's Road near the Cantonment Railway Station.

Titled "Books for Better Bond with the Creator and Humanity", the exhibition has roped in 45 publishers, including those from the U.K., the U.S., and Saudi Arabia. The fair is said to be of great importance against the backdrop of the present global political and social scenario. Books on various scientific topics discussed in the Koran and books published in countries such as Turkey, Egypt, and Iraq are also on display.

Organised by individuals and organisations, the fair also has lectures on topics of Islam, quiz competition, and Qirath (recitation of the Koran). Pavilions for career and family counselling have also been set up.

PS Telugu University convocation in Hyderabad

Mar 20: The eighth convocation of the Potti Sreeramulu Telugu University will be held on March 21 at Ravindra Bharathi in Hyderabad. Governor Surjit Singh Barnala will be the chief guest and would confer degrees and diplomas on students.

Prof C D Narsimhaiah will deliver the convocation address. At the function, historian and scholar Gadiyaram Ramakrishna Sarma, novelist and poet Boya Jangaiah will be conferred honorary degree of D. Litt.

University vice-chancellor Prof G V Subrahmanyan will present a report on various activities of the institution.

Sweeping reforms in school education on the cards

Hyderabad: The educational curriculum followed in different schools throughout the State is likely to undergo significant changes from the next academic year with the Government finally deciding to bring in a radical transformation in the teaching and learning processes being followed at present. Responding to the pleas by the parents, teachers and others concerned, the Government has, at last, initiated steps to bring in reforms in the education system to make it more child-centred, activity-oriented and competency building one.

Towards this end, a series of workshops involving experts in subjects, eminent educationalists and other concerned sections will be conducted in April and May to evolve a strategy to reduce burden on students and enabling the curriculum to be performance-oriented.

2.5-cr. grant for biotechnology at ANGRAU

Hyderabad: The Acharya N.G. Ranga Agricultural University (ANGRAU) has been given a grant of Rs. 2.5 crores by the AP-Netherlands Biotechnology project to strengthen infrastructure and teaching facilities for its post-graduate courses in agricultural and veterinary sciences.

Addressing a press conference on the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding here I.V. Subba Rao, Vice-Chancellor, ANGRAU, said that this grant would help upgrade the teaching and laboratory facilities in these courses, which have already been started by the university. These postgraduate courses in biotechnology have been formulated in consultation with experts drawn from many scientific and educational institutions and from industry. They are meant to fill the emerging gap in trained scientific manpower to take the benefits of biotechnology to the people, said Rao.

He added that much more investment was needed for this course, but this grant would act as the seed money to attract other grants. A proposal is pending with the Department of Biotechnology of the Union Government and Dr. Subba Rao was hopeful that funds would be released soon. The university is planning to start a School of Biotechnology by upgrading the current two courses and will house this in a Rs. 1.5 crore J. Raghotham Reddy AP-Netherlands Biotechnology building, which is yet to be constructed.

Science talent test organized

The AP United Teachers' Federation and the Jana Vignana Vedika will jointly organise a science talent test in high schools of Hyderabad district to propagate scientific temper. The Commissioner and Director of School Education are supporting the programme.

In a press release, the federation has said that an objective type test will be conducted in Telugu, English and Urdu. The following is the schedule: February 22 (for eighth & ninth classes), February 24 (for those who stood first and second at the mandal-level), February 26 (district-level) and February 28 (State-level quiz for rank-holders).

The release said a painting competition would be organised on February 23 at the Indira Priyadarshini Auditorium for high school students on the topic `Science for peace'.

Andhra HC asks AICTE to study all applications afresh

Justice E. Dharma Rao, of the High Court has directed the All-India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) to consider afresh all applications made for setting up of engineering colleges in the State without reference to the latest amendment to the AICTE regulations and the letter of the Government, which indicated that no more engineering colleges shall be allowed to come up.

The Judge as dealing with a batch of more than 20 writ petitions filed by various bodies which made applications to set up new colleges for the academic year 2003-2004. The AICTE had given a notification in August 2002 calling for applications from bodies interested in setting up colleges. Many societies made applications and went ahead in constructing buildings, etc, as per rules. The Government wrote to the AICTE on 9-11-2002. The AICTE amended Regulation 8 to this effect.

The AICTE rejected the applications on the ground that the State Government had not given the NOC. At that stage writ petitions were filed claiming that their applications had to be considered without the NOC from the Government. They further contended that the AICTE could not abdicate its responsibility and accept the letter of the State Government.

Justice Dharma Rao said the State Government had no role to play in issuance of letter of intent. He further said, "AICTE should have acted diligently in consonance with provisions of Act of 1987 and independently without relying upon the State Government.''

Tracing the history and the powers of the AICTE, the Judge said that "the survey conducted under the AP Education Act cannot be a survey contemplated under the AICTE Act.'' The Judge set aside the impugned letter of the State Government and directed the AICTE to "consider the applications afresh and pass appropriate orders.''

The Judge simultaneously vacated the interim orders in another writ petition which restrained the Government and the AICTE from processing the applications for new colleges.

Applications for B. Ed colleges to be scrutinised on Jan. 28

The National Council of Teachers' Education (NCTE) has said that applications seeking permission to open B. Ed colleges would be scrutinised and sanctioned after the full details are provided by the applicants.

In a bid to bring pressure on the council to accord permission, the Chief Minister, N. Chandrababu Naidu, had asked the Secretary, Education, I.V. Subba Rao, to go to Bangalore and meet the NCTE Chairman, Maheshwari.
Mr. Rao met Prof. Maheshwari on Monday and held discussions. It is learnt that the applications of all the colleges which furnished the required information would be scrutinised and approved at a meeting of the Southern Regional Council of the NCTE on January 28.

The Secretary, Education, is said to have impressed upon the council on the need for permission to be accorded to the colleges. It may be recalled that the State Government has given `No Objection Certificates' for 203 applicants who wanted to open B.Ed colleges.

Meanwhile, the Commissioner and Director of School Education, has in a communication to all the managements of the proposed B. Ed colleges asked them to be present in his office on or before January 25, for verification of documents as required by the NCTE. The Commissioner would verify the documents on behalf of the NCTE and send a report by January 26.

JNTU to create question bank for online exams

Jan 22: The online examination system introduced by the Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University (JNTU) will soon be modified and a 'moderated question bank' created.

Informing this to the newspersons, the VC Prof Y Venkatrami Reddy said, "The move comes in the wake of complaints that there was a lack of uniformity in the standard of question papers for each subject.

The university had sometime ago introduced a system by which question papers would be sent online to examination centres half an hour before the commencement of a test. There would be four sets of question papers in each subject, all of them in encrypted form.

However, students as well as managements of engineering colleges were not satisfied as the question paper were not of standard. Setting the same standards for every paper, Venkatrami Reddy said, will now eliminate this disparity.

A committee of experts under the director of evaluation will create a moderated question bank, he added. As each subject has four sets of question papers, the students complained that for one student the question paper was tough while for another it was easy.

"The question papers lack uniformity and as a result the scoring pattern of students vary," a student pursuing B.Tech. Electronics at Nizam Institute of Engineering Technology said.

Responding to this, Reddy said that as the online examination system was meant to prevent cheating and leakage of questions, the overall pass percentage could be low. The fall in the pass percentage itself is an indication that leakage and mass-copying had been eliminated, he reasoned.

Children's Science Congress 2002 (Dec 28 - Dec 31)

The stage is set for scientists in the making for an inspirational brush with the President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, at the National Children's Science Congress 2002 commencing here on Friday - 28 December 2002. Nearly 650 budding scientists from all over the country have arrived in Mysore and are gearing up for an impromptu tete-a-tete with Dr. Kalam, who will inaugurate the event at the Regional Institute of Education (RIE).

While the formal inauguration is expected to be a routine affair, the scientists in the making are looking forward to the "professorial role" Dr. Kalam will mantle soon after the inauguration. It is then that the "scientist" and the "inspirational teacher" in Dr. Kalam are expected to emerge out of the formal attire of President. The theme of the event is "Food Systems - Towards Nutrition for All" and the young scientists will present their projects. A total of 1,500 delegates are expected to participate in the congress, which will conclude on December 31. The genesis of the congress can be traced to an experiment in Gwalior in the early Nineties that involved children in small scientific projects of relevance to their immediate society. It soon gathered momentum and became an event of national significance after 1993. It is being organised by the National Council for Science and Technology Communication (NCSTC) network, a registered society comprising 65 organisations working towards popularising science.

The NCSTC, and the Department of Science and Technology of the Union Government played a key role in promoting the congress and helped foster scientific temper and curiosity in science and technology among children.

The organisation of the event itself is a laborious process and has multi-level elimination process so that only the best projects in terms of relevance make it to the National Science Congress.

At the district-level, children compete with one another for a place at the State-level congress, and a few from the State make it to the finals.

Nearly eight lakh students participate in the congress at all levels every year and two or three best projects selected in the finals will make it to the annual session of the Indian Science Congress Association held in the first week of January.

10 new polytechnic courses for economically backward sections

The Department of Technical Education is planning to introduce 10 new diploma courses in polytechnics from the next academic year aimed at imparting specific skills to meet specific needs in the emerging fields of technical and engineering streams.

The National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), Delhi, is coordinating with the Department in identifying the courses and the nature of the courses are likely to be finalised when the officials of both the institutions meet in February 2003. The NIFT, Delhi will make a demand assessment report and present it to the Technical Education Department.

The broad areas which are likely to be touched are fashion, construction management and architecture. "There is a heavy demand for specified courses in these fields since they have better and instant job opportunities and we want to extend these to the interested sections,'' said A.R. Sukumar, Commissioner, Technical Education.

Specified courses, which are generally offered through diplomas, have to be encouraged since their number is not in tune with the engineers produced in the State, Mr. Sukumar said.

Earlier, for every engineering graduate there were three diploma holders, while the ratio has now gone down to 1:03. This was mainly due to the large number of engineering seats increased over the years, while the diploma holders did not increase correspondingly.

Moreover, courses suiting the market needs, were also not introduced as much as they should have been. The diploma courses, Mr. Sukumar said, are mostly sought by the economically backward sections and people from rural areas since they have wider scope for employment and that too in a short time.

The department would also keep them in view while designing the courses, he said. "Our idea is to give a second chance to the students who stop their higher education for certain reasons.'' Since the change is quite fast in many fields, the Department plans to update the curriculum every year.

First year students would not know precisely what the course content would be in the second year since it would be updated according to the market needs incorporating the latest developments in that particular field. "Employers want readymade technicians rather than those who learn with them''.

Realising the potential of specified courses, Mr. Sukumar said that even institutes like Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University (JNTU) are also introducing diploma courses.

The Department has already introduced five new diploma courses this year at the Government Polytechnic, Masab Tank and it has received good response from the students.

Potti Sriramulu Telugu varsity to be shifted to Bachpalli

Potti Sriramulu Telugu University is being shifted along with its administrative building presently located at Public Gardens here to a site at Bachpalli in Qutbullahpur mandal of Ranga Reddy district.

A 150-acre site has been marked for the university at the new place and initial formalities are on for transfer of the land in university's name. This was announced by the university Vice- Chancellor, G. V. Subrahmanyam, while presenting a report at a function organised on the university premises for giving away its yearly `Pratibha Puraskarams of 2001' to 11 eminent personalities. It is learnt that the Government is contemplating to locate City Police Commissioner's office in the buildings to be vacated by the university.

Present at the function were the Home Minister, T. Devender Goud, who `facilitated' allotment of the land lying in his constituency, and the chairman of the Press Academy, I. Venkata Rao.

Mr. Goud, who was the chief guest, lauded the efforts made by the university in promoting the courses. He spoke of the `mini-India' village project coming up on the outskirts of Hyderabad, which would reflect the varied cultures of states through individual pavilions.

Prof. Subrahmanyam said no other language university in the country launched so many departments and courses as Telugu University.
Later, the Minister felicitated the personalities and gave away the awards which consist of a memento and cash of Rs. 10,116 each. The awardees were: Mudivedu Prabhakara Rao (literary criticism), G.Y. Giri (art and painting), Vedantam Parvateesam (dance), Parakala Pattabhirama Rao (journalism), Ravi Kondala Rao (drama), `Bhajana' Pullaiah (folklore), V. B. Saikrishna Yachendra (avadhanam), Ratnakaram Balaraju (pandit) and G. Phanikumar (novel and story). E. Gayatyri and Vemuri

Venkataramanatham, who were named for the award for poetry and music were not present.

Dream big, dream creatively, Kalam tells students

Before he came, they said they were dreaming to meet him. He did not teach them how to dream. He simply altered the dimension of their dreams! The President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, who interacted with the students of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan School Hyderabad in turn extracted a promise from them in the end; that they would further his dream to its logical end to make India a strong and developed nation.
"Seventyone years have passed by. As a child I dreamt. Many others did it. On a dark night, looking at the sky, trying to fathom the secrets of the universe was how the quest for knowledge began in me," he told them. Would they do so?

He reminded them how Einstein could do it, the Raman Effect and the Chandrashekhar Limit too had begun in the same way. Why was there only one Mahatma Gandhi or one Vivekananda? For that matter why is there only one Abdul Kalam? Can't we have more, a student asked.
"Yes, why not? Let us begin this way. How many days does it take for the earth to go round the sun once,'' he asked. When the students said in a chorus "365 days'', he continued "how many orbits have I made on this planet so far.''

"Seventy-one orbits. One of you has done 16 orbits and another 10. The sun takes 250 million years to orbit the galaxy and its life is some 10 billion years. Unless we creatively dream and dream big, of what use is our life, he gently led them onwards.

Nudging them further, he asked them to take their dreams to their logical end. The students had only one capital to invest and that was knowledge. The more of it invested, the better would be the percentage of success, he convinced them.

The process was simple he said, listing the steps to success. Dreams lead to thinking, sweat it out while thinking and it leads to progress. Persevere with the effort and you will excel. Keep working and it is success all the way.''

The President did not leave it at that but made students recite the recipe to success - "dream, dream, dream/dreams, transferring into thoughts/thoughts result into action.'' When the students quizzed him on his favourite poem, he asked them to join in the chorus to say "As a young citizen of India, armed with technology, knowledge and love for creativity, I realise that small aim is a crime. I will work and sweat for a great vision, the vision of transforming India into a developed nation.''

The country would prosper only when core areas like education, agriculture, medicare, infrastructure, technology and industry get integrated, he said. "And when this happens, it would become a great country, on the earth, above the earth and below the earth,'' he concluded to the applause of the packed school.

Dr. Kalam left the venue with a wake-up call signing the visitors book with the message "my dear children and dear teachers, my greetings and best wishes. Thinking is indeed a great asset for the young. Work hard and you will succeed.''



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