Archive for October, 2007

Orissa realizes that men can be nurses too: Dharitri

October 31st, 2007

ITI/ITC proposals forwarded to the center

Following is an excerpt from a report in Statesman.

A shortlist of 134 proposals received by the State Directorate of Technical Education and Training (DTE&T) for establishing Industrial Training Centres (ITCs) in various parts of the state has been sent to the Union government for final approval.

The new proposals would add ITI capacity to 52 new blocks. It may be noted that Mr Patnaik had suggested the establishment of at least one Industrial Training Institute (ITI) or Industrial Training Centre (ITC) in each of the 314 blocks in December, 2006. The chief minister also suggested the upgrading of the technical education sector.

Following is Dharitri’s take on this.

1 comment October 31st, 2007

Right to School Choice – New Indian Express reports progress in Orissa

Following is an excerpt from a report in New Indian Express.

Amid mixed reactions, the ambitious "school choice Campaign" kicked-off in the State recently, involving both the gram panchayats as well as civil bodies in the districts.

The campaign advocates school vouchers to empower the poor to choose and demand better quality education for their wards.

The voucher of specific amount would be issued directly by the Government to parents’ instead of schools to fund child education at a school chosen by them. If a parent is dissatisfied, he can enroll his ward in another school.

The aim is to ensure greater accountability on the part of teachers’ and increase efficiency of the school. The Centre for Civil Society, which has launched this mission here along with 15 other states in the country, claimed to have achieved good progress after it was first floated here on June 19.

"Our intervention in the last four months has shown remarkable changes in people’s awareness level about the concept as the disillusionment with Government schools is widespread," maintained state coordinator of the campaign G B Dalai.

While sensitising the Government holds the key to its success, he said, Orissa Primary Education Programme Authority has evinced keen interest in the model and is willing to fund parents in some pockets on a limited scale under a pilot scheme.

The Orissa campaign plans to reach out to more than 2.5 million parents across Mayurbhanj, Balasore, Kendrapada, Khurda, Gajapati, Sundargarh, Koraput and Balangir. Across the nation, the organisation claimed, it has gained grounds in Delhi, Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Maharashtra among other states.

… District coordinator Trilochan Moharana said, more than 30,000 signatures have been collected and 13 citizen groups formed to spread the campaign message.

October 31st, 2007

Aerospace university in Bangalore proposed

Following is an excerpt from a report in Zee News.

Society of Indian Aerospace Technologies and Industries (SIATI) on Tuesday said it has proposed setting up of an aerospace university to the University Grants Commission (UGC).

"We have already given a proposal to UGC for establishment of an aerospace university," SIATI president C G Krishnadas Nair said on the sidelines of a helicopter technology conference here today.

The society has proposed to set up the university at Bangalore along with HAL.

He said SIATI is also in discussion with IGNOU for establishing International Institute for Aviation Studies and Management in different parts of the country.

October 30th, 2007

State BJP repeated demand for IIT and Central University in Orissa

The New Indian Express reported that

…….Alleging that institutions of higher education, including Central university, IIT and IIM are being diverted to neighbouring States ignoring the claim of Orissa, the party demanded that such institutions should be established in the State…….

A similar report was also published in The Statesman.

1 comment October 30th, 2007

1047 middle schools and 114 Kasturaba Gandhi girls schools to have eighth grade: Sambada

October 29th, 2007

Young Berkeley Economics Professor Raj Chetty on doing PhD and pursuing research

The following is an excerpt from

My concern is that many bright students who would be leading scientists and researchers choose other careers because of misinformation. In talking with non-academic friends, particularly those in the Indian community, I think there are two misconceptions that need to be corrected. First, one does a PhD not so much to teach but to do research that will have a big impact. Many people view professors as skilled teachers – which is one important aspect of the job – but fail to realise that many of the fundamental discoveries in society that make our quality of life better today than in 1900 are made by academics. So I think that the social value of pursuing a PhD may be underappreciated. Second, academia has the reputation of being a very tough life, particularly financially. But I think the monetary rewards of academia are also often misperceived. This is especially true at top universities for quantitative fields, where salaries compare quite favorably with many specialties in medicine or law. Some people ask, "Why are economists and scientists paid so much to sit and think?" I think of the answer one of my colleagues at Berkeley gives: ‘If Milton Friedman’s research helped us avoid another Great Depression, then he’s paid the bill for all the economists in this generation.’ Now of course not every person is going to do what Milton Friedman did… but if one out of every ten thousand does, it’s worth paying researchers a lot. One of my objectives in the longer run is to try to attract more bright students to top PhD programs. For example, there’s an enormous pool of talent at the IITs in India that I think could be very successful. I’d like to think about ways to encourage some of that group to apply to PhD programs in the US.

October 29th, 2007

Central Tool Room offers winter classes for Engineering students: ad in Samaja

October 28th, 2007

IGNOU’s admission ad in Samaja

October 28th, 2007

XIM’s admission ad in Samaja

October 28th, 2007

Dhanada Mishra’s READ Orissa campaign diary

(For those who do not know, Dhanada is a Ph.D in Civil Engineering from University of Michigan, is in his early forties, was principal of JITM after passing over many offers.)


As I sit in a review meeting of our campaign in the Cuttack office surrounded by eager young faces as zonal cordinators, state office functionaries, state head of projects etc., I am bombarded with passionate arguments about the progress of our efforts in the 180 blocks of 24 districts in different remote corners of the state. As we look in to the number of volunteers mobilised, numbers of those trained, numbers of classes started, the meeting erupts with arguments and counter-arguments. Some one doesn’t believe the numbers, some one defends vociferously as for a while I sit back and let the energy drain and enjoy the passion that people bring to their work as which is perhaps only possible in my new occupation! We discuss and debate our work culture, the need to open up more, to take more people with us in the campaign, the urgency and importance of motivating that grassroots level volunteer, the need for travelling to keep in touch and support each other, the enegy, the passion, the dedication to the cause stands out above the occasional din of arguments and counter-arguments. Welcome to the Read Orissa Campaign at its peak!

As I adjust in to this new life of no office, no 9-5 office hour, no Sundays to take a break, there has been very little opportunity to reflect on this dramatic transition from that of a volunteer to a full-timer, let alone write the experience down. When I relocated suddenly back to Bhubaneswar, to re-occupy my parents’s home leaving my job at JITM, Paralakhemundi behind, my parents as well as Babita’s (my wife) parents were perplexed with a tinge of concern as to what I was up to. I was not sure how to put it to them, other than saying that I am on a sabattical and will be working on social issues full-time. This was not very convincing for most of my family and well wishers and I had to make up some story like I am still working for JITM on their Bhubaneswar campus etc.

Continue Reading 4 comments October 28th, 2007

CUSAT about to become an IIEST

Following is an excerpt from Hindu on it.

Education Minister M.A. Baby said here on Saturday that the government would go ahead with the conversion of the Cochin University of Science and Technology (Cusat) into an Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology (IIEST).

Mr. Baby said the government would make all efforts to secure the Rs.519-crore allocation for the project.

He said the Union HRD Ministry accepted the State government’s request for reserving 50 per cent of the seats for students from Kerala at the IIEST.

The government would get a chance to nominate a person to the IIEST’s governing council.


2 comments October 28th, 2007

Ruchika: If a child can not come to school, then the school must come to the child

Hindu magazine has a heart warming story on the Ruchika School and Ruchika Social Service Organization. A documentary film on Ruchika narrated by Robert Redford and shown in PBS is here. Following is an excerpt from Hindu article.

A young housewife, new to Bhubaneswar, started a pre-school in her house with two students: her sister’s daughter and the gardener’s daughter. Soon, she put up a small board, “Ruchika” on the gate. This attracted curious neighbours who got used to seeing a couple of children laughing and playing with a lady in the “posh” Forest Park house. The number of tiny tots soon grew to 11 and then 20.

Soon after, she started a school in a rented building. Ruchika was a school with a difference. Teachers took the students out to post-offices and railway stations, banks and bridges to give them a “feel” of what they learn in books, and “see” how things work. Every day, the lady saw a number of children from nearby slums peeping in at the gate. “But I didn’t have the freedom to open my own gates to those poor semi-clad children. We have stratified our society that way. That really hurt,” she now says.

Whenever she went to the railway station, she saw children with bright faces wiping compartment floors and begging from passengers. Inderjit Khurana’s husband was an engineer in the Army, and the Khuranas had moved to Bhubaneswar in 1970s. When asked what brought them to Bhubaneswar, Inderjit smiles, “Destiny”.

Idea that worked

Inderjit often thought of the children outside her gate and those bright faces covered with grime. She hit upon the unique idea of “Platform schools”. If a child cannot come to the school, the school should go to the child! She asked teachers in Ruchika if they would volunteer to teach the “platform children” early in the morning before they started their regular work. Only one, R.P. Dwivedi, the physical training instructor, agreed “provided you don’t sack me if I say ‘no’ after one month”. Ruchika’s Platform School was born, with one frail lady and a physical training instructor marking the boundaries of the “school” with chalk in one corner of the Bhubaneswar railway platform. The duo went with toys, paper, crayons, soap and towels. Platform children flocked in and “it was a joy to see them bathing and laughing. They drew, talked and asked very intelligent questions”, recalls Inderjit 27 years later.

1 comment October 28th, 2007

Sarba Siksha Abhijan related positions in Jagatsinghpur district: Ad in Samaja

1 comment October 28th, 2007 IGNOU B.Ed Counselling from October 30

Following is from Please go there for details.

The Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) will begin its first phase admission process for B.Ed. program from 30 October.

… The admission to the B.Ed. Program will be done for the 10 Program Study Centers of Bhubaneswar Region.

… The first phase admission shall be concluded on 5 November for all centers.

The list of successful candidates has been placed on the Regional Centre website

37 comments October 27th, 2007 BPUT graduate requirements changed; old year back system removed

Following is from

Accordingly it was decided that each student will have to receive 6 Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) out of 10 to be eligible to pass the B.Tech degree.

However in the first year itself the student has to receive 4.5 CGPA, so that he/she can be promoted.

But by the end of the course he will have to get 6 CGPA to receive the degree.

Though B.Tech program is for 4 years but a student will be allowed 7 years time for clearance of the degree.

The student, who will be enrolled in 2008-09, if fails consecutively in 3 semesters will be out of the university, said a spokesman of BPUT.

It was decided to set up a Faculty Training Institute to train the faculty members of the constituent colleges.

The proposed system is probably similar to the system followed at IITs. The year back system is what is followed at most colleges in the rest of the country. In the US universities there is no year back system. However there are pre-requsites for classes.  So if subject A is a prerequisite for subject B then one can not normally take B before he/she has passed A. However, the courses that are prerequisites for other courses and are in the critical path to graduation are offered every semester.

One question to the readers: If a student fails in a course in a semetser and takes the exam for that course the next semester, what happens to the internal marks. Does he/she have a chance to improve them? How?

5 comments October 27th, 2007

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