EDUCATION TRIBUNE

Better institutions, not more
Holistic view of education and examination systems necessary
Atma Ram

Managing higher education has become critical. There are over 250 universities, 14,000 colleges and numerous training and professional institutes. Several of these are known for strikes and agitations, and usually function for few months in a year. 

Sorting tomatoes with optical sensors
Rashmi Talwar
E
VER thought of buying a pack of tomatoes, with the entire lot bearing an identical blood-red colour! This is possible with the application of optical sensors.

Campus Notes: Punjabi University, Patiala
Cambridge varsity accepts research work
R
ESEARCH work by Dr Lakhwinder Singh, Reader in Economics, Punjabi University, Patiala, on “Economic Growth, International Technological Spillovers and Public Policy: Theory and Empirical Evidence from Asia,” has been accepted by Cambridge University, the UK. He has collaborated with Prof Robert Evenson of Yale University, the USA. 

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Better institutions, not more
Holistic view of education and examination systems necessary
Atma Ram

Managing higher education has become critical. There are over 250 universities, 14,000 colleges and numerous training and professional institutes. Several of these are known for strikes and agitations, and usually function for few months in a year. Owing to frequent disruptions, it is difficult to create an environment conducive to academic pursuits. Thus, we lag behind in various areas, which is certainly a matter of great concern in the age of globalisation. There is, thus, a need for education policy makers to ponder over the following factors contributing to the state of affairs and suggest some concrete steps to stem the rot.

First, we are expanding higher education without considering its need and feasibility. We have one National Open University, 10 state open universities, and around 100 universities offering distance education through correspondence. Though the country does not require new institutes of higher learning, these are speedily coming up despite the unambiguous assertion in the National Education Policy (NEP, 1986, 92): “In view of the need to effect an all-round improvement in the institutions, it is proposed that in the near future, the main emphasis will be on the consolidation and expansion of facilities in the existing institutions.”

Several state universities have serious problems with regard to the appointments of vice-chancellors and pro vice-chancellors, though the D. S. Kothari Education Commission (1964-66) and the UGC Committee on Appointment of Vice-Chancellors in Indian Universities (1991-93) framed specific guidelines for their search, appointment and removal.

The top education executives should be upright persons of proven integrity and vision, with a record of academic excellence and administrative acumen. However, at times, shrewd and unscrupulous persons who have political patronage manage to get the position.

Sometimes, piecemeal reforms are thought out to improve the system. To cite a few examples: the Supreme Court mulls regulating the students union poll in the country; the

Haryana Government has decided to create vice-principal’s posts in colleges that have more than 2,000 students on rolls; the Punjab Government has approved the opening of a private university in the state; the Himachal Pradesh Government has decided to appoint ex-servicemen as university hostel wardens; the CBSE has envisaged several changes in the question papers of class X and class XII.

Though all these moves are welcome, one feels that for overall improvement we should take a holistic view of education and examination systems. There is need to strengthen education at all stages—elementary, secondary, tertiary, and university—and integrate it together to form an organic whole.

Universities and school education boards in the country follow their own Acts and education codes. In many regions, these have not been revised for a long time.

In advanced countries like the US, ‘university’ and ‘colleges’ are used as synonymous terms, and campuses in different regions have the same or similar schedules and programmes. However, in India parent universities seem to function with little links with the affiliated institutions, and at times these create problems for them. To have more viable linkage, positions such as Dean College Development Council, Registrar, Controller of Examinations, Director Academic Staff College, Director Sports and NCC should preferably go to college principals.

Classroom teaching too needs overhauling, as it has become very dull and casual. Absenteeism among teachers has assumed an alarming proportion in many regions. As the World Bank Report (2005) points out, the average of teachers’ absenteeism in India is 25 per cent against the world average of 18 per cent of the developing countries. The urban government schools, the report says, has 36 per cent teacher absenteeism, while 50 per cent of those present in schools don’t teach.

Despite numerous enviable perks and incentives given to university teachers the general quality of instruction has not improved much. In most cases, UGC norms about teachers’ workload are not seriously followed. Updated testing modes are certainly important, but innovative and inspiring class teaching is much more essential. If students are not taught well, all attempts at examination reforms will go waste. So, there is need to appoint honest and upright persons who can sincerely incorporate human values in education.

The writer is former Adviser (Education), H. P. Government.

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Sorting tomatoes with optical sensors
Rashmi Talwar

EVER thought of buying a pack of tomatoes, with the entire lot bearing an identical blood-red colour! This is possible with the application of optical sensors.

A technical paper on this application titled “Application of Novel Opto-electronic Colour Sensor as Object Counter and Sorter for Conveyor Systems” was adjudged the “Best Technical Paper” at the National Conference on Sensors that concluded at Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology, Patiala.

The paper based on a major project in Guru Nanak Dev University was under the category of “optical sensors”, authored by Dr M. L. Singh, Reader, Department of Electronics Technology, and co-authored by the three students, Sachin Chopra, Robin Mittal and Navpreet Dhillon.

The system involves the task of sorting and counting of objects for conveyor systems using optical and digital processing.

It received rave reviews for the ingenious idea using simple electronics, by panelists and speakers from CSIO, Chandigarh, as well as other participants.

The system has wide variety of applications in industrial applications by which it was capable of detecting, sorting and counting of wide variety of colored objects.

For instance, in the Textile Industry, it can check coloring process or count segregated colours, show the ratio of colours besides assess the number of colour strikes in the yarn when placed on a conveyor belt.

It also has a wide application potential in agro industries. It can sort vegetables according to colour. Therefore, red tomatoes can be packed as ‘A’ class, yellowish red tomatoes as ‘B’ class and so on.

Dr ML Singh said the application in its present form only had a broad base for colours and can sense eight colours, including primary, secondary colours, besides black and white. However, he said, it’s functioning can be enhanced to detect minute differences in colour and their corresponding segregations and count.

The application uses principle of optics, digital logic circuitry using opto-digital interface, trigger and sorting devices.

It consists of three modules each having arrangement of convex lenses, optical filters for colour discrimination and Light Dependant Resistors with associated digital circuitry. As the sensor illuminates the surface of the object to be sorted and counted, the reflected light falls on convex lens of modules further on to optic filters that provide logic signal to decorder circuit that activates the trigger. In similar manner, sorting too takes place by using electromagnet and flap rotation mechanism.

The system is claimed to incur low cost and requires minimal de-bugging.

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Campus Notes: Punjabi University, Patiala
Cambridge varsity accepts research work

RESEARCH work by Dr Lakhwinder Singh, Reader in Economics, Punjabi University, Patiala, on “Economic Growth, International Technological Spillovers and Public Policy: Theory and Empirical Evidence from Asia,” has been accepted by Cambridge University, the UK. He has collaborated with Prof Robert Evenson of Yale University, the USA. Dr Singh and Prof Evenson explored the contribution of national and international research and development (R&D) capital stock, along with traditional factors of production, in determining the productivity and economic growth of 11 Asian countries. The study suggested that benefits of international technological progress in the era of globalisation were conditional on public policy that promoted domestic innovation capabilities as well as provided conductive environment for international technological spillovers. Dr Singh and Prof Evenson made several innovations in the study, with regard to methodology, public policy and empirical evidence that changed conventional views on the subject. Cambridge University’s Faculty of Economics and Politics, recognising the contribution of the study in development economics, has introduced it as essential reading in one of its papers taught to doctoral students of economics.

Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla

HPUTA gives representation to V-C

As the entire teaching staff and students enjoy the long winter vacation, some of the teachers who are acting as guides for M.Phil students are stuck on the campus, as the last date for submission of the dissertation is January 31.

The Himachal Pradesh University Teachers Association (HPUTA) has given a representation to the Vice-Chancellor to extend the date for submission of M.Phil dissertation to March 3.“Since the last date for dissertation is January 31, we have to spend maximum time with the M.Phil students, which spoils our entire holiday schedule with out families,” said Dr Mohan Jharta, President of the HPUTA.

According to him the Vice-Chancellor has the powers to extend the date for submission of M.Phil dissertation. M.Phil is a one-year course, with the session beginning in October. According to HPU officials, the date for submission of dissertation is October 31 and the Vice-Chancellor has already extended it to January 31 under the powers he has. They say he can further extend it to March 31 also. Meanwhile, the Vice-Chancellor has assured the teachers that their request would be considered.

— Contributed by Rubinder Gill and Pratibha Chauhan

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Architecture

Institute of Town Planners, 4 A, Ring Road, IP Estate, New Delhi 110002 
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Working knowledge of English / Hindi or both & 2 subjects in For 1) BSc: i) Maths, ii) Physics, iii) Chemistry, iv) Botany, v) Zoology, vi) Electronics, vii) Computer Science; For 2) BA: i) English Literature, ii) Hindi Literature, iii) Urdu Literature, iv) History, v) Geography, vi) Political Science, vii) Economics, viii) Psychology, ix) Maths, x) Sociology.

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Engineering

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Certificate Course in CNC Machining (1-year)

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Advance Training Institute, V N Purav Marg, Sion, Mumbai 400022 (Mah) (GoI, M/o Labour) http//dget.nic.in

Supervisory Course in “Operation & Maintenance of Chemical Plants” (6-month + 1-month inplant training)

Eligibility: Diploma in Chemical / Mechanical / Electrical Engineering or BSc with Chemistry as the principle subject OR National Apprenticeship Certificate in Chemical Trades, AOCP, MMCP, IMCP & LACP
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Central Tool Room & Training Centre, B-36 Chandaka Industrial Area, Bhubaneshwar-751024 (Oris) (M/o SSI, GoI)
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North Eastern Regional Institute of Science & Technology (NERIST), PO: Nirjuli, 791109 (AP) www.nerist.ac.in

NERIST Entrance Exam (NEE) 2006:
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Selection: Entrance Test: 3 June 2006 (For 1), 4 June 2006 (For 2 & 3).

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Environment & Forestry

Indian Institute of Ecology & Environment, A 15 Paryavaran Complex, South of Saket, New Delhi 110030
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Forest Research Institute, PO IPE, Kaulagarh, Dehra Dun 248195 (Utt) (Deemed University) 
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For 4: MSc

For 5: MSc (Botany / Chemistry / Zoology / Forestry).

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IT

VLSI Design & Research Centre, D/o Electronic Science, University of Pune, Pune 411007 (Mah) 
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Certificate in: (6-month, FT) 
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Centre for Development of Advance Computing (C-DAC), 2nd Foor, Delta Chambers, Ameerpet, Hyderabad-500016 (AP) 
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Diploma in System Software Development (5-month)

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Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, School of Information Technology, Kharagpur 721302 (WB)
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Application Deadline: 27 February 2006

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