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From Panjab University
A rousing start to Rukhsat-2006
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
A three-day farewell festival —Rukhsat — organised by the Students Organisation of Panjab University (SOPU) began on an exciting note at the Panjab University here today.

The function was presided over by Mr Ashok Tanwar, President, All India Youth Congress, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, President, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee and Mr Sukhpal Singh Bhullar, Treasurer, All India Youth Congress.

Students from various departments participated in the cultural extravaganza and presented Malwai giddha, sammi, folk songs, western dances and solo songs.

Famous comedian Bhagwant Mann's stage performance was the highlight of the day.

Punjabi singers Bill Singh and Satinder Sartaj also regaled the audience with their excellent repertoire of songs.

PUTA session on pension scheme

The Punjab University Teachers Association (PUTA) is going to organise a special session with the Deputy Accountant-General regarding the university's pension scheme.

The lecture would be held in the Evening Studies auditorium on March 22 at 12.30 pm.

According to the PUTA president, Mr N.K. Ojha, those opting for the pension scheme would have to deposit only the university share of the contributory provident Fund.

He added that there was no clause asking them to deposit their own share of the CPF.

The PUTA chief also pointed out that the gratuity was an independent benefit to all employees whether they had opted for pension or not.

"Under no circumstances gratuity can be merged with the pension," he said.

Regarding the amount of family pension, the issue was still to be decided, he said.

Book released

Prof S.S. Bari, Registrar, Panjab University, released a religious book titled 'Shabad Parkash - Guru Granth Sahibji' written by Dr Avtar Singh Patang of the university.

Speaking on the occasion, Prof S.S. Bari complimented Dr Patang as one of the conscientious writers who, besides dedicating himself to his duties in the department, had made a meticulous use of his knowledge of literature and spiritualism.

Dr Patang's versatility, humility and literary acumen had endeared him to one and all, he said.

Prof Bari observed that this book would certainly be of immense use to the seekers of spirituality, tranquility and eternal peace.

Dr Patang has authored many books — Suber, Buta Singh Dian Sarest Kahanian, Mian Mohammad Baksh-Jeevan and Rachan and Mian Mohammad Baksh Dey Kav Sidhant.

Training course from March 27

The ICSSR North-Western Regional Centre, Panjab University, is organising a five-day Training programme on 'Research Methodology: The Emerging Needs in Designing and Implementing Research Proposals in Social Sciences' from March 27 to March 31 at ICSSR Complex, PU.

According to Professor Manjit Singh, Programme Coordinator of the programme, the objective of the programme was to make teachers, research fellows and researchers familiar with new scientific research methodology in the field of social sciences.



He brought virtual revolution in computer teaching
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
Dr Sugata Mitra believes in the unconventional and the basic simplicity of everything complicated. Known the world over for his famous hole-in-the- wall experiment, Dr Mitra, Chief Scientist with NIIT, has brought about a virtual revolution in computer teaching and learning.

“The challenge was how does rural India cope with a computer-run world? Could computers be taught to school children in classrooms? Yes, but this model worked only at some places and in urban schools. So how does one make a rural child with no skills get to use a computer?” said Dr Mitra talking to The Tribune at GGDSD College here today.

In 1999, Dr Mitra came up with a novel idea. Computers were built into walls at public places in over 80 villages across the country. Village children were allowed free access to the computer without the intervention of a teacher. The results were amazing.

“Within weeks of the machine being put up village children were using it, playing games, drawing and very comfortable at it. They had organised themselves in ways so that everyone who wanted to learn it could use it. Our experiment showed that on an average a single computer can be used by 200 children.

“We had stumbled upon an unconventional solution to a big problem. The experiment showed the nation and subsequently the entire world that you really do not need a teacher to learn computers. Nor is the knowledge of English essential to use the computer and most of all, this was probably one of the easiest methods to take computer education to the masses,” he said.

Recipient of a number of national and international awards, including the Devang Mehta Award for innovation in IT given by the Department of Information Technology, Government of India, Dr Mitra was invited to launch it in South Africa, Cambodia, Egypt and Venezuela. Governments of Rajasthan and Jammu and Kashmir have also formally launched the hole-in-the- wall project across their states.

“What is most satisfying is that wherever this experiment was conducted it gave the same results. Now I am working on trying to find out if other subjects can be taught through the computers using the same method,” he added.

Ruing that many states in India continue to waste large amounts of money in trying to introduce conventional methods of teaching computers to school children, Dr Mitra said: “There is no dearth of money in education since the allocations are high. But state governments need to realise that the farther one goes away from an urban centre the deeper the quality of education is bound to drop. It is a fact and everyone knows it.

The conventional ways of taking computers to the village children is to introduce it as a subject in schools and train teachers.

But that is not the way computers can be that effective, I will not say that convention forms of teaching computers to rural children has failed in the conventional mode but when a more effective alternative is available why not use that?” he said, adding that the highest forms of technology should be first introduced in the worst areas.



5 million new IT jobs by 2012, says expert
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
A great career opportunity awaits Indian students in the IT and ITES industry. According to industry estimates, around five million new jobs in the IT and ITES sectors will be generated by 2012 and trained IT work force will be needed to fill these jobs. This was stated by the Chief Scientist, NIIT, Dr Sugata Mitra, here today.

He was speaking at a seminar organised by NIIT at the GGDSD College, Sector 32, here. Over 200 students, the Head of the IT Department and training and placement officers from various colleges in and around the city took part in the seminar.

Dr Mitra said: “While India is justifiably proud of its work force edge in the area of the IT and ITES services, this giant pool of skilled professionals is not a self-renewing resource. Industry watchers are already cautioning industry captains about the growing demand-supply work force gap in the IT sector, which could prove to be a major impediment to further development of the market.

“Moreover, IT skills alone are not the answer. Relevant, industry-oriented IT skills will make the difference. What this means is that the youth of the country have not only to turn to the IT as a meaningful and preferred career destination, they also have to focus on building the correct skill sets through appropriate training.

“It is no longer a question of whether India has arrived in the worldwide IT market place, rather it is about whether we can assume the leadership position in the global IT arena, ahead of the more experienced and mature competitors, such as the USA, the UK, Australia or the other emerging players.

“How do we assume this undisputable position of leadership? And the answer lies with India’s young IT talent and engineers who will be instrumental in shaping its future.”

According to the IT industry body, NASSCOM, the Indian IT and ITES sector currently employs around 13,00,000 professionals.



“Project Citizen” involves more schools
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
An initiative taken by Ms Meera Balchandran, Principal of Ramjas School, New Delhi, “Project Citizen” now involves students and teachers from Navodaya Vidyalayas, government and private schools from Chandigarh and various states of India.

With the first teacher training programme organised in Chandigarh, teachers from Punjab also participated in this worldwide programme going on in 80 countries across the world.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Ms Balchandran said the project was started by the Center for Civic Education, California. According to her, the programme aims to enhance the skills of students, their knowledge and deepen their understanding on how they can make their communities better.

Heading the pilot project, Ms Balchandran said the project involved training of the teachers and thereafter students. Emphasis was laid on the methodology used and procedure followed, she said.

Students are divided into various groups and each group then takes up a cause or a relevant issue which is later showcased and judged by a panel, including a judge, social activist and an educationist, she said.

The students while working on different projects interact with various officials and thus get first-hand experience of interviewing and developing their analytical skills, said the Principal.

Ms Balchandran said the students also framed “our class policy”. While, the Principal thinks that such programmes should be integrated with the NCERT and the CBSE, till the time such steps are taken the idea of including it as a part of 20 marks internal assessment for social studies is already in place.



Nursing education course starts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
A 10-day continuing education programme for nurses, on recent advances in the field of intensive care nursing, began at the Western Command Hospital in Chandimandir today.

The programme was inaugurated by Lieut-Gen Paramjit Singh, Chief of Staff, Western Command.

He said technological advances had had placed an increasing demand on the nursing professionals who work under great stress among acutely ill patients and had to be adept at using sophisticated instruments.

He said nurses needed to keep abreast with the latest developments in the health sector, especially in the field of intensive care, as they were the first to respond to a serious medical situation.

The hospital Commandant, Major-Gen Pruthwiraj Rao said delegates from various military as well as civilian hospitals in the western sector were attending the programme.



International Story-telling Day observed
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 20
Swami Ram Tirtha High School here observed International Story-telling Day today. Students were encouraged to browse through the reading material and the stress was laid on pronunciation, fluency and dramatisation of stories.

To mark the occasion Ms Poonam Singh, Editor of Punjabi magazine Preet Lari was invited. She touched the heart of the audience through her aptitude for story telling. She answered the questions asked by the students and the event was concluded with the speech by the Principal, Ms Kiran Bhandari. She thanked and wished the magazine success and also to complete its 100 years of publication.



High Court
Major relief to guest teachers
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 20
Giving major relief to thousands of guest teachers working in various government-run schools of Haryana, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today ordered that they should be allowed to continue in their posts till the posts are permanently filled by the government.

Giving this direction, the Division Bench comprising Mr Justice J.S. Khehar and Mr Justice S.N. Aggarwal also disposed of the petitions filed by Mr Balraj, guest teacher working at Government Middle School, Butani (Jind) and 711 other guest teachers of various subjects.

In their petition, Mr Balraj and others had prayed for quashing the decision of the Haryana Government to do away with their services in order to replace them with fresh hands, again on contractual basis. The petitioners are being paid on period-basis or daily basis ranging from Rs 45-80 per period depending upon the subject.

On the plea of counsel for the petitioners that they could not be replaced by contractual/daily-wage employees but only by permanent employees, the Bench asked the Secretary, Education, Haryana, Mr R.S. Gujral to be present in the court.

Asked to explain the rationale behind the government move, Mr Gujral said these appointments were of temporary, contractual nature and could be done away with when not required.

However, the Bench was not fully satisfied with the reply and directed that the petitioners be allowed to continue till permanent appointments are made.



Bhaskar Rao sangeet sammelan opens on March 24
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, March 20
The Pracheen Kala Kendra will organise the All-India Bhaskar Rao Nritya and Sangeet Sammelan at the Tagore Theatre from March 24. The annual bonanza of classical music and dance promises a series of dexterous performances from comparatively younger maestros.

It is dedicated to the memory of Gyanacharya Bhaskar Bua Bhakhle, a legendary exponent of vocal and dance streams of classical music. This festival assumes special significance as it is part of the golden jubilee celebrations of the kendra, said M.L. Koser, secretary of the kendra.

Sitar wizard Debu Choudhry and his disciple son Prateek Choudhry will open the three-day festival. Blending tradition with modernity in classical music, the high-profile performers are the torch-bearers of Senia gharana, the only artistes to play on the 17-fret sitar against the conventional 21 frets. Akram Khan will articulate melody on tabla.

Odissi danseuse Leesa Mohanti and her troupe will lit up the second session. Besides being an adept choreographer, Leesa has acted in several Oriya films.

On March 25 sarod maestro Brij Narayan will display his inimitable style, a remarkable fusion of myriad aspects of Indian music. The disciple and elder son of great sarangi legend Ram Narain, Brij has carved a niche for himself in sarod. Subhash Nirwan will accompany him on the tabla.

Renowned Kolkata vocalist Subhra Guha will perform in the second session. Trained under the Agra gharana virtuoso Sunil Bose, she has an adroit mastery over the “khyaal gayaki”, besides “thumri” and “dadra kajri”. Mehmood Dholpuri and Anup Ghosh will provide accompaniment.

The concluding day programme will feature accomplished vocalist Haricharan Verma of AIR. Groomed by his father Mohan Lal and later by Pt Mani Prasad, he is an eminent vocalist. Sudhir Pande and Mayank Verma will accompany him during the recital.

Danseuse Mamata Shanker and her troupe will provide the grand finale to the sammelan with a mesmerising presentation of a ballet, “Amartasya Putra”. Daughter and disciple of legendary Uday Shanker and Amala Shanker, Mamata is known for her agility, grace and verve in dance recitals and ballet presentations.

Some eminent personalities will be honoured for their contribution in respective fields. All recitals will commence at 6.30 p.m. and entry is free.



Pak group to stage play in city today
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 20
The leading theatre group from Pakistan, Punjab Theatre Lahore, will stage a play, “Bejuban” in Punjabi tomorrow at the Tagore Theatre.

The production, directed by Rukhsana Khan, has been designed by Akil Kazmi, the man behind the success of the play “Bullah”.

The play is dedicated to the cause of social environment in all its manifestations. The event is being brought to the town by former Punjab Minister Baldev Singh. Mr Jasjit Singh Randhawa, Minister, Cooperation, will be the chief guest.


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