EDUCATION TRIBUNE

Sarpanch fills in as science teacher
Jupinderjit Singh
KOHARA (Ludhiana): Instead of cribbing about the shortage of teachers in the village schools, the woman Sarpanch of the village of Kohara is busy setting up an example. With diverse educational qualification, Charandeep Kaur is one of the few women sarpanches in the state who do not fall in the category of piggy-back riding village heads, who let their husbands call the shots, while they stay indoors to warm up the kitchen fire and take care of the livestock.
Charandeep, Sarpanch of Kohara in the district of Ludhiana, has been teaching science to students of the local Government Senior Secondary School that does not have a teacher for this subject since long.
Charandeep, Sarpanch of Kohara in the district of Ludhiana, has been teaching science to students of the local Government Senior Secondary School that does not have a teacher for this subject since long.

Delayed session causes anxiety in HP
Ambika Sharma

The job-oriented courses in Himachal Pradesh, introduced with much fanfare last year, have failed to take off this year. The officials patted themselves for according permissions to private institutes last year to run these courses, but their claims have now fallen flat. The State Council for Vocational Training (SCVT) has failed to even initiate the admission process this year.

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Sarpanch fills in as science teacher
Jupinderjit Singh

KOHARA (Ludhiana): Instead of cribbing about the shortage of teachers in the village schools, the woman Sarpanch of the village of Kohara is busy setting up an example. With diverse educational qualification, Charandeep Kaur is one of the few women sarpanches in the state who do not fall in the category of piggy-back riding village heads, who let their husbands call the shots, while they stay indoors to warm up the kitchen fire and take care of the livestock.

For three years now, Charandeep has been teaching science to the students of the Government Senior Secondary School here. The school has 700-odd students, but no science teacher for the higher classes. She became Sarpanch in 2003 and took over as the chairperson of the village education committee that manages the school.

“I saw young girls grappling with science on their own and praying desperately for a teacher. I decided to chip in,” she said.

Charandeep is a double graduate, possessing a B.Sc (medical) degree, besides a BA degree from Panjab University, Chandigarh. “After completing B.Sc, I spent another three years doing BA, as I wanted to learn both science and arts. After that, I attained MA in English from Punjabi University, Patiala,” she said.

Charandeep Kaur belongs to Khanna town and had shifted to this village after her marriage to Mr Dharamjit Singh Gill, a former Sarpanch of the village. She became Sarpanch after the post was declared reserved for women.

Charandeep said the problem of the absence of science teachers had become so glaring that many students wanting to study further had to be turned back. In one class, only three girls were left. The girls continued with the school when she started teaching.

She said the students of the classes XI and XII urgently required science teachers. The performance in these classes was critical to the careers or the students, she said. 

She has visited the district education offices many times in this regard. The village panchayat also remains the political representative of the area, but a science teacher is just as elusive as ever. Charandeep says that the government, too, can have its limitations and it is for the educated persons among the public to contribute in some manner for the benefit of the future generation.
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Delayed session causes anxiety in HP
Ambika Sharma

The job-oriented courses in Himachal Pradesh, introduced with much fanfare last year, have failed to take off this year. The officials patted themselves for according permissions to private institutes last year to run these courses, but their claims have now fallen flat. The State Council for Vocational Training (SCVT) has failed to even initiate the admission process this year.

This inordinate delay by the SCVT has created much anxiety in the private institutes running these courses. Though the admissions are usually after the results of the examinations of classes X and XII are declared in April, the process is yet to start this year.

Nearly 112 private institutes who had set up their infrastructure under the private-public partnership last year are now anxiously waiting for the session to begin. Nearly 11,000 students were admitted to these courses last year and the state government had earned crores of rupees from the process. These institutes were given the permission to run one-year and two-year courses.

While the second-year’s sessions for the two-year courses have begun after the annual examinations, the one-year courses in art and craft and Ayurveda pharmacist have still not seen fresh admissions. The two-year courses are mass communication, hotel management, travel and tourism and PTI.

Each institute was allowed to run a maximum of three courses. The delayed session has put entrepreneurs in financial trouble; they have to pay staff salaries, building rents and bank instalments, though only one of the three courses is now on. Though the state government has admitted students to their own Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs), these institutes were still awaiting for the announcement of the admission schedule.

Officials in the Technical Education Department opined that they had, so far, been inspecting the infrastructure of these institutes. Their affiliation would be renewed only after it was found that they fulfilled the norms. The inspections have, however, dragged on. Inspections were underway in 274 new institutes that had sought affiliation.

The investors rued that the admissions to courses running for the past one year should be allowed, while the new institutes could continue to be inspected.

This delay in admissions has led to thousands of Himachali youth seeking admissions in the private institutes of Punjab. Mohali, Pinjore and Ropar have admitted nearly 10,000 Himachali youth in various courses. While the admissions are on the first-come-first-serve basis, the institutes lay little stress on quality.

These institutes have widely advertised their courses in the state and awarded diplomas to students who did not even fulfil the minimum conditions of class attendance. Large sums were taken from students for admission.

The director of a private institute, said: “We had set up these institutes last year after investing lakhs of rupees we had raised from bank loans. Since our student strength has been reduced by one-third, we are unable to meet our expenditure and repay the bank. We met the infrastructure requirement as required under the norms by investing lakhs of rupees. Not only has Rs 1 lakh been kept as security by the government, but we have been put into financial crisis due to the delay in admissions.”

The attitude of the Technical Education Department has caused a loss of crores of rupees to the state exchequer and defeated the very purpose of introducing vocational courses. The process that began in fits and starts last year after much delay appears to totally fallen apart this year. The SCVT has failed to admit the new batch of students, despite large-scale industrialisation and demand for trained manpower.
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Campus Notes

GND University, Amritsar

Dr Dhillon joins as new Dean

DR M. S. Dhillon, former Principal, Khalsa College, Amritsar, has joined here as Dean, College Development Council, Guru Nanak Dev University. He also gets the additional charge of the Centre for Distance Education. Dr Dhillon has 29 years of teaching and 11 years of administrative experience. He started as Lecturer in Khalsa College, Amritsar, and became a Reader in the Department of Chemistry there in 1988. He was Vice-Principal from 1992 to 1996 and, later, Principal of the college.

He has edited three books and published five papers in reputed journals. He has also been a Syndic; Senator; Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture Food and Technology; Chairman of the Board of Studies in Agriculture and Forestry and Food Technology; Head of the Research Degree Committee; Chairman of the PG Board of Agricultural Education & Research; and Head of the Board of Studies in Agriculture; besides being a member of the Academic Council; Board of Sport; Adult Continuing Education and Extension Programme Advisory Committee; Library Committee, Equivalence Committee etc. The Bharat Vikas Parished honoured him in 1999 for his work in education and in 1998 for his contribution in agriculture; in the same year, the Rotary International awarded him for his work in education and social welfare.

Medicinal plants to be grown on campus

THE authorities at GND University plan to beautify the campus by planting more flowers, fruits and medicinal plants and turn vacant areas on the campus into lawns. The Farm and Landscaping Committee led by Dr Kawaljit Singh plans that the beds for planting seasonal flowers, fruits and roses would developed near the lanes and roads.

They said that a vermi-compost plant would also be set up on the campus. The saplings of Pathar Nakh would be planted on abundant near boys’ hostel and teachers’ flats. The work has already begun and medicinal plants have been planted in the heritage village on the campus.

— Contributed by P. K. Jaiswar
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