Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Career Hotline

Managing disasters
Pervin Malhotra

Q After completing my graduation, I did a Sub Fire Officers Course from Nagpur. I have three yearsí experience as a fireman in the Punjab fire service. Now, I want to do a course in Disaster Management through distance education. Can you please list the institutions offering this course?

óAmrinder Pal Singh Sandhu

A I am listing some relevant courses for you:

  • Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) ( Courses: PG Certificate in Participatory Management of Displacement, Resettlement and Rehabilitation (6-month).

  • Institute of Ecology and Environment, New Delhi. Courses: Correspondence programme in Disaster Mitigation. It is spread over 2 years ( courses.htm).

  • PRT Institute of Postgraduate Environmental Education and Research, New Delhi, is affiliated to Barkatullah Vishwavidyalaya, Institute of Open and Distance Education, Bhopal. Course: Master of Disaster Control (2-year; distance).

  • Centre for Disaster Management, Yashwantrao Chavan Academy of Development Administration (YASHADA), Pune-411007. Courses: PGDDM from IGNOU (distance) in English, Hindi and Marathi, training programmes and workshops. (

  • Besides thes,e the National Institute of Disaster Management, M/o Home Affairs, New Delhi, is also the nodal agency for co-ordinating relief and rehabilitation work during natural calamities and conducts short-term programmes for working professionals.

Striking a chord

Q I have won several school-level competitions in the solo singing category, although I have had no formal training. After passing plus two, I wish to train as a singer. Please advise how I should go about it.

ó Parminder S

A As training to be a singer requires long and arduous practice, it is very important to decide exactly what kind of music you wish to specialise in - classical, semi-classical or pop, so that you can prepare for it accordingly.

Degrees in Indian classical music are offered right up to the Masterís and Ph.D level in the Departments of Music of most leading universities. A Bachelorís degree in Music (BMus) or Bachelorís of Fine Arts in Music (BFAM) or Bachelorís in Folk Music can be pursued after Class XII at any good university.

Besides acquiring a formal degree from a reputed university, there are various local music schools that impart training in the various gharanas of music. Some of them even prepare you for giving the requisite qualifying exams.

Of course, if you can afford the luxury, thereís nothing like training privately under a good teacher. Many established performers run their own schools of music or take on private students.

As far as classical music is concerned, the time-tested guru-shishya parampara is irreplaceable. It is the guru who helps the student internalise all the formal rules and nuances of the raga so that they become flawlessly integrated into your performance.

Each gharana (school) embodies the historic and cultural vitality of a region with its subtle and yet distinctive characteristics that simply canít be taught in the classroom through a formal academic syllabus.

You may be interested to know that most of the current crop of singers - be it playback, ghazal or pop (including those who have won kudos in popular contests like sa re ga ma pa, have their grounding in classical music.

lDelhi University offers Music (Hon) at five colleges at the undergrad-level and has even introduced BA (Pass) with music at Bhagini Nivedita College.

lGandharva Mahavidyalaya, Tansen Marg, New Delhi, the oldest music school in Delhi, offers a diploma in Music (Hindustani Music: vocal and instrumental/ Carnatic vocal / choral music based on classical, modern and folk)

  • Prayag Sangeet Samiti, Allahabad

  • Bhaatkhande Sangeet Vidyapeeth, Lucknow

  • Bhaatkhande Sangeet Vidyalaya (affl to BSV, Lucknow), Gurgaon.

Coaching for civil services exam

Q I am a student of B.Sc (Eco) III from GNDU (Amritsar). I want join the IAS. Please tell me about the preparation and the points to keep in mind when selecting a coaching institute. Should I take the exam after graduation or postgraduation?

óRupam Kamboj

A Arguably one of the stiffest and most gruelling competitive exams of its kind in the world, the Civil Services exam is attempted by over 3 lakh aspirants each year, of which barely a fraction (about 300) are finally selected. There is a move to further reduce the intake by 10 per cent each year, with the aim of paring down the strength by 30 per cent over the next 3-5 years.

And with engineers, doctors and Ph.Ds in the fray, the competition gets even more gut- wrenching. Very few manage to make it in the first attempt. Although, the eligibility for the exam is a bachelorís degree, the syllabus is so vast that you need proper guidance to focus your effort. Since you are a rank holder you stand a good chance of cracking the IAS, provided you are prepared to put in 2-3 years of serious single-minded effort.

A good coaching centre gives you the opportunity to interact with specialists in their field. They also provide photocopies of relevant articles published in various journals, which students may not ordinarily have access to.

The courses fall into two broad categories: consolidated for Prelims and Mains and modular ones. Much like detachable Lego pieces, the components can be taken singly or in combination.

A veritable coaching industry has sprung up to cater to this market. Before you select a coaching centre for UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) exams, you must verify its success rate and track record: How many of their students have actually cleared the Prelims and the Mains and made it to the UPSC in the last 2-3 years? Also check out the faculty. Are they sufficiently experienced in this line? Talk to students studying there to get a clear picture. Then check out the fees. The most expensive need not necessarily be the best.

Those on a shoestring budget can pool in resources and share study material or procure cheaper second hand notes.

If you donít have access to a good tried and tested coaching centre, then opt for the best correspondence package. Incidentally, Punjabi University, Jamia University, Delhi, etc also offer coaching for thje IAS and Allied Service Exams.

Watch out for the advertisement in Employment News and leading national dailies in the month of December. The exam is held at various centres across the country.

For further details, contact: the Secretary, Union Public Service Commission, Dholpur House, New Delhi 110011 or log on to: