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A shot in arm for underprivileged kids on PU campus
Students of Masters in Social Work (MSW) course on the PU campus have pledged to ensure vaccination of all poor children and create awareness among parents
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Five-year-old Sanjay enjoys a ride on Prashant’s shoulders on his way to the campus dispensary. Prashant, a student of the Centre for Social Work, along with other students, pledged to get the less-privileged children immunised on Saturday.
Five-year-old Sanjay enjoys a ride on Prashant’s shoulders on his way to the campus dispensary. Prashant, a student of the Centre for Social Work, along with other students, pledged to get the less-privileged children immunised on Saturday. Tribune photos: Manoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, April 10
Under the scorching sun on a Saturday afternoon, with mercury touching 39 degrees Celsius, three students of Masters in Social Work (MSW) - Sarina, Pallavi Girdhar and Neha Singh - were passionately hunting for children of labourers working at construction sites on the Panjab University campus. After a few hours of search that included convincing parents and addressing apprehensions on the “real motive” of these students, the trio finally managed to gather 25 children for immunisation in the campus dispensary.

A visit to the campus dispensary by the reporter revealed that it was not just these three students who had taken this unique initiative on a rather hot day, but 17 more students - both girls and boys - along with two teachers from the Centre for Social Work had, since morning, assembled about a 100 such children aged between one and 10 from parts of the campus spread over Sectors 14 and 25.

While some students assisted the two doctors in vaccinating these children, others were busy organising them in queues inside the dispensary. The more “tolerant” of the students were seen trying to calm down some of the bawling children.

In contrast to many other students on the campus who preferred studying or simply having a good time, these MSW students had pledged to ensure vaccination of all these underprivileged children and create awareness among the parents.

“In a preliminary survey conducted by our centre on the PU campus, it was found that the first major problem was vaccination of these children followed by lack of education. Our next step will be to educate their family members about garbage disposal and ensuring personal hygiene,” said Bankim Singh, a teacher in the Centre for Social Work.

But going by today’s experience that might prove to be challenge, the real task was convincing the parents who seem to have lost faith in such efforts. Several NGOs which started such initiatives in the past never returned,” said Prashant Sharma, an MSW student. “Not surprisingly, many parents doubted our motives, asking why were we doing it for their children,” said Sarina, another MSW student.



1 killed in Army firing range
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 10
Surinder (30), a watchman of the Bhudd Mandlai, died at the Army range in Raipur Rani when a bullet pierced his heart late last evening. The victim was picking up fired shell covers for extra cash while personnel from the Army and paramilitary forces were carrying out their firing exercise.

The incident occurred when Surinder was returning to his house along with his cattle. Surinder was father of a six-month-old baby. Finishing with the daily exercise of grazing his cattle, he entered the firing zone for collecting shells of fired ammunition for making a little money at the shop of scrap dealers.

The postmortem was conducted at the General Hospital, Sector 6, here today. The SHO, Raipur Rani, said some residents were hiding in the wilderness along the firing range and each time an Army unit fired a mortar, villagers would run to get the shells. The public announcements made by the Army authorities asking people to stay away from the firing range seemed to have no effect on them, he added.

He said the officials of the district administration, the police and the Army had been holding regular meet

ings with the villagers cautioning them not to venture out near the firing range. A sizeable number of households in Bhudd, Bhurewala and Kodu villages have either lost a family member while trying to extract scrap from the unexploded shells or have a member who has suffered a physical injury in such accidents.

One of the villagers, requesting anonymity, said they were experts and would pick only those shells which did not have explosive material. Certain innocent people who had less knowledge often picked a live shell and paid the price, often with their lives, he added.

Shells are sold to certain local dealers, who in turn, sell it to scrap dealers in Naraingarh and Ambala, he added.

In fact, once the authorities concerned had toyed with the idea of either shifting the firing range or the population around it. However, that proposal is yet to translate into a concrete form.



Week after ‘police bashing’, youth commits suicide
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 10
A 26-year-old unemployed local youth, who was allegedly beaten up by Punjab police personnel, committed suicide by hanging himself at a park behind a temple in Sector 20 here last night.

Family members of the deceased, identified as Tajinder Singh, claimed that he took the extreme step after being beaten up.

Tajinder was unmarried and resided with his parents and a younger brother in Sector 20-C. His mother Balwinder Kaur said he was short-tempered.

With misty eyes, she said her son was upset ever since he had been ‘mercilessly’ bashed up. He left his house around 5 pm yesterday.

Tajinder’s body was found hanging with a swing at the park. A suicide note was found from his pocket, in which he mentioned that nobody was responsible for his suicide.

“He seemed fine when he had tea last evening. He asked me for Rs 400, which I gave him. He started playing with children at a park nearby, but disappeared soon after. As he did not return the entire night, we thought that he might be at the temple, where he often used to spend

time. The Chandigarh police gave us the worst news of our lives,” said Balbir Singh, lineman with the UT electricity department and father of the deceased. Giving details regarding the Punjab police case, Balbir alleged that he had a dispute over a house at Sector 66 in Mohali. While he owned the first floor, the ground floor was owned by Bhupinder Singh, a police constable.

“Three years ago, a case was registered against Tajinder following a complaint registered by Bhupinder’s wife Manjit Kaur. Last month, we reached a compromise with them, following which Tajinder was acquitted by court,” Balbir said.

Last week, when Tajinder made a round of the house, Bhupinder and Manjit complained to the police again, following which he was bashed up by the police at the Phase XI police post, alleged Balbir.



Schools violate CBSE guidelines
Make provisional admission to Class XI on the basis of pre-Board scores
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 10
In a blatant violation of the Central Board of Secondary Education’s (CBSE) admission bylaws and guidelines of the newly introduced grading system, several city schools have begun making provisional admission to Class XI and that too on the basis of the pre-Board scores.

As per a complaint filed with the CBSE by three parents, a city-based school has begun what is being alleged to be a “biased admission process”, where only those who have secured “good” marks in the school’s internal pre-Board examinations are being promoted to Class XI.

“The Board talks about grades and they are making admissions on the basis of pre-Board results. My child did not fare too well in the pre-Board examinations. So when I went to them to obtain provisional admission for my son, they refused saying he did not have the optimum percentage. What if he gets the requisite grade? Will they make students vacate the seats which are filled by the time the Board results are declared?”a complainant.

While parents might be crying foul, HS Mamik, president of the Independent Schools Association, dismissed the allegations, saying schools were just trying to gain an extra academic month.

“What is wrong in it? It does not violate any law. In fact a recent CBSE circular has appreciated our move. They have only imposed one condition - that schools will not ask any child to change his stream once the boards result are declared,” he said.

This circular, however, was initially issued in 2007 when a hue and cry was raised by the students who had taken provisional admission in a specific stream in Class XI but were asked to switch once the Boards results were declared.

The practice is being followed in many other city-based schools, which are finding it hard to wait for the Board results. In addition to being a violation of the

admission bylaws, what also makes it a grave issue are the speculated consequences on the proposed education reforms. With the introduction of grades in Class X, the CBSE is trying to eradicate the number system which classifies students as either toppers or below average with no in-between grade.

With schools making provisional admissions, the battle seems to have already been lost by the CBSE and many parents.

“No circular legalises provisional admissions. We have made grading a mandatory system but they have violated our directive by starting these admissions on the basis of marks scored in the pre-board examinations. As per rules, these students are still not eligible for Class XI.

So such admission is illegal. If they really have the intention of gaining an extra academic month, why not enroll all the students of their school to the next class? Most of the city schools have started with this as they want to block the fee of the students and retain what they call the creme-de-la-creme of Class X,” said the CBSE’s Regional Director DR Yadav, who promised to take strict action against all erring schools.



50 fresh cases of diarrhoea, gastroenteritis in UT colonies
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 10
As the sweltering heat continues, more cases of diarrhoea and gastroenteritis are being reported at various hospitals across the city.At least 50 fresh cases were reported from resettlement and slum colonies at Mauli Jagran, Ram Darbar, Bapu Dham and Saketri, taking the total number of cases since Thursday to 100.

The number of patients could be much higher, with several patients seeking treatment at private hospitals and clinics.

About half-a-dozen cases were reported today at the Government Multi-Specialty Hospital (GMSH), Sector 16 , 10 at the PGI’s paediatric OPD, and between 20 and 30 at the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32. The day temperature crossed the 39 degree Celsius mark today and the humidity level rose to 50 per cent.

Dr G Verma, deputy medical superintendent at the GMSH, said the number of patients had increased due to the changing weather. “The turnout of patients suffering from diarrhoea and gastroenteritis at the paediatric emergency has almost doubled in the past two or three days,” he said.

The cases of water-borne diseases like diarrhoea, dehydration and vomitting were a major cause of concern, doctors said. “One should see a doctor in case headache, vomitting or high fever persists for more than 24 hours. Extra precaution should be taken in case of children, the elderly and expecting women,” said Dr Verma.

Doctors advised people to drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration, but avoid water and beverages being sold on the roadside. “One must be careful about food and water during summer. The number of patients with symptoms of water-borne diseases rises this time of the year,” they said.

“Freshly cooked food must be preferred over uncooked options since gastro-intestinal problems become common. We see a lot of cases of food poisoning, dysentery and gastric problems during summer,” said Dr Deepak Bhasin of the PGI’s gastroenterology department. People should not ignore dehydration or diarrhoea and they should consult a physician immediately if their condition worsened, he said.


Brett Lee is Pearls’ brand ambassador
Naveen S Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 10
The Pearls Institute of Hospitality and Management has hired Australian speedster Brett Lee as its brand ambassador.CEO of the institute Captain Sandeep Singh Sandhu said they had shortlisted a few cricketers for the job, but the final choice fell on Brett Lee. “He represents Kings’ XI, Punjab, that is our team (representing Punjab) and he is also an icon among the cricket lovers,” Sandhu remarked.

Brett Lee was presented as the brand ambassador at an impressive function of the institute at a hotel here. The function was attended among others by director Sikander Singh, CEO Captain Sandhu, Principal Matthew Sorensen and administrator Satbir Singh Khatra.

Lee also unveiled the web portal of the institute on the occasion. He said, “As a brand ambassador, I want to be associated with the best and this association has not happened overnight.” Fielding questions about his personal life the cricketer said, “I hadn’t decided on being a cricketer. It just happened. Before cricket, I was keen on music, fashion line and acting…”

He said he was keen on acting in Bollywood movies. “I have acted in Hindi movie “Victory” …. and look forward to do more films after the cricket season is over,” 
he said.

He also answered questions about dismal performance of the King XI Punjab in the IPL. “Punjabis have a “never say die” attitude. That’s what the Punjabi immunity is all about. Though we haven’t fared well this season, it’s a matter of gathering inner pride and playing in the remaining matches,” he said.



Night-vision devices mar pilots’ judgement
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 10
While night-vision devices have become indispensable in military aviation due to operational requirements in today’s security environment, a study by medical experts has revealed that such devices adversely affect pilots’ judgement of distance and height.

The study revealed that underestimation of distances from the subject to an object, while using night-vision goggles (NVGs), was “highly significant”, while there was significant overestimation in distance between two defined objects.

Distance judgement and depth perception are fundamental skills required in aviation.

Accurate distance estimation is an important task for most aircraft pilots and is extremely critical for helicopter pilots.

The study, which has been published in the latest issue of the Journal of Aerospace Medicine, was conducted by specialists from the Institute of Naval Medicine, Mumbai, and the Institute of Aerospace Medicine, Bangalore. It involved 30 healthy volunteers, including a woman, in the age group of 20-35 years.

Use of night-vision devices, night-vision goggles and forward-looking infrared devices are gaining predominance because offensive air support to ground forces or special and covert operations involving airlift of troops have to be undertaken in the dark or low-light conditions. Besides this, search and rescue operations have also to be carried out.

According to the study, these devices do not provide normal photopic vision and thus compromise human performance in certain important areas. The prime shortcoming of these devices includes reduced acuity of vision, smaller field of view and a spectral sensitivity that is different from the human visual system.

These differences have been cited as potential factors leading to problems with their use during flights.

Distance judgement and depth perception are fundamental skills required in aviation, but the study observed that this is not taught in pilot training. Rather, rules of thumb are typically passed on from instructor to student in an informal and invalidated manner.

Accurate distance estimation is critical for helicopter pilots as they have to manoeuvre among trees and other obstacles, fly at low altitudes, land in very low clearance areas and maintain a hover at a fixed altitude above a certain point. All these piloting tasks require accurate distance estimation to implement the manoeuvre properly and safely.

Inaccurate distance estimation has been determined by the US Army to be a factor in some night crew-error accidents.



‘Flyovers no remedy for traffic snarls’
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 10
It might not sound pleasant to the Chandigarh Administration, which engages in widening city roads every now and then to manage the traffic flow, the present traffic management model based on road widening and creating flyovers is just outdated.

“These are old concepts”, stated Prof Dinesh Mohan of the IIT, Delhi, who is also coordinator of the WHO programme of Transport Research and Injury Prevention in India.

The continuous demand of denizens here regarding the need of constructing flyovers in the city also receives a setback with the expert’s statement that no European city has built a flyover in the past 25 years and none has been built in past 10 year in the USA. In fact, the USA has started dismantling flyovers.

“Road safety should be made a compulsory part of civil engineering education at graduation level,” said Prof Mohan, ruing that presently no civil engineering degree course in our country included that important aspect.

Prof Mohan spoke on the issue during a seminar on road safety, organised by the Chandigarh chapter of the Indian Media Centre at the Chandigarh Press Club here today.

Earlier, Punjab PWD Minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa inaugurated the year-long IMC programme. He said Punjab had the highest road density of 120 km per 100 sq km area in India. He regretted that high-speed travel due to better riding surface had led to more fatal accidents.

“The government was aware of the problem and was identifying accident-prone stretches. Adequate provisions are being made in estimates to ensure proper road safety steps, both during road building and during travel,” Dhindsa said.

Dr Tripta Goyal of PEC University was of the view that Chandigarh traffic infrastructure had started showing signs of breaking down because of increase in traffic volume. “There is an urgent need to implement timely, relevant and cost-effective measures like carpooling, peripheral parking scheme and, parking restraint”, she said.



Insurance firm ordered to paycompensation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 10
Holding United India Insurance Company Limited deficient in service, the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has directed it to pay Rs 1,20,525 along with 7 per cent as interest till realisation to Lakhwinder Singh.

Aggrieved by the order passed by the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Mohali-based Lakhwinder, along with his mother Gurbachan Kaur, had appealed to the commission. Lakhwinder, deputy manager, HFCL, Infotel Limited, Mohali, had secured a group mediclaim insurance policy, under which employees and their dependants were covered for various medical expenses.

A patient of hypertension, Gurbachan was dependent on Lakhwinder. She was taken to the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, Chandigarh, when she felt chest pain. She was referred to the PGI, where they incurred Rs 1,20,525 as expenses on her treatment. The original bills were submitted to the insurance company for claim.

The company had stated its inability to accept the liability. Lakhwinder made a representation to the company for illegal and wrongful rejection of the claim. The company, in its reply, had submitted that that Gurbachan was a hypertension patient for the last six years and having chest pain for the last four or five years.

As per her medical records, she was having stable angina for the last four or five years, which was confirmed in angiography. The HFCL had submitted that it was the duty of the insurance company to make the payment.

The forum had dismissed the complaint, stating that complainant was suffering from the disease prior to taking the policy and she had suppressed the information.

“After the perusal of reports issued by the cardiologist at the PGI, we have come to the conclusion that there was no history of previous treatment of angina,” the commission said.

“There are various medical conditions causing chest pain and chest pain is not the only signal for heart-related diseases. The forum has wrongly observed a pre-existing disease and the respondents have failed to prove that the complainant had taken treatment for chest pain,” it added.



Rana victim of political vendetta: MLA
Our Correspondent

Congress MLA from Kharar Balbir Singh Sidhu
Congress MLA from Kharar Balbir Singh Sidhu

Mohali, April 10
Rajinder Singh Rana, who was removed as the president of the municipal council yesterday, “abused his position as president repeatedly” as per the orders issued by the department of local government. The decision was, however, termed as political vendetta by the Congress MLA from Kharar, Balbir Singh Sidhu.

A nine-page order issued in English by C Roul, principal secretary of the department, stated that the “facts on record thus prove that the noticee has knowingly disobeyed the relevant laws and rules and in the process has abused his position as the president repeatedly”. The order further said, “The facts of this case warrant that Rajinder Singh Rana may be immediately removed from office of president so that the public faith in the democratic institutions is not shattered and chances of further damage obviated.”

It was pointed out in the order that the “impugned orders of posting three officials in the office of the president were passed by the noticee by abusing his powers”.

It was also suspected that the president had postponed tenders for sanitation work “to accommodate ineligible contractors”. “The terms and conditions were diluted to the extent that all ineligible contractors became eligible, but in most erroneous and defective manner.”

A former executive officer of the council, JS Thind, had sent a report to the higher authorities in 2007 alleging that the civic body chief had transferred three employees without having the powers to do so. Thind had also alleged that Rana kept postponing opening of sanitation tenders, which adversely affected work. He had recommended that action should be taken against the MC chief in this regard.

The department had later issued a show-cause notice to him and the case was heard twice after which the decision was announced yesterday.

The Kharar MLA, however, said while addressing a press conference here today that the removal of Rana from the post of the president of the civic body was very unfortunate and amounted to the murder of democracy because there were no serious charges against the council president. Tenders were postponed only to relax some terms in order to introduce more competition among contractors so that an improvement could be brought about in sanitation work. Employees had also been changed from their seats on the requests of municipal councillors in order to improve the functioning of the office.

He said the SAD government had been trying to unseat Congress-backed Rana over the past three years, but every effort had failed. A three-year old case was now reopened only to remove him from his post and have a SAD supporter as the head of the civic body.

The decision of the department would be challenged in the high court to get justice, he added. 



DC tells officials to be vigilant
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 10
Deputy Commissioner Prabhjot Singh Mand has directed officials of various departments to coordinate with panchayats concerned to ensure that thikri pehras were organised in the rural areas from April 15 to prevent damage to power grids and transmission lines.

Employees of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) will be holding protests on April 15 against the unbundling of the power board, which were likely to disrupt essential services. It was necessary to make arrangements so that the protests did not adversely affect the life of the residents.

Mand, who was addressing senior officials of the district, said it should be ensured that a lax attitude was not adopted by officials during the protest period and a proper coordination was maintained among employees of various departments to ensure that no inconvenience was caused to the residents.

He said at the district level, control rooms had been set up at his office and that of the superintending engineer of the power board. At the sub-division level, control rooms had been set up at the office of the SDM and the executive engineer concerned.

SSP Gurpreet Singh Bhullar said activities of suspected elements would be kept under watch. He said, “Government property belonged to the people and it is our duty to protect it from persons who want to damage it.” Coordination would be maintained with officials of different departments during the strike by PSEB employees so that no untoward incident took place.



Lawyers end stir
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 10
Members of the District Bar Association today called off their indefinite fast after Mohali Superintendent of Police Varinderpal Singh announced that it had suspended two assistant sub-inspectors, Ramji Das and Narinder Singh, who had allegedly been responsible for the delay in investigations into the case of a road accident in which a lawyer died on January 26.

The police suspended sub-inspector Didar Singh yesterday. Varinderpal visited the court premises along with Deputy Superintendent of Police Raj Balwinder Brar. He told the Bar members that the investigations had been delayed because the investigating officer had sent parts of the vehicles involved in the accident to a forensic laboratory.

The laboratory, he said, had refused to conduct an investigation, saying it did not have facilities for it. “We can understand how a family feels if it loses a member,” said Varinderpal. Two Bar members, Shelly Sharma and Amrit Pal Singh, were on indefinite fast, demanding action against the policemen investigating the death of Vijay Paul Singh at Kharar on January 26.



Litigants a harassed lot
Sonika Bhatia
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 10
It was yet another day of harassment for litigants at the district courts here today. Though the indefinite fast by members of the Bar association was called off later in the day following intervention of the Mohali Superintendent of Police, litigants had to return disappointed after taking fresh dates. Almost all cases scheduled for today were adjourned.

The disappointment was more pronounced on the litigants who had come from as far as Saharanpur, Fazilka, Rohtak, Kaithal and even Mumbai. Michael Gonsalves had specially flown in from Mumbai to be present for a hearing at the district courts. Hoping that the hearing would be over within an hour, he had booked his return flight for the afternoon.

“When I reached here, I was bugged to see lawyers on strike. As a result, my matter was not taken up,” he told the Chandigarh Tribune. “I will now have to come again for my case. This means wasting one more day, which will affect my work,” he added. He said his six-month case was expected to be decided on today. His case was adjourned for next month.

It was a similar story for Rama Devi, a housewife residing in Mani Majra. She had been fighting her case for the last two years. “Why do we have to suffer if there is some problem between lawyers and the police,” she asked. “We are going through a bad phase and lawyers should think about us,” she said.

“It becomes all the more problematic for those who are working as one has to take leave from work in advance,” said another litigant, who did not wish to be identified. “I started my journey from Saharanpur early this morning, hoping that I would be free by afternoon. But after reaching here, I found the scene to be different. My lawyer refused to take up the case, saying he would be forced to pay fine if he represented me today. I personally appeared in court to get a date,” he said.



Press club installation ceremony
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 10
An impressive cultural evening was held as a part of the installation ceremony of the new governing council of the Chandigarh Press Club here tonight. 

The outgoing president Sarabjit Pandher handed over the charge to the incoming president Naveen S Grewal. The team, led by Grewal-Rupal panel, has swept the poll.



Bapu Dham gets bal panchayat
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 10
A bal panchayat was launched at Bapu Dham. The 15-member body has been formed to look after the problems and offer solutions to elders and the administration.

The decision was taken in a meeting organised by Yuvsatta, an NGO. Over 300, including children, attended the meeting. Pramod Sharma of Yuvsatta said the formation of such panchayat aimed at teaching children a lesson of participation and self-expression.

They would come to know about their democratic rights at an early stage of life, he added. On finding shortcomings in the democratic set up, children would raise questions, he added.

He said their questions would help bring a change in the set up as well as society.

Suman, a student of Class X, was elected president of the panchayat. Abhishek and Manoj of Class IV were the youngest among all.

Elected members: Chairman: Akash; vice-chairman: Shailender; president: Suman; vice-president: Priya; secretaries: Nagma, Raj Karan, Kanchan and other members are Abhishek, Manoj, Akshya, Ashu, Shivani, Preeti, Surajbhan and Kajal. 



PU canteens raided
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 10
Raids were conducted at three canteens on the Panjab University campus at 1 pm today.

A number of complaints poured in from students and teachers that the canteen owners had employed some minors as waiters and dishwashers.

So an inspection team was constituted by the Vice-Chancellor to check the same.

The team comprising Muneeshwar Joshi, officer on special duty, and Jitender Mohan, professor emeritus, department of psychology, conducted the raids at three canteens located in the arts block.

“We did not find any child employed in the canteens here. After conducting raids at other canteens, a report will shortly be submitted to the VC,” said Mohan.

However, after today’s raids, canteen owners will be on alert defeating the very purpose of checking this malpractice.

Out of the 15 student hostels located on the campus, seven are for male students and eight are for female students. About 20 to 25 employees are employed for catering, cooking and serving at these hostels.

“Some mess contractors own canteens at various departments as well as hostels on the campus. Although it is selectively practiced, some contractors do employ children below 14 years of age, who mostly belong to poor families and are in dire need of food and shelter,” said a canteen owner on condition of anonymity.

“A notice has been issued to all contractors, warning them against any such practice. If they still continue to employ minors, their contract will be cancelled,” said PU Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti.



Citizens’ Voice - n- choe
Sewerage outlets need to be channelised

Citizens’ Voice

We invite our readers to share their views and suggestions for publication on how to clean up the N-Choe which was once a pride of the City Beautiful.

Please e-mail or write to the Editor-in-Chief at nchoe@tribunemail.com or The Tribune, Sector 29, Chandigarh ,along with your contact address and phone number.



Extra-curricular activities to matter in school grading
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 10
Worried about low grades? An extra effort put in sports or in any other extra-curricular activity might do wonders to your scorecard from this session.In its latest declaration, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has said that Class IX and X students, who fare well in extra-curricular activities, will be entitled to an increase in their grade in one or even two academic subjects.

As per this rule to be implemented as part of the continuous comprehensive evaluation (CCE), a student might gain up to 42 grade points out of a total of 100 marks while being assessed in the non-academic performance, which would be over and above what the student scores academically.

The student will be evaluated on his performance in areas such as physical education, participation in school clubs, other cultural activities and even his attitude towards his peers and teachers.

If he is able to secure a score between 34 and 42 out of 50 marks in the extra-curricular activities, he stands a chance to raise his grade by one level in two different subjects. Similarly, those who score between 19 and 33 points out of 50 marks would get this benefit in one subject.

“The main aim of the CCE is to promote the extra-curricular activities among the students to make them outstanding individuals in the fields of their interest. Initially, we were taking these activities into account. But their recognition on a child’s scorecard was minimalist. This new policy would, however, help provide a certain amount of dignity to a student’s extra-curricular achievements,” claimed a principal of a Delhi-based school, who is also a member of the CCE committee.

Though the directive is to be implemented from this session, the CBSE is yet to elaborate upon the details of the evaluation of various activities.

“The idea is good but they are yet to tell us about the detailed criteria and evaluation procedure. Every school has its own way of dealing with the extra-curricular activities, which differ not only in their nature but also the frequency with which they are organised. How will the evaluation be uniform?” asked a school principal.

Easy grace marks?

Like many other postulates of the CCE, lack of groundwork raises several doubts on the success of this initiative. With the CBSE failing to provide any uniform calendar of the recommended extra-curricular activities and subsequent evaluation scheme, uniformity seems to be a dubious quotient. Going by the views of various city-based academicians, the scheme might end up as an easy tool to promote the students just like the internal assessment. “In a place where some schools ‘sell’ sports participation certificates, what is the guarantee that these easy ‘grace marks’ will not be put on sale? The board should first ensure uniformity and put a regulatory mechanism in place and then go ahead with it,” commented a senior official of the UT education department.



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