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Himachal’s politicians, bureaucrats, judges must also send their children to Govt. schools

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Himachal Pradesh Goverment schools

SHIMLA- About 200 state-run primary schools in Himachal Pradesh have no teacher at all. Fifty per cent of Class 5 students in government schools are not able to comprehend textbooks meant for Class 2 students and cannot solve three-digit problems, so say many of the state’s legislators.

Concerned over the declining standards of education at the primary and elementary levels, the legislators, cutting across party lines, have demanded in the assembly reforms in the education system to check further decline.

Hailing the Allahabad High Court judgment of August 18, two of them – one from the opposition BJP and other from the Congress – demanded that politicians, bureaucrats and judges must also send their children to government schools. This is the only way, the court said, that the pathetic state of government schools in the state could be improved.

Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, who is known for his reforms in education, favours reviving the British system of carrying out inspections of educational institutions to improve the standard of education.

If BJP member Inder Singh, who moved the resolution that was later rejected by a voice vote, is to be believed, 107 primary schools in the state have only one or two students each. Likewise, 943 schools have a single teacher and 200 schools don’t even have a teacher. But that has not prevented the chief minister from going on a spree of opening new schools, he said.

“The percentage of children studying in government schools came down to 58 per cent last year from 90 per cent in 2003.”

The ex-serviceman-turned-politician believes the total ban on mid-term transfers, starting lower kindergarten and upper kindergarten classes in government schools, introducing English from Class 1 and re-introduction of the pass/fail system till Class 8 will help check a further dip.

“The Allahabad High Court has given a historic decision. It should be followed in the state too and then the standard of education will improve,” Inder Singh added.

The Congress’ Asha Kumar, a former education minister, said nobody wanted to serve in the remote areas. She suggested that the government also set up cluster and model schools with residential facilities.

Another former education minister, I.D. Dhiman of the BJP, suggested pre-primary schools that will help increasing enrollment in government schools.

Hailing the Allahabad High Court decision, Congress member and Deputy Speaker Jagat Singh Negi, who belongs to remote Kinnaur district, said it should also be made mandatory for the children of teachers and lecturers to get admission in government schools.

Only then, he said, would the standard of education improve.

Quoting a 2012 education report of NGO Pratham, the BJP’s Hans Raj, a former lecturer, said 50 per cent of Class 5 students in government schools are not able to comprehend textbooks meant for Class 2 students.

Replying to the resolution, which was rejected with a voice vote, the chief minister said there were inspectors of schools during the British days whose job was to do just that. “We need to have school inspectors. Their duties should be to test the students’ level of education and that of the educational institutions. They should conduct surprise checks,” he added.

Admitting that the country’s education system is not a role model, the chief minister, who is at helm for the sixth time, noted: “I can say education is much better than what it was before. I will like that in future the state should be an example for other states.”

Virbhadra Singh, who holds the education portfolio, said five schools would be developed and granted the status of smart schools. He said he did not mind opening a new school in far-flung areas, even if there were just two students.

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Two JRF among HP Varsity’s 11 disabled students who cracked UGC NET 2018

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Disabled HPU Students Clears UGC NET

Shimla-Crossing milestones in academics, disabled students of Himachal Pradesh continue to achieve what is otherwise considered insurmountable for them.

Eleven differently-abled students have cleared UGC’s National Eligibility Test (NET). Two of them qualified for the Junior Research Fellowship. Five of these students are visually impaired.

It’s important to mention that disabled students had to fight a legal battle to claim their right to higher education in Himachal Pradesh University. Even after ‘The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill – 2016’ was passed, the students had to fight for its implementation as the government did not make it easy for them.

Two students who qualified for the JRF include Saveen Janha, an M.Phil in Hindi, and Pankaj Sharma, P.hD in Tourism Administration. Both are physically disabled, informed Ajai Shrivastava, a member of the State Advisory Board on Disability and HPU Executive Council (EC).

Indu Kumari, a visually impaired student, who is pursuing her M.A. in Political Science, cleared the NET examination in her very first attempt. Similarly, visually impaired Roma Negi, a resident of Rampur, has cleared the exam in History in her first attempt. She wants to pursue her P.hD from HP University.

Other names include Anuj Kumar (Economics), Vinod Sharma (Political Science), Jasbir Lubanand (Political Science), Vinod Sharma Yogacharya (Yoga), Priyanka Thakur (Law), Ajay Kumar (History). Some of these students have cleared the NET examination twice. Raj Kumar is a Ph.D in Education and has cleared the NET exam in the same. He had also passed the NET examination in History and this time cleared the exam in Political Science.

The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Sikander Kumar has congratulated all these students and appreciated their hard-work despite facing hardships due to their disability. He said these students have brought laurels to the State.

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Nauni Varsity Admissions Open for Diploma in Fruit, Vegetable Processing & Bakery products

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Nauni varsity admissions for diploma

Solan-The Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Nauni has invited applications for its one-year Diploma in Fruit and Vegetable Processing and Bakery products. The diploma will be run by the Department of Food Science and Technology of the university.

This year, the university has also reduced the fee charged for the diploma to Rs 5000. Earlier, the fee for this diploma was Rs 20,000. The decision was taken to ensure that more and more people can apply for the programme.

In addition, the programme has also been linked to the Skill Development Allowance scheme of the Government of Himachal Pradesh. Any person enrolled in the programme can also apply for this allowance.

The minimum educational qualification for this diploma programme is Class 10+2 with at least 40 per cent with no age cap for admission. The last date of application is 17 January 2019 and the counselling will be held on 19 January.

A total of 35 seats are available in the programme. Prospectus and application form can be downloaded from the university website(www.yspuniversity.ac.in).

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Nauni scientist bags award for book on ‘increasing farm incomes via solar drying’

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Nauni Varsity scientist's book on solar drying

Solan-Dr RK Aggarwal, Scientist of the Department of Environmental Science at the Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry (UHF), Nauni, has bagged second prize from the Government of India for his book on through solar drying of fruits and vegetables.

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), GOI has awarded the national level prize under its natural energy award scheme. The prize has been awarded for the year 2016 to Dr Aggarwal’s Hindi book titled, ‘Saur Urja Dwara Fasalon se Aaye Vridhi’.

It includes a cash award of Rs 60,000. The book contains various aspects of solar drying technology based on his field experiences since the year 1990.

While thanking the University for providing opportunities to work in the field of renewable energy, Dr Aggarwal said,

The book is focused on improving the quality of dried products along with considerably enhancing markets rates of the produce. Because of it being highly cost-effective, solar drying will immensely benefit the farmers, particularly women. The value addition of products will not only increase the income of farmers, but will also empower the women.

He added that the book would also be useful for students and other stakeholders working on solar drying. He also thanked the MNRE and Science for Equity Empowerment and Development (SEED) division of DST for funding the projects for over 25 years to develop solar dryers for the farming community. These dryers established under this project have been established in various parts of Himachal and Uttarakhand.
Dr Aggarwal has an experience of over 25 years in research and development in the field of renewable energy and seven years experience in climate change and environmental science.

He is credited with the development of indirect solar drier of 25 kg capacity for the drying of fruits, vegetables, seeds and medicinal plants.

Solar dryer by Dr RK Aggarwal

Indirect Solar Drier & Improved Stove for High Altitude Areas

He has also developed an improved version metal cook-stove for the high altitude areas for cooking, water heating, and space heating under the National Programme on Improved Cook-stove.
He completed his B.Sc, M.Sc, and M.Phil from the Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla. In 2003, he completed his P.hD from the Chaudhary Charan Singh University, Meerut.

Dr HC Sharma, Vice Chancellor of the university, congratulated Dr Aggarwal for bringing laurels to the university and the state. He added that the solar drying techniques elaborated in the book could help to meet the twin goals of reducing food waste along with enhancing farm incomes.

Dr PK Mahajan, Dean College of Forestry and Dr SK Bhardwaj, Professor and Head of Department of Environmental Science also congratulated Dr Aggarwal on the occasion.

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