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Himachal’s school teachers blame grading system, non-performing students, low learning level for poor board results

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Due to CCE (continuous and comprehensive evaluation) we cannot fail students. Even if students do not attend classes, their names cannot be struck off the rolls

SHIMLA- Manju Thakur hadn’t seen it coming. In the results of the Himachal Pradesh Board of School Education declared this month, she scored 11 marks in science, 11 in maths and 7 in English. Only 20 of 122 students passed the Class X state board exams at Government Senior Secondary School at Pathiar, Kangra, where Manju studies. Seventeen others got compartments. Most of the students got low marks in science, maths and English, like Manju, daughter of a farm labourer.

Teachers would tell me she is good at studies,

said Manju’s mother Lajja Devi, who is perplexed.

Manju used to say the teachers are teaching well.

Manju’s sister Anjana, in Class XII at the same school, a walk of 1.5 km from their home, said her sister’s teachers had told her, too, that Manju was doing well. Anjana herself had scored 71 per cent in Class X.

This year, the highest any Class X student of this school scored was 53 per cent. It is one of 86 schools in Himachal Pradesh with a pass percentage 20 or lower in this year’s Class X and XII board exams.

Principal Mehar Singh, however, is not surprised.

The learning level of most students is not up to the mark,

Singh said.

Due to CCE (continuous and comprehensive evaluation) we cannot fail students. Even if students do not attend classes, their names cannot be struck off the rolls.

No student passed Class X in 16 government schools, and none passed Class XII in three. Overall, however, the board results were better than in the previous two years 66.88 per cent passed Class X after 57.18 per cent in 2014 and 65.25 per cent in 2015, while 78.61 passed XII after 67.09 per cent in 2014 and 68.63 per cent in 2015.

The principal said private schools don’t see high failures as they simply ask parents to take out a non-performing child. Many such children come and join government schools, he says.

After students complete primary classes, Class VI teachers find they don’t even know the basics like the alphabet or counting,

said Chitra, who teaches social studies.

It is when they appear for the boards that their level of knowledge is tested.

Once among the top-ranking states on schooling and learning, Himachal presented poor results in the Annual Survey of Education Research (ASER) in 2014. Around 1.7 per cent of Class VIII students in rural schools could not recognise the digits, 15 per cent could not tell 10 to 99, and 21.5 per cent could do subtraction but not division. In English, 0.5 per cent students could not read capital letters, and 1.2 per cent failed with small letters.

Sudipto Roy, Himachal’s education secretary from 2000 to 2003, said the state was actually well placed to implement the RTE.

I was able to provide 90 per cent boys and girls access to school. The dropout level at the time was the least in the country,

he said. But doing away with the exam system proved detrimental, he said.

The only way to judge quality is examination. Unfortunately, examinations are not so important in the country any more.

The number of students in government primary schools has been falling, from 5.89 lakh in 2003 to 3.23 lakh in 2015-16. Across levels, the state has 9.31 lakh students in 15,327 government schools, and more than 5 lakh students in 2,712 private schools.

The Pathiar school, set up in 1937, has 512 students now. Its science labs double up as classrooms. Of the sanctioned 24 faculty members, the posts of two Sanskrit teachers, one drawing teacher and two lab assistants are vacant.

Bucking the trend in this school, however, was Ranjit, son of a labourer. He scored 93 per cent in Class XII and has cleared the JEE (Main) cutoff.

I got guidance from teachers. I was determined to get good marks and I did,

Ranjit said.

Photo: Representational image

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Nauni varsity student to represent India in International Kickboxing championship in Argentina

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Himachali Kickboxer Lokesh Bhanot

Solan: While the youth of Himachal Pradesh is becoming infamous for the sudden surge in drug addiction it is witnessing currently, there are those who are bringing laurels to the State.

Lokesh Bhanot, a local from Solan district and a student of the Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry (UHF), Nauni is all set to represent the country in the World Kickboxing Championship to be held at Buenos Aires, Argentina from November 5-10, 2018. The World Kickboxing Federation is organizing the championship, it was informed by the Public Relation Officer of the varsity Suchet Attri.

A fourth-year student of B Sc Forestry at the University’s College of Horticulture and Forestry (COH&F), Neri, Bhanot had bagged a bronze medal in the senior category (90-100 kg) in the National Kickboxing Championship held at Patna in 2016 and a Gold Medal in the 65-75 kg category at the National Championship held at Ghaziabad in 2012-13.

In addition, Bhanot has won several medals at the state and district level championships in different weight categories, said the PRO.

Hailing from Solan, Bhanot had previously represented India in Italy in 2013 where he became a black belt in the sport. In 2017, he was selected to participate in the World Kickboxing Championship in Sudan and Brazil, but could not participate due to his exams.

Not only has Bhanot excelled as a player, but in 2017 also became a World Kickboxing Federation accredited International referee in the sport by clearing the official exam. He is also an accredited national referee.

Bhanot credits his parents, coach and college teachers, and friends for their constant support for his success. The university has also recognized his achievements and awarded him with Outstanding Student and Sportsperson award at the University and College level.

While congratulating Bhanot for bringing laurels to the university and the College, Dr HC Sharma, UHF Vice-Chancellor said that the University has been encouraging sporting activities along with academics.

He added that this achievement will also motivate other students of the university. Dr PC Sharma, Dean of COH&F and faculty also congratulated Bhanot for his sporting achievements.

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A pack of lies behind Viral Video of Sanjauli College

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Sanjauli college viral video

Shimla: Politics is a science but not for Indian ideological groups. The political parties lay more emphasis on cheap sentimental tricks or false propaganda, especially through the social media. However, the right wing has taken the concept of opportunistic manipulations of facts to a new level.

They have sensed the weakness of the media to fall easily and quickly to sensational news. The media publish hurriedly and it creates a noise in which facts struggle to be seen or heard.

The most recent and quite an ugly example was presented at the Centre of Excellence, Government Degree College Sanjauli.

A video of a quarrel between students appeared on the social media claiming it took place between two student organizations, Student Federation of India (SFI) and Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) at the Sanjauli College. Within no time, it was on news websites. Some national Hindi dailies also covered it with the same claim.

By Thursday, ABVP claimed that some hostel students were allegedly attacked by students of left-wing ideology. By this statement, ABVP suggested that it was not involved in the clash directly but fought for the suspended students.

As a contrast to this statement, in the video, one student is seen being attacked by a group of about 20-25 students.

The video was not fake, and the brawl did take place inside the campus of the college.

Himachal Watcher had too published a report based on initial reports received from our sources including some media person. They also repeated more or less the same story. One of the dailies said the violence had broken out over the banner of a student organization, which was baseless.

ABVP even held a protest on Thursday to revoke the suspension of the students involved in the brawl. It alleged that some faculty members abused, slapped, kicked, and pushed them out of the office when they tried to reach the Principal to submit a memorandum against the one-sided action.

The ABVP, in its press statement issued on Thursday, called it an ‘aggressive protest’ that compelled the college administration to yield to its demand of revoking the suspension.

About 27 students took part in this ‘aggressive protest’, as shown in the picture below:

ABVP ka ugr pradarshan

About 27 students staging ABVP’s (aggressive) protest

ABVP repeated the same allegations when HW reached its leaders. It said the college took one-sided action against some specific students while the left-wing supporters were spared.

The college revoked the suspension, which the ABVP termed as their victory.

After receiving critical comments from the readers and students, HW today talked to all concerned parties including the Principal, CB Mehta, Shimla Police, the injured student (red shirt), ABVP and SFI leaders.

Except for the ABVP, no one, not even the victim or eyewitnesses, told HW that it was a clash between ABVP and SFI or an assault by SFI on hostelers. The victim himself told HW that the incident had no relation to student politics or student organizations.
It turned out that this victim student who was attacked is a national level volleyball player, who has represented Himachal several times.

On July 31, I was sitting with my friends inside the campus when a group of students tried to assault one of the friends. I was not aware of the pre-existing grudges between these students but I intervened peacefully and tried to protect my friend,

the victim said.

However, I became the fresh target of the group, who thrashed me badly. I was punched and kicked repeatedly until I got back on my feet and retaliated,

he explained.

I was left alone as my friends disappeared from the scene,

he said adding,

I am neither a goon nor do I belong to any student organization. I am mostly occupied by my daily basketball practice. But the video has casted a negetive impression not only on my senior players but anyone who saw it. The media too circulated the video with the pack of lies told to them.

The Principal, when asked about the matter, said,

The brawl was not associated with any of the organizations. Moreover, as the Principle, all of them were only students for me. However, some of the suspended students might have included those associated with ABVP. The protest and the allegations of the ABVP against the faculty members were most likely an effort to revoke the suspension of the students.

When asked about revoking the suspension of the students, he replied,

We did not revoke the suspension of the students due to a pressure from the organization or the protest but after speaking to their parents and receiving written apology regarding the violence,

As per the Police Station, Lakkar Bazaar, where the students were taken for questioning following the brawl, refuted the claim that the two parties decided to compromise. A complaint has been filed against the involved students, the police said.

HW also talked to SFI leaders, who termed it a false propaganda to defame student politics.

SFI has recently begun its protest over the demand of reviving direct elections to the Students Central Association, which were banned in 2014. Prior to the ban, the students always supported and elected SFI as their representative and ABVP had been facing defeat in the elections,

said an SFI leader adding,

It is a deliberate manipulation to defame the student politics, thus, give a reason to prevent the revival of the direct elections to the SCA.

SFI also shared screenshots of a post shared by ABVP on its Facebook page with alleged false information blaming the violence as hooliganism created by SFI. 

Abvp 2

Post shared by ABVP on Facebook

The worst hit of the alleged false propaganda is the victim student, and the media owes him an apology. As per the account given by him, he had just tried to protect his friend and was dragged into this brawl, which was given a political colour.

He was worried that his mother would be in great distress if she came across this video. This is why HW has refrained from mentioning the name of the victim. 

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Shimla based startup to manufacture Nauni varsity’s spinach pasta

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Naun varsity past sold to shimla-based start-up

Solan: Soon people of the country will be able to cherish Pasta, which will not only satisfy their taste buds but also helps to keep them healthy. As part of its technology transfer initiative, the Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry (UHF), Nauni has sold its two nutrient-rich pasta variants to ‘La Himalayan’ – a Shimla based startup.

It was informed today by Suchet Attri, the Public Relation Officer, UHF, Nauni. 

He further informed that the two variants- Plain Pasta and Spinach Pasta, score high on the nutrient value as compared to normal pasta. These pasta variants are based on Semolina (Suji), which is easy to digest as compared to pasta based on refined flour (Maida). The spinach variant is rich in Iron and Zinc and will be nutritionally rich besides improving the ability to fight diseases.

The University’s Food Science and Technology Department has developed the two variants of this nutrient-rich pasta under the All India Coordinated Research Project (AICRP) on Post Harvest Engineering and Technology. Initially, the University carried out a survey where it was found that youngsters were more attracted towards instant foods, which at times lead to digestion-related ailments, Attri said. 

For over six years, the University scientists conducted various research trials, which led to the development of these pasta variants. The department also conducted pilot testing of the products, he said. 

A Shimla based startup, which had approached the university’s Incubator Center for expertise regarding cold storage, showed a keen interest in the two pasta variants.
Dr HC Sharma, UHF Vice-Chancellor said that the University has tied up with a company to manufacture the pasta variants.

The company has already deposited a sum of Rs 1 lakh with the university. For the next one year, the university will supply 20 quintals of pasta while the cost of raw materials will be borne by the company. In addition, it will also pay Rs 10 kg as making charges and Rs 2,000 as machine depreciation charges per month to the university. Thereafter the product will be manufactured by the company.

The company will also undertake the task of packaging and labelling along with nutritional profiling of the products. The university’s name will feature in the product details.

This is a part of the technology transfer initiative through which the technologies developed by the university is made available to the industry for commercial exploitation,

said Dr Sharma.
He added that efforts will be made to transfer more such technologies developed by the university to the people and the industry.

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