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Himachal to introduce pre-primary classes in Govt schools

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HP Govt Pre-School classes

Shimla: Amidst drastic drop in enrolments in Himachal Pradesh’s government school due to the gradully deteriorating quality of education, the State government has expressed its plans to introduce pre-primary school classes.

The condition of government schools is such that private schools in the state are openly looting people by extracting access fees as parents don’t want to take a risk by enrolling their children in government institutes.

For instance, currently, privates schools in Shimla are selling prospectus for admission in pre-school classes for Rs. 1,000 to 2,000 with a non-refundable security of Rs. 2500 to 3,000.

So now, the government has come up with this decision to follow the trend of private school. To keep up with the private schools, the government had already made it mandatory to study Science, English, and Mathematics from class first.

The government believes it will enable children to grasp the lessons easily in primary classes.

Initially, the government is mulling over starting pre-school classes in 25 percent of the schools. It said all the districts can take the initiative to start pre-primary classes from the schools near the district headquarters.

The Chief Minister Virbhadra Sing has faced severe criticism from the opposition and intellectual section of the public for blindly opening several new schools while old ones are in tatters and short of teaching staff.

However, the Chief Minister always lauds its Education Department for its achievements and initiatives for improvement in the quality of education in government schools.

The Chief Minister appreciated the department for its ‘PRERNA’, and ‘PARYAS’ initiatives.

While PRENRNA aims to improve the learning level of students in reading, writing and numeracy skills of children in primary schools, PARYAS is meant to improve science and mathematics learning among 6th to 8th class students, he said.

The Chief Minister claimed that the Education Department has bagged two awards under ‘Skoch Order of Merit Award’. The first prize was for the timely delivery of the text books and the second for digitization of school assessment.

The Chief Minister provided this information during the HP State Advisory Council meeting on Right to Education Act, 2009 held on August 27.

AJV Prasad, the Additional Chief Secretary, Ghanshayam Chand, Director of Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan, Balbir Tegta, Chairman of HP Board of School Education, B.L. Binta, Director of Higher Education, and Manmohan Sharma, Dr. Director of Elementary Education were also present at the meeting.

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Weed (Parthenium) Eradication Campaign Organized at UHF Nauni

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UHF Nauni Parthenium Eradication Drive

Solan-A parthenium eradication campaign was organized at the Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry (UHF), Nauni on Friday. The Department of Environmental Science and the Estate Office of the University organized the event under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan. All the university students, faculty and staff took part in the drive.

Parthenium weed is considered to be a cause of allergic respiratory problems, contact dermatitis, mutagenicity in human and livestock. Owing to this weed’s aggressive growth, it leads to the reduction in crop production and threatens biodiversity.

UHF Nauni Parthenium Eradication Drive 2

To undertake the drive, the staff and students were divided into nine teams with each group assigned the task of removing parthenium from different areas of the university. The drive was carried out under the watchful eyes of group facilitators and field guides. The proper disposal of the uprooted weeds was ensured by the disposal team.

UHF Nauni Parthenium Eradication Drive 3

Addressing the gathering of staff and students, Dr Parvinder Kaushal, UHF Vice-Chancellor said it was important to organize such events along with tree plantation drives because they were important to conserve the biodiversity.

UHF Nauni Parthenium Eradication Drive 4

He asked the university staff and students to focus on the removal of the weed throughout the year. Dr Kaushal urged the university scientists to conduct further studies for the complete eradication of this weed.

Dr JN Sharma, Director Research of the university also spoke about the impact of parthenium on biodiversity and agricultural production. Earlier Dr SK Bhardwaj, Professor and Head, Department of Environmental Science gave an overview of the programme and the need for the eradication of the parthenium weed.

 

 

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HP Govt Schools Lag Behind in Imparting IT Education, Put Future of Children at Stake

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IT Education in HP government schools

Shimla-The Himachal Pradesh Government schools are lagging behind in imparting IT Education to children in the 21st Century in which this knowledge has become a basic requirement. The Centre government boasts of Digital India initiative and the state government never misses an opportunity to mention that Vidhan Sabha has gone fully digital. At the same time, government schools are awaiting critical reforms to keep up with the modern world.

As per information provided by MLA, Sarkaghat Constituency, Colonel Inder Singh, in Vidhan Sabha, in state’s government schools, IT is taught as an optional subject only from class IX to Class XII, that too only in Senior Secondary Schools. The subject is not available in middle and high schools. The students who opt for IT as a subject are charged Rs. 110. Students falling under SC and BPL category are given exemption of 50 per cent, he informed.

In Centre schools, on the other hand, IT is taught as a compulsory subject from Class III to Class X and as an optional subject from Class XI to Class XII, Inder Singh said in the Vidhan Sabha. The fee in Centre schools in Rs. 100 per student.

He said, in Navodaya Vidayalas, IT is taught as a compulsory subject from class VI to class X and as an elective subject from class XI to XII.

The private schools running in the state do not follow any set pattern in terms of the class from which the students are introduced to IT and fee charged for it, he added. However, there is no doubt that every student enrolled in private schools do receive IT education irrespective of the level at which the subject is introduced.

As far as the neighbouring states are concerned, Inder Singh said, in the state of Haryana, IT education is taught as a compulsory subject from class VI to Class VIII and as an optional subject from Class IX to Class XII. No fee is charged from students upto class VIII. Thereafter, Rs 30 is charged during Class IX and X and Rs 35 during Class XI and XII, he informed.

In Chandigarh, IT education is a compulsory subject from Class VI to VIII and no fee is charged from the students for it.

The MLA pointed out that our education system has serious loopholes when it comes to imparting IT education to children in a government schools. The students are introduced to this subject in class IX, which is very late considering the need of the time. Also, this subject is not compulsory. Moreover, as the fee charged for opting IT as a subject is higher, students who find it unaffordable to pay this fee remain deprived of this necessary knowledge.

The future of such students who could not afford to study IT could be imagined in the current scenario. They would find it quite difficult to adjust in professional courses at the graduate or postgraduate level. Later, in terms of career opportunities, they would lag behind, the MLA said.

Inder Singh requested the government to consider making IT Education a compulsory subject from Class VI to Class VIII and provide at least two to three computers at middle and high schools along with computer teachers.

Further, he informed that the National Institute of Electronics and Information Technology is facilitating IT Education in 1,131 schools of the state, and 1,367 teachers have been recruited for this purpose. In remaining Senior Secondary schools, PGT (IT) teachers have been recruited by the Education Department.

The leader of the opposition, Mukesh Agnihotri, also supported this argument and questioned the government over non-delivery of laptops promised to school students.

In response to this request, the Education Minister Suresh Bhardwaj said that the total number of government schools in the state is over 18,000. Considering a lack of sufficient resources, it is not feasible to provide computer labs in all schools, he said.

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UHF Nauni Scholar Attends One-Month ‘Food Safety and Security’ Programme in Israel

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UHF Nauni Scholar Nitesh Sharma

Solan-Nitesh Sharma, a doctoral scholar of Department of Entomology, Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry (UHF), Nauni, successfully completed the ‘Summer Institute for Food Safety and Security 2019 in Israel. The one-month programme was organized by Manna Centre for Food Safety and Security, Tel Aviv University.

Nitesh had received the Planning and Budgeting Committee fellowship worth over 3,575 US dollars to attend the programme in which 72 students from 11 countries namely India, US, China, Israel, Italy, Vietnam, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Nigeria and Liberia participated. He was among the 14 students from India who got a chance to attend the programme.

The programme provided an insight into the past and present agricultural conditions of Israel and how the country is readying itself to cope up with the challenges of rising population, global warming and water crisis.

UHF Nauni Doctarate Scholar Nitesh Sharma

The participants were exposed to various aspects of the production of agricultural commodities especially under the protected cultivation and growing crops in desert and saline conditions using modern approaches.

The desert conditions are not preventing the farmers from growing quality agricultural commodities in good quantity as they are using water efficiently along with adopting other precision agriculture techniques. 

The pest problems encountered like whiteflies, thrips and aphids, in various crops grown under the protected cultivation are also being managed by using precision agriculture. The participants were also apprised about the use of Good Agricultural Practices to make the food safer for the end-users. Visits to small startup companies to observe their working were also organized.

Nitesh is presently doing his PhD on the management of fruit flies under Dr Divender Gupta, Professor and Head, Department of Entomology. Fruit flies are a direct pest of several fruit and vegetables and has attained a status of ‘pest of international importance’.

Nitesh is using eco-friendly techniques to check the fruit fly population. He is hopeful that he can implement that the knowledge gained during the programme for the benefit of Indian farmers. 

Dr Parvinder Kaushal, Vice-Chancellor, Dr Rakesh Gupta, Dean Horticulture and Dr Divender Gupta congratulated Nitesh for attending the summer institute and representing the University in Israel.  

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