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Social revolution takes huge leap in Gujarat... | Top institutes in Gujrat see steady rise in local students... | New academic session is bound to be delayed this year | Follow our merit formula: HC | Govt opposes PIL against percentile calculation | Rajkot boy to represent India at environment Olympiad | Gujrat notifies centralized admission to first year Bachelor of Science degrees... | Roadside school brings education to Gulbai Tekra... | MSU VC assures action in favouritism case... | 1,632 students pass out from DD University 14th convocation ceremony... | BCom paper leak: Saurashtra University bars college's exam centre...
Latest News
Social revolution takes huge leap in Gujarat

AHMEDABAD: 15 Jul 2014
 At least 80 students belonging to socially backward dalit and tribal families are being groomed to be priests as part of the three-year diploma course of priesthood — purohimtya (karmakand) — at Shree Somnath Sanskrit University in Saurashtra.

The course was designed at the behest of then Gujarat CM Narendra Modi to socially empower youth from SC and ST castes with the knowledge of rituals. An allocation of Rs 22.5 lakh was made towards this in the 2011 budget.

When these students will pass out in 2015, they will usher in a huge leap towards social revolution especially since discrimination on basis of caste and birth is still prevalent in rural Gujarat. In 2010, a survey conducted by state-based NGO Navsarjan on status of dalits in Gujarat had revealed that in 90% of 1,589 villages in Gujarat, dalits were not allowed to enter temples. In 92% villages, priests gave dalits prasad or offerings without actually touching them.

The course curriculum includes vedas, vedant, sahitya, dharma shastra, nyaya, jyotish, shiksha, vyakaran, mimansa, darshan, vastu, puran along with English and computer.

Dharmesh Gamit, who is studying for diploma course in four vedas and various religious rites, said, "I want to work as priest in my community as there is huge demand for people with proper knowledge. The course has already earned me respect in my community."

Another student, Gaurang Chaudhary, is aiming higher. "I have studied various religious rites and other ancient Hindu scriptures. Now I am studying epics Ramayana and Mahabharata to attain acharya (masters) degree," he said.

Dr V K Sastry, vice-chancellor of Shree Somnath Sanskrit University, said: "We have got a large number of students from SC/ST communities. This is definitely the beginning of a unique social reform."

Manjula Pradeep, a dalit rights activist, said that the road to complete social transformation will be long and arduous. "The idea might look good on paper but when in practice, the situation is different. Even in these communities there are social hierarchies. Priests of one community do not officiate at religious functions of other groups of the lower strata. One youth with a certificate might not make much difference in the society's mindset," she said.

Top institutes in Gujrat see steady rise in local students

AHMEDABAD: 07-Jul-2014

The number of varsities offering specialized courses for higher studies has seen a steady rise in the state; infact, it is one of the novelties that the former Gujarat chief minister and now Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke of frequently in his public speeches. Ironically, Gujarat has been lagging when it comes to churning out students qualifying for top institutes, but that is now steadily changing. 

Today, most colleges offering specialized courses like design, communication technology or petroleum engineering, admit to a moderate rise in students from Gujarat enrolling in various degree programmes. The typical Gujarati acumen to join the family business after a BCom seems to slowly lose its flavour for the young blood. 

National Institute of Design (NID), the country's top design institute located in Paldi, saw 15 out of 100 students from Gujarat in its UG course in 2013. This was from a meager 9 in 2009. "We have an international curriculum with a great campus environment. The location is an added bonus for students who belong here," said Vijaya Deshmukh, registrar, NID. 

Academicians from Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information and Communication Technology (DA-IICT) agree. The UG batch saw a rise of 182 students with Gujarat domicile in 2013 from 120 in 2009. "With the increase in awareness about higher studies and with opportunities available in the state, students from Gujarat are taking interest in enrolling themselves in quality programs," said Prof Suman Mitra, dean, academic affairs, DA-IICT. 

According to Gujarat National Law University (GNLU), Gujarat provides a safe heaven to students. GNLU, that had 21 Gujarati students in 2009, recorded 52 such students in 2013. "Gujarat provides an academically conducive environment for students; safety, security and discipline standards are all top notch," said Bimal Patel, director, GNLU. 

At Mica, India's top school offering strategic marketing and communication, says the data indicates a modest increase from 2% to 8% in Gujarati students. "There is an increased importance of strategic marketing and communication in business organisations irrespective of the size. Given the popular perception that Gujaratis have the best business acumen, there is a faster acceptance of any skill or knowledge that will foster growth in business," said Dr Anita Basalingappa, chairperson, Mica admission committee. 

Students want to meet global standards Saumil Chandira, a chemical engineering student at Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University, said, "I want to join my father's business, but will expand it using the latest knowledge. For that reason, just a BCom won't do." He added, "Our competition is now global and not local, so it's important to get exposed to the latest in specialized fields." 

A Nirma University student, Chandani Kela, agrees. "We are now realizing that with a little dedication and hard work, we can study in great institutes available in our state. Gujaratis are good at grasping concepts and that helps in higher education." 

New academic session is bound to be delayed this year

AHMEDABAD: 21 Jun 2014
The state government has decided to challenge the decision of the Gujarat high court to prepare the merit list on the basis of percentile in professional engineering and pharmacy courses. The Gujarat high court on Friday had held that the calculation by the admission committee for professional courses should as per the calculation cited in the order of 2013. At that time the government was forced to challenge the order of the high court in the apex court as preparing the merit list would take a long time which would have delayed the admission.

Meanwhile, the Admission Committee for Professional Courses (ACPC) was to declare the provisional merit list on Tuesday. It has now announced that the admission to the engineering colleges will be delayed.

The committee informed that 62,417 students had filled up admission forms. The ACPC was to declare the list on June 16. However, now the ACPC would require another 15 days for calculating the merit marks after which the choice filling and mock rounds will begin. The delay of 15 days would mean that the colleges would be able to complete the whole admission process by July end or first week of August.

On the other hand, GTU authorities feel that the government in benefit of the student should accept the high court order and should go ahead with the admission and from next year they can pass a legislation to bring about the changes they want.

Follow our merit formula: HC

AHMEDABAD: 21 Jun 2014
Gujarat high court has once again held that the calculation method adopted by the Admission Committee for Professional Courses (ACPC) for admission to engineering courses is not proper, and has asked it to follow the normalization process method.

On July 23 last year, the HC had given a formula to calculate the percentile for students of all boards. It has said that the committee did not follow the rules in devising the calculation method and asked it to follow the one prepared by the HC last year.

The court order came in response to a PIL filed by Vinod Pandya who questioned the percentile calculation method, which sought to bypass the normalization process. According to the petitioner, due to the present calculation method adopted by the committee, the Gujarat board students would be at a disadvantage because the pass-outs from boards with larger number of students would benefit.

He said that there are some 65,000 students from Gujarat state board, whereas CBSE board students would be around 7 lakh. "The percentile will be high where the number of students is more," he said and demanded that the system be quashed.

The petitioner contended that the correct calculation method was suggested by the HC last year. The Supreme Court stayed the order because a large number of students would have been affected, had the merit list been disturbed. But later the government as well as the Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata admitted before the apex court that the method adopted by them was faulty and it would "cause prejudice to the Gujarat board students".

Last year, the HC had observed that the calculation method was at variance from the provisions of the rule. This time also, the HC concluded that the system adopted was in violation of rules.

It has asked the government to calculate the first 60% (to be calculated from the result of the board) according to the formula suggested last year. The other 40% would remain as it is because it is computed from the JEE and this is common for all students.

While scrapping the present calculation method, the HC has made it clear that either the legislative or its delegated committee can change the system. But until then, the method suggested by the HC should be followed.

For admission to engineering courses, a combined merit list is prepared with 60% weightage of marks obtained in the board and 40% weightage of JEE marks.

What HC suggests

According to the HC order, the merit list would be prepared by calculating total marks obtained by a candidate, which will be A+B. Here, A is the percentage of actual marks obtained in the board exam to be multiplied by percentile given by that board. B is percentage of marks obtained in JEE which is to be multiplied by percentile in JEE.

Govt opposes PIL against percentile calculation

AHMEDABAD: 11 Jun 2014
The state government has defended its system of calculating the percentile of students from different boards for admission in engineering courses and urged the Gujarat high court to turn down the PIL that demands a change in the percentile calculation method.
In response to the PIL by Vinod Pandya, which sought implementation of the normalization method as laid down by the high court last year, the government on Monday submitted that there was no protest from parents as far as this calculation method is concerned. The government also said that since the issue is pending before the Supreme Court, the HC should refrain from hearing the PIL at this juncture.
In a rebuttal, the petitioner filed a reply on Tuesday and maintained that the litigation pending before the apex court was based on three petitions filed by students in their personal interest. He reiterated his stand and explained how students who passed their higher secondary from Gujarat Board are at a loss in comparison with central boards. Pandya also contended that the admission committee for professional courses and state government admitted before the apex court that the system adopted by them was erroneous, and they have revised the process of normalization.

Rajkot boy to represent India at environment Olympiad

Rajkot: 2 Jun 2014
A class X student from Rajkot has been selected to represent India at the 6th International Environment and Sustainability Project Olympiad (INESPO) to be held in Netherlands from June 1 to 6.

An official of the Gujarat Council on Science & Technology (GUJCOST) in Gandhinagar told TOI that Ayush Panara, student of Shri KG Dholakiya School of Rajkot, has been picked on the basis of his project 'Local Weather Forecast And Facilitation Of Micro-Weather Forecast With The Help Of GSM Based Automatic Weather Station'. He is member of two-student team that would represent India at the event where 150 students from 40 countries would participate. The other student is from Bangalore, said the GUJCOST officials.

"Panara's project is useful for transmitting the weather data in real time, uploading and updating it and forecast on the website, as well as, on weather map. Developing such systems would be very much useful to issue micro-weather forecast with accuracy. The best part is, it is very economical and can be implemented with minimal resources. The project had won gold medal at the Indian Science and Engineering Fair (INSEF) held at Chennai in January 2014," said Narottam Sahoo, advisor to GUJCOST.

He added that Panara has been part of GUJCOST initiatives.INESPO is a prestigious scientific competition being participated by the secondary and higher secondary students. The programme provides an international platform for the school students to inspire their curiosity and creativity with innovations in the environmental issues and challenges and to encourage their talents for more problem solving matters pertaining to sustainable development.

Gujrat notifies centralized admission to first year Bachelor of Science degrees

AHMEDABAD: 30 May 2014

The state government has, in a major decision, announced that admissions to first year Bachelor of Science degrees in the state will be centralized and conducted by Admission Committee for Professional Courses on the lines of professional courses. 

It may be noted that the percentage of passing students is highest this year since 1991. This year 94.14% of board exam-taking students passed out of the total 1, 14,778 candidates who appeared. Due to the large number of students passing, science colleges face difficulties in admitting all applicants in graduation courses. 

The education department has, in a notification, communicated to various universities to provide all details related to total seats available in their colleges in colleges under their jurisdiction. 

In 2013, 92.53% of examinees cleared the class XII science stream exam and this resulted in a shortage of seats in BSc courses across the state as large numbers chose basic science courses over engineering. In Gujarat University, colleges were asked to admit about 200 students to each class. 

"This year too, a heavy rush in BSc is anticipated. Considering the state-wide scenario, the state education department will deal with the admissions issue centrally. Responsibility will be given to ACPC and they will admit students in colleges affiliated to the universities close to the residence of that student." 

For example, a student from Ahmedabad will be give admitted to a college in Ahmedabad city, which could be affiliated to Gujarat University. 

There are 67 science colleges that are run by the government or are grant-in-aid colleges, while another 40 are self-financed. Officials said admissions were likely to begin from June 16, but some officials felt that students should be asked to fill up forms along with the professional courses only. This begins on May 31. This would save students from filling up forms again and again. Also, ACPC will get a fair idea of how many students want to opt for a science college. 

According to officials, each university will chalk out its own rules and declare them on their website. Reservations under various categories and how many students from other regions are to be admitted will be chalked out individually by universities. 

Officials said the other reason was that the government would also get an idea if they needed to sanction more classes or not, if students were left without admission. 

Roadside school brings education to Gulbai Tekra

AHMEDABAD: 23 May 2014
Kamlesh Solanki had to skip school to sell balloons. He used the money to fund his schooling and gave the remaining to his mother. His struggle continued till standard 8. And, then he met his liberator - Chetan Vaghela. Today, Kamlesh studies in a private school and dreams of becoming a police officer.

Vaghela, who works at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport in the city, has reached out to Kamlesh and many more children like him. Today, kids who were earlier engaged in odd jobs like garbage collection, have regained their childhood glee. Vaghela and his team sponsor Solanki and others to study at Samarth High School near Law Garden.

Vaghela's mission of compassion started from a roadside near Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM-A). Vaghela met Solanki in Gulbai Tekra and was impressed with the teenager's grit towards academics.

Vaghela was inspired by his friends, who ran a similar street school near IIM A. With a team of 35 like-minded friends, Vaghela set foot into the slums of Gulbai Tekra. The youth, who belong to various professions, researched life in the slums with special focus on students who despite studying in primary schools were unable to speak in English and do simple mathematics.

The young researchers then spoke to the children's family members. Most of the children were moonlighting as daily wagers and rag-pickers. His first recourse was to contact the parents and convince them to stop the youngsters from taking up odd jobs and instead join his preparatory school.

Vaghela and his friends' Fly High Slums Foundation started the school in a one-room quarter with just six students. But, within a month, strength rose to 60. The school convenes for two hours daily.

MSU VC assures action in favouritism case

VADODARA: 15 May 2014

After drawing flak for alleged inaction, MSU vice-chancellor (VC) Yogesh Singh has assured action in the commerce faculty case wherein general secretary of MSU Students Union (MSUSU) Purvesh Borole was allegedly favoured by faculty dean professor Parimal Vyas.

Professor Singh on Monday assured that he will initiate an inquiry soon.

"I am getting all the details, including the rules and regulations and guidelines for admission and examination. If there is any irregularity, we will certainly initiate action," professor Singh told TOI.

Vyas is being accused of favouring Borole, a student leader associated with the Congress-backed student outfit - the National Students Union of India (NSUI).

Borole was allegedly admitted in the human resource (HR) specialization stream in the second year of MCom, even as he was nowhere in the merit list.

Vyas has so far denied that Borole was transferred in MCom (HR) from MCom (marketing). But he has admitted that he allowed the student leader to appear in mid-semester examination of MCom (HR), which was held last year even as Borole was a student of MCom (marketing).

When Umesh Dangarwala took over as head of department of commerce and business management, a charge which was with Vyas as dean some months ago, he formed an 'Academic Audit Committee' to probe the case.

Based on representation from Vyas, Singh dissolved this committee constituted by Dangarwala against Vyas on the grounds that a head of department cannot form a committee against a higher authority - dean.

Dangarwala on Monday, however, reiterated that the committee under the convernorship of senate member Kalpesh Shah was never constituted against the dean.

1,632 students pass out from DD University 14th convocation ceremony

NADIAD: 10 May 2014
It was time to reap rich dividends for 1,632 students of Dharmsinh Desai University at Nadiad. On Friday, these students of MTech, BTech, MBA, BDS and other courses received their degrees at the 14th convocation of the university.

Of those who graduated, 586 students secured distinction, 363 got first class, and 499 got their degrees and under-graduates certificates.

Vedanta Group chairman Anil Agarwal was the chief guest. University president Dr N D Desai presided over the function. Zydus Cadila chairman Pankaj Patel was the guest of honour.

In his address, Agarwal told the students that life will bring many challenges and they have to face it with courage. "Students have to break the rules within the rules to get success. I was an employee of a metal factory in London and today my group earns billions rupees everyday," he told the students.

Vice-chancellor Dr H M Desai congratulated the students on their success and said, "We have imparted not just professional education but we expect you to be faithful to our society and country. You are leaving this campus today but you have to be out in the world university, so forget the past and start working for tomorrow."

Kheda MP and union minister Dinsha Patel was present at the convocation.

BCom paper leak: Saurashtra University bars college's exam centre

RAJKOT: 28 Apr 2014
The Saurashtra University (SU) has suspended the examination centre of Glorious College of Computer Science after it was revealed that the college's student as well as supervisor leaked the question paper of BCom exam a few days ago.

Meanwhile, Gandhigram police have arrested three students for allegedly circulating the question paper of second semester BCom of SU on WhatsApp. Those arrested are a Bachelor of Computer Applications (BCA) student Devang Jani of Rudanagar, who was supervising the conduct of examination at Glorious College, along with Gaurav Dangar of Shastri Nagar and Jayesh Ganoliya of Upavan Society, who are students of the same college.

Sources said Jani clicked the photo images of the question paper one-and-a-half hours before the exam was scheduled to begin and sent them on WhatsApp to Gaurav and Jayesh, who further circulated the images among the students in large numbers. They are in police custody till Monday.

Preliminary investigations revealed that the examination centre at Glorious College was under the supervision of Jani, who had been given the responsibility instead of the academic staff. Jani himself is a student of sixth semester of BCA.

SU officials said the students appeared for the exam on Sunday at the university's convention centre under strict supervision.

"The examination centre in district places remained the same as they were earlier,'' SU officials said and added that they might cancel college's affiliation with SU.

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