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Metaverse-Powered Learning: Shaping the Future of Education

This lifelong, deep, transferable learning is provided by the Metaverse, a hybrid, guided play environment that could be the school of the future

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A network of 3D virtual worlds centered on social interaction is known as a metaverse. It is frequently described as a hypothetical version of the Internet as a single, universal virtual world that is made possible by the use of virtual and augmented reality headsets in futuristic and science fiction works. The metaverse is typically thought of as a graphically rich, somewhat realistic virtual environment where people can work, play, shop, and socialize. It represents a highly interactive three-dimensional virtual world where users can engage in a “Second Digital Life” with digital avatars, explore the virtual worlds, and interact with one another.

To connect all worlds, the future metaverse will extensively support augmented and virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and connectivity. Anyone will be able to create a space on an interoperable multiplatform and join a user-generated global community where they can share their games or products with the rest of the world in its most democratic form. The G5 internet speed should allow for this.

Well-Worn Principles of Education Integrated with Technology

The fundamentals of how kids learn hold whether they are applied in schools, video games, or public places like bus stops, parks, or even the metaverse. To take advantage of these new opportunities as technology develops and creates new immersive and fantastical worlds, we must change the way we educate children and prepare teachers. When education and technology develop at different rates, technology instead of educators defines what is a legitimate educational opportunity. When “educational” apps were made accessible for use on adult-targeted smartphones and tablets, this is largely what transpired. Because the metaverse infrastructure is still being developed, today’s researchers, educators, policymakers, and digital designers have the chance to set the course rather than getting sucked into the undertow. If we are to fully realize the potential of the metaverse as a 3D, global, interconnected, immersive, and real-time online space, new methodologies are required to integrate augmented and virtual reality (VR) experiences with the real world,

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This provides a way to use established principles from the study of what and how children learn to direct the development of new educational technology, bringing best practices in education into the metaverse. We also make suggestions for how the design of this new area might go wrong. Ultimately, we challenge those who are developing educational materials for the metaverse to collaborate with educators and scientists to make sure that kids have authentic human social interaction while navigating virtual spaces, that kids’ agency is supported while they explore these spaces, and that there is a genuine focus on diversity in the representation and access to what is created.

Transforming Learning Through Immersive & Interactive Interfaces

Students today grow up with internet-connected devices at home and in the classroom, which alters how they learn. Future educational technology will revolutionize learning by providing teachers and students with a wide range of new tools. Despite its unfortunate nature, the pandemic undoubtedly provided opportunities for the digitalization of education. The metaverse can connect the real world and the virtual world using blockchain technology, augmented reality (AR), and virtual reality (VR). As a result, its applications may be limitless. The future of education may be one of the many applications of the metaverse. Technology’s remote capabilities combined with constantly evolving digital possibilities have the potential to significantly alter how students learn in schools.

The metaverse requires the development of new technologies for its execution, ranging from conducting entirely digital events with large student attendance. These metaverse tours offer students immersive and interactive experiences that can greatly enhance their learning experiences. A virtual tour for students can come as close as any simulation to replicating seeing the Taj Mahal, the Great Pyramid of Giza, or the Louvre Museum in person. Without leaving their homes, students can interact, co-create, collaborate, and share multimedia content with peers from other nations. Depending on their opinions and cultural backgrounds, students can share their personal experiences. By exchanging ideas and learning about the cultures of their international classmates, they can develop their ability to understand and respect cultural differences. This will encourage immersive learning outside of the classroom settings while also promoting cultural diversity among students. A significant portion of the metaverse makes learning through augmented reality seem like such fun that students would be interested in the idea.

Fostering Joyful Learning in STEM

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Learning should always be fun because children learn best when they are motivated by joy. Using the principles of being active, engaged, meaningful, socially interactive, iterative, and joyful, we created the term “playful learning” to describe how children learn through both unstructured and structured play.

However, there is one more step that must be taken for these apps to be truly educational. Learning occurs most effectively when the playful activity has a clearly defined learning objective, whether it be in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), literacy, or “learning to learn” skills like memory, attention, and flexible thinking. Learning is most enriching when it is joyful.

Developing Futuristic Skills

The ability to master a variety of skills, or what the Brookings Institution refers to as “skills for a changing world,” will be necessary for success in the workplace of the future. These skills, including collaboration, critical thinking, and inventive creativity, broaden our definition of success beyond core academic subjects like reading and math.

The focus on material that can be measured and tested the easiest has captivated educational products and classrooms. While a foundation in math and reading is unquestionably important for children, much more is needed to prepare them for the workplace of the future. The outcomes such as content, communication, critical thinking & confidence, are based on the science of learning and are supported by a wealth of research. Collaboration or social interaction serves as the cornerstone for a related set of skills.

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This lifelong, deep, transferable learning is provided by the Metaverse, a hybrid, guided play environment that could be the school of the future. However, the interaction is inherently social, involving real people and real, moment-to-moment, emotionally charged interactions. It is critical to consider the importance of the teachers in this experience.  It is our responsibility to explain how participation in this never-ending virtual universe adds to rather than detracts from education, and how it can preserve the essential social-interactive elements that are fundamental to how people learn.

Synthesis of Virtual content and Critical thinking Equals Creative Innovation

The metaverse is merely a context—an immersive one—that can, in theory, bring the best of digital technologies to bear on education if and only if done correctly, with learning science and real children in mind. Analyzing the options, it becomes evident that playing games or engaging in other activities in the metaverse has the potential to be active rather than passive. In this area, kids can engage in both “physical” and “mental” exploration.

Creative innovation—the synthesis of virtual content and critical thinking—allows students to use what they know to create something new and develop innovative solutions to current and future challenges. Play directly supports language and artistic innovation. Furthermore, because play fosters curiosity and exploration, it also fosters creativity, which can and should be viewed as a valuable asset in any job. The third-most crucial employment skill, according to the World Economic Forum, is creativity. Creative innovation in today’s dynamic world requires all of the 21st-century skills of collaboration, communication, adequate content knowledge, and the capacity to engage critically with that content by making connections between virtual and actual experiences. Children’s creativity allows them to create something new from those connections—original solutions to problems.

In the metaverse, the question of meaningfulness should be easily resolved. Indeed, the realities that one can inhabit can build a mental web that supports profound transferable learning if they are well connected to the child’s real or imagined world.

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This technology has the potential to transform education by streamlining record keeping and sharing, improving security and trust, simplifying the hiring process, and giving students lifetime ownership of their academic records.

Thus, incorporating these into an academic curriculum will not only give our nation’s youth more opportunities, but will also create a framework that is efficient, affordable, and easily accessible to all strata of society, allowing for greater global outreach and enhancing the learning experience for all students.

About the Author – Vijisha Sahoo, Advisor, Tech and Innovation, SAI International Education Group

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Google: A Quarter-Century of Revolutionizing Education and the World

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In September 1998, two enterprising individuals, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, laid the cornerstone for a tech giant that would irrevocably reshape the global landscape: Google. The last 25 years of Google’s journey have left an indelible mark on our world, revolutionizing the way we access information and fundamentally altering the fabric of modern life.

Before Google, the internet was a vast, labyrinthine space where finding specific information was a Herculean task. Google’s ingenious PageRank algorithm powered its search engine, making it effortless to navigate the digital realm. It swiftly became the cornerstone of modern existence, offering quick and precise answers to countless queries.

Google’s influence extends far beyond mere search. Google Maps has rendered paper maps obsolete, offering real-time directions and even virtual tours. Productivity tools like Gmail, Google Docs, and Google Drive have revolutionized how we work and collaborate. They’ve made remote work and global teamwork a reality.

Google dominates the search engine market with a 91.86% share. In 2021, its brand was valued at $458 billion, second only to Apple globally. With nearly 4 billion users across its products and services, Google is an integral part of daily life. Remarkably, over 50% of Google searches conclude without a click, indicating users find answers on the search results page. Google handles a staggering 90,460 searches per second, reflecting its ubiquity.

Transforming Education

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Google has brought transformative changes to education over the past quarter-century. G Suite for Education, comprising Gmail, Drive, Docs, and more, empowers teachers and students worldwide, facilitating real-time collaboration and effective communication. Chromebooks, affordable and user-friendly laptops, have gained widespread use in US K-12 schools. Google Classroom simplifies assignment creation and distribution, used by 68% of school districts nationwide.

Google champions computer science education, offering grant funding, expanding access, and promoting diversity in the field. Programs like CS First, a free curriculum teaching coding skills to grades 4-8, have reached over 10 million students globally. Google tools like Meet, Forms, Sites, and YouTube have facilitated distance learning, allowing teachers and students to connect, interact, and learn remotely. Google inspires innovation through programs and competitions challenging learners to tackle real-world issues. Google Science Fair, Google Code-in, and Google Doodle for Google are just a few examples.

One of Google’s most profound impacts has been democratizing information. Initiatives like Google Books and Google Scholar have made a wealth of knowledge accessible worldwide, fuelling education and research. Google has also consistently pushed the envelope in artificial intelligence (AI). Products like Google Assistant and acquisitions like DeepMind redefine what AI can achieve. From language translation to autonomous vehicles, Google consistently explores uncharted territories.

As Google celebrates its 25th anniversary, it embodies innovation, connectivity, and an unwavering pursuit of knowledge. Its impact on society has been immeasurable, and its capacity to shape the future remains unparalleled. The next 25 years promise to be just as transformative as the last. Google’s legacy continues to evolve, and its influence will undoubtedly continue to shape our world in ways we can scarcely imagine.

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World Tourism Day 2023: The Career Prospects in the Field of Tourism

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As we celebrate World Tourism Day 2023, it’s time for school graduates to embark on a journey that goes beyond the familiar horizons of textbooks and classrooms. This is a journey that explores the educational perspective of tourism, unveiling the skills required and the plethora of career opportunities available in this dynamic field. India’s travel and tourism industry is poised for center stage in the coming years, and the prospects for students have never been brighter.

A Glimpse into the Growth of Tourism:

In 2021, India’s tourism sector wasn’t just a contributor; it stood as a powerhouse, constituting a significant 5.8% of the country’s GDP and providing employment for a remarkable 32.1 million people. This resurgence followed a tumultuous 2020 marked by the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

What’s more exciting is that India’s tourism sector is poised for sustained growth, with a projected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13% during the period from 2019 to 2023. By 2023, it’s expected to reach an impressive ₹32.05 lakh crore (US$450 billion). Furthermore, the sector is on track to create an astonishing 52.3 million jobs by 2028, accounting for 8.1% of the nation’s total employment.

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Moreover, India’s tourism sector is anticipated to benefit from consistent hiring in other sectors such as financial services, technology, FMCG, and property and construction in 2023, providing diverse opportunities for aspiring professionals.

Educational Avenues in Travel and Tourism:

The journey toward a rewarding career in travel and tourism begins with education. Numerous institutions offer a broad spectrum of courses tailored to the industry’s diverse demands. These educational pathways encompass Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, diploma programs, and even flexible distance learning options.

Here are some popular courses for undergraduate and postgraduate education in tourism in India:

Undergraduate Courses:

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  • BA in Tourism Administration: A three-year course covering various aspects of tourism management, including tourism planning, marketing, operations, finance, and human resource development. It also provides exposure to the cultural, social, and environmental dimensions of tourism. Some institutions offering this course include Christ University, Bangalore, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, and Amity University, Noida.
  • BA in Tourism Studies: A three-year course focusing on the theoretical and practical aspects of tourism, including tourism geography, tourism products, tourism policy, tourism development, and tourism research. It also offers electives in areas such as adventure tourism, heritage tourism, and eco-tourism. Institutions offering this course include Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi, Madurai Kamaraj University, Madurai, and Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh.
  • Bachelor of Tourism Management (BTM): A four-year course providing comprehensive knowledge and skills in tourism management, such as tourism marketing, operations, finance, law, and entrepreneurship. The course also includes industrial training and project work in the tourism sector. Some institutions offering this course include the University of Calicut, Malappuram, Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra, and the University of Kashmir, Srinagar.
  • Com in Travel and Tourism Management: A three-year course combining core commerce subjects with specialized topics related to travel and tourism, such as travel agency management, tour operations, airline ticketing, and tourism economics. It prepares students for careers as travel consultants, tour managers, and tourism officers. Some institutions offering this course include St. Joseph’s College of Commerce, Bangalore, Symbiosis College of Arts and Commerce, Pune, and Loyola College, Chennai.
  • Sc in Hospitality and Hotel Administration: A three-year course covering various aspects of hospitality and hotel management, including food production, food and beverage service, front office, housekeeping, and hotel engineering. The course also provides practical training and exposure to the hospitality industry. Some institutions offering this course include the Institute of Hotel Management, Catering and Nutrition, New Delhi, Welcomgroup Graduate School of Hotel Administration, Manipal, and the Institute of Hotel Management, Mumbai.

Postgraduate Courses:

  • Master of Tourism Administration (MTA): A two-year course offering advanced knowledge and skills in tourism administration, such as tourism policy, planning, marketing, finance, and research. It also offers specializations in areas like tourism product development, destination management, and human resource management. Some institutions offering this course include Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, Pondicherry University, Pondicherry, and Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla.
  • Master of Tourism and Travel Management (MTTM): A two-year course focusing on managerial and operational aspects of tourism and travel, including operations, marketing, finance, and law. It includes field visits, internships, and project work in the tourism and travel sector. Some institutions offering this course include the Indian Institute of Tourism and Travel Management, Gwalior, Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology, Bhubaneswar, and Amity University, Noida.
  • Master of Tourism and Heritage Management (MTHM): A two-year course exploring the connections between tourism and heritage, including heritage tourism, cultural tourism, and eco-tourism. It covers heritage conservation, management, and promotion challenges in the context of tourism. Some institutions offering this course include the Central University of Gujarat, Gandhinagar, Central University of Rajasthan, Ajmer, and Central University of Karnataka, Kalaburagi.
  • Master of Hotel Management (MHM): A two-year course providing in-depth knowledge and skills in hotel management, including operations, marketing, finance, law, and entrepreneurship. It offers electives like hotel revenue management, quality management, and facility management. Some institutions offering this course include the Institute of Hotel Management, Catering and Nutrition, New Delhi, the Institute of Hotel Management, Bangalore, and the Institute of Hotel Management, Bhopal.
  • Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Tourism and Hospitality Management: A two-year course blending core business administration subjects with tourism and hospitality management, covering areas like business environment, strategic management, marketing management, and financial management. It prepares students for leadership roles in the tourism and hospitality industry. Some institutions offering this course include the Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow, the Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode, and the Indian Institute of Management, Indore.

Expanding Opportunities in Sustainable Tourism:

The travel and tourism sector have the potential to reshape India’s economic landscape, especially in the face of job losses in traditional sectors due to the rise of artificial intelligence (AI). It’s not just about discovering new destinations; it’s about unlocking a world of educational opportunities and fulfilling careers, all while contributing to our nation’s economic growth.

The surge of Green Tourism and its positive impacts are becoming increasingly evident, particularly in South Asian countries. This practice encourages India and other nations to adopt best practices and learn from experiences in green tourism, including ecotourism, rural tourism, wildlife tourism, and adventure tourism. Through adaptability, we can address common challenges and opportunities in the tourism sector, such as climate change, digitalization, skills development, and destination management. Prioritizing job creation, income generation, and empowerment, while conserving and enhancing natural and cultural resources, is crucial for the future. By aligning with the principles and goals outlined in international agreements, destinations across the nation can work towards a future where India’s natural beauty remains preserved for generations of travelers and opportunities to come.

As we celebrate World Tourism Day 2023, let’s embrace the immense potential within the travel and tourism industry. Students possess a unique opportunity to be part of an industry that not only thrives but also actively shapes the future of our nation.

The statistics are compelling India’s tourism sector is on a remarkable trajectory, and the future is brighter than ever before. So, pack your bags and prepare for an educational journey that could lead to a fulfilling and prosperous career in tourism.

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How Inadequate Lighting can Damage Students’ Eyes

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Inadequate lighting is a major problem in schools around the world. Many classrooms are too dark, and students are forced to strain their eyes to see the board, read their books, and write in their notebooks. It can have a number of negative consequences for students’ eyes. Pranav Aggarwal, Co-Founder & Director, Ledure Lightings Limited talks about this issue in detail.

Eyestrain is a common condition that can lead to blurred vision, and development of myopia (nearsightedness) in children. Other eye problems that can be caused by inadequate lighting include astigmatism and amblyopia (lazy eye). In addition to these eye problems, inadequate lighting can also lead to other health problems, such as:

  • Headaches: Headaches are a common symptom of eyestrain. They can also be caused by poor posture, which is more likely to occur in students who are sitting in dimly lit classrooms.
  • Fatigue: Fatigue can be caused by eyestrain, as well as by the difficulty of concentrating in a poorly lit environment.
  • Increased risk of accidents: Poor or inadequate lighting can make it difficult for students to gauge steps or uneven surfaces. This can increase risk of accidents/injury.

How to protect students’ eyes from inadequate lighting? 

Prolonged exposure to poor lighting can lead to permanent damage to the eyes of the students. There are a number of things that can be done to protect students’ eyes from inadequate lighting, including:

  • Improving natural lighting in classrooms: Classrooms should be well-lit, with even illumination throughout the room. This can be achieved by using a combination of natural and artificial light. For natural light, there should be windows in the classrooms which allow sunlight to enter inside and bring better illumination.
  • If supplemented with artificial lighting, it is extremely important to the choose the right kind of light so that the throw is sufficient and well spread across the entire class room. Switching to LED lighting for classroom can prevent exposure to harmful carcinogens and help students and faculty avoid long-term health issues. The right classroom lighting can help make a big difference in how well students learn.
  • Providing students with adequate task lighting: Task lighting, such as desk lamps, can be used to supplement the general lighting in classrooms. Task lighting should be positioned so that it does not cast glare on the student’s work. Task lighting can also help students in performing experiments and taking readings.
  • Teaching students about eye health: Students should be taught about the importance of good lighting for eye health. They should also be taught how to avoid eyestrain and other eye problems.

What can parents do? 

Parents have a key influence in a child’s life so they can play a significant role in protecting their children’s eyes from inadequate lighting. Here are a few tips:

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  • Make sure your child’s study area is well-lit: Your child’s study area should have a combination of natural and artificial light. The desk lamp should be positioned so that it does not cast glare on your child’s work.

Use 90 CRI Led Lights: LED lights with a high CRI, such as 90, are designed to closely mimic natural sunlight. This means they render colors more accurately, making it easier for students to read text, view images, and distinguish between different colors on screens or in printed materials. This reduced distortion in color perception can reduce eye strain and improve overall visual comfort.

  • Encourage your child to take breaks: Encourage your child to take breaks every 20-30 minutes when they are studying. This will help to reduce eyestrain.
  • Limit your child’s screen time: Screen time can exacerbate eyestrain. Encourage your child to limit their screen time to no more than two hours per day.
  • Take your child for regular eye exams: It is important to take your child for regular eye exams, even if they have no vision problems. This will help to ensure that any eye problems are detected and treated early.

By following these tips, parents and schools can help protect students’ eyes from inadequate lighting and reduce the risk of developing eye problems.

Additional tips for students

  • Adjust the lighting in your study area: If the lighting in your study area is too dark, adjust it by using a desk lamp or moving your desk to a brighter location.
  • Use artificial tears: Artificial tears can help to relieve dry eyes, which is a common symptom of eyestrain.
  • Get enough sleep: When you are well-rested, your eyes are better able to cope with eyestrain.
  • Eat a healthy diet: A healthy diet can help to promote good eye health.

If you experience any symptoms of eyestrain, such as blurred vision, headaches, or fatigue, make sure to see an eye doctor.

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Sustainable Practices in Educational Institutions: World Environmental Health Day 2023

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World Environmental Health Day 2023 brings with it a poignant reminder of our collective responsibility towards the planet. As we stand at a critical juncture in the fight against environmental degradation, the role of educational institutions in promoting sustainability and environmental health takes center stage. In this article, we delve into the multifaceted realm of sustainable school practices, focusing on their role in reducing the carbon footprint, addressing wastage, and nurturing environmental health in the Indian context. We will also explore why education centers should place sustainability at the core of their educational mission.

One of the most pressing environmental issues of our time is the burgeoning carbon footprint. Educational institutions, as hubs of knowledge and innovation, possess immense potential to influence this paradigm. Through conscientious efforts to reduce carbon emissions, educational institutions can significantly contribute to a healthier planet. Implementing energy-efficient systems, promoting eco-friendly transportation options, and advocating for responsible resource consumption are just a few ways in which educational institutions can lead the charge in carbon footprint reduction.

Addressing Wastage

Wastage in educational institutions extends beyond the disposal of materials; it encompasses valuable resources like energy, water, and food. Sustainable school practices necessitate a vigilant approach to resource management. Educational institutions can adopt recycling programs, implement water-saving measures, and promote responsible food consumption. Moreover, teaching students about the consequences of wastefulness instills lifelong values of resource conservation. On addressing this issue, Yashraj Garg, Co-founder, Envirocare Foundation, a social and non-profit initiative said, “To begin with, schools can employ imaginative, artistic mediums, such as visual and literary arts, to cultivate eco-friendly mindsets among students. By raising awareness through creativity, we can foster a collective commitment to sustainable daily practices. Additionally, schools should establish avenues for expression and advocacy, like clubs and waste management initiatives, within their communities. Such inclusive initiatives can broaden students’ perspectives on climate change’s social dimensions. Addressing food waste within school cafeterias is paramount. Implementing technology-driven food preservation models and involving students in socio-environmental projects can drastically reduce wastage.”

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Environmental Health in India: A Multifaceted Challenge

India grapples with a profound environmental health challenge, with air pollution standing out as a major concern. According to IQAir’s World Air Quality Report 2021, India ranks as the fifth most polluted country globally among 117 assessed regions. In 2021, the country’s annual average PM2.5 levels reached a staggering 58.1 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m³), significantly exceeding the World Health Organization’s guideline of 10 µg/m³ for annual mean PM2.5 concentrations. The situation is exacerbated by the return to pre-quarantine pollution levels observed in 2019, emphasizing the urgency of addressing this issue.

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) reports that, as of September 22, 2023, India’s National Air Quality Index (NAQI) stood at a moderate value of 78. However, many cities, including Bhiwadi (162), Pune (149), Jalandhar (147), and Gurugram (138), faced poor or very poor air quality levels. The primary sources of air pollution in India encompass fossil fuel combustion, biomass burning, industrial emissions, vehicular exhaust, and dust.

India’s environmental health challenges encompass a broad spectrum of issues, from air pollution to access to safe water and sanitation, extreme weather events, loss of biodiversity, and emerging infectious diseases. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), environmental factors accounted for a staggering 26% of total deaths and 25% of the total disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) in India in 2019. Leading causes of environmental mortality and morbidity include lower respiratory infections, diarrheal diseases, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, ischemic heart disease, and stroke.

While India grapples with these challenges, it has also undertaken significant initiatives to enhance its environmental health situation. Key programs include the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP), the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM), the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC), the National Biodiversity Action Plan (NBAP), and the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP). These initiatives reflect India’s commitment to addressing pressing environmental concerns.

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Educational Institutions Leading the Way

Notably, several educational institutions in India have emerged as pioneers in reducing their carbon footprint and promoting sustainability on their campuses.

The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi, achieved a remarkable feat by reducing its carbon footprint by over 50%. This achievement was accomplished through the strategic purchase of power from green generators and the installation of solar panels on campus rooftops. The institute also implements an innovative waste management system that converts organic waste into biogas and compost.

Similarly, Sri Ramakrishna Engineering College (SREC) in Coimbatore has undertaken a meticulous study of its carbon emissions from January 2018 to December 2019. The study revealed that the college emitted just 5.8 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) per student per year, surpassing the national average of 6.7 tonnes CO2e per capita per year. SREC has adopted a range of sustainable measures, including the use of LED lighting, energy-efficient appliances, rainwater harvesting systems, and biodegradable packaging materials.

One such example is provided by Pallavee Dhaundiyal Panthry, Chief Communication Advisor, World of Circular Economy (WOCE), an organisation in environment, climate, and sustainability solutions, “As we stand on the precipice of a world grappling with environmental challenges, schools emerge as beacons of hope, illuminating the path toward a sustainable future. The question at the forefront of this journey is: How can we help individuals adopt ‘Sustainable Human Behavior’ to support the growth of all people and help them lead a life of dignity, thereby creating a culture of sustainability among the masses? For instance, take the example of the Green School in Bali, Indonesia. Their curriculum goes beyond traditional education; it’s a holistic approach to sustainability. Students there learn about sustainable farming practices, participate in reforestation efforts, and engage in constructing eco-friendly bamboo buildings. Picture students on field trips, immersing themselves in the intricacies of ecology, their hands in the soil, planting seasonal crops, and nurturing an eco-agricultural sensibility. Schools should foster an environment of open discourse — a sanctuary where students commune, exchange ideas, and champion a more environmentally sustainable future for all. Schools must integrate sustainability into their very DNA. It’s not a subject but a way of life, an ethos that guides every decision and action.”

 

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Sustainability has evolved from a buzzword into a moral imperative. Educational institutions are not merely centers of academic learning but also institutions tasked with shaping responsible global citizens. Focusing on sustainability aligns with this mission and equips students with competencies vital for the future. Additionally, sustainable practices in educational institutions can lead to cost savings, creating a win-win situation for both the environment and the institution. On the importance of schools to follow environmentally friendly practices, Mamta Shekhawat, Founder, Gradding.com said, “To make the entire environment sustainable, schools should provide quality education. Schools should teach everyone that to secure the future generation & their needs, the current generation must meet all their requirements with eco-friendly methods. There must be suitable lessons present in the curriculum by which students know the importance of a healthy environment. That is how education plays a huge role in making environment healthier.”

Today’s younger generations are increasingly vocal about environmental concerns. They aspire for an eco-friendly world and demand action on climate change. Children and adolescents engage in self-reflection about their actions and contemplate how the broader community can contribute to sustainable development. This burgeoning eco-consciousness is a powerful force that educational institutions can harness to effect positive change. By integrating sustainability into the curriculum and school culture, educators can nurture this innate desire for a greener planet.

Educational Institutions can embark on various initiatives to promote sustainability effectively. These include:

  1. Curricular Integration: Incorporate environmental education across subjects to provide students with a holistic understanding of sustainability issues.
  2. Green Infrastructure: Develop sustainable school facilities, incorporating features like solar panels, rainwater harvesting, and green spaces.
  3. Waste Management Programs: Implement recycling and composting programs to reduce waste and educate students about responsible disposal.
  4. Student Engagement: Encourage student-led eco-clubs or initiatives that empower young minds to drive sustainability efforts.
  5. Community Involvement: Extend sustainability practices beyond the school gates by involving parents and the local community.

“Create opportunities for students to engage in practical, hands-on learning environmental projects. As Maldives is facing serious issues related to seagrass restoration. Therefore, our students have established a small seagrass nursery at the school and have been successfully restoring the seagrass since March 2023. I strongly believe by integrating these strategies, schools can not only educate students about environmental responsibility but also serve as role models for sustainable practices.” Said Mohsina Mirza, Principal, Billabong High International School, Maldives.

The imperative for sustainable school practices in nurturing environmental health cannot be overstated. Educational institutions have a pivotal role to play in reducing the carbon footprint, addressing wastage, and fostering environmental health, particularly in the context of India’s unique environmental challenges. By embracing sustainability, educational institutions prepare students for a future where responsible environmental stewardship is not an option but a necessity. These commendable efforts by educational institutions not only reduce their environmental impact but also serve as inspiring examples for the broader community. On World Environmental Health Day 2023, let us reaffirm our commitment to the planet and recognize the profound influence that educational institutions can wield in shaping a brighter, greener future

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Tensions Rise Between India and Canada: Implications for Students and Education Sector

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Image Source- DD News

As political tensions continue to escalate between India and Canada, the future of their diplomatic and trade relations hangs in the balance. The dispute revolves around allegations made by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who claimed that credible evidence links Indian authorities to the murder of Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar on Canadian soil. This accusation has strained the bilateral relationship, with New Delhi firmly dismissing the allegations as “absurd” and calling upon Canada to take action against anti-India elements operating within its borders.

One of the largest factors that needs immediate attention is the education sector. As trends show that Canada is one of the most preferred educational destination for Indian students going abroad. Adding to the discord, the Canadian Border Security Agency has issued notices to deport approximately 700 youths who had presented fake offer letters. A substantial number of these individuals hail from Punjab, a state in India, and are drawn to Canada due to its liberal immigration policies and relatively straightforward path to citizenship. For those who immigrate to Canada, the opportunity to apply for citizenship becomes available after five years of continuous residency, with a minimum of three years spent within the country.

Many of the Punjabi youths seeking a brighter future in Canada are students who opt to pursue higher education in the country. Canada’s appeal lies not only in its academic institutions but also in the option for students to work part-time for up to 20 hours a week while pursuing their studies. This attractive proposition has led to a significant increase in the number of Indian students heading to Canada.

Notably, Canada has become a preferred destination for Indian students, particularly those from Punjab. According to Amar Ujala, a Canadian Member of Parliament Ramesh Sangha reveals that Punjabis constitute 2.6 percent of the Canadian population, with a significant Sikh and Punjabi community of around 9.50 lakh residents, out of which 7.70 lakh are Punjabis.

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According to Reuters, since 2018, India has been the largest source country for international students in Canada. In 2022, their number rose 47% to nearly 320,000, accounting for about 40% of total overseas students, the Canadian Bureau of International Education says, which also helps universities and colleges provide a subsidised education to domestic students. Canada has issued nearly a million study permits to Indian students since 2015, making it a crucial source of income for Canadian educational institutions.

Shivir Setia, an Indian student who has applied for a project management course in Canada said to ScooNews, “Mentioning my experience regarding whatever happened between India and Canada in the last few days. First, I was very surprised to see that this issue escalated so much to the extent that India is restricting Canadians to coming to India. I was also scared of what would happen if my student Visa got rejected, as the process is very time consuming and a lot of money is involved. I spoke to my friends and other people who stated that nothing is going to happen, this will fade out. I am still a little curious about how things turn out as I am just hoping to go and start with my studies. I am applying for the Visa tomorrow and I hope for the best. My Counsellor was always positive and assured me that things are going to work out.”

Rohinton Medhora, a distinguished fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation, underscores the importance of how each country’s government handles the public relations and strategic aspects of this dispute. He notes that while India and Canada may not be each other’s primary trade partners, concessions made during this crisis could have repercussions. The trade relationship between the two nations has not been robust compared to other global partners. In 2021, India constituted only 0.62 percent of Canada’s exports, while Canada represented 1.02 percent of India’s exports. Both countries are wary of making concessions that could compromise their standing with more significant trade partners. (Source- BNN Bloomberg)

Despite the growing political tensions, there is no immediate indication that Indian students will cease their migration to Canada. However, if the crisis deepens, the Indian government may consider directing students, particularly those on government scholarships, to explore alternative destinations for their education, impacting Canada’s education sector significantly. Mr. Ameya S. Bal, Assistant Professor, SKSC, Somaiya Vidyavihar University had this to say on the matter, “I do not think that it is going to affect students in a major capacity. As students are the fraternity which is mostly excluded from the politics here. It may indirectly affect them if policy changes are to take place like that by the Indian government to suspend the visas or by the Canadian government in future due to the tainted international relations. Obviously, the one major consequence is that students will think before going to Canada as the ambiguity of the PR and the treatment of the students can be an issue. Many agencies are promoting permanent residency in Canada, they will be affected by it due to the circumstances as many students may opt out of getting PR and may only choose to go for the duration of their respective educational course or professional project and then come back to India.”

Anand Krishnaswamy, an Educational Consultant and Coach, considers the investigation to play a big part in the future. He said, “No one can assess as of now the exact course of action that will be taken by both the nations. It is difficult to say that this might impact students in a negative manner. The existing students in Canada might face issues with their work visas. The Indian government has been excessive in taking major steps against Canada and have denied the allegations imposed by the Canadian government. While Canada has maintained a more careful stance on the issue. US has also stood up and claimed that if the allegations are to be true, other nations might have to step in and ask questions from the Indian government. I think all that can be done for now is let the investigation take its due course and then understand where do both the nations stand in this matter. However, what may happen is that the students will start showing keen interest in other educational destinations like Singapore, Australia, Hong Kong and EU which are also good educational hubs. US has already increased the number of visas for Indian students since the week gone by. So that is a clear consequence.”

In the midst of this turmoil, Shantanu Singh, Director of EduCandor Pvt. Ltd., a study abroad counselling agency, emphasizes that the safety and well-being of Indian nationals in Canada remain unaffected. He advises prospective students to exercise patience amid visa service suspensions and expects a resolution in the near future. Singh urges that international students should not bear the brunt of political disputes, as their contributions are vital to the economies of host countries, including Canada. He said,” I engaged in discussions with a multitude of students, visa officers, and counsellors on this issue. Now, concerning students who are already residing in Canada, their prevailing sentiment is that the recent developments appear to be more of a political and a theatrical display, likely influenced by the approaching elections. Contrary to the sensationalism propagated by the Indian and Canadian media, Indian nationals in Canada can rest assured that their safety and well-being remain unaffected.

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Now, shifting focus to students intending to apply for Canadian visas, I also conversed with visa officers. They acknowledged the Indian context, where visa services have been temporarily suspended. However, the stance and intentions of the Canadian government remain uncertain. Consequently, our recommendation to students, in light of these circumstances, is to refrain from submitting visa applications at this juncture. Nevertheless, we hold the belief that this situation is likely to stabilize within the next 10 to 15 days. Failing that, we anticipate a resolution in the near future, as the future prospects of numerous individuals and students are hanging in the balance.”

Despite the uncertainty surrounding India-Canada relations, it is hoped that diplomacy and dialogue will prevail, allowing both nations to navigate these turbulent waters and maintain their historically strong ties.

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Five ways for Indian students to have a successful study abroad experience

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For many students, studying abroad is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.  However, when leaving their home country, many students are unsure of what will happen once they leave, how the atmosphere will be, or whether they will be able to adapt to the atmosphere to help students’ journeys be promising and full of adventure. Mayank Sharma, Head of Global Partnerships & Country Head India at Prodigy Finance has five great tips that can aid students in settling and enjoying their study abroad program.

  1. Embrace cultural immersion:
    It is always a good idea to begin learning about the cultures and values of the country you are in because doing so will not only improve your lifestyle there but will also make it easier for you to get along with the locals. To learn more about the country you are in, you can attend cultural events, and local festivals, be friendly with your peers, hop in local cuisine, get familiar with their local gourmet and delicacies, and visit historical sites.
  2. Learn the language:
    Learning the language of the country you’re visiting or practicing their accent will not only be great fun to begin with but will also allow you to become more acquainted with the locals. It’s okay not to be fluent, but trying to acquire a new accent or learn a new language will only benefit you later in life.
  3. Build a diverse network:
    While only studying can bore you and limit your contact with your peers, try to build relationships with people both inside and outside of your University. You can do this by participating in college events, getting to know students from other Universities, joining clubs, and attending community events. These experiences will not only leave you with beautiful memories to look back on in the future, but they will also help you build a solid rapport with your friends, and who knows, these friends may later in life turn out to be one of the most influential people who can help or guide you to shape your future.
  4. Travel and explore:
    Traveling is a great way to get away from day-to-day life especially when you are a student and far away from home; only studying can become tedious, whereas planning a short trip to your neighboring region will allow you to discover new places, meet new people and learn different customs, the best part is that you can use your student discount travel program to make your trip more affordable. College life never comes back more than the academic journey; these experiences will shape your core beliefs and allow you to see the world in a new way, making you a better person and knowledgeable with beautiful memories to look back on.
  5. The art of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and balance:
    While staying in a different country far from your home where homemade food is challenging to find and lifestyle changes are possible, find a healthy diet that suits your body and take the weekend off, place self-care first. Getting enough sleep each night, going for a walk in the park, or joining a gym or fitness club will not only help you stay physically fit but will also leave you feeling calm and relaxed. Putting these things into practice will keep you healthy and make your study abroad experience more fulfilling, even though they may seem very trivial.

Studying abroad is a lifetime experience. Make the most of it. Doing so will not only expand your academic skills but also shape your future. Don’t forget that it’s not only about the destination; it’s also about the journey and the experiences that shape you along the way.

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Education

BMC Plans to Introduce CBSE Curriculum in Every Ward’s Civic School in Mumbai

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Mumbai, 18th September 2023– The Education Department of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has unveiled an ambitious plan to introduce the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) curriculum in every civic school within Mumbai’s wards. With the aim of expanding the reach of quality education, BMC authorities are now actively seeking suitable school buildings in each ward to apply for CBSE approval.

Currently, BMC oversees the operation of 11 schools that are affiliated with the CBSE board, in addition to one school each offering the Indian Certificate of School Education (ICSE), Cambridge, and International Baccalaureate (IB) curricula.

The decision to extend CBSE curriculum offerings comes on the heels of BMC’s successful implementation of the CBSE curriculum in its existing schools. Officials from the civic body’s education wing have directed local education officers in each ward to provide data regarding the availability of school buildings that meet the necessary infrastructural requirements for CBSE affiliation.

An official from the education department stated, “Local education officers have been asked to submit data on the number of school buildings in their respective areas and identify those capable of meeting the infrastructural prerequisites essential for CBSE approval. Appropriate actions will be taken following the collation of this information.”

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Highlighting the intent behind this initiative, the officer explained, “There has always been a plan to introduce more civic schools offering non-state board curricula in the city. Urban parents increasingly prefer enrolling their children in non-state board schools. When BMC initiated these schools, the objective was to make popular curricula accessible to underprivileged students who typically could not secure admissions in high-profile non-state board schools. After successfully introducing non-state board curricula in select civic schools, we are now exploring the feasibility of expanding this model.”

Traditionally, civic schools in Mumbai have adhered to the state board curriculum. However, BMC adopted the innovative approach of offering more sought-after non-state board curricula in civic schools in 2020. This initiative commenced with one school each affiliated with CBSE and ICSE curriculum, and in response to growing demand, BMC has since established an additional 10 CBSE-affiliated schools.

Confirming the preliminary nature of the plan, D Gangadharan, BMC Deputy Commissioner (Education), stated, “The initiative is currently in its initial stages, as we are presently focused on data collection.”

This visionary move by the BMC promises to broaden educational opportunities for students across Mumbai and enhance the overall quality of education in civic schools.

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Education

हिंदी दिवस 2023- भारत में हिंदी माध्यम की शिक्षा का महत्व: भाषाई विविधता और राष्ट्रीय पहचान के संरक्षण

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जैसे ही भारत 2023 में G20 की प्रेसिडेंसी ग्रहण करता है, हमारी धरोहर और आधुनिक उपलब्धियां मुख्य रूप से प्रस्तुत होती हैं। “India” से “भारत” का परिवर्तन हमारे नींवों की ओर पलटने का एक प्रतीक है, भारतीय दर्शनिक धरोहर की खोज करते हुए। यह परिवर्तन हमारी सांस्कृतिक और भाषाई विविधता के संरक्षण के महत्व की याद दिलाने वाला है। इस संदर्भ में, भारत में हिंदी माध्यम शिक्षा के महत्व की चर्चा करना महत्वपूर्ण है, क्योंकि हिंदी अब भी पूरी तरह से विकसित नहीं है, और शिक्षा क्षेत्र में हिंदी भाषा को प्रोत्साहित करने के महत्व को बढ़ावा देने की आवश्यकता है।

भारत एक भाषाई बिन्दुमाला है, जहां देश भर में सैकड़ों भाषाएँ और बोलियाँ बोली जाती हैं। हिंदी, सबसे अधिक बोली जाने वाली भाषाओं में से एक के रूप में, विभिन्न क्षेत्रों के लोगों को जोड़ने का कार्य करती है। हिंदी माध्यम शिक्षा भाषाई विविधता को संरक्षित करने में महत्वपूर्ण भूमिका निभाती है, विविध भाषाई समूहों के बीच संचार के लिए सामान्य धरोहर प्रदान करके। इसके साथ ही, हिंदी केवल एक भाषा नहीं है; यह हमारी सांस्कृतिक पहचान का एक अभिन्न हिस्सा है। हिंदी को शिक्षा में अपनाने से छात्र अपनी जड़ों से जुड़ सकते हैं, पारंपरिक साहित्य, लोककथाएँ और इतिहास को समझ सकते हैं, जो हिंदी में लिखे गए हैं, और अपने धरोहर के प्रति गहरी सराहना कर सकते हैं। इसे अपनी जड़ों से जुड़ने से एक आत्मा का आभास और राष्ट्रीय गर्व पैदा होता है।

इसके अलावा, भारत की बड़ी हिस्सेदारी ग्रामीण क्षेत्रों में बसी हुई है, जहां हिंदी अक्सर संचार की प्रमुख भाषा होती है। हिंदी माध्यम शिक्षा नगरीय-ग्रामीण अंतर को पार करके सुनिश्चित करती है कि ग्रामीण छात्र अपनी मातृभाषा में गुणवत्ता शिक्षा प्राप्त करें। इससे उन्हें ज्ञान और कौशल प्राप्त होता है ताकि वे भारत के विकास में भाग लें।

क्या आपने कभी सोचा है कि हिंदी भारत में अब भी पूरी तरह से विकसित और चुनी नहीं जाती है?

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भारत की भाषाई विविधता हिंदी की मानक विकास में एक चुनौती प्रस्तुत करती है। विभिन्न क्षेत्रों में अपनी अपनी प्रकार की हिंदी होती है, और मानकीकरण की प्रक्रिया जटिल है। ब्रिटिश औपचारिकवाद की ऐतिहासिक विरासत ने अंग्रेजी को बहुत सारे बड़े संस्थानों और शहरी क्षेत्रों में शिक्षा की प्राधान्य भाषा बना दिया है। इस अंग्रेजी के प्रभाव ने हिंदी के विकास को रोक दिया है, जिससे अंग्रेजी और हिंदी माध्यम शिक्षा के बीच का अनुभाग महसूस होता है। हिंदी साहित्य, अनुसंधान, और शैक्षिक संसाधन अक्सर उन विपणियों के पीछे रह जाते हैं जो अंग्रेजी में उपलब्ध होते हैं। हिंदी के रूप में एक भाषा और शिक्षा के माध्यम के विकास के लिए संविदानिक संसाधनों, पाठ्यक्रम विकास, और शिक्षक प्रशिक्षण में विशाल निवेश की आवश्यकता है।

हिंदी को शिक्षा में प्रोत्साहित करना: हिंदी को अंग्रेजी माध्यम के स्कूलों में भी समान महत्व दिया जाना चाहिए ताकि हिंदी माध्यम और अंग्रेजी माध्यम के स्कूलों में हिंदी के साथ समय दिया जा सके। इसका साधन द्विभाषिक शिक्षा के माध्यम से और अंग्रेजी के साथ हिंदी साहित्य को प्रोत्साहित करके हो सकता है।

पाठ्यक्रम का विकास: हिंदी माध्यम शिक्षा के लिए पाठ्यक्रम को समय-समय पर सुधारते रहने की आवश्यकता है ताकि यह समकालिक शैक्षिक मानकों को पूरा कर सके। इसमें डिजिटल शिक्षा साधनों, अपडेटेड पाठ्यक्रम पुस्तकों को शामिल करना और हिंदी में अनुसंधान को प्रोत्साहित करना शामिल है।

शिक्षक प्रशिक्षण: हिंदी माध्यम शिक्षा की गुणवत्ता को बेहतर बनाने के लिए शिक्षक प्रशिक्षण कार्यक्रमों में निवेश करना महत्वपूर्ण है। अच्छे तरीके से प्रशिक्षित शिक्षक शिक्षा का अनुभव और प्रभावी बना सकते हैं।

डिजिटल समावेशन: प्रौद्योगिकी का सहारा लेने से हिंदी और अंग्रेजी माध्यम शिक्षा के बीच के अंतर को कम करने में मदद मिल सकती है। हिंदी में डिजिटल सामग्री छात्रों के लिए सुलभ और आकर्षक शिक्षा प्रदान कर सकती है।

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निष्कर्षण भारत में हिंदी माध्यम शिक्षा भाषाई विविधता को संरक्षित करने, छात्रों को उनकी जड़ों से जोड़ने और नगरीय-ग्रामीण भिन्न को निष्कर्षित करने के महत्वपूर्ण भूमिका निभाती है। हालांकि, हिंदी को भाषा और शिक्षा का माध्यम विकसित करने का काम भारत की भाषाई विविधता और अंग्रेजी की प्रमुखता के कारण चुनौतियों का सामना कर रहा है। हिंदी को प्रोत्साहित करने और एक अधिक प्रगतिशील शिक्षा प्रणाली बनाने के लिए, हमें अंग्रेजी माध्यम स्कूलों में हिंदी को समान महत्व देना चाहिए, हिंदी पाठ्यक्रम को सुधारने, शिक्षक प्रशिक्षण में निवेश करने, और डिजिटल समावेशन को अपनाने का साहस करना होगा। इस तरह, हम सुनिश्चित कर सकते हैं कि हिंदी हमारी राष्ट्रीय पहचान और धरोहर का एक अभिन्न हिस्सा बनी रहती है, साथ ही हमारी युवा पीढ़ी को एक और अधिक समावेशी और उज्ज्वल भविष्य के लिए तैयार करते हैं।

इस हिंदी दिवस, चलिए हम अपनी संस्कृति और भाषा को नई ऊँचाइयों तक पहुँचाने का संकल्प लें। यह समय है हमारे शिक्षा प्रणाली में हिंदी की भूमिका का पुनर्मूल्यांकन करने का। प्रारंभिक शिक्षा से उच्च अध्ययन तक, हिंदी को एक मौलिक भाषा के रूप में पहचाना जाना चाहिए। छात्रों को हिंदी में संवाद करने के लिए प्रोत्साहित करना चाहिए, बिना किसी डर या भेदभाव के। परिवर्तन हमारे अंदर से शुरू होता है। हमारे दैनिक जीवन में हिंदी को ग्रहण और प्रोत्साहित करने का समय आ गया है, और वैश्विक मंच में। इसके द्वारा, हम न केवल अपनी सांस्कृतिक धरोहर को संरक्षित करते हैं, बल्कि भाषाओं के वैश्विक चादर के योजनाकारों में भी योगदान करते हैं। हिंदी दिवस केवल एक उत्सव का दिन नहीं है; यह हमारे भाषा, संस्कृति, और राष्ट्रीय धरोहर के प्रति हमारे प्रतिबद्धता का एक स्मरण है। मिलकर, हम हिंदी को एक एकता, समावेशन, और वैश्विक महत्व की भाषा बना सकते हैं।

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Knowledge

Teaching EQ to Youngsters!

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Did you know that we have two brains and two minds in general?

One is rational and the other is emotional. And they are two totally different kinds of intelligence. With the dawn of Emotional Intelligence (EQ) spreading rapidly in the lives of our children, amongst families, with the parents, in schools and its curriculum the poignant question is;

How To Create Emotionally Intelligent Children?

The theory of EQ is usually considered rather profound and complex. However, if we dig a bit deeper, we start realizing, there are ways to simplify it and make it practical. The world of EQ advocates working closely with our emotions. The emotions that we all are born with. A newborn baby arrives with an array of emotions. It is a compulsory package that unfolds step by step through various life experiences.

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A few years ago the concept of EQ gained more attention when Daniel Goleman, an American Author, Psychologist, and Science journalist, reported on the brain and behavioral sciences. The theory of Six Basic Human Emotions- of fear, joy, love, surprise, sadness, and anger resurfaced.

Interestingly, these elements of human emotions were also deeply embedded in our Vedic literature, Indian spiritual scriptures and writings, an impressive and astonishing work by our great thinkers, sages, and philosophers thousands of years ago. Emotions then, have always been around – validated by both Science and Spirituality.

Children are a bundle of intense energy. If we ever want to understand emotions in the most simple ways, it is through them. They are a representation of what every emotion is supposed to be. Raw and real.

And this is why, the best time to build EQ is early and every day.

Building EQ is a process. When babies coo, they are communicating. When infants cry they are sharing a message. When toddlers throw tantrums, they are sharing confusion. When preschoolers shout, they are sharing discomfort. At school, at college, and in life as an adult, everybody uses emotions as tools to communicate.

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It is not just a parent’s or a teacher’s job to build emotionally intelligent children, it is the work of everybody as a team. Here is how we can start.

1. Talking about emotions: There is no perfect age to talk about emotions. Emotions are a part of our everyday life, hence talking about them every day can be made as a natural practice. To ask questions such as ‘How are you feeling today?’, ‘What happens if you listen to a sad story?’, ‘What makes you happy- music or playing with friends?’ The purpose is to normalize talking about how children are feeling at home and school.
Tip: Use stories. Stories are great conversation starters.

2. Adding words to every emotion: The way adults feel anger is different from how children experience it. EQ is to bring awareness to how one ‘feels’ a specific emotion. With children, parents and teachers can begin with defining one emotion at a time. For eg. Asking questions such as ‘What do you do when you feel happy?’ , ‘What happens when you feel scared? Or ‘What do you mean when you say you are feeling sad?’ The idea is to help children identify what happiness and sadness mean to THEM as it is a unique experience.
Tip: Begin with one powerful question every day, ‘What was your most dominant feeling today?’

3. Sharing your own emotions: As adults, we are orchestrated to suppress our emotions in front of our children as parents and as teachers. Children learn better through observations. The best way to open channels to bring EQ in everyday life is to share your own vulnerabilities with children. The more teachers and parents share how they feel about their own behavior and that of others, the easier it will be for children to understand that it is natural and they will in turn learn to own, express, and channelize their emotions.
Tip: Use everyday situations to talk about emotions. Fancy worksheets, creative activities, videos add value, but the simplest way to begin is to simply be honest about how you are feeling to the youngsters.

4. To respond rather than react! Awareness is everything. One classic way to help children build a strong EQ is to help them deal with them gently. To let them know that it is okay to feel jealous, angry, sad, and embarrassed. But, to teach them age-appropriate ways to express the same emotions in a healthy manner. For eg. To pause before reacting, to ask for help, to share with someone close, to state them in words. A child can be taught that when he or she is angry, instead of hitting someone else or screaming, they can simply express what made them angry.
Tip: Art, stories, and interaction – all have a key role to play here.

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5. They are tools! The children of today are quick absorbers and have higher processing speeds. Emotions can be powerful tools that can be used every day. A secret to understanding their friends, to share an idea, to deal with failures, and also to be successful in their everyday goals. The more we show them the potency of the emotions, the more they will learn to channelize them and use it to their benefit.
Tip: Share examples of inspiring stories or people who have achieved goals through self-belief, through love, and being positive. Explain to children how emotions are a very powerful tool to be used to create themselves, better relationships, and life, in general.

The only way to help children learn about emotions is to simplify it. Just raising the awareness levels to something that naturally exists. To stay open and vulnerable and let them know it’s okay. To feel love. To feel resentment. To be happy, and sad. Peaceful and angry. We go through the entire gamut – so why deny it to our young ones?

Every exchange that children have with their parents, teachers, and friends are moments of profound possibilities – for them to accept and embrace emotions, to channelize and use this power to create their best versions. Emotion is energy in motion – let’s give direction to it for our young ones!

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International Literacy Day: Why Physical Books Still Matter?

International Literacy Day is celebrated on September 8 every year to raise awareness of the importance of literacy. The theme for 2023 is “Literacy for a Sustainable Future”

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India has a long and rich history of literacy. Even before the British era, there were many schools and libraries in India. The ancient Indian universities of Takshashila and Nalanda were world-renowned centers of learning. The British colonial government made some efforts to promote literacy in India, but these efforts were largely unsuccessful.

In today’s rapidly evolving digital age, the emergence of artificial intelligence (AI) has led to widespread discussions about the obsolescence of physical books. Many argue that with the vast availability of e-books, audiobooks, and other digital formats, the traditional printed book is losing its relevance. However, the sustenance of physical books remains a topic of profound importance, rooted in the rich history of literacy and the unique advantages they offer.

Literacy and books, especially physical ones like newspapers, magazines, textbooks, and novels, have an inseparable connection. Books have been essential tools in the development of literacy for centuries. They are not just carriers of knowledge but also catalysts for learning. For many, the tactile experience of holding a book, flipping through its pages, and inhaling the scent of printed paper is an integral part of the reading process. This physical interaction enhances the overall reading experience and aids in comprehension and retention.

Prof. (Dr.) YSR Murthy, Vice Chancellor, RV University, Bengaluru had this to say, when asked about the same. “Despite the rapid growth of digitalization which has affected all walks of life, physical books still hold the fort and are relevant for several reasons. Experience of reading a book from a Kindle or a computer screen can never match reading from a physical book. The mere touch of a book or its smell and feel can electrify a reader.  Online books require the availability of the internet and bandwidth. Long hours of looking at a screen can affect the eyes. The physical book can also give a sense of ownership and emotional connection, unlike a digital copy.

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When it comes to newspapers, though the young generation is consuming news through media and other online platforms,  hard copies are still relevant. In the past decade, we have seen how newspapers can hold their fort despite the massive onslaught of digitalization. Digital media is important from the standpoint of conservation of the environment, reduction in cutting down of trees for the production of newsprint, and saving on the physical space for holding books and newspapers. Despite these relative advantages, hard copies of books and newspapers hold their sway on any day.”

Moreover, numerous biological and scientific advantages are associated with reading physical books. Studies have shown that reading from a physical book, as opposed to a digital screen, can lead to improved focus and reduced eye strain. The absence of glaring screens and notifications minimizes distractions, allowing readers to immerse themselves fully in the content. Additionally, the act of physically turning pages has been linked to better memory recall.

The importance of promoting and preserving the art of literature cannot be overstated. In recent times, AI has been employed to generate books, and some individuals have used their names as authors, threatening the authenticity of creative works. This raises concerns about the erosion of artistic integrity and originality. Physical books, created through the sweat and inspiration of human authors, serve as a testament to the power of human creativity. They are tangible artifacts of culture and history, reflecting the unique perspectives, ideas, and stories of their creators. “In the digital era, physical books and newspapers retain enduring value. Beyond their tangible charm, they provide a refuge from screen saturation. The tactile experience of turning pages and the weight of a book in hand evoke a deeper connection with content that screens cannot replicate. Physical books and newspapers hold historical significance, chronicling our past. Marginal notes and dog-eared pages carry personal history. Print ensures lasting existence, impervious to technology shifts.

Despite the proliferation of e-learning platforms and digital resources, many students and educators still prefer physical textbooks. They find that flipping through pages, highlighting text, and making notes in the margins enhances their learning experience. Moreover, physical textbooks do not require access to the internet or electronic devices, making them reliable and accessible resources, especially in areas with limited connectivity. These formats bridge generations, preserving culture and knowledge. In a world of fleeting digital content, physical books and newspapers stand as timeless, trusted sources of information and storytelling.”said Prof. Divya Gupta, Head of Marketing & Communications and Professor of Practice at IFIM Institutions.

Dr. Yajulu Medury, Vice-Chancellor of Mahindra University said, “Literacy empowers minds, transforms lives, and builds nations; it is the key to unlocking boundless possibilities. We are committed to nurturing a generation of lifelong learners, for we believe that literacy not only opens doors to knowledge but also paves the way for a brighter and more equitable future. It is imperative that we reassess the future of the teaching profession and acknowledge the profound impact it has on our society. The unwavering commitment and dedication of teachers serve as a testament to the profound transformative power of education. In India, their contribution to the education sector is immeasurable.”

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This takes us back to the COVID-19 pandemic, as during that time, people were confined to their homes and digital relationships became the norm, many turned to reading as a source of solace and hope. Physical books provided a tangible escape from the overwhelming digital realm. They offered comfort in their physicality, as readers could hold them close during uncertain times. The resurgence of interest in physical books during the pandemic highlighted their enduring appeal and the irreplaceable role they play in providing both knowledge and comfort.

While the rise of AI and digital formats has led to debates about the future of physical books, their sustenance remains paramount. Physical books are deeply intertwined with the development of literacy, offering unique advantages for readers’ focus, comprehension, and retention. They also hold significant value as vessels of human creativity and as symbols of culture and history. Physical books are tangible and durable objects that can survive for centuries, unlike digital books that are vulnerable to technological obsolescence or cyberattacks. Physical books also have a unique aesthetic and sentimental value that cannot be replicated by digital books.

According to a report by the International Publishers Association, the global book market is worth an estimated $150 billion, and it is expected to grow by 2.1% annually until 2025. This shows that there is still a strong demand for physical books, despite the competition from digital media. Physical books are not only valuable for individuals, but also for society as a whole. They are essential tools for education, literacy, and democracy. They foster critical thinking, creativity, and diversity of opinions. They also promote social inclusion and cohesion, as they can reach people who may not have access to digital devices or the internet. In fact, studies have shown that reading physical books can improve empathy and emotional intelligence.

After independence, the Indian government made a concerted effort to improve literacy rates. As a result, India’s literacy rate has increased from 12% in 1947 to 77.7% in 2022. India also has a large and growing book market, worth an estimated $6.76 billion in 2019. India is the second-largest English-language book publisher in the world, after the United States. India also produces books in many regional languages, such as Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, and Urdu. Books are an important part of India’s culture and identity, and they play a vital role in promoting education, literacy, and democracy. Despite these gains, there are still many challenges to achieving universal literacy in India. One challenge is the diversity of languages spoken in India. There are over 1000 languages spoken in India, and many of these languages do not have a written form. Another challenge is poverty. Many families in India cannot afford to send their children to school. Despite these challenges, India is committed to achieving universal literacy. The government has launched a number of programs to promote literacy, including the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY).

These programs have helped to improve literacy rates in India, but there is still more work to be done. We need to continue to invest in education and literacy programs, so that everyone in India can read and write.

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There is a growing trend towards e-books and audiobooks. However, many people argue that physical books are more immersive and engaging than e-books. Studies have shown that people who read physical books retain more information than those who read e-books. Physical books also have a tactile quality that e-books cannot replicate. In addition, physical books can be shared and passed down from generation to generation. This creates a sense of community and connection that is not possible with e-books. Emphasising on the same, Sandhya Gatti, Head of PD and School Projects, Chaman Bhartiya School said, “In our digital age, the significance of physical books and newspapers has surged. Holding a book brings a soothing sense of calmness, fostering love, commitment, and passion. It ignites our imagination, facilitating a silent dialogue with the author and profound contemplation. Newspapers are a cherished ritual in numerous households, evoking cherished memories of elders with a newspaper in hand and a cup of coffee nearby. Even as physical books become less common, let’s appreciate the experience, enjoying the sound of pages turning and the distinct scent of both well-worn and fresh books while they’re still around. It is inevitable that digital books will replace physical ones very soon. In a school set-up, specifically, this will greatly help school children carry one tab, with easy access to multi-medium with a world of information at the tip of their fingers, instead of a load of heavy books. Regardless, it’s important that children read.”

To conclude, physical books are still important in the digital age. They offer several advantages over e-books, including their tactile quality, their ability to be shared, and their connection to the past. One of the main arguments for the sustenance of print is that physical books are important for preserving the cultural and historical heritage of humanity. We must not let the rise of AI and digital tools make us forget the importance of physical books. Together, we can work to create a more literate and informed society.

It is important to sustain physical books for future generations, so that they can continue to benefit from all that they have to offer. Physical books are not only a source of information and entertainment, but also a source of identity and belonging. They are a part of our collective memory and our cultural legacy. They are not obsolete, but rather irreplaceable.

 

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