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UNESCO Reveals Countries Producing The Highest No. Of STEM Graduates

It was found that India produced most STEM graduates in 2016.

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For a survey, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has collected data that shows the number of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) graduates in various countries. It was reported that tertiary students in Oman and Tunisia were most likely to graduate in a STEM field, with between 43% to 46% of students receiving a degree in engineering, scientific, technical or mathematical field. 

Whereas in India, almost 32% of students pick STEM, which, in turn, produced the most graduates in a total of almost 2.7 million in 2018. On the other hand, in 2016, India was the global leader in university graduates (78.0 million), slightly ahead of China (77.7 million). The United States was in third place (67.4 million). 

It estimates a 300% increase in the number of Chinese graduates (aged 25 to 34) by 2030 compared to just 30% in the U.S. and Europe. STEM has become a pretty big deal in China's flourishing universities lately. Though UNESCO did not publish data for China. In 2016, the World Economic Forum said that China actually produced 4.7 million STEM graduates a year, which would exceed India’s earlier reported number of 2018, by a large margin. Yet, according to the National Science Foundation, China classifies engineering and science fields quite broadly, leading to a lack of comparability in the data. The U.S. government agency counted 1.6 million Chinese science and engineering graduates in 2014. 

Other countries with a huge number of STEM graduates were Germany, Singapore, Malaysia, Algeria, Iran, Myanmar and Belarus, all producing more than 30% STEM graduates. Whereas to compare STEM graduates, only 26% were from the UK, 25% from France, 23% in Spain and 18% in the U.S. and Brazil, respectively.

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Source: UNESCO

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National Science Day: Achieving the Dream of Viksit Bharat Through Education

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National Science Day is celebrated on February 28th each year to commemorate the groundbreaking discovery of the Raman Effect by Indian physicist Sir C.V. Raman in 1928. This day marks a pivotal moment in the history of Indian science, highlighting the nation’s contributions to scientific research and innovation. This celebration is not just about honoring a singular achievement but inspiring a future where science and education propel India towards greater heights.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s message underscores the government’s commitment to fostering research and innovation among the youth, pivotal for achieving this vision.

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The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 marks a significant shift towards holistic development, ensuring education transcends traditional boundaries to embrace a broader, more integrated approach. This policy aims to prepare students not just academically but also as global citizens ready to tackle the challenges of a rapidly evolving world.

India’s strides in science and technology, exemplified by ISRO’s successful Chandrayaan 3 mission, highlight the country’s growing prowess as a global epicentre of scientific innovation. This achievement is not just a milestone in space exploration but a testament to the potential unleashed when education aligns with national aspirations.

The focus now extends beyond conventional education to encompass skills and knowledge relevant in an AI-driven post-pandemic world. The jobs of tomorrow will require a blend of technical proficiency and creative problem-solving, skills that the current educational reforms aim to nurture.

As we celebrate National Science Day, let us commit to an educational paradigm that equips our youth with the tools to build a Viksit Bharat. Through continuous encouragement of research and innovation, we pave the way for a future where education is the cornerstone of development and prosperity. Let the spirit of National Science Day inspire us to invest in our greatest asset – our youth – and together, march towards the dream of a Viksit Bharat through the biggest catalyst of change that is education.

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World NGO Day: Including Social Service and Philanthropy in Curriculum

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On World NGO Day, celebrated each 27th of February, we’re reminded of the pivotal role NGOs play in fostering social change and development. It’s an opportune moment to reflect on a critical gap in our education system—integrating social service into school curriculums. While Indian schools commendably cover moral science and discuss the multifaceted challenges of poverty, they often skirt around a crucial lesson: the importance of giving back to society, a principle that acknowledges our inherent privileges.

The privilege of accessing education and enjoying life’s luxuries is not a universal given; it’s a blessing. Recognizing this privilege entails acknowledging our responsibility to contribute positively to society, underscoring the necessity of philanthropy in our educational ethos. However, mere acknowledgment isn’t enough; action is imperative. This is where the collaboration with NGOs becomes invaluable.

Consider the transformative potential of inviting NGOs working in education into our schools. These organizations, such as Pratham, Akshaya Patra, and Teach For India, are not just entities; they are repositories of real-world experiences and agents of change. By partnering with these NGOs, schools can offer students more than theoretical knowledge; they can provide them with hands-on experiences in social service, embedding the value of giving back into the fabric of their education.

Imagine the impact of integrating assignments that require active participation in social causes—organizing donation drives, participating in animal welfare activities, or contributing to environmental conservation efforts. Such initiatives do more than inculcate a sense of responsibility; they foster empathy, cultivate a sense of community, and prepare students to be conscientious citizens.

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The benefits of integrating social service into school curriculums extend beyond moral and ethical development. They equip students with critical life skills—teamwork, leadership, problem-solving, and empathy—preparing them for the challenges of the real world. Moreover, these engagements offer tangible experiences of impact, teaching students that their actions can indeed make a difference. For example, organising donation drives and animal welfare camps where students can be the volunteers for a better, bigger cause is a great way to include social services into our curriculum.

The partnership between schools and NGOs can take various forms, from guest lectures and workshops to long-term projects and internships. These collaborations provide a platform for NGOs to raise awareness about their causes and for students to engage with these issues deeply and meaningfully.

By making social service an integral part of the curriculum, we can ensure that education transcends academic achievements to include the development of well-rounded individuals who are aware of their social responsibilities. It’s about creating a culture of giving back, fostering a generation that is not only educated but also empathetic and engaged with the world’s pressing challenges.

So, let’s commit to enriching our educational systems with the values of social service and philanthropy. Let’s embrace the opportunity to partner with NGOs and transform our students into not just scholars but also compassionate contributors to society. In doing so, we pay forward our blessings and take meaningful steps towards building a more equitable and caring world.

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An In-depth Analysis: Navigating Challenges in the School Bus Vendor Landscape Post-COVID

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In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, the school bus industry has undergone significant transformations, bringing to light a host of challenges faced by bus vendors. Daily encounters with these vendors reveal a common narrative, characterised by persistent issues that have only intensified in the post-pandemic era. 

This article aims to shed light on three prominent challenges faced by school bus vendors and explore potential solutions to ensure the sustainability of their businesses.

Challenges:

  • Late Payment Woes:
    One of the primary challenges faced by school bus vendors is the delayed payment of fees by parents. Unlike schools, bus vendors lack the leverage to withhold essential documents or take punitive measures for non-payment. It is reported that 25 to 50% of parents take more than three months to settle their dues, with some outright refusing to pay despite utilising the services throughout the academic year. The absence of a robust system to enforce timely payments puts immense financial strain on bus vendors, leading to cash flow issues and operational difficulties.

  • Thin Profit Margins:
    Except for a few premium schools, bus fees often barely cover the operational costs. Negotiations with schools, PTA bodies, and parents leave little room for profit margins, especially considering the sharp rise in the costs of buses, including EMI, diesel, and employee salaries. Causing the financial sustainability of bus vendors is at stake, with many struggling to break even. The increasing costs coupled with stagnant fees create an unsustainable business model, prompting some vendors to reconsider their involvement in the industry.

  • Intense Competition from Car Pools/Van Operators:
    The rise of small van operators offering transportation services at significantly lower fees poses a serious threat to traditional school bus vendors. The appeal of doorstep and personalised services often overshadows considerations of safety and hygiene. School bus vendors are grappling with a loss of clientele to these cost-effective alternatives, further exacerbating their financial challenges. The competitive landscape has become increasingly cutthroat, pushing vendors to the brink of closure.

Solutions:

  • Enhanced Safety Standards:
    Despite norms by the government and school boards, many buses still lack with essential safety tools. Implementing stringent safety measures such as cameras, fire systems and seat belts will help regain the trust of parents concerned about the well-being of their children.

  • Higher Convenience:
    In this age of digital revolution, parents want information at finger tips about the whereabouts of the bus in real-time, irrespective of the situation. Hardware based GPS solutions don’t serve this need entirely. Apps for school bus tracking are solving this exact problem.

  • Implementing Digital Payment Solutions:
    India as a country may be a leader in advanced payment technologies, but many in bus vendor community stuck in the (dis)comfort of collecting a cheque from parents. They start should adoption of digital payment platforms to streamline the fee collection process. This can significantly reduce delays and ensure a more predictable cash flow.

The challenges faced by school bus vendors post-COVID demand a collective effort from schools, parents, and the vendors themselves to navigate through this complex landscape. By addressing issues related to payment delays, profit margins, and competition, stakeholders can work towards creating a sustainable and mutually beneficial environment for all parties involved in ensuring the safe transportation of students. It is imperative that proactive measures are taken to secure the future of school bus vendors and uphold the standards of safety and reliability in student transportation.

This article is authored by: 

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Rajesh Bhura, Co-founder of Chakraview Solutions, an application working towards school bus tracking 

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Radio Broadcasting in Schools: Creating a Platform for Student Voices

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Roll up, roll up, for a trip down memory lane, back to a time when radio was the king of entertainment and information, reaching every corner of India with the magic of sound. Fast forward to today, and guess what? Radio has got a trendy new outfit, and it is called podcasts. Yes, you heard it right! As we celebrated World Radio Day on the 13th of February, let us dive into why radio broadcasting and its cool cousin, podcasts, are making a splash in schools, creating a buzz with the young and the restless.

Picture this: back in the day, radio was the Internet. From the cricket commentary that had everyone perched on the edge of their seats to the melodious tunes of Binaca Geetmala that had people swinging and swaying, radio was the heartbeat of India. Fast forward to the present, and the essence of radio is getting a reboot in schools through podcasts. This is not your grandpa’s radio; it is radio reimagined for the Snapchat generation. The educational landscape is buzzing with the potential of podcasts as a dynamic platform for interschool and intraschool communication, essentially a canvas for student voices to paint their thoughts, learnings, and creativity.

Podcasts, in essence, are the contemporary cousins of radio, offering a personalised and on-demand listening experience. Schools across India are now catching on to this trend, integrating podcasts into their curriculum to foster a culture of listening, learning, and expressing. The medium’s flexibility allows for a variety of content, from academic discussions and storytelling to debates and interviews, creating a symphony of student voices that is by the students, for the students, and, let’s not forget, about the students.

One stellar example of this educational podcast movement is the initiative by ‘The Good School Alliance‘. Their series, accessible on Spotify under the banner ‘Learning Forward‘, is a testament to the power of audio media in education. These podcasts delve into a myriad of educational topics, featuring insights from educators, students, and thought leaders in the field. The content ranges from innovative teaching methodologies to student wellness, offering a holistic view of contemporary education practices. What sets these podcasts apart is their focus on real-life applications of learning, encouraging students to connect classroom theories with the world beyond school gates.

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The Good School Alliance‘ podcasts are not just about disseminating information; they are about creating a dialogue. By involving students in the conversation, they foster a sense of community and shared learning. These podcasts serve as a beacon for other schools, illustrating how digital platforms can be harnessed to amplify student voices and create a participatory learning environment.

What’s the big deal, you ask? Well, in a world where everyone is glued to screens, podcasts are a breath of fresh air, or should we say, a melody to the ears. They are a ticket to explore new worlds without having to leave your comfy chair. And for the creators, it is a playground for imagination, a laboratory for ideas, and a stage for voices waiting to be heard. It is where Shakespeare meets science, and history gets a remix. Crafting a podcast is no game – from research and scripting to speaking like a pro and editing it. It is a rollercoaster ride of learning, with plenty of life lessons along the way. And who knows? Today’s podcast prodigy could be tomorrow’s radio superstar or the next big thing in Bollywood.

Podcasts offer a unique way to engage students, making learning more accessible and interesting. They cater to different learning styles, especially auditory learners, and provide a platform for students to explore topics beyond the traditional curriculum, fostering critical thinking and creativity.

In moving towards the digitization of radio, let us tip our hats to the OG radio, the grandfather of communication. Together, they are tuning into the hearts and minds of students, turning classrooms into studios, and homework into home runs. Here is to the voices of the future, loud, proud, and podcasting their way into our hearts. So, keep calm and podcast on, for the airwaves are waiting, and the stage is yours. Let’s make some noise, shall we?

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Navigating Social Media: A Guide for School-Going Teenagers

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Safer Internet Day on 8th February serves as a poignant reminder of the digital age’s complexities, especially for teenagers navigating the choppy waters of social media. Once considered prudent to keep teens at arm’s length from social media, this approach has become impractical due to the ubiquity of digital platforms. The challenge now is not about restricting access but ensuring that their engagement fosters positive mental health.

Jaya Chakravarty, Principal-CAIE, Satpuda Valley School, Betul, views social media as “a vast canvas that blends feelings of unheard voices, stories of vibrant colours which leave their radiant strokes to create an alluring impression on the masses.”. However, the digital landscape is a double-edged sword for teenagers, who are at a pivotal stage of personal development. Social media can significantly influence their mental well-being, shaping their views and self-esteem. The constant quest for validation, coupled with exposure to fake news and a myriad of opinions, can be overwhelming. Adolescents, amidst hormonal shifts and a natural inclination towards rebellion, remain highly impressionable and vulnerable to the adverse effects of social media on their evolving psyche.

Recent statistics shed light on the magnitude of social media’s impact on youth. According to a study by the Pew Research Center, 95% of teenagers have access to a smartphone, and 45% claim they are online “almost constantly.”

This connectivity brings to the fore the importance of navigating social media responsibly. A notable case is that of the “Social Media Anxiety Disorder,” a term increasingly referenced in psychological studies, illustrating the direct correlation between social media usage and heightened anxiety levels among teenagers.

Films and documentaries such as “The Social Dilemma” and “Screenagers” delve deep into the intricacies of social media’s impact, offering invaluable insights into how digital platforms engineer a need for constant validation.

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Moreover, Shipra Verma, Coordinator at Nehru World School, stresses the importance of digital literacy and open dialogues about cyberbullying in creating a positive social media landscape. She believes in empowering students to use social media for learning and self-expression, which will instil critical thinking skills and lead to responsible online behaviour.

Educators play a crucial role in guiding teenagers through the digital thicket. They are uniquely positioned to influence positive social media practices, teaching students to discern the authenticity of information, encouraging self-confidence beyond digital affirmations, and fostering a healthy skepticism towards the polished facades often presented on social platforms. By incorporating digital literacy into the curriculum, teachers can empower students to engage critically with social media, identifying fake news, understanding the implications of sharing personal information, and selecting influences that enrich rather than detract from their self-worth.

The digital age demands a nuanced understanding of social media’s impact on youth. Mr Nasir Shaikh, Group CEO of The Lexicon Group of Institutes, emphasises the delicate balance educators must achieve: “Balancing the landscape of social media for teenagers feels like walking a tightrope. Educators have to step into the role of coaches, teaching critical thinking and empowering youth to become responsible creators rather than passive consumers.” highlighting the importance of integrating social media into academic curricula, promoting digital literacy, and setting positive examples for students to follow.

The dialogue around social media and mental health is incomplete without discussing the proactive steps teenagers can take to safeguard their mental health. This includes curating their social media feeds to reflect positive content, engaging in meaningful online interactions, and balancing screen time with offline activities. Swati Gauba, Thinker-In-Chief at Kidspreneurship Pte Ltd, advocates for a proactive approach to social media education. She said, “Prohibiting use of social media often sparks curiosity. Instead, integrating social media education into the curriculum can be highly beneficial. By incorporating lessons that demonstrate how social media can be utilized for constructive purposes, alongside discussions about its potential drawbacks, educators can empower students to navigate these platforms responsibly. For instance, Kidspreneurship curriculum includes a dedicated module titled ‘Utilize Social Media for Positive Change’, emphasizing the potential of social media to drive meaningful societal impact.”

As teenagers inevitably traverse the digital landscape, it is imperative to arm them with the tools to do so safely and positively. By fostering an environment where they can critically assess and constructively engage with social media, we pave the way for a generation that leverages digital platforms for growth and learning, rather than falling prey to their pitfalls. A.N. Suryavathy, Principal of Harvest International School, Bangalore, encapsulates this approach perfectly: “Let’s embrace social media with wisdom and courage! Schools and educators, guide our teens to build digital bridges, not walls. Empower them to share positivity, learn endlessly, and connect responsibly. Together, we can make social media a force for good and growth!”

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Making Education Fun: Strategies for Overcoming Real-Life Teaching Challenges

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“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever. The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

Teaching is a noble profession, but it comes with its fair share of challenges. One of the most significant challenges faced by educators is keeping students engaged and making the learning experience enjoyable. In this article, we will explore real-life problems teachers encounter and discuss effective strategies to infuse fun into education.

Students have varied learning preferences and styles. Some are visual learners, while others are auditory or kinesthetic learners. Catering to these diverse styles can be challenging for teachers. With the rise of smartphones and other digital devices, students often find it challenging to stay focused in the classroom. Teachers must compete with the allure of technology to keep students engaged.

Children, especially in the younger grades, have limited attention spans. Holding their interest throughout a class or lesson is an ongoing challenge. Teachers face pressure to cover curriculum standards, leaving little room for creative and enjoyable teaching methods. Many teachers struggle with limited resources, making it difficult to create engaging and interactive learning experiences.

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As rightly stated by Albert Einstein – “Creativity is intelligence having fun.”

One of the most important C’s of 21st century Creativity fuels innovation, unlocking new perspectives and solutions that drive progress in every aspect of life. It is the catalyst for pushing boundaries and fostering a dynamic, ever-evolving world. To cope up with the Complex behavior of Gen-Z, educators today need to work upon Creative solutions to make learning a fun-filled experience for the students.

Following are the tested Strategies to Make Education Fun

  • Incorporate Technology Responsibly: Rather than competing with technology, use it to your advantage. Integrate educational apps, interactive whiteboards, and online resources into your lessons. This not only captures students’ attention but also aligns with their familiarity with digital tools.
  • Utilize Gamification: Gamify your lessons by incorporating elements of games into the learning process. Create educational games, quizzes, or challenges that reward students for their accomplishments. This not only adds an element of fun but also promotes healthy competition.
  • Hands-On Learning: Kinesthetic learners benefit greatly from hands-on activities. Incorporate experiments, projects, and interactive demonstrations into your curriculum. This not only caters to different learning styles but also makes learning more memorable.
  • Encourage Creativity: Allow students to express themselves creatively. Incorporate art, music, drama, or other creative outlets into your lessons. This fosters a positive and enjoyable learning environment.
  • Personalize Learning Experiences: Recognize the individual strengths and interests of your students. Tailor lessons to accommodate their unique needs, allowing them to explore topics that resonate with them. This personalization fosters a sense of ownership and engagement.
  • Build a Positive Classroom Culture: Cultivate a positive and inclusive classroom culture where students feel safe to express themselves. Positive reinforcement, encouragement, and fostering a sense of community can significantly impact students’ enthusiasm for learning.
  • Field Trips and Guest Speakers: Take learning beyond the classroom by organizing field trips or inviting guest speakers. Real-world experiences add excitement and relevance to academic subjects, making them more enjoyable for students.
  • Use Humor: Humor is a powerful tool in education. Injecting appropriate humor into your teaching style can create a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere. It helps to build rapport with students and makes the learning experience more enjoyable.
  • Encourage Collaboration: Foster a collaborative learning environment where students work together on projects or solve problems as a team. Collaborative activities not only make learning enjoyable but also enhance social and communication skills.
  • Flexibility and Adaptability: Be flexible in your teaching approach. If a particular method or activity isn’t working, be willing to adapt and try something new. Flexibility allows you to respond to the changing dynamics of your classroom.

In the quest to transform the classroom into a fun-filled heaven of knowledge, remember: a sprinkle of laughter is the secret sauce. Embrace the chaos of learning with joy, turn boring lessons into adventures, and let curiosity dance with creativity. After all, if learning isn’t a bit like a comedy improv, are we even doing it right? Choosing to mold young minds, not stumbling into it by chance, teachers are the architects of tomorrow, not accidental tourists in the classroom. So, go ahead, unleash the giggles, and make your classroom the happiest corner in the school !! (more…)

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The Need to Preserve Newspapers for Bias-Free Education

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Imagine a world where your morning cup of tea/coffee isn’t accompanied by the crisp rustle of a newspaper. Unthinkable, right? As we mark Indian Newspaper Day on 29 January, let’s take a moment to appreciate these daily marvels that have been a cornerstone of our society, long before the digital age buzzed into our lives.

Newspapers, often termed the ‘first draft of history’, have been our trusted companions, weaving the tapestry of our world with words. They’ve been the steadfast guardians of truth in an age where ‘fake news’ flits through our social media feeds faster than a hummingbird’s wings. Remember the time when ‘viral’ meant a flu and not a tweet? Newspapers have been the antidote to the viral misinformation pandemic, standing tall as bastions of fact-checked, well-researched information. They are the unsung heroes in the digital age.

But let’s face it – in the whirlwind of 24/7 TV news channels and clickbait headlines, our humble newspapers seem to be playing catch-up. Yet, there’s something undeniably charming about the black and white pages that tell colorful stories of our world. Newspapers are like that wise old professor – a bit traditional, but always insightful and full of surprises. They educate, they inform, and sometimes, they just make us smile with a quirky cartoon tucked in a corner.

In a world increasingly leaning towards 280 characters or less, newspapers challenge our attention spans, nudging us to dive deeper than the headline. They foster critical thinking – a skill as essential as a knowing how to use a smartphone in today’s complex world. Ever tried solving a crossword or Sudoku in the newspaper? That’s mental gymnastics right there, and you thought newspapers were just about news!

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Schools have a golden opportunity to rekindle the love for newspapers among students. How about a ‘Newspaper in Education’ week, where students swap textbooks for newspapers, engaging in debates, discussions, and creative writing, all sparked by the latest headlines? Picture a classroom buzzing with animated discussions on current events, students critically analyzing editorials, or writing their imaginative headlines. Newspapers in classrooms aren’t just paper; they’re catalysts for curiosity.

Newspapers also offer a window to diverse perspectives, a vital ingredient in nurturing empathetic and global citizens. They are the uncelebrated heroes in our democracy, keeping an eye on the corridors of power, often being the voice of the voiceless. Remember, for every sensationalist headline flashing on your TV, there’s a newspaper journalist digging deep to bring the unvarnished truth to light.

As we navigate the choppy waters of the digital era, let’s not forget these anchors of reliable information. So, this Indian Newspaper Day, let’s raise our mugs to the good old newspaper – the chronicle of our times, the keeper of our history, and a steadfast beacon in our journey towards an informed and engaged society. Let’s not just flip through its pages; let’s absorb them, for in them lie the stories of our world – unfiltered, unspun, and undeniably vital.

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Empowering the Future: The Success of Beti Bachao Beti Padhao in Girls’ Education

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As we commemorate National Girl Child Day and International Day of Education on 24th January, we celebrate the profound impact of the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao campaign, an initiative that resonates deeply with ScooNews’ vision of nurturing potential and fostering empowerment. Launched by the Government of India in 2015, this campaign represents a significant stride towards dismantling the societal barriers that hinder the progress of girls and women in our nation.

Spanning 640 districts, the campaign’s influence is evident in the marked improvement in the Child Sex Ratio (CSR), which rose from 918 in 2014-15 to 934 in 2019-20 in the focus districts. This positive trend reflects a societal shift away from the discriminatory practices of sex-selective abortions and towards a future where every girl child is valued.

Central to the campaign’s success is its emphasis on education as a transformative force. Beti Bachao Beti Padhao has catalyzed an increase in the enrolment and retention of girls in schools, thanks to a suite of holistic interventions. These include providing scholarships, enhancing educational infrastructure, and introducing innovative learning methodologies. The results are encouraging: the gross enrolment ratio of girls at the secondary level escalated to 81.32 in 2018-19, while the dropout rate decreased to 14.53, showcasing the campaign’s tangible impact on girls’ education.

Moreover, the campaign has ignited a nationwide discourse on gender equality, challenging deep-rooted biases and advocating for a society that respects and upholds the rights and dignity of girls and women. Through various platforms, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao has sensitized communities, engaged stakeholders, and celebrated the achievements and potential of girls and women.

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However, the journey towards gender parity is not devoid of challenges. Deep-seated social norms and attitudes continue to undermine the status of girls and women, necessitating a persistent, multifaceted approach to drive change.

  • Amplifying resources and ensuring the integration of the campaign with other governmental initiatives will provide a robust financial foundation and a unified direction for these efforts.
  • Additionally, a robust monitoring and evaluation framework is crucial to accurately assess the campaign’s progress and impact. This will not only facilitate transparency and accountability but also provide valuable insights for future policy formulation and implementation.
  • Fostering collaboration among stakeholders is another critical aspect. By strengthening partnerships between government bodies, educational institutions, civil society organizations, and communities, the campaign can harness collective expertise and resources, thereby accelerating progress towards gender equality.
  • At the heart of sustainable change is the empowerment of girls and women. Creating newer platforms where their voices are heard, their rights are acknowledged, and their achievements are celebrated is vital. Engaging and educating families and communities to challenge and transform discriminatory norms will further reinforce this empowerment, paving the way for a society that values and invests in every girl.

As we reflect on the journey of Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, it’s evident that the campaign has made significant strides in improving the lives of girls and women in India. The achievements are commendable, yet the road ahead demands continued dedication, innovation, and collaboration. ScooNews proudly stands in solidarity with this transformative campaign, advocating for education and empowerment as the keystones for building a society where every girl, every woman, and every future leader can thrive. As we forge ahead, let’s reaffirm our commitment to nurturing potential, fostering equality, and creating a world where the dreams and aspirations of every girl are realized.

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Is Students’ Data in Safe Hands in a Digital World?

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As the education sector increasingly intertwines with digital technology, the security of student data has become a pressing concern. Recent breaches in Indian schools highlight the escalating cybersecurity threats. Notably, a prestigious school in Delhi experienced a significant data breach, compromising the personal information of students and faculty. Similarly, a well-known educational institution in Mumbai was crippled by a ransomware attack, underscoring the vulnerabilities within our educational systems.

These incidents are part of a concerning pattern that has been substantiated by the SEQRITE’s Threat Report, a malware analysis lab. The report revealed a surge in cyberattacks targeting educational institutions, emerging as the most targeted industry for cyber attacks, accounting for more than 7 lakh detected threats in April-June 2023 in India. The predominant forms of these attacks were data breaches, phishing attempts, and ransomware, indicating an urgent need for fortified cybersecurity protocols.

The ramifications of these breaches extend beyond immediate disruptions, posing severe threats to students’ privacy, potentially leading to identity theft, financial fraud, and a long-lasting erosion of trust. As digital platforms become integral to education for administration, learning, and communication, the imperative to safeguard digital data intensifies.

Meanwhile, a separate study conducted by the online safety firm Happinetz revealed that a significant 88% of parents expressed concerns over their children’s premature exposure to unsuitable content on the internet. Furthermore, 55% of the 1,500 parents surveyed across 30 cities in India reported being regularly informed about incidents concerning children’s exposure to unsafe internet content, indicating that the internet’s adult content is indiscriminately accessible to all age groups.

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Addressing these challenges requires educational institutions to adopt a multi-layered approach to cybersecurity. This entails deploying advanced security solutions like firewalls and anti-virus programs, conducting regular security audits, and, crucially, embedding a culture of cyber awareness. Training programs for students, educators, and parents are vital in cultivating an understanding of digital safety practices, from identifying phishing attempts to securing personal devices.

Parents play a crucial role in this ecosystem. Exercising due diligence before sharing personal information with schools is essential. Verifying an institution’s data protection policies, comprehending the usage and storage of student data, and being informed about the school’s response strategies in case of a data breach are critical steps.

As we navigate the evolving landscape of digital education, a collective and informed effort is necessary to secure the cyber frontiers of our educational institutions. A combination of robust cybersecurity measures, proactive awareness, and supportive government policies is indispensable in ensuring that our students’ data, and thereby their futures, are well-protected in the digital realm.

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Youth Leadership in Education: Nurturing Young Leaders for a Better Tomorrow

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On 12th January, India celebrates National Youth Day, a day to celebrate the achievements and contributions of young people in India and around the world. It is also a day to reflect on the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for the future generation of leaders.

India is a country of diversity, with over 1.3 billion people belonging to different religions, languages, cultures, and regions. It is also a country of potential, with more than 65% of its population under the age of 35. These young people have the power and the responsibility to shape the destiny of their nation and the world.

However, India also faces many issues that hinder its progress and development. One of these issues is the lack of youth representation in decision-making bodies at all levels.

According to a report by Ashoka, in 2019, hardly 1.5% of the Lok Sabha MPs belonged to the age group 25-30, 12% were between 30 and 40 and 16% came from the 51-55 age group. The majority of the Indian democracy is made up of people below the age of 40. This means that many young voices are not heard or taken into account when policies are made or implemented.

Another issue is the persistence of patriarchal norms and values that discriminate against women and marginalised groups. Despite making significant strides in education, employment, health, and social justice, women still face many barriers and challenges in accessing their rights and opportunities. For instance, according to UNICEF, India has one of the highest rates of child marriage in the world (27%), which affects millions of girls’ lives and futures.

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These issues are not only detrimental to India’s growth and development, but also to its global reputation and influence. As a rising power in Asia and beyond, India needs to showcase its leadership potential on various fronts such as climate change, digital innovation, peacekeeping, humanitarian aid, etc. However, if India continues to be dominated by men who have a generational gap and are not up to date with global trends, it will lose its credibility and relevance as a responsible actor in world affairs.

Therefore, it is imperative that India nurtures its youth leadership in education by providing them with quality learning opportunities that equip them with knowledge, skills, values, and attitudes that enable them to become effective changemakers in their respective domains.

One way that Indian schools can instill such qualities in children is by adopting an interdisciplinary approach that integrates different subjects such as science, technology, arts, humanities, etc., into a holistic curriculum that fosters critical thinking, creativity problem-solving, collaboration communication etc., These skills are essential for young leaders who need to adapt to changing situations, understand complex problems, and communicate their ideas clearly and persuasively.

Another way that Indian schools can nurture youth leadership is by exposing students to diverse perspectives and experiences that broaden their horizons and challenge their assumptions. This can be done through various activities such as field trips, guest lectures, workshops, projects, etc., that allow students to interact with people from different backgrounds, cultures, and fields. These activities can help students develop empathy, respect, tolerance, and appreciation for diversity and foster cross-cultural understanding and cooperation.

A third way that Indian schools can nurture youth leadership is by encouraging students to take action on issues that matter to them and their communities. This can be done through various platforms such as clubs, associations, competitions, campaigns, etc., that provide students with opportunities to express their opinions, share their ideas, learn from others, and make a positive difference. These platforms can help students develop confidence, initiative, responsibility and resilience as they face challenges and overcome obstacles.

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However nurturing youth leadership does not happen overnight. It requires constant work and support from various stakeholders such as parents teachers peers mentors role models etc. It also requires patience understanding feedback encouragement recognition etc. It also requires courage vision passion perseverance etc. But most importantly it requires love care respect trust etc.

For youth leadership is not just about having power or influence or fame or money. It is about having a purpose or a vision or a passion or a mission. It is about having an impact or an influence or a legacy or a change. And these things come from within. They come from having faith in oneself in others in life itself.

 

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