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Webinar: School & Infrastructure Experts Discuss The Future of Learning Spaces

Schools in India are getting ready to reopen, what will they look like post-COVID lockdown? Here’s our webinar exploring the Future of Learning Spaces – the new pedagogy, the govt. policies, and the changes in infrastructure. Read on.

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This webinar was conducted with 5000+ viewers on 9th September 2020 by ScooNews, in collaboration with Godrej Interio, that discussed the Future of Learning Spaces when the school will reopen.

(MODERATOR)

Dr Arunabh Singh, Director Nehru World School, Chairperson FICCI Arise, Western UP

(SPEAKERS)

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Mr Sameer Joshi, Head, Workspace Research & Ergonomics, Godrej Interio 

Ms Meena Murthy Kakkar, Design Head & Partner, Envisage

Dr Swati Popat Vats, President, Podar Education Network

Ms Geetika Bahuguna, COO (Services), Millennium Education Management Pvt. Ltd

Mr Himmat Singh Dhillon, Headmaster, The Lawrence School, Sanwar

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Excerpts

Dr Arunabh Singh: How do you see the network of Millenium schools when they would reopen? What kind of pedagogical shifts would it require?

Geetika Bahuguna: Let me start by telling you what we are currently doing. According to us, the change has to happen in 2 phases and we have covered the 1st phase of preparing the schools for this shift. Millenium schools have very strong learning philosophy, culture, curriculum and infrastructure which helps the learning approach. But since the lockdown, the use of infrastructure that helped in not only academic learning but also skill-based learning was out of the window, we created virtual portals. With the help of teachers, matter experts and mentors, we also updated accordingly. 

When NEP came out, we mapped out a 10-year-old 5E learning approach that is used in millennium schools with the NEP and realised we were already 80 % there. So what we have planned for reopening is that only 33 % of total students would come to school for 2 days a week. This will bring that socio-emotional bonding back between the teacher and children. Because even when children are cognitively learning at home and the virtual portals are working fine, the emotional connect is still left out. Reopening would bring that back and let us use the infrastructure along with the virtual learning modules, that are carefully drawn, to help in the kind of learning millennium schools believe in.

Arunabh Singh: In your opinion, what would you say the schools would require when they reopen?

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Sameer Joshi: We carried out a survey of 350 students and parents for teachers and schools to understand their mindset in terms of online learning and for when schools may reopen. What is interestingly surprising is that 33% of parents do not wish to send their wards to school anymore out of concern for their safety. And this is understandable when you look at the office/school spaces, they weren’t initially built to stop the spread of infection but to bring people together. So the main concern comes down to infrastructure. 

Another one is staggering timing of crowd amongst the campus. What school basically need to do is not only create safer spaces but also be visually communicative of the safety measures they are taking for students as well as teachers. 

There need to be several interventions regarding a variety of points like protocols, isolation (in case needed), safety procedure and whatnot. We have come up with a summary that gives out the possible interventions that are emerging as a critical need for the schools, both for online and on-campus studies.

Dr Arunabh Singh: How are you planning to regulate 4-5-year-olds when schools reopen?

Dr Swati Popat Vats: Reopening of schools and educational institutes is going to be the new normal because schools that we knew of do not exist any more. There will be a new kind of reality in schools. As for children, we should remember that since the last 6 months, they are no more in a habit of ‘sitting’ in one place. But as the schools reopen, they will be expected to ‘sit,’ not move around and be socially distanced. For this, we have realised that the ‘Bubble Format’ has been very useful, we are seeing that in schools abroad. It is not a literal bubble but a group of children with one teacher, they do not interact with another group or teacher. What will be challenging is that Indian schools have more number of students so not all of them will be able to attend at once. And for those bubbles to remain non-contagious, we will have to make sure to keep an eye on no-exchange of items amongst children, no close proximity contact, etc. It will be difficult and challenging, a lot of activities like playing with sand/water will not be possible in the beginning in order to keep safety a priority. 

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 What can be done to ensure this includes:

  1. Proper training of the staff so they do not become too obsessed over a lot of things and stress unnecessarily. 
  2. Parent-partnership is going to be very important.
  3. To open early schools at the last after older classes have reopened and it is been studied how things are going.
  4. The physical structure of the classroom to keep it safe and comfortable for the children to sit for a longer duration as they are not used to it anymore.

What might help parents and children, is virtually getting used to the transition before physically getting used to it. 

Dr Arunabh Singh: What are the expected changes for residential schools like The Lawrence School?

Himmat Singh Dhillon: In every crisis, there is a hidden opportunity! What is requite is infrastructure and space currently which we have. Having said that we have come up with SOPs during all this time we had. According to which there will be staggered induction of some grades like class 12, there are going to be decontamination zones, holding areas for quarantine and a set process of integration for students as well as teachers that will be a minimum of 14 days. We are very thankful to have received guidance from the secretary of education who is our chairperson and have had collaboration like, Indian Public School Conference to map out a do-able, well thought out SOP. As for the common areas, there will be no congregation allowed whether, during meals or breaks, masks and shields will be mandatory. Sanitization of not only hands but of common area, surfaces, items will be a priority, children and teachers will not come in face to face contact with the cleaning crew and all the staff members will have Aarogya Setu apps. We are going to set the classrooms and dormitories in a way that abides with the 6-feet distance rule and further bring similar changes to the safety of children and teachers.

Dr Arunabh Singh: As an architect, what do you think are the areas of schools that need more analysis after this pandemic?

Meena Murthy Kakkar: It is extremely important to understand the demographic population of a school, concerns will vary accordingly. A meticulous training of the staff is significant to equip them for the reopening of schools. Space layout and circulation is to be chalked out literally to avoid overcrowded routes for students and teachers. And of course, individual class/activity room layouts need to be looked at as well. Process of functioning will have a lot of administrative part in it apart from design.

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What usually gets looked over at is the building’s services and ventilation, we need the already present air to be cleaner apart from all the sanitization of spaces and materials. A critical look at technology and communication is required as well. 

More importantly, a health audit of the building should be done before putting in expenditure in all the redesigning, to check what already is available. And after all that we do not want the schools to look like hospitals, we need to address the fears of children and parents in order to encourage them to come back.

Dr Arunabh Singh: How are classrooms going to provide that feeling of collaboration under these social distancing times and norms?

Geetika Bahuguna: Collaboration is of two kinds physical and mental, we are leaning towards the mental collaboration where a child is able to share thoughts connected with the idea and exchange views because that is how learning happens. At the bottom line comes the training of children and teachers because once the students are in school, it is a whole different play so we are planning to start with the senior lot.

Dr Arunabh Singh: What is your advice for people who run early childhood schools?

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Dr Swati Popat Vats: Firstly please stop calling them pre-primary, that brings the focus on preparing them for primary and removes it from the Early Childhood category. 

Second training and mock drill before children come back is going to be extremely necessary.

Lastly, it is prime to have parents trusting you and feeling safe with leaving their children with you so parent-partnership is going to be of utmost importance.

Dr Arunabh Singh: How would you bring the parents to trust and feel safe in sending their children to residential schools?

Himmat Singh Dhillon: Faith can only be there when there is communication and trust. There has to be a relationship with the parents. To do so, we share as much as possible with them, students and all the stakeholders. We would also share the SOPs and would invite suggestions as to what more can be done for the children once they are back at the campus. 

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I would also like to say that there are two ways of looking at a residential school. One, it is isolated during this pandemic and two, there is not yet a single case on the campus. All we want to tell the parents is that we will leave no stone unturned in taking care of them.

Arunabh Singh: What is your advice to people who are starting to design a school?

Meena Murthy Kakkar

  1. Look at the indoor air quality, pressure intake and circulation. Do not restrict learning to authentic style classroom, make sure to incorporate open spaces into the building.
  2. Multiutalitarian spaces are needed, especially in these social distancing times. Flexibility is the new buzz word in school design.
  3. Incorporate technology into the system. The learning took a paradigm shift recently and some of the technology and online learning is here to stay along with the tech tools, do not avert from them, instead accept them.

Dr Arunabh Singh: What can we expect from companies like Godrej Interio, what can we expect to learn from White Paper? 

Sameer Joshi: Investment in the flexibility of infrastructure, design and other areas seems to be the way forward. What White Paper deals with is what was just discussed here – the generic problem; what changes do I make; how do I take care of safety, etc. It provides guidelines based on survey and research on a vast number of queries.

Earlier, we came out with another White Paper that dealt with the health and wellness of teachers, where a survey of 600 teachers was done. We need to add that extract of health and wellness to dimension as well.

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To contact Godrej Interio for school infrastructure, just go to the website and put in the contact info and the team will reach out to you.

Dr Arunabh Singh: What must be done if a child tests positive for COVID?

Dr Swati Popat Vats: So, if a child is positive, the entire bubble should be quarantined.  If more than one child is positive, the entire school should be closed and quarantined for at least 14 days. Surely, our government will come out with guidelines as well. Meanwhile, what schools must remember is to be transparent and not hide if a positive case is found. Reporting the case is important, do not worry about reputation, you will not lose anything for being straightforward but you might lose if you do not come out clean.

Dr Arunabh Singh: What about school in semi-urban settings?

Dr Swati Popat Vats: Local governments will have to be reached out to in case of all the budget-related constraints. Reach out to ECA & NAPER if you need trained staff or need parents to understand what to expect during these times, etc.

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Dr Arunabh Singh: Apart from all this, there is a 5-page SOP that has been launched and it shows several demographics and geographical variations that were kept in mind. Check it out.

Sameer Joshi: There is a lot of anxiety about it, but we need to give that positive message that it will be better now. Yes, a lot of interventions are required; people, process, workspace framework, all of it goes hand in hand. But with these difficulties, training, preparations and much more, we would go back to school for sure. As one of the principals said during the White Paper survey, “We build citizens of India, we instil discipline in them, we build morals and teach them a whole lot of things; it is just not about only textbooks and exams, there is no alternative to going back to schools.”

Knowledge

Young Birders’ Workshop Opens Registration for Children Aged 10-13 Years

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Early Bird, a not-for-profit initiative by the Nature Conservation Foundation, has announced the launch of an online birdwatching workshop tailored specifically for young enthusiasts aged 10-13 years. As birdwatching gains popularity across India, Early Bird aims to deepen young birders’ understanding of their natural surroundings, beyond merely ticking off bird names from their lists.

Set to commence during the summer holidays, this 4-week intensive programme will explore various themes through online sessions that combine multimedia, guided interactions, and lively discussions. These weekly live sessions will be held on consecutive weekends, each supplemented by an illustrated activity sheet that encourages participants to engage with and observe the green spaces around their homes.

The workshop is designed not only to educate but also to foster a deeper appreciation and awareness among children of the ecosystems they inhabit. “The workshop has changed our lives so much. We have found around 30 bird varieties around our house which we were completely unaware of,” shared Rupinder Kaur, a parent of a participant from previous workshops.

“My son never journaled or made notes. Now, he has started noticing everything when we go out to walk and wants to carry his journal. He has always hated writing but now carries his book and pencil and is ready to make notes. This workshop has made a difference to the way he looks at things. Quite enlightening. Has a lot to ask and share.“ said another participant’s parent.

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While the workshop itself is free to attend, there is a nominal fee of Rs. 800 for materials, ensuring that all participants have access to the necessary resources to fully benefit from the experience.

Registrations for the workshop are now open and can be accessed through the link provided here. This initiative aims to be an enlightening experience, allowing young minds to discover and connect with the biodiversity that exists right in their backyards.

Early Bird continues to dedicate itself to bringing children closer to nature through educational content, training educators, and direct outreach, fostering a new generation that values and conserves our natural world.

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Education

STEMpedia Successfully Completed Codeavour 5.0- India’s National Innovation Fest

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STEMpedia, in collaboration with ART PARK@IISc, India’s premier AI & Robotics Technology Park, established by the Indian Institute of Science in Bengaluru, successfully concluded the national level event of 2023’s biggest innovation fest, Codeavour 5.0 International. This year’s event, supported by leading organisations including AI Foundry, Startup India, and INDIAai, witnessed participation from 300,000 students across 70 countries, underscoring its global impact and the cumulative achievements of the competition to date.

The event, which also enjoyed backing from entities like AWS, NITI Aayog, and STEM.org, focused on fostering hands-on learning and innovation among next-gen participants. They were encouraged to create projects using PictoBlox that would contribute towards making the world a better place, aligning with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Dhrupal Shah, Director and CEO of STEMpedia, reflected on the journey and the fest’s objectives, saying, “Five years ago, we initiated Codeavour with the intention to empower young innovators and equip them with the necessary skills for the future workforce. This year, we are thrilled to announce that the top 20 winners will be awarded a trip to Mexico to participate in the FAB24 Event, accompanied by their mentors.”

The fest not only highlighted the technical skills of young minds but also provided them with a platform to showcase their creative solutions to real-world problems. In addition to the innovation and entrepreneurship track, participants competed in the AI-Robo City Challenge, demonstrating their prowess in applying AI and robotics to urban development challenges.

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The panel discussion titled “AI EduFusion Conclave: Shaping Global School Education with AI, Robotics, and Policy Insights” was a highlight of the event, featuring experts like Dr. Sreejit Chakrabarthy from GEMS Dubai American Academy and Mr. Pankaj Verma from STEMpedia. The discussion provided insights into how governments and educational institutions are integrating AI and robotics into school curriculums to prepare students for future job markets.

The event culminated with the National Innovation Awards, where participants presented projects that tackled environmental challenges and proposed sustainable solutions. Winners from the event will now proceed to the International Showdown in Dubai, hosted in partnership with Dubai American Academy.

As Codeavour 5.0 International wraps up, its success marks a significant step forward in integrating technology and education, inspiring the next generation of innovators and leaders to think critically and act creatively. The continued expansion of this fest promises to keep pushing the boundaries of what young students can achieve in the fields of AI and robotics.

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Education

CBSE to Initiate Pilot for National Credit System in Grades 6, 9, and 11

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The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) is set to launch the pilot for National Credit Framework for students in classes 6, 9, and 11, commencing in the 2024-25 academic session. This innovative step, aimed at fostering a seamless integration of school, higher, and vocational education, aligns with the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020’s vision for a holistic and flexible educational system.

Under the new scheme, students will have the opportunity to earn credits through a variety of learning avenues, including classroom teaching, laboratory work, projects, sports, performing arts, NCC, social work, vocational education, and experiential learning. These credits will be accumulated in the Academic Bank of Credit (ABC), linked to the student’s APAAR ID and DigiLocker, ensuring a cohesive and secure record of their academic journey.

The introduction of the National Credit Framework marks a significant shift towards competency and outcome-based education, aiming to bridge the gap in achieving learning outcomes. It encourages students to engage in additional courses, programs, or projects beyond the mandatory 40 credits, offering them the flexibility to tailor their educational experiences to their interests and career aspirations.

To facilitate the smooth implementation of this framework, the CBSE has developed draft guidelines, which have been refined through multiple workshops and received approval from the Union Ministry of Education. “To further test, refine, and assess their effectiveness in real-world contexts, a pilot implementation of these guidelines has been planned in schools affiliated with CBSE,” stated a letter from the CBSE to school principals.

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Schools interested in participating in this groundbreaking pilot program have been invited to register their interest, marking a collaborative effort to enhance the educational offerings for students across the nation.

This initiative not only promises to transform the way students learn and earn qualifications but also paves the way for a more inclusive and flexible education system that caters to the diverse needs and aspirations of India’s youth. As the CBSE embarks on this ambitious journey, it sets the stage for a future where education is not just about accumulation of knowledge but the holistic development of every student.

(Source- PTI)

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Education

NCERT Introduces Bridge Month Programme for Class 6 Amid Textbook Transition

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In a bid to revolutionize the educational landscape and foster a more dynamic learning environment, the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has unveiled its Bridge Month Programme tailored for Class 6 students. This initiative marks a significant departure from conventional teaching methodologies, placing a heightened emphasis on interactive sessions and projects aimed at enhancing students’ overall skill set.

Aligned with the National Curriculum Framework for School Education (NCF-SE) and the recently implemented National Education Policy (NEP), NCERT’s Bridge Month Programme is poised to redefine the educational experience for both students and educators alike. By steering away from rote memorization towards a competency-based approach, the programme seeks to cultivate a deeper understanding of various subjects while nurturing critical thinking and problem-solving abilities.

The month-long bridge course is meticulously crafted to equip teachers with innovative pedagogical tools designed to engage students in enjoyable and enriching learning experiences. Through a curated blend of fun-based, play-based, and discovery-based activities, educators are empowered to guide students towards holistic development, transcending the boundaries of traditional classroom instruction.

Central to the programme’s ethos is the integration of vocational skills within the curriculum, commencing as early as Class 6. This forward-looking approach not only broadens students’ horizons but also fosters practical, real-world application of academic concepts. Additionally, the restructuring of the Grade 6 timetable allows for a dedicated immersion period, during which students can delve into a myriad of engaging activities spanning subjects like science, social studies, and vocational education.

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With the impending release of new textbooks for Classes 3 and 6, NCERT’s phased approach ensures a seamless transition to the updated curriculum across all educational levels. As educators and students embark on this transformative journey, the overarching goal remains clear: to cultivate a generation of lifelong learners equipped with the skills and knowledge to thrive in an ever-evolving world.

As reported by India Today.

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Education

Indian Embassy Advocates for India-US Collaboration in Education Sector

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The Indian Embassy in Washington DC has underscored the significance of fostering collaboration between India and the United States in the realm of education. In a recent social media post on platform X, the embassy expressed contentment with the fruitful engagement it had with senior faculty members from esteemed universities in Washington DC.

During the interaction, the embassy stressed the substantial opportunities for bolstering knowledge and research partnerships between India and the US. This joint endeavour aims to bolster educational initiatives and advocate for the well-being of Indian students pursuing studies in the United States.

“Excellent interaction with senior faculty from prominent universities in Washington DC on India-US collaboration and opportunities for strengthening knowledge and research partnership and promote well-being of Indian students in the US,” stated the Indian Embassy in a post on X.

Moreover, amidst recent distressing incidents involving Indian nationals or individuals of Indian origin in the US, US Ambassador to India, Eric Garcetti, has addressed concerns regarding the safety of Indian students studying in the United States. Garcetti urged students to remain vigilant and employ appropriate safety precautions, while emphasizing the importance of staying connected with peers and utilizing campus safety resources to enhance awareness and preparedness.

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In a recent interview with ANI, Garcetti acknowledged the distressing incidents involving Indian students, noting that such occurrences can statistically happen in a country of this scale. He reiterated the importance for students to remain vigilant and take necessary safety measures.

As per reports, five Indian students were reported dead in separate incidents in the first two months of 2024. (Source: ANI)

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Education

CBSE Updates Exam Structure for 11th & 12th Class; Concept-based Questions Now 50% of Weightage

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Image Source- Envato Elements

In a significant overhaul of the examination structure, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has announced changes to the year-end assessment format for Classes 11 and 12, commencing from the academic session 2024-25. The board has decided to enhance the weightage for competency-based questions to 50%, a substantial increase from the previous session’s 40%. This adjustment aims to shift the focus towards application of concepts in real-life scenarios, aligning with the new National Education Policy (NEP) 2020.

The recent circular dispatched to all CBSE-affiliated schools outlines the board’s decision to reduce the weightage for traditional short and long-answer questions to 30%, down from 40% in the 2023-24 academic session. This move is part of the board’s ongoing efforts to foster an educational environment that prioritises critical thinking, creativity, and application of knowledge over rote memorisation.

“Continuing with its practice of aligning assessment and evaluation with the new National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 in the forthcoming 2024-25 academic session, the percentage of competency-based questions that assess application of concepts in real-life situations is increased by 10 per cent,” reads the circular issued on April 3.

Competency-based questions will encompass multiple-choice questions, case-based, and source-based integrated questions. According to a senior official from the CBSE, the increment in weightage for competency-based questions has been a consistent annual strategy for the past three years, reaching its peak at 50% this year.

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The CBSE has chosen not to modify the examination format for Classes 9 and 10, maintaining the structure set during the previous academic year. The changes for senior secondary classes reflect the board’s commitment to the NEP’s vision of competency-based learning as opposed to the traditional textbook-driven approach.

“The main emphasis of the board was to create an educational ecosystem that would move away from rote memorisation and towards learning that is focused on developing the creative, critical and systems thinking capacities of students to meet the challenges of the 21st century,” the CBSE conveyed in its letter to school heads.

This reform is a stride towards equipping students with the necessary skills and knowledge to navigate the complexities of the modern world, ensuring they are not only exam-ready but also prepared for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in the 21st century.

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Education

FPSB India and IIM Bangalore Forge Strategic Partnership to Advance Financial Education

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In a collaboration aimed at enhancing financial education and professional development in India, FPSB India and the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIM Bangalore) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). Announced on March 29, 2024, in Bangalore, this partnership is set to revolutionize the landscape of financial planning education for working professionals and students alike.

Under the auspices of this strategic alliance, an Executive Education Programme in Financial Planning will be launched, tailored specifically to meet the needs of working professionals and students. This programme is designed to address the growing demand for advanced education in financial planning, drawing on the combined expertise of FPSB India and IIM Bangalore to deliver a comprehensive and enriching learning experience.

In a move to further empower aspiring Certified Financial Planner professionals, FPSB India has announced the provision of five scholarships based on merit. This initiative underscores the commitment of both institutions to foster talent and equip candidates with the necessary skills and certifications for success in the financial planning sector.

Moreover, the partnership will see FPSB India and IIM Bangalore jointly creating Continuous Professional Development (CPD) resources and co-curating various initiatives and events. These collaborative efforts aim to make education and training in finance more accessible to students pursuing a career in this field, thereby bridging the gap between academia and industry.

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Krishan Mishra, CEO of FPSB India, expressed his enthusiasm for the collaboration, stating, “This collaboration marks a significant milestone in our efforts to elevate the financial planning profession in India. By joining forces with IIM Bangalore, we aim to provide students with unparalleled opportunities to excel in the professional financial planning sector.”

Echoing these sentiments, Professor Rishikesha T Krishnan, Director of IIM Bangalore, highlighted the mutual goal of both organizations to enhance the connection between academic knowledge and practical industry application. “We are happy to partner with FPSB India in our shared mission to bridge the gap between academia and industry in the field of personal finance,” he said.

This partnership between FPSB India and IIM Bangalore represents a concerted effort to promote financial literacy, advance research, and cater to the evolving needs of the personal finance sector. Through their joint initiatives, both organizations are committed to nurturing a pool of talent that is poised to drive innovation and excellence in the financial planning services industry in India and beyond.

FPSB India stands as a leading authority in financial planning in India, dedicated to promoting professional standards across the country (with more than 2,731 CFP professionals in India and part of a global network representing over 223,700 professionals worldwide).

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1 in 6 School-Age Children Face Cyberbullying: Calls for Immediate Action

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the concept of cyberbullying students as revealed in a study by WHO
The image is generated using AI

On 27th March 2024, WHO/Europe unveiled the second volume of the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study, casting light on a growing concern in our digital age: cyberbullying. This comprehensive research, spanning 44 countries and regions, reveals some unsettling statistics – one in six school-aged children experiences cyberbullying, an issue magnified by the increasing digitalization of youth interactions.

Despite the stable overall trends in school bullying since 2018, the report highlights a notable rise in cyberbullying, underpinning the profound impact it has on young lives. The figures speak volumes: 12% of adolescents report cyberbullying others, with boys (14%) more inclined than girls (9%). This marks a worrying increase from previous years. Moreover, the experience of being cyberbullied has risen to 15% among adolescents, closely aligned between boys (15%) and girls (16%).

These statistics are alarming, not least because they often go unnoticed in schools. The invisible nature of cyberbullying means children suffer in silence, unable to voice their distress. In the Indian context, bullying – both offline and online – remains a pervasive issue, exacerbated by cultural and systemic barriers that discourage open discussion and resolution.

The advent of AI and deepfakes technology poses an even greater threat, making it easier to create and spread harmful content, potentially leading to an immense increase in cyberbullying incidents. This technological evolution, while offering myriad benefits, also amplifies the avenues for harassers to exploit, making it increasingly challenging to protect young people online.

Dr Joanna Inchley, HBSC study International Coordinator, emphasizes the dual nature of the digital world. “It offers incredible opportunities for learning and connecting but also amplifies challenges like cyberbullying,” she notes. This dichotomy necessitates comprehensive strategies to safeguard young people’s mental and emotional well-being, urging governments, schools, and families to collaborate in addressing online risks and ensuring adolescents have safe and supportive environments to flourish.

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Dr Hans Henri P. Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe, frames this as both a health and human rights issue. “With young people spending up to 6 hours online every single day, even small changes in the rates of bullying and violence can have profound implications for the health and well-being of thousands,” he states. This underscores the urgent need for action to protect our children from violence and harm, both offline and online.

In response, WHO/Europe has recently published its first-ever position paper on protecting children from online harms. This groundbreaking document aims to support governments in formulating consistent requests to technology companies, with the overarching goal of securing healthy online environments for children to thrive.

The HBSC study’s findings underscore the complexity of adolescent bullying and peer violence, highlighting the crucial role societal, cultural, and technological factors play. By providing a detailed overview of current trends and challenges, the report offers valuable guidance for stakeholders at all levels in their efforts to improve the health and well-being of young people across Europe, Central Asia, and Canada.

Investing in evidence-based interventions to combat bullying and peer violence is not just about supporting adolescent well-being; it offers broader societal benefits. From reducing healthcare costs associated with mental health issues to improving educational outcomes, the stakes couldn’t be higher.

As we delve deeper into the digital age, the need for fast, comprehensive, and evidence-based interventions has never been more critical. Cultivating empathy, respect, and resilience among adolescents is paramount in creating a safer, more inclusive digital landscape. The time to act is now, ensuring every young person can thrive in an environment that promotes their health and development.

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Education

GD Goenka Group To Establish 12 New Schools from April 2024

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The GD Goenka Group has officially announced the launch of 12 new partner K12 schools across India, set to open in April 2024. This significant expansion underscores the group’s dedication to delivering quality education and promoting holistic development among students.

“The new schools aim to cater to the growing demand for high-quality education while bringing GD Goenka’s renowned curriculum and teaching methodologies to more communities across the country. These exceptional campuses are equipped with modern facilities and amenities to enrich students’ learning environment,” stated Mr. Nipun Goenka, Managing Director of GD Goenka Group.

The introduction of these schools is a strategic move by the GD Goenka Group to build a comprehensive network of educational institutions that excel in academic achievements and focus on nurturing individuals who are well-prepared to meet the challenges of Industry 4.0. The group’s presence will now extend to over 130 schools Pan-India, covering 20 states.

Mr. Gaurav Himkar, Group CEO, expressed his excitement about the expansion, remarking, “The opening of these 12 new schools reflects our dedication to building a larger pool of mutual benefits for GD Goenka partner schools by being a member of a pan-India GD Goenka ecosystem.”

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These new institutions are poised to offer a diverse range of academic opportunities, specifically designed to meet the educational needs of students from various backgrounds and regions across the country.

Further details on the expansion were provided by Mr. Vipin Jha, Director of Partnerships, who noted, “A lot of new generation entrepreneurs reach out to us for partnership and have built world-standard school setups in the past couple of years. We have a steady pipeline of such new schools at least until the end of this decade.”

Mrs. Bharati Sharma, Director of Partnership Engagement, added, “The opening of these 12 schools underscores our commitment to expanding access to quality education. By providing state-of-the-art facilities and innovative learning environments, we aim to inspire and empower the next generation of leaders, thinkers, and innovators.”

This expansion by the GD Goenka Group is a pivotal step towards realising the vision of the institution in ensuring every child in the nation has access to quality education, setting the stage for a brighter and more prosperous future for the upcoming generations.

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India-Bhutan Strengthen Ties: Focus on STEM Education

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Image Source- ANI

In a significant move to deepen bilateral relations, India and Bhutan have announced plans to expand their partnership in the education sector, particularly focusing on enhancing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) pedagogy in Bhutan with the support of Indian educators. The decision comes in the wake of the Bhutanese Prime Minister, Tshering Tobgay’s recent visit to India, accompanied by his wife Tashi Doma, from March 14-18, marking his first international trip since taking office in January 2024.

According to a joint statement released by the two nations, the visit aimed at bolstering the already vibrant people-to-people relations, with education at the forefront of their collaboration. The initiative reflects a shared vision to strengthen the foundation of mutual understanding and cooperation in various sectors, including digital technology, startups, and STEM education.

Furthermore, the two countries have committed to enhancing collaboration in new and emerging fields such as digital technology and startups, alongside a continued focus on sports infrastructure development in Bhutan, a gesture appreciated by the Bhutanese side.

In addition, the partnership extends into space technology, with both nations acknowledging the fruitful collaboration in this domain. Recent initiatives, like the technical capacity-building programme on remote sensing technology organised by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for the Royal Government of Bhutan, underscore the strategic and cooperative relationship between the countries. They also celebrated the formulation of a Joint Plan of Action on Space Cooperation, signifying a new chapter in their bilateral ties.

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This enhanced collaboration marks a milestone in the Indo-Bhutanese relationship, paving the way for a future of shared growth and prosperity in the education and technology sectors.

(with inputs from ANI)

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