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Who is trying to kill the RTE and why?

A lot is being said and written against RTE and Public Education System in India of late. Here is an insight into who is perpetrating these attacks and what’s the agenda.

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The public education system (PES) has for long been under attack. It has always been painted as non-functioning, wasteful and un-improvable. The Right to Education Act (RTE) was designed and implemented to improve this system. Therefore, it is only natural that the RTE will also come under fire from the same quarters that have been attacking the PES.

What’s interesting is that almost all attacks arise from private schools, their supporters and the privatisation lobby. Needless to say, the solutions that are being aggressively pushed to “solve” the problem will only lead to the profit of these vested interests.

Oh what a tale!

A lie is being perpetrated through sheer force of repetition that learning is better in so-called low-cost private schools. It is obviously an attempt by bigger private schools to checkmate the PES ensuring that they fade into oblivion.

And what better way to turn a lie into a truth than giving it a varnish of facts and figures. So in every few days you will run into an article about a research which shows that private schools outperform public schools and they are efficient on other accounts.

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Then there are some ‘real’ studies that claim that after adjusting for family and socio-economic background of the children, there is not much of a difference in learning outcomes. Amita Chudgar and Elizabeth Quin claim that they “find insufficient evidence to claim that children in private schools outperform those in public schools in India… better data are needed” (“Relationship between Private Schooling and Achievement: Results from Rural and Urban India”, Economics of Education Review, 2012).

In fact, the report by Sangeeta Goyal and Priyanka Pandey, “How do Government and Private Schools Differ”, EPW, 2012 shows that students in private “schools are less likely to belong to low caste groups” which means that they are less inclusive. Therefore, the repeated claims of better learning in private schools are unfounded simply on the fact that they do not account for a large section of the society.

Well the vested parties pretty soon realised that it was difficult to empirically prove that children learn better in private schools, so they invented a new weapon: per unit cost of learning outcomes. Little did they realise that over time this bogus benchmark of learning outcomes too will fall flat on its face.

Most of the learning outcome researches almost always reduce the entire purpose of education to so-called 3Rs. The new claim that emerged is that everything in education can be quantified in ‘per unit cost of outcome’ which is lower in private schools. Which means that even if the learning outcomes of private schools are not better than the public schools, the cost of running private schools is much lower.

This argument is completely bogus and shows very little understanding of education. The costs quoted for private schools, firstly, have no reliable data source and secondly, they ignore or forget hidden costs — to the family. Here’s the hidden cost to family. Often the cost of education in private schools is equated with the fee per child. This is obviously an understatement of the cost as the cost of school uniform, books and stationery, and transport, which all are under the monopoly of the school, are not included. What about the additional money for special occasions like festivals, picnics, excursions and projects? None of this is counted in this cost calculation. However, the family bears this burden and these items add significantly to the revenue of private schools.

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Another fiction: school closure

To add to the force of two spurious arguments mentioned above a new falsehood is being spread: that the low-cost private schools are closing due to implementation of the RTE. What RTE demands of infrastructure, children per teacher, teacher qualifications and teacher remunerations is just minimum to run a decent school.

If schools which do not have classroom, do not have trained teachers, do not have toilets and drinking water and do not pay even the minimum wages to their teachers close down, why should it be blamed on the RTE? Actually, they have no right to run in the first place. Recently the Azim Premji Foundation conducted a study in 69 districts across seven States and one Union Territory and found that across these districts only 5 schools were closed due to non-compliance of the RTE and notices for compliance had been served to 7,156 schools.

Finally peddling false remedies

The remedy suggested for the low learning levels in the PES is to encourage the private sector. Simply put, that means provide public money to the private profiteer either though the vouchers or by facilitating their compliance with the RTE norms. The vouchers are seen as the ticket to quality education as the parents can decide to take their children to any private school they like. In reality vouchers are like a hidden demand for letting the market regulate schools. The market is not a just god, it favours big money; and competition raising quality is a myth at least in education. To understand this, simply look at the condition of Teacher education in India where it is almost entirely in the hands of the private colleges. We all know that it has completely ruined teacher education and all attempts to improve it so far have failed.

The proponents of the voucher system forget that freedom of choice requires informed decision-making. Poor parents do not have adequate information about schools, and that information cannot be reliably and systematically provided. Their judgment can be easily swayed by false propaganda, as is being done right now across the country.

The truth is that RTE is not being implemented either efficiently or fairly, efforts are half-hearted at best. Governments have diluted it and are uninterested in making the private schools comply with it. It was constructed to provide better schools to the poor. But these schools have made provisions to spare themselves.

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However, this is the fault of implementation and not of the Act. Dr. Ambedkar made a poignant comment while adopting the Constitution that “however good a Constitution may be, it is sure to turn out bad because those who are called to work it, happen to be a bad lot.”

The tirade against the PES and RTE is a classic case of giving the dog a bad name with intention to kill it, so that a wolf of their choice could replace it in the name of guarding the house.

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Gurukul The School Hosts a Workshop to Empower Hindi Language Teaching

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Gurukul The School, a beacon of education excellence, hosted a transformative workshop on Hindi Language Teaching, aligning with the principles outlined in the New National Education Policy. The event drew participation from 55 prominent C.B.S.E. schools and witnessed over 180 enthusiastic Hindi language teachers in attendance.

Dr. Sunday Light Gupta, a renowned educationist and former Regional Director of the Central Hindi Institution under the Ministry of Human Resources and Development, Government of India, graced the occasion as the esteemed subject expert. The event commenced with a warm welcome from the School’s Senior Mentor, Mrs. Anjali Malik, who also served as the main speaker. Mrs. Malik emphasized the pivotal role of Hindi in nurturing students’ creativity and facilitating effective communication, crucial skills for the 21st century.

The workshop delved into the significance of Hindi language teaching as a cornerstone of the New Education Policy. It underscored the importance of fostering students’ all-round development, promoting inclusive teaching practices, and consolidating art within education.

Participants found the workshop to be incredibly enlightening and valuable. As the day concluded, gratitude flowed towards all guests and participants for their active engagement.

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Gurukul The School remains committed to promoting excellence in education, with ‘Hindi Language Teaching’ emerging as a central theme in this forward-looking initiative.

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India’s Elite Trio: The British, Doon, and Woodstock Schools Shine in 2023 Global School Index

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In an education landscape dotted with choices, parents worldwide yearn for exceptional educational experiences for their children. The eagerly awaited announcement by Carfax Education, a leading global education consultancy, brought forth the prestigious Schools Index 2023. This carefully curated guide, compiled by international experts, showcases the top 125 private schools globally. Among these, India proudly boasts The British School in New Delhi, The Doon School in Dehradun, and Woodstock School in Mussoorie, recognized for their outstanding contributions to education.

For discerning parents, the Schools Index is not just a list; it is a compass guiding them toward the pinnacle of educational brilliance. Handpicked by Carfax Education’s seasoned consultants, these schools stand as paragons of academic excellence, holistic development, and unique ethos. The meticulous selection process delves into factors beyond academic prowess, including a school’s reputation, its global standing, and its ability to prepare students for life’s challenges beyond academics.

Beyond Borders: Recognising Indian Excellence

The presence of The British School, New Delhi, The Doon School, Dehradun, and Woodstock School, Mussoorie, on this esteemed list reaffirms India’s position on the global educational map. These schools have not only excelled academically but have also nurtured unique environments, preparing students not just for exams but for life itself.

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The Schools Index offers more than just a ranking. It provides a comprehensive overview of each school’s curriculum, fees, and unique offerings. Prospective parents can gain valuable insights, from academic achievements to travel times to local airports. This detailed information empowers families, enabling them to make informed decisions about their child’s education, understanding that choosing the right school is an investment in a child’s future.

As these exceptional Indian schools bask in their global recognition, they continue their tireless efforts to mold future leaders. They provide not just education but a nurturing environment where character is honed, talents are discovered, and dreams are encouraged. The Schools Index 2023 stands as a testament to their dedication and underscores the importance of quality education in shaping tomorrow’s global citizens.

In a world that seeks excellence, these Indian schools have etched their names among the best, reminding us that exceptional education knows no boundaries. Through their commitment, they not only educate young minds but also inspire generations, ensuring a brighter, more enlightened tomorrow.

Check the complete list at: https://www.schools-index.com/

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India retains 40th rank in the Global Innovation Index 2023

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India retains 40th rank out of 132 economies in the Global Innovation Index 2023 rankings published by the World Intellectual Property Organization. India has been on a rising trajectory, over the past several years in the Global Innovation Index (GII), from a rank of 81 in 2015 to 40 in 2023. Innovation has been at the forefront of our battle against the unprecedented crisis created by the pandemic and will be pivotal in driving the country’s resilience, as enshrined in the Prime Minister’s clarion call on Atma Nirbhar Bharat.

The consistent improvement in the GII ranking is owing to the immense knowledge capital, the vibrant start-up ecosystem, and the amazing work done by the public and private research organizations. All Departments of the Government, including Scientific Departments such as the Department of Science and Technology; the Department of Biotechnology; the Department of Space; and the Department of Atomic Energy and also departments such as Ministry of Electronics and IT, Department of Telecommunications, Department of Agricultural Research & Education and the Department of Health Research have played a pivotal role in enriching the National Innovation Ecosystem. Most importantly, the Atal Innovation Mission has played a major role in expanding the Innovation ecosystem.

NITI Aayog has been working tirelessly to ensure the optimization of the national efforts for bringing policy-led innovation in different areas such as electric vehicles, biotechnology, nanotechnology, space, alternative energy sources, etc. It has also played a role in expanding the innovation eco-system in states and districts. A constant thrust in monitoring and evaluating India’s position in the global rankings has been provided by the NITI Aayog, including in the GII.

The GII is a reliable tool for governments across the world to assess the innovation-led social and economic changes in their respective countries. Over the years, the GII has established itself as a policy tool for various governments and helped them to reflect upon the existing status quo.

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The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has also been collaborating in India’s journey towards an innovation-driven economy. This year, the NITI Aayog, in partnership with the CII and the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), is hosting, virtually, the India Launch of the GII 2023 on 29th September 2023.

The launch session will be graced by many senior dignitaries including Shri Suman Bery, Vice-Chairman, NITI Aayog; Dr. V.K. Saraswat, Member, NITI Aayog; Shri BVR Subrahmanyam, Chief Executive Officer, NITI Aayog; Mr. Daren Tang, Director General, WIPO; Dr. Sacha Wunsch-Vincent, Co-Editor, GII & Head, Economics and Statistics Division, WIPO; Dr. Nausad Forbes, Chairman, CII National Committee on Technology, Innovation & Research, and Co-Chairperson, Forbes Marshall; Professor Rishikesha Krishnan, Director, Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore; and Sh. Alok Nanda, Co-Chairman, CII National Committee on Technology, Innovation & Research, and CEO, GE India Technology Centre.

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Advancing Computational Intelligence: Mahindra University Successfully Hosts ICETCI 2023

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The Third International Conference on Emerging Techniques in Computational Intelligence (ICETCI 2023) concluded triumphantly on September 23, 2023, at Mahindra University. This exceptional event drew together an eclectic assembly of leading experts, scholars, and practitioners from around the world, solidifying ICETCI 2023’s standing as a dynamic crucible for the exchange of pioneering concepts and the unveiling of state-of-the-art research within the realm of Computational Intelligence.

The conference was inaugurated with a comprehensive day of tutorial sessions, setting the stage for two subsequent days brimming with invigorating discussions, keynote presentations, and technical paper unveilings. This year’s prestigious lineup included luminaries such as Prof. Anil Sahasrabuddhe, Chairman of both the NBA (National Board of Accreditation) and NAAC (National Assessment and Accreditation Council), who graced the event as the Guest of Honour. Prof. Sahasrabuddhe shared invaluable insights into the pivotal role of innovation in academia. Furthermore, the occasion was graced by the esteemed presence of Dr. Kota Harinarayana, Former Director General of the Tejas Program and former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Hyderabad, who delivered a keynote address emphasizing the profound impact of computational intelligence on cutting-edge technologies across diverse domains, with a special focus on the Aerospace and Agriculture sectors.

Prof. Nikhil R. Pal, celebrated for his outstanding contributions to Computational Intelligence and a former President of the International Computational Intelligence Society, IEEE, captivated the audience with a captivating technical discourse, shedding light on the continually evolving landscape of Computational Intelligence, with special attention to its synergies with Biological Intelligence.

Reflecting on the event, Prof. Anil Sahasrabuddhe, Chairman of the NBA and NAAC, remarked, “ICETCI 2023 served as an invaluable platform for academia and industry to converge, offering a glimpse into the latest advancements in Computational Intelligence. The dedication of Mahindra University to research and education is truly commendable, and this conference has undeniably propelled the domain forward.”

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Dr. Yajulu Medury, Vice-Chancellor of Mahindra University, expressed his delight at hosting ICETCI 2023, stating, “Mahindra University is honored to have been the venue for ICETCI 2023, a conference that fosters innovation, collaboration, and knowledge sharing among experts in Computational Intelligence. The resounding success of this event is a testament to the dedication of our faculty and the vibrant research community at Mahindra University.”

ICETCI 2023 witnessed a significant influx of high-caliber research paper submissions, all subjected to rigorous peer review. Beyond serving as a conduit for knowledge dissemination, the conference also facilitated invaluable networking opportunities and collaborative prospects among researchers, academicians, and industry experts. Participants departed ICETCI 2023 invigorated, armed with a renewed sense of purpose and a deeper appreciation of the immense potential inherent in the field of Computational Intelligence.

 

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Ministry of Women and Child Development Organises Poshan Panchayats during Rashtriya Poshan Maah 2023

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New Delhi, India – Poshan Panchayats emerge as a cornerstone in fostering JanAndolans aimed at elevating nutritional standards during RashtriyaPoshanMaah2023. These grassroots platforms not only encourage nutrition-seeking behaviors but also amplify awareness regarding the accessibility of fundamental health and nutrition services offered at local Anganwadi Centers.

At the heart of this initiative are extensive outreach programs, identification drives, camps, and home visits conducted at the village, block, and district levels. This multifaceted approach actively involves various segments of the community, effectively disseminating comprehensive knowledge about holistic nutrition. Empowering individuals and communities alike to seek proper nutrition remains a pivotal element in realizing the objectives of the Abhiyaan. This unwavering commitment continues to be a core focus of Mission Saksham Anganwadi and Poshan 2.0.

Poshan Panchayats are emerging as vital instruments in India’s pursuit of improved nutrition during Rashtriya Poshan Maah 2023. These grassroots platforms not only encourage healthier eating habits but also raise awareness about the essential health and nutrition services available at local Anganwadi Centers. Their importance to India is multifaceted.

Firstly, they address the nation’s persistent malnutrition challenges, combating both undernutrition and the growing issue of overnutrition and related health problems. Secondly, they empower women, who often bear the primary responsibility for family nutrition. Thirdly, by promoting local health facilities, Poshan Panchayats strengthen the overall healthcare infrastructure. Fourthly, community engagement is boosted, ensuring that the public actively participates in these initiatives. Fifthly, they facilitate a connection between rural and urban areas, enabling the exchange of knowledge and resources. Sixthly, their emphasis on data-driven decision-making aids in tracking progress and targeting interventions effectively. Lastly, Poshan Panchayats contribute to India’s commitment to international Sustainable Development Goals, notably Goal 2, Zero Hunger. In essence, Poshan Panchayats are pivotal to India’s mission of achieving better nutrition, health, and overall well-being for its diverse population.

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Carfax Education launches the 2023 Schools Index

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28 September 2023;  Carfax Education, the leading global education consultancy, today announced the launch of the fourth annual Schools Index, the leading international index of the top 125 private schools. 

Categorised by region, prospective parents and pupils can now access a list of the top 125 schools for 2023 across the UK, Switzerland, Europe, USA, Middle East, China, Southeast Asia and the rest of the world, reviewed and selected by a panel of education consultants, led by Carfax Education.

As well as formal criteria, such as academic results and preparation for university entry, schools are selected for their unique ethos, their reputation both locally and internationally, and how they prepare students for life beyond academia. The guide provides a comprehensive overview of curriculum and fees, as well as practical information such as travel times to local airports. 

Top schools listed for 2023 providing exceptional education for students include world-renowned British schools such as Eton College, Wycombe Abbey and Rugby School, as well as those further afield, such as St Paul’s School in Brazil and Geelong Grammar School in Australia. New entries for this year include UK senior school, Radley and UK prep school, Port Regis, as well as The British School in Delhi and The Dalton School, USA.  Collated by Carfax Education experts on the ground across the world, the index is the most comprehensive global guide available. 

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Fiona McKenzie, Head of Education, Carfax Education, said: “Now in its fourth year, the Schools Index has rapidly become a valuable resource for parents looking for the very best education for their child, wherever they are in the world – as well as for the private schools sector.  This year’s guide has been comprehensively curated by international experts, with each school notably recognised for their own individual footprint in education, including academics, facilities, preparation for university entry, unique ethos and how they prepare students for life beyond academia. Demand for excellent schools remains high and is still fiercely competitive, as parents strive to ensure their child receives the strongest foundations to set them up for a lifetime of success.”

Jo Duncan, Headmistress of Wycombe Abbey said: “We are delighted to be included in the Carfax Education Schools Index as one of the Top 125 private schools in the world this year and a Top 30 UK Senior School. Wycombe Abbey strives to be a world leader in girls’ boarding education and a place where academic excellence, empathy and integrity thrive. We aim to ensure that our pupils leave our School as confident, articulate, independent young women. It is my privilege to lead Wycombe Abbey and to be recognised in this way by Carfax Education’s Schools Index.”   

Lists in this year’s Schools Index include:

  • Top 30 UK Senior Schools
  • Top 10 UK Prep Schools 
  • Top 10 Switzerland
  • Top 15 Rest of Europe
  • Top 15 China & Southeast Asia
  • Top 15 USA
  • Top 15 Middle East
  • Top 15 Rest of the World

For more information and to view the Schools Index, visit www.schools-index.com

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PM Modi addresses academic leaders at G20 University Connect Finale in Delhi

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The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, addressed the G20 University Connect Finale programme at Bharat Mandapam in New Delhi yesterday. The G20 University Connect initiative was undertaken with the aim of building an understanding of India’s G20 Presidency among India’s youth and enhancing their participation in the different G20 events. During the event, the Prime Minister also released four publications, including “The Grand Success of G20 Bharat Presidency: Visionary Leadership” and “India’s G20 Presidency: Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam.”

The Prime Minister began his address by recalling the hustle and bustle at the Bharat Mandapam two weeks ago during the G20 Summit and expressed delight that the same venue was witnessing the future of India. He credited the success of such events to the promising youth of India, emphasizing that when the youth associate themselves with such events, they are bound to be a success.

Prime Minister Modi highlighted India’s recent achievements, including the successful Chandrayaan mission, the launch of the solar mission, and India’s diplomatic efforts, such as the BRICS Summit in South Africa and his visit to Greece, the first by an Indian Prime Minister in four decades.

He also mentioned India’s growing international profile, citing Saudi Arabia’s planned investment of 100 billion dollars in India after the G20 summit. The Prime Minister emphasized that India’s progress benefits not only the nation but also provides new opportunities, friends, and markets for the youth.

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In addition, he touched on the government’s efforts to empower various communities and the poor and middle class, including the launch of PM Vishwakarma Yojna and Rozgar Melas to provide job opportunities.

Prime Minister Modi spoke about the rapid growth of startups in India, the country’s increasing manufacturing and service sector, and its successful efforts in improving physical, social, and digital infrastructure. He highlighted the importance of the next 25 years for India and the youth and called upon them to think big and make every activity a benchmark.

The Prime Minister concluded by urging the youth to participate in a cleanliness campaign on October 1, promote digital transactions, and support ‘Vocal for Local’ by buying ‘Made in India’ products during festivals. He encouraged campuses to promote Khadi and make it a fashion statement.

The Prime Minister said that unlike the stalwarts of the freedom struggle we did not get an opportunity to die for the country but we have all the opportunity to live for the nation. He said the youth of the decades a century ago had decided on the grand goal of Independence and that nation-wide energy freed the nation from colonial powers.

“Friends, come walk with me, I invite you. 25 years are in front of us, what happened 100 years ago, they moved for Swaraj, we can move for Samriddhi (prosperity). Aatmnirbhar Bharat opens new doors of prosperity and takes self-belief to new heights. That is why I need your support and cooperation for Maa Bharati and for 140 crore Indians.” the Prime Minister exhorted the youth.

Union Minister for Education and Skill Development, Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, also attended the event and praised the Prime Minister for advancing the global education agenda under the G20 architecture, which garnered recognition for India’s education and skill ecosystem.

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The Prime Minister’s insightful interaction highlighted the speed, scale, and full range of New India and inspired India’s youth to ‘Think and Dream Big.’ His statesmanship during the G20 Presidency brought the world together for prosperity, He congratulated the students’ for spearheading the Jan-bhagidari events and making G20 India a people-driven national movement.

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ACCA Organizes Virtual Careers Fair, Creating Pathways to 2,200 Finance Job Opportunities

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Mumbai: The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) recently concluded its Virtual Careers Fair in India, providing a platform for accounting and finance professionals to connect with leading employers in the country. The event witnessed the participation of 3,121 visitors including students, affiliates and members demonstrating a strong interest and demand for career opportunities in the finance industry.

About 50 employers participated in the fair, including renowned organizations such as DuPont, Goldman Sachs, HPE, Reliance, Cognizant, AccSource, QX Global, Ford, Mazars, Oremus Corp, Q4 Accounting, GT Indus and many more. Notably, this year’s fair also marked the participation of an international employer from Canada for the first time, further expanding the reach of the event globally.

The fair highlighted a diverse range of industries and sectors, with a significant demand for talent in which Accounting and Financial Services offered 1,363 jobs, the Big 4 accounting firms alone offered 500+ jobs and the Indin multinational companies and conglomerates who participated in the fair had 100+ job openings. This year, many Indian accounting firms also actively joined the platform, providing attendees with a wider range of job and internship opportunities.

In terms of employer preferences, while established corporates received a substantial number of applications, there was also a noticeable trend of candidates showing interest in startups. This indicates the growing appeal of entrepreneurial ventures and the desire to explore innovative career paths.

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The fair also highlighted the demand for internship opportunities, with several employers offering internships to meet the aspirations of candidates seeking practical experience alongside their academic pursuits.

Speaking about the success of the Virtual Career Fair, Md Sajid Khan, Director – India at ACCA, said, ACCA is committed to supporting the career development of our students, affiliates, and members, and to promoting diversity and inclusion in the finance industry. We encourage participants to leverage their connections at the Virtual Careers Fair and explore the various opportunities available to them. ACCA is dedicated to providing valuable career opportunities and fostering connections between finance professionals and employers. We extend our gratitude to all participants, employers, and partners for making the Virtual Careers Fair a success.

Employers who interacted with students, affiliates, and members in networking chat rooms expressed their appreciation for the overwhelming response and the quality of candidates they encountered. Many employers also acknowledged ACCA’s support in organizing the Virtual Careers Fair.

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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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PM Modi to Engage with Academia in ‘G20 University Connect’ Event

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The University Grants Commission (UGC) is all set to host the ‘G20 University Connect’ event on Tuesday, September 26, providing an opportunity for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to interact with the academic community. Professor Manish R Joshi, Secretary of UGC, unveiled this significant initiative. The event is scheduled to be held at Bharat Mandapam and will bring together Vice-Chancellors, principals, faculty members, and students from universities and colleges across the nation.

During this event, PM Modi will engage in discussions and dialogues with academic leaders, emphasising the pivotal role of higher education in India’s growth and development. In a LinkedIn post, PM Modi had earlier invited students to the G20 University Connect event, highlighting the success of the G-20 University Connect programme over the past year in bringing together India’s youth. He noted that this initiative showcased how Indian youth have established enduring connections with the G-20 fraternity.

PM Modi mentioned a particularly noteworthy event, the “Model G20 Meeting,” where students from 12 different nations, including 10 G20 countries, discussed the theme “Youth for LiFE (Lifestyle for Environment).” He expressed eagerness to hear and gain insights from the experiences of Indian youth during the special G-20 University Connect programme, encouraging all youngsters to participate in this unique endeavour.

This event holds immense significance as it provides a platform for academic institutions to directly engage with the country’s top leadership. It offers stakeholders in the education sector an opportunity to share their ideas, concerns, and aspirations with the Prime Minister, fostering collaboration and innovation in higher education. PM Modi underscored the event’s importance in nurturing excellence in higher education, highlighting the government’s commitment to promoting it.

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The G-20 University Connect initiative has witnessed numerous programmes held across India, with extensive participation from higher education institutions,” noted the Prime Minister on LinkedIn. He added that the ‘G20 University Connect’ event is poised to be a landmark occasion for the Indian education system, reinforcing the government’s dedication to advancing excellence in higher education and research.

In this programme, Prime Minister Modi will discuss the recently concluded G20 Summit and deliberate on future challenges with students and the new generation. The direct interaction between the PM and academic leaders is expected to catalyse initiatives that will further enhance India’s global standing in the field of education.

Source- ANI

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