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Potato of my Classroom

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Yes, you read it correct. Am I referring to a real or metaphorical potato? Give it a guess now. What it could be? Of course, the real potato could be used as a visual aid to talk about shape and size in early years classroom or it could be used to understand the concept of heavy objects sinking in water. Art specialists would use it as a stencil and mathematicians may use it to explore weight and measurement. Physics students might use the same potato for lighting a bulb, while chemistry and biology students might want to explore its atomic nature and reactions.

Great guessing, as all the above guesses are correct. In addition to the above we also have another potato there, waiting to adjust to our needs and requirements. Let me give you another clue by tickling your critical thinking skill.

Potato : Cooking :: ________ : Teaching

Bulls eye! Now you have got it. Just like potato, which can be used anywhere and in any form of cooking, stories too can be used anywhere and in any form within the teaching and learning process. They gel very well with all resources , concept and caters for varied requirements of a classroom setting.

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Potato : Cooking :: Stories : Teaching

Stories are at the core of all our memories, we seem to have inbred liking for them, and students are no different from us. Stories teach us everything about life and when used within the four walls of classroom they can create magic. Let us understand why, how, and what is behind this magic.

Why is Storytelling the most effective Teaching Tool?

  • Oldest form of education– Even before the invention of language man has been telling stories to teach his leanings in form of cave paintings. Later he used signs and symbols to express his feelings.
  • Emotional connect – stories go straight to heart. Information and facts will be forgotten, but incidences are remembered in form of stories.
  • Motivates and encourages– It is Scientifically proven. According to Paul Zak, a neuroscientist, when we listen to stories, chemicals like dopamine and oxytocin are released which help in increased motivation and attention.
  • Makes us open minded – Stories have been used to pass down beliefs, traditions, and history to future generations, thus appreciate cultures. They are very resourceful in creating awareness and being responsible global citizens.
  • Stimulates the imagination – Stories transport us to a different world altogether, thus tickling and stimulating our imagination, which might lead to innovation.
  • Boosts memory – They are easy to remember. Psychologist Peg Neuhauser states that learning which results from a well-told story is remembered more precisely and for longer duration in contrast to learning from facts and figures. Jerome Bruner’s, another psychologist supports the above study through his research which suggest that facts are 20 times more likely to be remembered if they’re part of a story.
  • Develops skills – listening is the first and most basic skill developed through stories. Listening is not only an essential survival skill but also it is imperative for developing other soft skills as well, namely comprehension, critical thinking to begin with. Stories are also helpful in painting the larger umbrella of communication skill with special reference to writing and retelling stories.
  • Foresee the unseen – enable children to empathise with unfamiliar people/places/situations. offer insights into universal life experiences

When and Where can is Stories be used as teaching Tool?

  • As a brain breaker – To break the monotony and promotes a feeling of well-being and relaxation
  • To share personal experiences. – Increase children’s willingness to communicate thoughts and feelings
  • To introduce a new topic – Leaving a story unfinished will help students think. This can serve as a provocation to build the lesson on.  From English to math, art to science, each and every topic could be covered through story.
  • To illustrate a concept – painting a pen picture for students helps in presentation skill as well.
  • As outcome of a lesson- students can be motivated to create own stories using the newly learnt concept. Once involved their learning outcomes is not only better understood but also raises more questions in the young minds.
  • To help children consider new ideas and explore new concepts. Encourage use of imagination and creativity
  • Increase verbal proficiency – follow up activity after the stories ensures using the newly learnt words becomes a part of their vocabulary.
  • Stories are very good assessment tools as well. They help us set the stage for assessment and then students analyze, think and come up with appropriate solutions and endings.

Who can benefit from the tool of stories?

  • All classes from PreK to K12 all look forward to stories.
  • To cater to VAK needs of students as there is something for everyone in a story.
  • Stories can be read, seen or heard catering to individual needs.
  • Stories can be used as differential tasks as well catering to needs of higher order thinking students as well.
  • Stories help build up connect between the teller and listeners. They also help in enhancing social skills within the class.

What concepts and Which Stories can be used as teaching Tool?

Now that’s where the potato nature of stories come in.  Stories are multitalented and multi-faceted and can suit all purposes, meet every need. It is on the teacher within you to design the best story to meet your objectives. However below are few tips which might come handy.

As per the audience – any story which your audience would connect to will work for you. Story, its language and the props used should be age appropriate. One of the earliest examples of story as a teaching tool which comes to my mind is the one which taught me, that while subtracting, I need to keep the bigger number on top.

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If you have 6 candies, can you give me 10.

Yes or no, whatever the answer would be, it will certainly lead to learning. Learning not only about numbers, but also soft skill of critical thinking, reflecting and communicating. One tool, one story can change the way we teach and learn.

  • As per the lesson objectives – List out the learning objectives you are aiming at during the lesson. Identify the key words from the goals. Use them for building up the story / adapting an old story.
  • Follow up activity – story should be able to accommodate a follow up activity for students to reflect.
  • Story Structure – selected story could have a set structure as per the story mountain or could be tweaked to meet your requirements. For example : I had once tweaked the story of “ How the Kangaroo got its pouch” to introduce the continent of Australia to first graders.

All the above points reinforce my belief in stories, their power and magic. To conclude for an educator  STORY spells out as Strategic Tools to Optimize Reflections Yummily.

A is not always Apple

B is not always Ball

A could be Anecdote for some ,

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While B may be basic stories for all.

A bit of Creativity and a bit of Drama

The E for Educator in you can create new experiences

 by taking stories to your class.

Authored By- Smriti Sajjanhar, PBL Coordinator, Bugle Editorial Board, Genesis Global School, Noida

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Internships in Top 500 Companies, Rs 5k Stipend for Youth: Key Highlights from the Education Budget 2024

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The image is generated using AI

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the Budget 2024 yesterday, marking the first budget of the BJP-led NDA after Prime Minister Narendra Modi began his third term. The budget introduced significant allocations aimed at bolstering education, employment, and skilling, with a notable allocation of Rs 1.48 lakh crore for these sectors.

Education Budget 2024: Rs 1.48 Lakh Crore Allocated

A new scheme offering internship opportunities at 500 top companies for 1 crore students over the next five years was one of the major highlights. Each student will receive a monthly stipend of Rs 5,000 and a one-time assistance payment of Rs 6,000. This initiative is designed to bridge the gap between academia and industry, providing practical experience to young learners.

“The government’s initiative to provide financial support for higher education loans up to Rs 10 lakh is commendable. This move will enhance accessibility to quality education,” said Dilip Gangaramani, Founder Director & CEO of Target Publications Pvt. Ltd. “The allocation of Rs 2 lakh crore for employment and skilling initiatives is also a positive step towards addressing youth unemployment.”

Major Employment and Skilling Schemes

The Finance Minister announced a substantial PM Package consisting of five programmes aimed at boosting employment and skilling, with a total allocation of Rs 2 lakh crore. Among these, Rs 1.48 lakh crore has been specifically allocated for education, employment, and skilling. The initiatives will skill 20 lakh youth over a five-year period, significantly contributing to the nation’s workforce by equipping young individuals with necessary skills to thrive in various industries.

25,000 Students to Avail Loan Benefits Every Year

The budget also introduced model skill loans. “Skilling loans – model skill loans schemes for up to 7 lakh rupees will benefit 25,000 students every year,” stated Finance Minister Sitharaman. This initiative aims to support students financially in acquiring necessary skills, thus enhancing their employability and career prospects.

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“This year’s budget strikes a fine balance between fiscal discipline and drivers of economic and social growth. Enhanced initiatives on women empowerment and education underscore the focus on welfare schemes,” noted Dr Rakesh K Singh, Professor and Associate Dean – Academics at IMT Ghaziabad. “Structural reforms propose new policies to foster innovation and skill development in emerging areas such as AI and renewable energy.”

Comparison with Previous Budget

In the Union Budget 2023, the central government’s allocation for the education sector was Rs 1,12,898.97 crore, the highest allocation granted to the Ministry of Education at the time. The Union Budget 2024 reflects a strong focus on education, employment, and skilling, with significant investments aimed at creating a more skilled and educated workforce. The announced programmes and allocations are expected to drive improvements in educational infrastructure, job creation, and skill development across the nation.

“The government will also offer internships in 500 of India’s top companies. The companies can employ these interns through their CSR funds. As a support to employers, reimbursement of up to Rs 3,000 per month for two years towards their EPFO contribution for each additional employee will be provided,” stated Balkishan Sharma, Chairman & Founder at FVEG. “These new schemes aim to create new jobs and provide employment to well-educated youth.”

A Step Towards a Skilled Workforce

“The proposed comprehensive internship programme for one crore youth is a commendable initiative,” added Gangaramani. “These measures, if implemented effectively, can significantly boost India’s human capital development and contribute to a more skilled and employable workforce.”

The Budget 2024, with its focus on education, employment, and skilling, aligns with the nation’s developmental goals and is a welcome step forward in building a robust and future-ready workforce.

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Higher Education Enrollment Jumps To Nearly 4.33 Crore In FY22, Up 26.5% From FY15

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Image Source- TESS India

The higher education sector in India has seen a substantial increase in enrolment and rising equity over the past eight years, as revealed by the All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) 2021-22. The Economic Survey 2023-24, tabled in Parliament by Union Finance and Corporate Affairs Minister, Smt Nirmala Sitharaman, highlighted that total enrolment in higher education surged to nearly 4.33 crore in FY22, up from 4.14 crore in FY21 and 3.42 crore in FY15—a remarkable 26.5% increase since FY15.

This growth has been driven significantly by underprivileged sections, including SC, ST, and OBC communities, with a notable increase in female enrolment across these groups. Female enrolment in higher education jumped to 2.07 crore in FY22 from 1.57 crore in FY15, reflecting a 31.6% rise. This growing equity in higher education is expected to translate into better employment opportunities for previously disadvantaged sections of society.

India’s educational landscape is vast, with 26.52 crore students in schools, 4.33 crore in higher education, and over 11 crore learners in skilling institutions. The National Credit Framework (NCrF), announced under the National Education Policy 2020 in April 2023, serves as the foundation of a regulatory structure that promotes lifelong learning.

The Economic Survey underscores the importance of mission-mode and cost-effective implementation of educational programmes, especially at the primary level. Effective public spending on education should focus on pedagogy and governance, including monitoring teaching quality, recognising teacher performance, and employing local volunteers to ensure students are taught at the appropriate level.

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India is making significant strides in research and development. The number of patents granted in FY24 nearly quadrupled from FY20, reaching almost 1,00,000. According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), India had the highest growth in patent filings in 2022 at 31.6%. The country has improved its rank in the Global Innovation Index from 81st in 2015 to 40th in 2023.

Ph.D. enrolment has also surged, with an 81.2% increase from FY15 to FY22. Gross Expenditure on R&D (GERD) has more than doubled since FY11. The newly established National Research Foundation, ‘Anusandhan’, aims to bolster India’s R&D ecosystem with a significant financial commitment from the government.

India’s ascent in high-quality research is marked by its rise to 9th place in the Nature Index 2023, surpassing Australia and Switzerland. The government’s commitment to research and innovation is encapsulated in the interim budget of FY25, which includes a Rs. 1 lakh crore corpus for research, adopting the slogan “Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan, Jai Vigyan, Jai Anusandhan”.

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UNESCO Report Highlights Need for Boost in India’s Upper Secondary Education

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The recent UNESCO report, “SDG 4 Scorecard Progress Report on National Benchmarks: Focus on Teachers,” reveals that while India is excelling in primary education, the upper secondary education sector requires significant improvements. The report, published by UNESCO, shows that India’s primary education completion rate is at an impressive 94%, nearing its 2025 benchmark of 99%. However, the upper secondary completion rate lags at 51%, against the 2025 benchmark of 84%.

India’s performance in pre-primary participation is also notable, scoring 91%, close to its target of 95%. Conversely, the country struggles with out-of-school rates and lacks sufficient data to assess minimum learning proficiency accurately.

In terms of school internet connectivity, India is making average progress across all educational levels, indicating room for enhancement. The country performs well in the pre-primary teacher training sector, meeting its 2025 benchmark of 95%.

Overall, while India’s primary education sector is performing well, the secondary education sector, especially the upper secondary level, needs focused attention to meet the set benchmarks. The report highlights that 79% of countries have submitted national targets for SDG 4 indicators, with India making strides in some areas but still requiring significant efforts in others.

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Embracing Emojis in the Classroom: A Fun and Polite Approach to Modern Learning

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The image is generated using AI

Today, on World Emoji Day, let’s celebrate these small, expressive icons that have become an integral part of our digital communication. While some argue that emojis threaten the sanctity of language, there’s a fun, quirky side to these tiny pictures that can actually enhance classroom interactions, making them more relevant, polite, and engaging.

Remember the thrill of getting a gold star on your homework? That star wasn’t just a sticker; it was a symbol of achievement, recognition, and encouragement. In many ways, emojis serve a similar purpose. They convey emotions and reactions succinctly and can add a personal touch to written communication. So, why not harness the power of emojis to make our classrooms more dynamic and student-friendly?

1. Enhancing Feedback: Traditionally, teachers use phrases like “good job” or “well done” to praise students. But imagine the added excitement if those words were accompanied by a clapping hands emoji 👏, a star ⭐, or even a trophy 🏆. Such visual cues can amplify the impact of positive feedback, making it more memorable and encouraging for students. Conversely, gentle reminders can be softened with a thoughtful emoji. For instance, a neutral face 😐 or a thinking face 🤔 could be used to indicate that a student might need to revisit a particular concept without causing undue stress or discouragement.

2. Encouraging Polite Communication: Emojis can also help maintain a polite and respectful tone in classroom discussions. For example, if a student disagrees with a peer, using a handshake emoji 🤝 or a smiling face 😊 can convey their differing opinion respectfully. This approach can foster a culture of kindness and consideration, crucial for productive and positive learning environments.

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3. Making Learning Fun: Integrating emojis into lesson plans can make learning more interactive and enjoyable. Teachers can create emoji-based quizzes where students match emojis to historical events, literary characters, or scientific concepts. For example, an apple 🍎 and a book 📖 could be used in a quiz about famous inventors, prompting students to guess Isaac Newton. These activities not only make lessons more engaging but also encourage creative thinking.

4. Bridging Language Gaps: In classrooms with diverse linguistic backgrounds, emojis can serve as a universal language, helping bridge communication gaps. A thumbs-up 👍, a heart ❤️, or a smiling face 😀 can convey appreciation and support across different languages, fostering inclusivity and mutual understanding.

5. Digital Citizenship: As students increasingly navigate the digital world, teaching them about appropriate emoji use is crucial. Educators can incorporate lessons on digital etiquette, highlighting how emojis can enhance communication when used appropriately but can also be misinterpreted or cause misunderstandings if overused or used incorrectly.

6. Custom Emojis for Classroom Culture: Teachers can create custom emojis that reflect their unique classroom culture. For instance, a specific emoji could symbolize a class mascot, a special event, or a unique classroom achievement. This personal touch can strengthen the sense of community and belonging among students.

In conclusion, emojis are not a threat to language; rather, they are an evolution of it. They offer a unique and fun way to enrich classroom communication, making feedback more impactful, interactions more polite, and learning more enjoyable. So, on this World Emoji Day, let’s embrace these expressive icons and unlock their potential to make our classrooms brighter, kinder, and more engaging places to learn. 🌟🎉📚

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Workshop on Writing Textbooks in Bharatiya Bhasha for Higher Education Inaugurated by Dr. Sukanta Majumdar

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Image Source- PIB

The Minister of State for Education, Dr. Sukanta Majumdar has inaugurated a workshop for Vice Chancellors on the writing of textbooks in Bharatiya Bhasha for higher education in New Delhi. Organised by the University Grants Commission (UGC) and Bharatiya Bhasha Samiti (BBS), the event saw the presence of eminent academicians, including Shri K. Sanjay Murthy, Prof. Chamu Krishna Shastry, and Prof. M. Jagadesh Kumar.

Dr. Majumdar emphasized the importance of developing study materials in Indian languages to reflect the country’s linguistic diversity and ensure accessible education. He highlighted the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020’s role in inspiring youth and expressed gratitude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan for their visionary leadership.

Prof. Chamu Krishna Shastry and Prof. M. Jagadesh Kumar shared insights on developing a Bharatiya Bhasha Ecosystem. During the valedictory session, Shri K. Sanjay Murthy launched three projects: ASMITA, Bahubhasha Shabdkosh, and Real-time Translation Architecture. These initiatives aim to produce 22,000 books in 22 scheduled languages, create a grand repository of multilingual dictionaries, and enhance real-time translation capabilities.

Over 150 Vice Chancellors participated in the workshop, organized into 12 groups to plan and develop textbooks in 12 regional languages. The discussions focused on creating new textbooks, establishing standard vocabularies, and improving current textbooks with an emphasis on Indian Knowledge Systems (IKS). The event concluded with a Q&A session addressing queries from participants.

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Nurturing Natural Skills: Empowering Youth for the Future

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On World Youth Skills Day celebrated on 15 July globally, it’s essential to recognize the incredible potential children inherently possess. Children are naturally curious, energetic, and less afraid of taking risks—qualities that, if nurtured correctly, can form the bedrock of their future success. By identifying and developing these skills, we can empower them to become resilient and adaptable adults ready to face the challenges of the future.

Curiosity: The Catalyst for Learning

Curiosity drives children to explore, ask questions, and seek out new experiences. This innate desire to understand the world around them is a powerful tool for learning. Encouraging curiosity through inquiry-based learning and fostering an environment where questions are welcomed can significantly enhance their educational experience. For instance, project-based learning allows children to dive deep into subjects that interest them, promoting critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Energy: Channeling Enthusiasm into Productivity

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Children are bursting with energy, which, when directed correctly, can lead to incredible productivity and creativity. Schools and parents can harness this energy by providing varied activities that challenge both mind and body. Extracurricular activities like sports, music, and arts not only keep them engaged but also teach them discipline, teamwork, and perseverance. Moreover, incorporating movement into learning, such as through kinesthetic activities, can help maintain their focus and enhance memory retention.

Fearlessness: Embracing Risks and Learning from Failure

Children’s fearlessness and willingness to take risks are qualities that can drive innovation. Creating a safe environment where they can experiment, fail, and learn from their mistakes is crucial. By teaching resilience and the value of perseverance, we can help them develop a growth mindset. Activities that encourage trial and error, such as coding, robotics, and creative writing, can instill confidence and the ability to view failures as opportunities for growth.

Developing These Skills into Strengths

To turn these innate skills into lasting strengths, it is essential to provide continuous support and opportunities for development. Teachers and parents play a pivotal role in this process by:

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  1. Providing Diverse Learning Experiences: Exposure to various subjects and activities helps children discover their interests and strengths. This broadens their horizons and fosters a love for lifelong learning.
  2. Encouraging Collaborative Learning: Group projects and team activities teach children the importance of collaboration, communication, and empathy. These skills are invaluable in both personal and professional settings.
  3. Promoting Self-Reflection: Encouraging children to reflect on their experiences helps them understand their strengths and areas for improvement. This practice can build self-awareness and intrinsic motivation.
  4. Integrating Technology: Leveraging technology in education can make learning more engaging and accessible. Interactive tools and resources can cater to different learning styles and keep children excited about their educational journey.

By recognizing and nurturing the natural skills of curiosity, energy, and fearlessness in children, we can transform these qualities into powerful strengths. This approach not only prepares them for future challenges but also equips them with the resilience and adaptability needed in a rapidly changing world. On World Youth Skills Day, let’s commit to fostering these attributes, ensuring that the youth of today become the innovative leaders of tomorrow.

 

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Celebrating Nikola Tesla: A Beacon for Transforming Education

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Nikola Tesla | Image Source- Encyclopedia of Humanities

Cultivating Curiosity and Imagination

Tesla’s success was driven by his boundless curiosity and vivid imagination. He often emphasized the importance of nurturing these traits, stating, “The gift of mental power comes from God, divine being, and if we concentrate our minds on that truth, we become in tune with this great power.” Encouraging students to question the world around them and imagine the possibilities beyond the obvious can foster a generation of innovative thinkers. Incorporating more open-ended projects and inquiry-based learning can help in this regard.

Embracing Failure as a Learning Tool

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Hands-On Learning and Experimentation

Tesla’s approach to learning was hands-on. He believed in experimenting and learning from practical experiences. Modern education systems can draw from this by integrating more laboratory work, maker spaces, and real-world problem-solving activities into the curriculum. Students should be encouraged to tinker, build, and experiment, thus applying theoretical knowledge to practical situations.

Learning as an Ongoing Process

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Maharashtra Government Announces Free Higher Education for EWS, SEBC, OBC Girls

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Maharashtra's CM Eknath Shinde | Image Source- PTI

Ahead of the upcoming assembly elections in the state, the Maharashtra government has announced free higher education for girls from Economically Weaker Section (EWS), Socially and Economically Backward Classes (SEBC), and Other Backward Classes (OBC). The policy, which also waives tuition and examination fees for orphaned students regardless of gender, was formalised through a government resolution (GR) during a cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde. The initiative will commence from the academic year 2024-25 and is projected to cost Rs 906 crore.

The GR states that female students seeking admission to recognised vocational courses through the Centralised Admission Process in government colleges, aided private colleges, semi-aided private colleges, non-aided colleges, polytechnic, autonomous government universities, and open universities will benefit from this scheme. The courses covered include those run by the departments of higher and technical education, medicine, pharmacy, agriculture, animal husbandry, pisciculture, and dairy development. However, students from private autonomous universities, self-funded universities, or those enrolling through management and institutional quota will not be eligible for the scheme.

Female students whose annual family income is Rs 8 lakh or less and who belong to the EWS, SEBC, and OBC categories are eligible for the fee waiver. Both new admissions and current students pursuing their degrees can avail of this facility. This initiative is part of a broader women-focused policy by the Maharashtra government, aiming to enhance educational access and opportunities for underprivileged female students in the state.

(Source- PTI)

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Chhattisgarh Introduces Local Language Primary Education in Tribal Areas

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In line with the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, the Chhattisgarh government has embarked on an initiative to provide primary education in local languages and dialects in remote tribal regions. Chief Minister Vishnu Deo Sai has directed the State Education Department to develop and distribute bilingual books in 18 local languages free of charge. This initiative aims to enhance the quality of educational resources and ensure that children receive education in their mother tongue or local language up to the fifth standard, as recommended by NEP 2020.

During the state-level ‘Shala Praveshotsav’ programme at Bagiya village in the tribal-dominated Jashpur district, Chief Minister Sai highlighted the importance of this initiative. He emphasised that providing education in local languages will not only improve educational outcomes but also help preserve local culture and traditions.

The ‘Shala Praveshotsav’ is an annual event aimed at encouraging school enrolment at the start of the academic session. This year, the event was moved from Raipur to Bagiya, the CM’s hometown, to underscore the significance of the new initiative.

An official from the Education Department mentioned that in tribal areas, primary school exams can now be taken in local languages and dialects. However, exams for higher classes will continue to be conducted in Hindi and English. This move is part of a broader effort to boost the literacy rate in Chhattisgarh, which currently stands at 70.28 percent, below the national average of 76 percent.

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NCERT Introduces ‘Poorvi’ For Class 6: A New English Textbook With Indian Focus

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The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has launched a new English textbook for class 6 titled “Poorvi”. Unlike its predecessor, “Honeysuckle”, which predominantly featured stories by non-Indian authors, “Poorvi” includes nine prose pieces by Indian authors and five poems by non-Indian authors, as reported by the Indian Express.

This new textbook aligns with the National Curriculum Framework 2023 and the National Education Policy 2020, incorporating revised chapters that reflect an Indian context. The previous textbook, “Honeysuckle,” contained eight poems (seven by non-Indian authors) and eight prose pieces (five by non-Indian authors), along with stories by Indian authors Munshi Premchand and Ruskin Bond.

Significantly, the term “Bharat” appears for the first time in an NCERT textbook, mentioned 19 times in a chapter titled “Culture and Tradition,” while “India” is mentioned seven times. This chapter also features a section called “Hamara Bharat, Incredible India!” emphasising India’s identity as “Bharat.”

Additionally, “Poorvi” includes chapters on the uses of spices beyond cooking and the benefits of yoga, highlighting aspects of Indian culture and tradition. NCERT had initially planned to release new textbooks for classes 3 and 6 earlier this year but encountered delays. The class 3 textbooks are now available.

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Joseph Emmanuel, Director (Academics) at CBSE, advised schools to adopt these new syllabi and textbooks for classes 3 and 6 in place of the previous NCERT textbooks until the year 2023, as per a statement to PTI.

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