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PTE (Academic), ETS  accepted by the Australian Government for visa applications

Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic) has been approved by the Australian Government Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) as proof of English language proficiency for a range of visa categories. The decision means that for the first time in thirteen years, visa applicants will have a choice of Government-approved English language testing options. PTE Academic operates nearly 20 test centres in India including Ahmadabad, Amritsar, Bangalore, Ludhiana, Patiala and Hyderabad.

The TOEFL test, created by Educational Testing Service (ETS), has also been accepted as an English-language test for use with Australia’s skilled migration visas. As the TOEFL test is already recognized as an English test for student visas in Australia, this announcement means that Australia is open for business as people across the globe can now use their TOEFL scores for student, post-study work, skilled migration and business visas, as well as academic admissions purposes. “With the TOEFL test now accepted across the visa continuum, Australia becomes an even more appealing skills and knowledge destination for people seeking education or to make an able contribution,” said David Payne, Vice President, Global Education Division at ETS.

The decision affects skilled, temporary graduates, work, holiday and former resident visa programmes.  This imapcts all visa subclasses, with the exception of subclass 457. In 2012-13, around 130,000 visas were granted for permanent additions to the Australian population. The largest migrant source marekts (excluding New Zealand) were India, China and UK. Indian comprised 21.1 %

Engineers to benefit in overseas jobs with India becoming a permanent signatory of Washington Accord

Finally, India has become a permanent member of the Washington Accord, which would enable global recognition of Indian degrees and increase the mobility of engineers to the USA and other countries for jobs. India, which has been a provisional member of Washington Accord since 2007, was working for several years to become a permanent member. The breakthrough came at a meeting of the International Engineering Alliance in Wellington, New Zealand, on June 13 where the members voted to induct India as a permanent member of the select group.

Congratulating her ministry’s officials, HRD Minister Smriti Irani said that the development will “ensure that highest quality assurance standards (are) implemented in our technical and engineering programmes to provide global mobility to our engineering graduates”.  The accord requires that member nations set up suitable accreditation standards which would ensure a minimum quality of attainment for their engineering graduates. “Degrees which have been so accredited… will substantially enhance (Indian graduates’) employment opportunities around the world,” the minister said in a statement.

Former HRD Minister MM Pallam Raju said that membership of the Washington Accord would be a good facilitator as it would give greater flexibility to Indian students and provide recognition to their degrees.  “Congratulations to the Ministry, after a seven-year effort by the Ministry, India has gained permanent membership of the Washington Accord!,” he tweeted. Now, degrees awarded by institutions accredited by the National Board of Accreditation (NBA) would be recognised by all Washington Accord member nations, he said.

The Accord was signed in 1989 as an international agreement among bodies responsible for accrediting engineering degree programmes. Some 17 countries are signatories to it.


Admissions to 71 Pune & surrounding colleges banned

The University of Pune (UoP) on June 12 released the names of 71 colleges across Pune, Nashik and Ahmednagar districts where admissions to the first-year of their courses has been banned for the academic year 2014-15 until the university clears them for admitting students

.Students can access the list of these 71 colleges on the university’s website: This is crucial in the context of the ongoing admissions for senior colleges following the Std XII results which were declared recently by various educational boards. Most of these colleges are into offering studies in arts, commerce, science, BBA and BCA courses.

The university has already issued show-cause notices to these colleges seeking explanation as to why they should be allowed to admit students in the wake of various shortcomings such as inadequate infrastructure, lack of full-time and approved teaching staff and full-time principals.

A bulk of the colleges facing the admission ban are located in the rural and fringe areas of each of the three districts. There are some which are also located in the urban areas including Pune city. Of these, 44 are in Pune district while another 17 and 10 are in Ahmednagar and Nashik districts, respectively.



The demand for revoking the FYUP has been gaining strength ever since news reports appeared that the new Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani was considering revoking the programme. With the exception of one (AAD-Aditya Narayan Mishra), representatives of all teacher groups have joined the movement. Indian National Teachers Congress has also joined hands with Democratic Teachers’ Forum, Academics for Action and Development (Rathi) and NDTF. Both the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, which controls the Delhi University Students’ Union and the National Students’ Union of India have been protesting against the FYUP. To nudge the authorities towards a rollback of the four-year undergraduate programme once again, Delhi University Teachers’ Association has written to the Visitor, President Pranab Mukherjee, asking him to, as Duta chief Nandita Narain puts it, “intervene and annul Delhi University ordinances pertaining to FYUP.” National Democratic Teachers’ Front and ABVP members have met all the seven BJP MPs and have been promised support.

With elections to Delhi assembly a certainty sometime later this year, the issue has been politicized. The FYUP is now one year old and the first batch students are worried if the course is revoked. ‘Don’t scrap it, make it better, save FYUP, do not politicise the issue’ is their plea. “What is being talked is only politics. If such experimentation for excellence in academics doesn’t happen in a university than where does  it take place? Out of 60,000 students that enroll at DU, about 20,000 graduate. The 40,000 students are lost in between and then how many of graduates are employable. Should we go on producing army of unemployable youth year on year. The new course scheme is about application-oriented and project-based learning, which will ultimately benefit the student and society.   In a university system like ours who are the supreme decision bodies.  And if these bodies through democratic means accepted the new programme, why oppose it?” question supporting teachers.

Now the resolution of issue will more depend on the politics of it and not merit.


Nalanda University to take off in September this year

The Nalanda University will start functioning from September 1, this year. The university will open with two post-graduate schools to start with – School of Ecology and School of Historical Studies with about 20 students in each of the schools and about 20 faculty members, who will all be part of the residential set up. Applications to be part of the faculty have come from across the world, even as many people are of Indian origin but are foreign nationals, said Nalanda University CEO Anjana Sharma. “Since we believe in interdisciplinary studies, there will be no department barriers in the schools,” explained Sharma, adding that the first batch of faculty will be called the founding faculty.


The high-powered governing committee that is led by Nobel laureate economist Amartya Sen and includes reputed academics from across the world is scheduled to meet here on July 19 and 20, to draw up the final plans for the opening of the university. The names of the faculty members will also be finalized at the two-day meeting of the governing body.


The plans are not rush for numbers, but to go for quality as far as students and faculty is concerned. Now that the new University is about to take off, a temporary gated campus is also being built for the students and the international resident faculty, with a security concerns also in mind. After the July meeting of the governing body, most of those working for the university will move to Rajgir and function from there.


Da Vinci Learning to reach out to 2 million students in India

Germany’s Da Vinci, an edutainment television channel which is targeted at 6 -12 year olds and their parents has announced its partnership with Primary Plus Media Pvt. Ltd, a major creative content provider to primary school children in this part of the world. This partnership will enable the extensive educative content of Da Vinci learning to reach 2000 schools and over 2 million students in the age group of 6  12 year olds, nationwide. Through our partnership with Primary Plus, we will be able to reach out to millions of children and their parents with increased visibility and excitement for the channel,” said Mohit Anand, Managing Director-India, Da Vinci Media. Through our partnership with Primary Plus, we will be able to reach out to millions of children and their parents with increased visibility and excitement for the channel,” said Mohit Anand, Managing Director-India, Da Vinci Media. A direct outreach to kids and parents will follow during (PTMSs) Parent Teacher Meetings at the partner schools. Da Vinci Learning will also be conducting road shows inside the school premises encouraging interactive learning. The road shows are slated to begin July 2014 and will aim at showcasing Da Vinci Learning content to the children and their families. With this activity, the channel aims at reaching out to 1000-1200 schools with an estimated outreach of 1.5 million to 1.8 million student and their parents. “The extensive reach and strong relationships of Primary Plus across schools coupled with recognition of the value of such activities, makes this a great partnership and allows both organizations to provide world class content to students and their families in schools across India. Aligning our interests would drive growth, increase audiences, and provide an opportunity to students to learn about and be exposed to Da Vinci’s unique educational lifelong approach to learning and education”, said Mr. Manbir Bedim, Founder, Editor-in-Chief, Primary Plus Media Pvt Ltd

Five leading organisations have joined hands to launch a nation-wide program for significantly enriching and improving learning outcomes of school students in India and preparing them to be a part of the global, knowledge-based, economy. ‘Knowledge without Boundaries’, the program galvanized by Rotary Club of Madras East, brings together knowledge providers  Encyclopaedia Britannica India, Tree of Knowledge,The Hindu – and schools run by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. The program targets Corporations and Government schools so that the children in these schools also benefit. Schools under Bhavan’s Chennai Kendra will also be part of the programme. As a part of the ‘Knowledge without Boundaries’ program aseries of knowledge enhancement initiatives including introduction of quiz programs, induction of computer aided games for building vocabulary, knowledge and laboratory sessions to improve spoken English will be undertaken. Rotarian N Sudhakar, President, Rotary Club of Madras East said, “We are touched by the offers from like-minded organizations, for pooling strengths and resources, to improve knowledge and communication beyond learning in the class room.” . Encyclopaedia Britannica India will provide inputs that will enable teachers to introduce inquiry-based learning and new pedagogy techniques. To enhance the reach and to widen the impact of this initiative, Britannica has agreed to allow the translation of its ‘Know for Sure’ general knowledge book series authored by the ace quiz master Siddhartha Basu for class I to VIII, in various Indian languages.

Extending his support to the program The Hindu Editor-in-Chief N Ravi said, “The Hindu kindles the quest for knowledge among young readers. Children have a widespread yearning to know. There has to be an exposure to different approaches to learning.”

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