Police launch probe into agriculture recruitment racket

A preliminary enquiry found that 15 candidates from Haryana used unfair means to excel in the examination held on September 4, 2016.

Police on Wednesday launched a probe into an alleged cheating racket pertaining to a nationwide examination conducted by the Agricultural Scientist Recruitment Board (ASRB) in 2016.

A preliminary enquiry found that 15 candidates from Haryana used unfair means to excel in the examination held on September 4, 2016. At least 13 of them appeared for the test at the Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI) in Bareilly.

Officials of the institute lodged a complaint in this regard on the ASRB’s direction.

All the candidates under question were found to be residents of Sonepat and Rohtak districts of Haryana. They have also been accused of involvement in scams pertaining to other central government recruitment examinations, including those conducted by the army.

“The 15 candidates scored similar marks in the examination, much higher than the average score of other candidates. We became suspicious and reported the matter to the police,” said IVRI director Dr RK Singh.

The complaint was filed at the office of Bareilly senior superintendent of police (SSP) Joginder Kumar on Tuesday. He then directed a circle officer to investigate the matter, and lodge an FIR in this regard. “We will share inputs in the case with our counterparts in Haryana to nab the racketeers,” said Kumar.

Meanwhile, the ASRB has decided to hold a re-examination on June 24. A notice put up on its website cites “administrative issues” as the cause for cancellation of the previous test.

The examination is conducted to ensure recruitment for technical posts in agricultural institutes across the country. Over 70,000 candidates appeared for the exam to fill 150 vacancies that year.

[“source=hindustantimes”]

HC seeks Centre, CBI response on reinvestigation of SSC exam leaks

A plea field by several job aspirants alleged that the officials of the SSC, private vendors and others were a part of the syndicate selling seats for Rs 10-20 lakh per candidate.

The Delhi High Court on Thursday asked the Centre and CBI to file their response on a plea by several job aspirants seeking reinvestigation into the cases of Staff Selection Commission (SSC) paper leaks.

Justice S P Garg listed the matter for July 26 on the plea filed by 44 people.

The job aspirants also sought setting up of an enquiry commission headed by a retired judge of the Supreme Court or the High Court in connection with the repeated offences such as cheating in the SSC exam.

The petition said that multiple FIRs are lodged every year over leaks of question papers and several persons are arrested for allegedly aiding the aspirants to cheat for money, but in none of the cases, the probe agencies have been able to bust the racket and arrest the main persons involved in the organised crime.

Advocate Anurag Ahluwali accepted the notice for the Central government and the SSC, while advocate Narender Mann did so on behalf of the CBI.

The plea claimed that the syndicate was still operating as officials from the department of SSC have never been arrested. It alleged that the probe agencies have failed to identify the source of the leaks and the main perpetrators of the crime were still untouched.

“The modus operandi of the syndicate is supported by ultra-modern technologies and the commission of the crime gets detected at very few places as the local police agencies are not well equipped technologically,” it said.

The plea alleged that the officials of the SSC, private vendors and others were a part of the syndicate selling seats for Rs 10-20 lakh per candidate.

The plea said that the exams are conducted for sensitive posts such as inspector, sub-inspector, constables of para-military organisations, National Investigating Agency, Central Bureau of Investigation, Intelligence Bureau, Income Tax, Central Excise, Delhi Police and various coveted post across the government ministries.

“These posts are so sensitive in nature that selection of a tainted candidate can jeopardise the national security of the country,” it said, adding that the future of many deserving candidates has been ruined because of the inaction of authorities to stop the offences since 2013.

The Supreme Court had in March this year dismissed a PIL seeking a CBI probe into the SSC paper leak case after the Centre informed it that the probe agency has already started investigating it.

Amid protests over alleged paper leak, the SSC had recently recommended a CBI probe into it.

 

[“source=hindustantimes”]

Admission at 11 Chandigarh colleges to go online

The UT higher education department decided to introduce the online system in colleges.

In what could be a good news for the college applicants of 2018-19 academic session, starting July 2018, there will be no counselling for any of the courses, this year.

Unlike last year, when applicants of all the streams, be it sciences, arts or commerce had to be present for the counselling to deposit their documents, this year, the entire admission process, starting from buying a prospectus, has been made online.

Rakesh Kumar Popli, director higher education, said, “We will release the college admission schedule in a day or two but this year, students will not have to physically come for the counselling.”

He added, “We have taken help of software, created by Society for Promotion of IT in Chandigarh (SPIC) for the convenience of the students and parents.”

‘Students can submit forms by mid-June’

Meanwhile, Anita Kaushal, principal of Post Graduate Government College for Girls, Sector 11, who is the chairperson of the college admission committee, said, “The admission process will begin from July 9 and prospectuses will be made available from the first week of June and students can submit their forms online by mid June.”

She added, “We have included sciences comprising BSc and all other subjects under BSc, computer sciences, masters programme in computers, commerce and then arts will also be online from the new session. The admission dates will be shared in two days.”

Kaushal also stated that the word ‘counselling’ will remain there in the prospectus and it will mean the day, when students will come to pay their fee. Rest everything will be handled online,” she added.

At present GGDSD College, Sector 32, has a facility of online admission, where a student does not have to visit the campus with documents on the day of admission. At SD college, the fee deposition process is also online.

The UT higher education department had drafted a plan to introduce online admissions in city’s 11 colleges.

PU faced difficulties to go online last year

In 2017, Panjab University, had also started their online admissions but faced difficulties in implementing it. Despite introducing cloud-based online system, the university had to ask students to submit hard copies of forms and the documents. The system was criticised by the student bodies, stating that there was no point of introducing an online system when students are asked to handover the hard copies of their application forms and documents.

[“source=hindustantimes”]

Restructuring the public school system

The state governments should act as facilitators to the process of school rationalization. Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint

The state governments should act as facilitators to the process of school rationalization. Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint

Indian public schools are seeing a systemic decline in enrolment, resulting in the massive growth of small and tiny government schools. According to a recent article by economist Geeta Kingdon, 419,000 (40%) of government schools had total enrolment less than 50, and 108,000 schools (10.3%) were “tiny” schools with enrolment of less than 20. Although the Indian public school system has addressed the problem of access, it has failed to withstand competition from private schools. These failures of the public school system call for an overhaul of the structure of schooling in India, especially at a time when the new education policy (NEP) is being drafted by the Kasturirangan committee.

Physical access to neighbourhood schools is now a reality, with 96% of the villages having an elementary school within a radius of 3km. However, physical access does not ensure adequate learning. Ten years of annual survey of education report (Aser) surveys and national achievement surveys by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) have revealed a nationwide learning crisis. The first to exit dysfunctional public schools are those from better socio-economic classes, and the disadvantaged suffer. Studies have revealed that students drop out mainly because schools are not attractive physically and pedagogically. Better learning outcomes need functional schools—not just mere physical access.

The right to education (RTE) Act has defined norms for providing functional access such as pupil-teacher ratio, teacher qualification and infrastructure facilities such as availability of toilets, drinking water, library and playgrounds. However, in addition, we need enough teachers and staff per school, subject teachers in the higher grades, and pedagogical support for the teaching-learning process to make the schools functional.

The complex school organization structure across different levels, such as primary, upper primary and secondary schools, and multiple managements (within government and private) break the continuity in schooling, leading to higher dropout rates. There is no need to have separate primary-only schools when the constitutional mandate is completion of primary and upper-primary classes up to class VIII. With universalization of secondary education on the table, schools from primary to secondary should be integrated and secondary education should integrate vocational education to provide gainful employment.

Composite schools can be created through vertical integration across levels and a consolidation of neighbourhood schools to increase school size, ensure better rationalization of teachers and avoid multi-grade teaching. Consolidation brings efficiency, provides better facilities, trained teachers, more comprehensive curriculum, broader extracurricular activities and diverse social experience.

Many states such, as Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Odisha, Himachal Pradesh and Maharashtra, have attempted to consolidate the schools (under names such as school rationalization, mainstreaming, amalgamation and integration) at the primary and upper-primary levels. Rajasthan has undertaken school mergers on the largest scale. About 17,000 schools were ordered to be merged, out of which 12,944 primary and 1,728 upper-primary ones had been merged as of 2016. However, these attempts have been made without adequate study of the need for consolidation and its impact on children in local communities.

School location decisions have to consider the optimal match of schooling demand with supply in the neighbourhood without compromising functional access. The following guiding principles could be followed for consolidation and restructuring: 1. Create before you destroy—construct a functional school infrastructure and appoint teachers in the consolidated school prior to shutting down schools; 2. No child left behind—school consolidation should not result in denial of access to any child; all possible transportation options should be explored, in case consolidation leads to difficulty in physical access; 3. Consult before consolidation—consolidation must be done with the consent of the community through consultations, and the alternative must include consensus on school location, transportation, etc.; 4. Vertical integration—school consolidation should ensure vertical integration across different levels.

Current norms for neighbourhood limits for schools are at different levels: primary schools within 1km, upper-primary schools within 3km and secondary schools within 5km. A common norm for all levels of schooling, with adequate flexibility to suit local conditions, could ensure vertical integration. Administratively, this requires the merger of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) at the Centre (which the ministry of human resource development is contemplating), and primary and secondary education bodies under the departments of education in states.

The Central and state governments should act as facilitators for consolidation and desist from taking a one-size-fits-all approach. Consolidation should be a local exercise—best decided by local authorities. The state governments should act as facilitators to the process of school rationalization by providing technical and financial support and capacity-building of local authorities.

[“Source-livemint”]