CBSE has no role in deciding eligibility criteria for NEET

The CBSE clarification came following several complaints about barring open school candidates and those with biology as an additional subject in Class 12 from appearing for NEET. Photo: Mint

The CBSE clarification came following several complaints about barring open school candidates and those with biology as an additional subject in Class 12 from appearing for NEET. Photo: Mint

New Delhi: The CBSE has clarified that it has no role in deciding eligibility criteria for medical entrance exam, NEET, and grievances, if any, should be submitted to the Medical Council of India (MCI).

The clarification came following several complaints received by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) about barring open school candidates and those with biology as an additional subject in Class 12 from appearing for the National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET).

“The responsibility of CBSE is limited to holding the NEET (UG) examination, based on the eligibility criteria provided by MCI. CBSE has no role to play in deciding the eligibility conditions,” the board said in an advisory.

Students who have pursued schooling through National Institute of Open Learning (NIOS)/ State Open School or those who studied biology or biotechnology as an additional subject in Class 12 are ineligible to appear in NEET.

“Therefore, all the grievances received by CBSE on these issues are disposed of. Candidates are requested to kindly read the information bulletin and FAQs hosted on NEET website before sending grievance to the board in any form,” it added.

This year, NEET will be held on 6 May. Online application process began on 8 February and 9 March is the last date to register. The last date for successful payment of fee online is 10 March till 11.50pm.

[“Source-livemint”]

Aadhaar not mandatory for any national entrance exam, for now

The Supreme Court has directed the CBSE to upload the information regarding Aadhaar number on their website. Photo: HT

The Supreme Court has directed the CBSE to upload the information regarding Aadhaar number on their website. Photo: HT

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday said unique identification number Aadhaar cannot be made mandatory for any national entrance examination for now.

The interim order was passed by a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra in a challenge to making the 12-digit number mandatory for National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) 2018 for admission to medical courses.

The court said other forms of identification such as voter ID, passport or ration card can be used to register for or appear in the coming NEET. The last date to submit applications for NEET conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) is 9 March.

This means even a candidate who has Aadhaar is not required to produce it for appearing in national entrance tests like NEET.

Apart from sparing NEET candidates from mandatorily furnishing Aadhaar, the interim order also prohibits CBSE, Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and the University Grants Commission (UGC) from making the unique number mandatory for examinations like Joint Entrance Exam (JEE-Main) and National Eligibility Test (NET) and the Common Admission Test held by Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs).

The court also directed the centre to inform CBSE to follow the order and upload it on its website so that students are better informed. Currently, CBSE is the test delivery partner for most national entrance tests, including JEE-Main, NEET, UGC-NET and Central Teacher Eligibility Test.

Earlier this year, CBSE had issued notifications making Aadhaar must for appearing in several national entrance tests.

“The use of Aadhaar for applicants of UGC-NET(July) 2018 will result in accuracy of applicants’ details. This will also help ascertain identities of applicants at the examination centres in a convenient and hassle-free manner,” CBSE had said in one of its notifications dated 23 February, justifying the use of Aadhaar.

However, attorney general K.K. Venugopal told the court that the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has not authorized CBSE to make Aadhaar mandatory for students to enrol for NEET.

A Constitution bench comprising Chief Justice Misra and justices D.Y. Chandrachud, A.K. Sikri, A.M. Khanwilkar and Ashok Bhushan is hearing the case against the Constitutional validity of Aadhaar.

The order was passed on an appeal by one Abidali Yusufbhai Patel, who had specifically challenged Aadhaar being made must for filling up NEET enrolment forms. The matter was mentioned in the morning and was taken up for hearing in the afternoon, along with the main challenge to Aadhaar that is being heard by the Constitution bench.

Patel had challenged a 27 February order passed by the Gujarat high court, which refused to grant interim relief to students seeking exemption from submitting Aadhaar while appearing for JEE(Main), 2018 (JEE) and NEET.

During the course of arguments, a challenge to Aadhaar being passed as a money bill was raised by lawyer and former finance minister P. Chidambaram, who carved out the distinction between a money and financial bill. Chidambaram is one of the lawyers representing the petitioners.

“A money bill cannot be introduced in Rajya Sabha. In this case, Rajya Sabha becomes only a recommending house. They have no legislative power but only recommendative power,” Chidambaram told the court.

A batch of petitions have been tagged by the Supreme Court to be heard by the Constitution bench. They challenge several aspects of Aadhaar, the 12-digit unique identity number that has become a bedrock of government welfare programmes, the tax administration network and online financial transactions, and the use/sharing of personal data collected by the UIDAI.

There are more than 1.2 billion Aadhaar holders in the country.

[“Source-livemint”]

Education & You: On the syllabus for 2018

Buses are parked at First Student school bus transportation in Hempfield on Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018.

Updated 13 hours ago

The new year is off to a cold start, with hundreds of school delays and closings across the region. How has this impacted your first week back to school and work after the holidays? Tell us your story or send us other tips and feedback: [email protected] or 724-850-2867.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

1. School districts ave tough decision when temperatures plummet—and stay there

2. Schools in Allegheny, Westmoreland turn to digital career planning

3. New York governor calls for food pantries at public colleges

INSIDE THE CLASSROOM

First-grade teacher Debbie Walker, of Montour Elementary School, was browsing Pinterest when she came across a low-tech activity to help her students get excited about reading: Flashlight Fridays.

Every Friday, the first-graders spend a few minutes with a good book and read by flashlight. Walker says giving students the freedom to choose a comfortable spot in the room during the activity–at their desks, under a table or snuggled in a book boat–motivates them to focus.

WHY IT MATTERS

Here are the education stories of 2017 that stuck with TribLIVE Education Team reporters. Look for updates as we follow these stories into 2018.

Have an angle you think we should explore? Tell us: [email protected] or 724-850-2867.

1. EARLY ED: Early childhood education prep key to future success

Numerous studies have shown that preschool preparation is key to future success in a student’s academic career and beyond. While some school districts—like Derry Area in Westmoreland County—are finding ways to support their youngest learners,other parts of Allegheny and Westmoreland Counties still lack access to quality preschool.

And in the City of Pittsburgh, Mayor Bill Peduto has plans for implementing universal pre-kindergarten in city schools.

2. K-12: Western Pennsylvania school districts experiment with later start times

The Centers for Disease Control has recommended later start times for schools since 2014. In the last few months, an increasing number of schools in the Greater Pittsburgh area—including those with start times as early as 7 a.m.—have started to take another look at that research.

Several districts, including Hampton and North Allegheny, are expected to move forward with reviewing policies in January.

3. K-12: Wave of threats rattle Western Pa. schools early in year

At least five districts in Westmoreland and Allegheny counties experienced or investigated rumors of violent threats targeting students or school buildings in the first seven weeks of the 2017-18 school year.

Though administrators and law enforcement do their best to keep students safe, challenges like social media can make it difficult to make a call on whether to close schools or increase security, and how to communicate concerns or threats to community members.

Meanwhile, State Sen. Don White (R-Indiana) is advocating for legislation that would allow teachers to carry concealed firearms in schools. This, he said, would give school districts more ways to keep students safe.

The bill has been sitting in the House Education Committee since June 2017.

4. K-12: Pittsburgh Public Schools to ban out-of-school suspensions before third grade

Pittsburgh Public Schools became the first school district in Pennsylvania to prohibit principals from suspending students in second grade or younger in December 2017.

Effective next September, the out-of-school suspension ban will apply only to students in preschool through second grade cited for nonviolent, “minor disciplinary infractions,” such as repeatedly showing up late, violating the school’s dress code or disrupting class.

5. K-12: The new state plan for education and changes to testing, school ratings

The Pennsylvania Department of Education released the proposed the new state plan for education in August, but it has yet to be approved by the federal Department of Education.

Long-term goals under the new plan include reducing the number of students who fail to graduate, increasing the number of students who achieve proficiency on PSSA and Keystone Exams and supporting English Language Learners in growth towards achieving English proficiency.

The state Department of Education also announced the development of the Future Ready PA Index, a new school report card that measures academic growth, school climate, graduation rates and readiness for opportunities after high school. The proposed tool would not give schools a letter grade or a numerical score.

Changes to the PSSA exam under the new plan could make the testing period shorter in 2018. While the testing overhaul received high marks from some parents and educators, others say the effect is likely to be limited.

6. HIGHER ED: Tuition-free California University program helps seniors get ahead

The 60+CAP program at California University of Pennsylvania offers free tuition to any Pennsylvania resident 60 or older, allowing some older adults to sharpen their job skills in a rapidly changing economy.

7. HIGHER ED: GI Bill a ‘cash cow’ for some Pennsylvania schools

Though the Post-9/11 GI Bill has helped some veterans at local colleges and universities continue their educations, the program has become a ‘cash cow’ for some Pennsylvania schools.

8. LOCAL: How lead in the water impacts Pittsburgh’s youngest residents

Pittsburgh’s water has a lead problem. The city’s youngest residents are especially vulnerable to the neurotoxin, which can damage the brain and lead to development, learning, hearing and speech problems.

Locating the source of the lead can be difficult. Last month, Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority told the Tribune-Review it will start using Allegheny County Health Department data to prioritize lead line replacements at homes with children.

But the depth of lead problems at school buildings across the Greater Pittsburgh region is still unclear.

9. LOCAL: Pittsburgh’s bid for Amazon HQ2 is submitted; now the wait

Pittsburgh is one of many cities across the countries interested in scoring the Amazon HQ2 bid, which promises to bring 50,000 jobs and $5 billion in investment to the region.

Among Pittsburgh’s biggest advantages is the city’s large number of university graduates, officials have said.

We’ll be watching to see how Pittsburgh and other cities like Detroit, which touted proximity to Carnegie Mellon University in its pitch, fare. But even if Pittsburgh doesn’t win the bid, the city’s interest in attracting tech companies is likely to have an impact in K-12 and higher education as schools strive to prepare students for jobs in STEM—science, technology, engineering and math—fields.

10. NATIONAL: Greater Pittsburgh demonstrators to lawmakers: Save DACA

Demonstrators turned out to lawmakers’ offices in Pittsburgh and D.C. following the Trump administration’s decision to end the Deferred Action for childhood Arrivals Program, known as DACA, in September.

Calls to preserve the program, which grants protection to individuals who arrived in the country as children and do not have legal status, also came from local leaders in higher education.

According to U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services, Pennsylvania is home to 5,889 DACA recipients. The program was started in 2012 under the Obama administration, but never offered participants any clear path to citizenship. Congress has yet to act on a solution.

[“Source-triblive”]

OpenStax Textbooks Teams With Blending Education, LLC to Introduce Content-Driven Microlearning

HOUSTONJan. 4, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Blending Education, LLC today announced a partnership with OpenStax that will enhance and personalize the learning experience for students through microlearning developed from OpenStax’s free, open-source textbooks.

Blending Education, LLC, a provider of microlearning libraries and content-driven digital education services, will commence its partnership with OpenStax, a Rice University-based nonprofit organization that makes education more accessible for students, to provide greater access to quality, cost-effective course materials and advanced digital solutions.

“Microlearning is a way of delivering content in small, manageable units, and opens up new possibilities for cost-effective, personalized learning for each student. Blending Education is committed to driving student and teacher success, with OpenStax demonstrating that same commitment,” said Veronica Volz, Co-Founder of Blending Education, LLC.

“The new partnership announced today will open up opportunities for all schools, colleges and universities to benefit from the microlearning and blended learning services we provide,” added Ian F Simpson, Co-Founder of Blending Education, LLC.

Both Co-Founders expressed their joy in recent results in immersing teaching staff and students to test the effectiveness of this system. “The results have been positive, and the impact already felt in field testing this system for the past three years has proven its potency,” said Ian.

Blending Education, LLC helps educators, administrators, instructional designers and anyone else interested in teaching and learning to easily implement blended learning into their course, program, faculty or school. Their microlearning products are self-grading, mobile-responsive and save time and effort. Instructors simply upload them to their own Learning Management System (LMS) or Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) in just a few steps. Students can then access these on any smartphone, tablet or computer for “anytime, anywhere” learning.

The measurement of learning outcomes, recordable data and secure analytics offers immediate, live insights into how well each student is performing, and the unique style of delivering content in short bursts aids retention and promotes self-directed learning. Microlearning provides instant feedback to students and eases the workload teachers face by automatically reporting students’ grades back to the institution’s own learning management system.

And unlike most other content-driven platforms, their microlearning products work within the school or university’s own LMS, so there is no learning curve, subscription cost, or “per-student” fees. Each microlearning product can be used and re-used freely year after year on unlimited students, resulting in an ultimate cost-savings. Keeping student data within the confines of the institutional LMS also affords educators and administrators peace of mind, knowing that it is safe and secure.

By using Blending Education’s OpenStax-based resources, schools, colleges and universities will gain affordable solutions and analytical insights that will help increase student success. Additionally, the Company will open up a wider distribution of OpenStax’s free textbooks through their promotion throughout the UK, Europe and beyond.

“We look forward to seeing how our partnership with Blending Education brings affordable and powerful personalized learning technology to students in the UK and Europe,” said Daniel Williamson, managing director of OpenStax. “Our growing ecosystem of resources is helping us broaden our reach and improve access to higher education for more students.”

The Company has been aware of the incredible impact that OpenStax has had on the broader educational community recently, and the co-founders of Blending Education are pleased to be working with such an innovative company. As the company continues to grow its digital solutions, relationships with organizations such as OpenStax uniquely position Blending Education to act as a complete support system in increasing student demands and retention.

About Blending Education, LLC & OpenStax

Blending Education, LLC offers professional blended learning services and a broad catalog of digital titles in core subjects. The company acts as a strategic partner to drive student success, provide value and support to students and faculty, and create loyalty and retention while supporting the goals of academic partners.

General information on Blending Education, LLC can be obtained by visiting the Company’s website: https://blending.education

Blending Education will be exhibiting at BETT Jan. 24-27, 2018 at ExCeL, London, England. BETT is the largest Educational and EdTech Expo outside the U.S.

OpenStax is a nonprofit initiative of Rice University and is made possible by the generous support of philanthropic partners, including Laura and John Arnold Foundation, Arthur and Carlyse Ciocca Charitable Foundation, Ann and John Doerr, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Google Inc., the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Calvin K. Kazanjian Economics Foundation, Charles Koch Foundation, Leon Lowenstein Foundation Inc., the Maxfield Foundation, Michelson 20MM Foundation, the Open Society Foundations, Jumee Yhu and David E. Park III, Brian D. Patterson USA-International Foundation, and the Bill and Stephanie Sick Fund. For more information, visit http://openstax.org.

[“Source-prnewswire”]