World Bank warns of learning crisis in education in countries like India

File photo. “This learning crisis is a moral and economic crisis,” World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said. Photo: AP

File photo. “This learning crisis is a moral and economic crisis,” World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said. Photo: AP

Washington: The World Bank has warned of a learning crisis in global education particularly in low and middle-income countries like India, underlining that schooling without learning is not just a wasted development opportunity, but also a great injustice to children worldwide.

The World Bank in a latest report on Tuesday noted that millions of young students in these countries face the prospect of lost opportunity and lower wages in later life because their primary and secondary schools are failing to educate them to succeed in life.

According to the ‘World Development Report 2018: ‘Learning to Realise Education’s Promise’, released on Tuesday, India ranks second after Malawi in a list of 12 countries wherein a grade two student could not read a single word of a short text. India also tops the list of seven countries in which a grade two student could not perform two-digit subtraction.

“In rural India, just under three-quarters of students in grade 3 could not solve a two-digit subtraction such as 46 – 17, and by grade 5 half could still not do so,” the World Bank said. The report argued that without learning, education will fail to deliver on its promise to eliminate extreme poverty and create shared opportunity and prosperity for all. “Even after several years in school, millions of children cannot read, write or do basic math.

This learning crisis is widening social gaps instead of narrowing them,” it said. Young students who are already disadvantaged by poverty, conflict, gender or disability reach young adulthood without even the most basic life skills, it said. “This learning crisis is a moral and economic crisis,” World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said. “When delivered well, education promises young people employment, better earnings, good health, and a life without poverty,” he added.

“For communities, education spurs innovation, strengthens institutions, and fosters social cohesion. But these benefits depend on learning, and schooling without learning is a wasted opportunity. More than that, it’s a great injustice: the children whom societies fail the most are the ones who are most in need of a good education to succeed in life,” the Bank president said.

In rural India in 2016, only half of grade 5 students could fluently read text at the level of the grade 2 curriculum, which included sentences (in the local language) such as ‘It was the month of rains’ and ‘There were black clouds in the sky’. “These severe shortfalls constitute a learning crisis,” the Bank report said. According to the report, in Andhra Pradesh in 2010, low-performing students in grade 5 were no more likely to answer a grade 1 question correctly than those in grade 2.

“Even the average student in grade 5 had about a 50% chance of answering a grade 1 question correctly—compared with about 40% in grade 2,” the report said. An experiment in Andhra Pradesh, that rewarded teachers for gains in measured learning in math and language led to more learning not just in those subjects, but also in science and social studies—even though there were no rewards for the latter.

“This outcome makes sense—after all, literacy and numeracy are gateways to education more generally,” the report said. Further a computer-assisted learning program in Gujarat, improved learning when it added to teaching and learning time, especially for the poorest-performing students, it said.

The report recommends concrete policy steps to help developing countries resolve this dire learning crisis in the areas of stronger learning assessments, using evidence of what works and what doesn’t to guide education decision-making; and mobilising a strong social movement to push for education changes that champion ‘learning for all’. PTI


India launches satellite for South Asian countries, Pakistan says no thanks

The Indian Space Research Organisation's GSAT-9 satellite was launched Friday, May 5, 2017 in the state of Andhra Pradesh.

The Indian Space Research Organisation’s GSAT-9 satellite was launched Friday, May 5, 2017 in the state of Andhra Pradesh.

New Delhi (CNN)In a first, India’s space agency launched a satellite Friday to provide communications services to its neighboring countries.

The South Asia satellite, funded entirely by India, was announced several years ago with the intention of serving all eight members of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).
According to Uday Bhaskar, director of Delhi-based think tank the Society for Policy Studies, the satellite represents a “new form of regional cooperation,” and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called it a “gift to the SAARC region.”
“Even the sky is not the limit when it comes to regional cooperation among like-minded countries,” Modi said after the launch.
The more than $36 million project does not, however, involve Pakistan, which pulled out of the project.
READ: Asia’s space race heats up

Tense relationship

The satellite project comes at a time of heightened tensions between the two countries. This week, India accused Pakistan of mutilating the bodies of two of its soldiers in the disputed territory of Kashmir. Last year, militants from Pakistan killed 18 Indian soldiers in an attack on an Indian army base.
While some have suggested Pakistan may have pulled out due to espionage concerns, Ajay Lele, a senior analyst at the Delhi-based Institute for Defense Studies and Analysis said “in modern times, you do not develop a satellite to spy on a country.”
But N. Sathiya Moorthy, a regional director at the Observer Research Foundation, said India should “do everything to ensure that policy makers (in Pakistan) remain convinced that it is nothing more than what India says it is.”
Lele said Pakistan’s backing out is a missed opportunity for Islamabad. “Problems on earth shouldn’t affect relationships in outer space,” he said.
Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Nafees Zakaria said the country was initially “keen to participate in the project.”
“However, as India was not willing to develop the project on a collaborative basis, it was not possible for Pakistan to support it as a regional project under the umbrella of SAARC,” he added.
He dismissed speculation over espionage concerns as “unfounded.”
The satellite will provide communications and disaster management services across South Asia.

Space diplomacy

The satellite’s launch is seen by many as a move by India to cement its big brother role in the region and improve relations with its neighbors, Pakistan aside.
“India has done satellite launches for countries commercially but never utilized them as a foreign policy tool. Space is no more just a science and technology domain — it is being seen from a strategic and foreign policy perspective,” said Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan, head of the Nuclear and Space Policy Initiative at the Observer Research Foundation.
Experts say the move is also designed to counter China’s growing influence in South Asia. In 2011, Beijing launched a communications satellite for long-time ally Pakistan, followed by the launch of another for Sri Lanka in 2012.
“Space is emerging as a domain where you can see increasing competition between India and China. For China, reaching out to South Asia is a way of keeping India under check,” said Rajagopalan.
India's space program is increasing in sophistication.

Disaster control

The South Asia satellite weighs 2,230 kilograms and is carrying 12 top-of-the-line communication transponders, making it India’s most significant space project since February’s record-breaking launch of 104 mini satellites with a single rocket.
Since the 2013 launch of India’s Mars orbiter, the country’s space agency has established itself as a reliable, low-cost global player.
The new satellite will provide telecommunications, disaster management and weather forecasting services, among others.
A satellite focusing on disaster communications could be particularly beneficial to South Asia, home to about a quarter of the world’s population and prone to tropical cyclones, heat waves, earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides and floods.
“Bangladesh has serious climatic variations, while Maldives is seeing the impact of climate change. Both countries have a lot to receive in terms of disaster warnings,” said Rajagopalan.
Bhaskar added, “This can go a long way in improving regional human security indicators, particularly in the more impoverished cross-sections of the regional population across South Asia.”

Tinder Looks Beyond Dating With Launch of Tinder Social in India, 5 Other Countries

Tinder Looks Beyond Dating With Launch of Tinder Social in India, 5 Other Countries


  • Tinder Social is launching in India and five other countries
  • This feature allows groups to meet new friends and make plans
  • India is the biggest market for Tinder in Asia

Tinder is known to most people as the hookup app, but a new update that’s now rolling out in India, along with the US, Canada, UK, Australia, and New Zealand, adds a feature that’s all about hanging out with your friends. Confused? It’s quite simple really – a new feature, called Tinder Social, allows you to make groups with one to three other friends. These groups last until 12 noon the following day. Once the group has been made, you can go back to swiping, only now, you might see some other groups as well.

If you – or any of the other members of your group – swipes to match with another group, and then any member of that group swipes right on your group in turn, then you’re matched, and the two groups are merged. Then, you can all chat with each other, make plans, and hang out.

According to Tinder India head Taru Kapoor, who spoke to Gadgets 360 before the launch of Tinder Social, the new feature will help people to make friends and plan activities, and “offer users more ways to expand their social circle.”

According to the company, users in Australia, where the feature was first tested, have used Tinder Social to organise pub crawls and make plans to attend concerts.

“Tinder Social is designed to make it as easy as possible to plan your night, get out into the real world and meet new people,” says Sean Rad, CEO and co-founder of Tinder. “The new feature takes the Tinder experience to a new level, offering our users more ways to expand their social circles and interact with potential matches.”

Privacy, Hooking Up, and evolving with India
When Tinder Social first launched in Australia, it was switched on by default. This caused a privacy mess, because users would see a list of all their Facebook friends using Tinder when they chose to create a group using Tinder Social. Now, with the official launch, it is opt-in, solving one of the big issues it had. Users can create a group by selecting friends, who also have to opt-in; anyone can leave a group at any time. When you create a group, you can also assign a status from suggested activities. Users who don’t opt in to Tinder Social won’t be added to any groups.

tinder_social_opting_in.jpgKapoor doesn’t see Tinder as being an app about ‘hooking up’.

“Our vision is social discovery, whether it’s making friends or dating or forming relationships,” said Kapoor. “[Tinder] Social is a part of that vision. Sometimes we interact with people one on one, and at other times we make friends in groups. With social we bring another part of the experience to the app.”

Although Tinder won’t reveal the number of users it has in India, it’s clearly a big market to bring the new feature here before so many other countries. “India is the largest market in Asia, and in the top five markets in terms of growth globally,” said Kapoor. “It’s one of our most exciting markets right now, and so we believed that we should bring Social here soon.”

In fact, while Tinder only launched officially in India recently, it’s been in use here for around three years now, growing organically, Kapoor said. And in that time, it has made a mark on the app as well, she added.

“We do take feedback from our users and listen to them very carefully,” said Kapoor. “So for example we added the job and education details to the profile, which was something that a lot of users from India had requested.”

Tags: Dating apps, Taru Kapoor, Tinder, Tinder Social



NexGTv to Start Services in 140 Countries

NexGTv to Start Services in 140 Countries

Mobile TV application NexGTv said it has begun expansion of its services into 140 countries, and will expand its business in a phased manner.

“We are delighted to go live across the world. Our endeavour is to deliver the best product and streaming experience to our audiences across the globe. NexGTv will be currently targeting its expansion in more than 140 countries through the global billing on its Android app,” NexGTv COO Abhlesh Verma said in a statement.

The Gurgaon-based company has started streaming content in English, Hindi and Tamil. In the first phase, the company plans to expand its offering targeting Indian-origin viewers in the UK, Australia, Canada, and the US.

The company has secured worldwide rights for Rajshree Entertainment, One Network Entertainment, HT Media , Star Entertainment and 9X Media. It also has rights for ‘It’s My City’ series starring Priyanka Chopra.

“In the first phase, NexGTv has already secured the requisite digital rights to screen content beyond Indian borders for more than 11,500 hours of programming from close to 20,000 hours of programming it hosts on the platform,” Verma said.

Besides an Android version of its application, NexGTv will expand its presence to Apple’s iOS. “The company will initially focus on Indian diaspora onto its premium platform and then source local content in the country of presence for wide reach,” NexGTv spokesperson added.

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Tags: Apps, Home Entertainment, India, Internet, NexGTV