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Gaps in quality education despite vast network of colleges: President Kovind

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President Kovind

Pune | President Ram Nath Kovind on Tuesday said India has a vast network of universities and colleges but gaps still exist in attaining world-class excellence in education.

To achieve global standards, the government has taken a decision to promote 20 institutions of higher education as “institutes of eminence”, Kovind said at the 15th convocation ceremony of the Symbiosis International University here. The President noted that India has a massive network of 903 universities and 39,050 colleges. “But the fact is there are still gaps in quality and in attaining world-class excellence across the spectrum,” he said.

“In this context, the government has taken a decision to promote and support 20 institutions of higher education as ‘institutes of eminence’, to grant them recruitment and curricula flexibility in order to reach best-in-class global standards,” he added. After a competitive process, the first few of these institutes of eminence were announced recently. There will be future rounds as well, he said.

Underlining the performance of girls in higher education, he said as president, he made a conscious effort to visit universities and educational institutions across the country to meet and interact with students and future thought leaders of the country.

“One of my findings has been that the academic performance of girl students tends to exceed that of boys. Today too, of the nine gold medals awarded at this convocation, six have gone to graduating girls. This is commendable and a happy sign for our society,” he said. He also asked students to use their education to help fellow citizens.

“Your education gives you responsibility to help those less-privileged and less-fortunate. How you choose to do this is entirely up to you, but remember that your empathy for fellow citizens is as much a test of your scholarship as your mark-sheet or your degree,” the president said. He said knowledge has no gender or geographical boundaries and that India has been a centre of learning for centuries.  From Taxila to Nalanda, the subcontinent’s age-old universities attracted students from different parts of Asia and beyond, he noted.

“In modern times as well, our campuses have been open to and welcoming talented young people from many countries, specially those in our neighbourhood and in Africa, a continent with which we have a special relationship, shaped in classrooms,” Kovind said.

He said it was worth noting that 46,144 international students from 166 countries study in various colleges, universities and institutions of higher learning in India. “Of those who are graduating today, 329 students are from 33 countries other than India. This adds to the multicultural and cosmopolitan atmosphere of your (Symbiosis) campus, and promotes goodwill among nations,” he said.

He congratulated the graduates hailing from other countries, especially one from Uganda who won the ‘Outstanding Foreign Student’ Award. “You arrived here as students. I am confident you are departing as lifelong friends and unofficial ambassadors of India,” he said.

He said the story of modern India owes much to the progressive ideas that have flowed from Pune, and for which “our nation is truly appreciative”. He hailed social reformers like Jyotiba Phule and Savitribai Phule, M G Ranade, Vasudev Balwant Phadke, Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Gopal Krishna Gokhale for taking the “lamp of learning” far and wide. For each of them, the “spread of education was non-negotiable”, he said, adding that “breadth of Indian higher education is appreciable”.

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Legal perspective being sought for quotas for upper castes in Bihar: Nitish Kumar

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quotas

Nitish Kumar, the Bihar chief minister today on Monday declared his government will implement quotas for the economically-backward among the unreserved category once they get a legal perspective concerning the suitable modalities.

Nitish Kumar stated that a legal perspective was being sought as to whether the new quotas, which have been brought forth by way of a recent constitutional amendment and are in addition to the existing reservations, could be introduced in the state through an executive order or an Act passed in the legislature.

He also stated that we are bound by the top court judgement, which placed a cap of 50 percent on the quotas for the educationally and socially backward, but added that he is in the support of the demand for increasing the limit to make reservations proportionate to the population of the respective caste groups.

He added, “But opposition parties which are voicing the demand have no clue as to how to go about it. In my view, there should be a fresh tally wherein the separate populations of social segments like SCs, STs and OBCs is taken into account. Based on its report, the nation can move towards ensuring proportional representation for various castes”.

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PM Modi to inaugurate Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas convention in Varanasi on Tuesday

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Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday will inaugurate the 15th convention of the Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas in his parliamentary constituency of Varanasi.

It is for the first time that the three-day long convention is being organized from 21st January to 23rd January in place of 9th January to permit the participants for visiting the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad and attend the parade of Republic Day here.

A statement from the Prime Minister’s office stated that the theme of the convention for this year is ‘role of the Indian diaspora in building new India’.

The chief guest of the convention will be Prime Minister of Mauritius Pravind Jugnauth, whereas a member of Parliament of Norway, Himanshu Gulati will be the special guest. Further, member of Parliament of New Zealand, Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi, will be the guest of honour.

The decision to celebrate the Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas was taken by the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and the first event was celebrated on 9th January 2003 in Varanasi.

As a matter of fact, January 9 was picked to be the day for the celebration of Pravasi Bharatiya since it was this day in the year 1915 that Mahatma Gandhi had returned from South Africa to India.

The Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas is now celebrated once in every two years and gives a platform to the Indian community overseas for engaging with the government and reconnecting with their roots said the statement.

Pravasi Bharatiya Sammaan, is discussed on the selected overseas Indians for their imperative contributions to different spheres both abroad and in India.

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India among the most trusted nations globally: Reports

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Davos | India is among the most trusted nations globally when it comes to government, business, NGOs and media but the country’s brands are among the least-trusted, according to a report.

The The 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer report released on Monday, ahead of the the World Economic Forum (WEF) meet here, noted that the Global Trust Index witnessed a marginal increase of 3 points to 52.

China topped the Trust Index among both the informed public and the general population segments, with scores of 79 and 88 respectively.

India was at the second place in the informed public category and third place in the general population category.

The Index is the average per cent of trust in NGOs, business, government and media.

The findings are based on an online survey in 27 markets covering over 33,000 respondents. The fieldwork was conducted between October 19 and November 16, 2018.

In terms of trust in companies headquartered in each market, the most trusted are those from Switzerland, Germany and Canada. The brands from these countries have a trust score of 70 each while that of Japan is 69 per cent.

However, companies headquartered in India, Mexico and Brazil are the least trusted, followed by China and South Korea, as per the report.

While the score of India and Brazil is 40 per cent, that of Mexico and China stood at 36 per cent and 41 per cent, respectively.

The report noted that there is a growing feeling of pessimism about the future, with only one-in-three mass population respondents in the developed world believing his or her family would be better off in the next five years.

Among the mass population, just one-in-five believe the system is working for them and 70 percent desire change. And despite a full-employment economy, fear of job loss remains high among the general population.

This is based on views of respondents about global companies headquartered in specific countries and how much these firms are trusted by them ‘to do what is right’.

According to the report, globally ‘my employer’ is significantly more trusted than NGOs, business, government and media

“The last decade has seen a loss of faith in traditional authority figures and institutions,” said Richard Edelman, president and CEO of Edelman.

When it comes to reliable sources for news, search and traditional are among the most trusted. Search and traditional media have a score of 66 each, while the score of social media is 44 per cent, the report noted.

“73 per cent worry about false information or fake news being used as a weapon,” it added.

Stephen Kehoe, global chair, Reputation at Edelman said that divergent levels of confidence between the mass population and informed public about the future signal a continued underlying rot in the structure of society.

“While not everyone is taking to the streets, the data shows why protests like the Gilet Jaunes in France, the women’s marches in India and walkouts by employees at some major tech companies could become more mainstream,” Kehoe said.

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