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DIALOGUE FOR CHANGE

NCERT To Revise Curriculum Framework For School Education After 15 Years

Subject experts will initiate this process for school education, and give an interim report by December 2020.

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NEW DELHI: In view of the decision of setting up of Foundational Literacy and Numeracy Mission under Atma Nirbhar Bharat, Union Ministry of Human Resource Development MHRD has prepared a roadmap for the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) for the academic year 2020-21.

The new roadmap for NCERT has been prepared with a learning outcome-centric approach and NCERT has been tasked to develop the required resources for its implementation leading to all-around improvement in learning outcomes and learning levels of students.

The interim report on the new National Curriculum Framework (NCF) for school education, which is being revised after 15 years, will be submitted by December and the new curriculum is expected to be ready by March next year, according to the HRD Ministry.


The new NCF for school education has been initiated. NCERT will be expected to make changes in the textbooks in accordance with the new NCF. Subject experts will initiate this process for school education, and give an interim report by December 2020. The new NCF is expected to be ready by March 2021,” the HRD Ministry said in a statement.

The ministry has directed the National Council of Education Research and Training (NCERT) that while redesigning textbooks, it is to be ensured that nothing but the core content is placed in them.

Also, the cognitive load of the textbooks is too high. Additional areas, such as creative thinking, life skills, Indian ethos, art, and integration, need to be integrated. NCERT will also start working on the layout and design of the new textbooks well in advance, however, the new textbooks shall be written based on the new NCF.”


Under Atma Nirbhar Bharat, for PM E-Vidya, NCERT is also expected to prepare content for classes I–XII for SWAYAM PRABHA channels (1 class 1 channel) and start the channels by August this year,” the ministry said.

The revision of the curriculum framework will be in sync with the implementation of the examination reforms such as uniform assessment and evaluation system under the proposed National Assessment Centre as proposed by the New Education Policy draft.

The new National Curriculum Framework (NCF) for School Education has also been initiated. NCERT will be expected to make changes in the textbooks in accordance with the new NCF. Subject experts will initiate this process for school education, and give an interim report by December 2020.

While redesigning textbooks, it is to be ensured that nothing but the core content is placed in textbooks. Also, the cognitive load of the textbooks is too high. Additional areas, such as creative thinking, life skills, Indian ethos, art, and integration, etc. need to be integrated.

NCERT will also start working on the layout and design of the new textbooks well in advance, however, the new textbooks shall be written based on the new NCF. The new NCF is expected to be ready by March 2021.


Under AtmaNirbhar Bharat, for PM E-Vidya, NCERT is also expected to prepare content for Class 1 – 12 for SWAYAM PRABHA channels (1 class 1 channel) and start the channels by August this year.

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DIALOGUE FOR CHANGE

Women Entrepreneurs Critical To ‘Aatma-Nirbhar Bharat’

Women entrepreneurs still face obstacles in their business endeavours due to gender bias and discrimination.

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(This article belongs to League of India’s ‘Readers’ Opinions‘ Initiative)

For entrepreneurs to thrive in an economy, a stable and supportive political system has to prevail. A liberalized economic environment offers the space and confidence for people to take up commercial activities. Though pre-colonial Indian society possessed classy village and town economies that supported indigenous artisans, handicrafts, and commerce by trade guilds and business communities, the British occupation subverted the Indian economy to serve the interests of the rulers. After independence, there was a capital crunch that prevented proper growth of individual small and medium scale businesses.

The liberalization of the economy in 1991 opened up space for small and personal commercial activities to grow well. Indian women entrepreneurs have also been part of this development process.


The growth of women entrepreneurs has not only reduced the gender gap in socio-economic participation but has also been instrumental in ensuring balanced and equitable development an economic upliftment at women, benefits her family surrounding and community.

Nevertheless, women entrepreneurs still face obstacles in their business endeavours due to gender bias and discrimination.

Indian women entrepreneurs are significantly less aware of govt schemes policies available for them. According to the 2011 Census, around 34% of Indian women are illiterate, which prevents them from accessing information and training opportunities. Most women do not inherit their ancestral properties; It goes only to the male children.

So it is very tough for them to arrange initial capital, finance, and working capital since angel investors show gender bias in their evaluation and investment decisions. Inequitable access to the labour market and lack of networking-cum-market understanding discourage them for a start-up.


Women entrepreneurs choose to keep their businesses small since they have to juggle family responsibilities too. They are expected to balance and manage family work and everything else; even they contribute equally to family’s finance.

According to the Sixth Economic Census released by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, women constitute around 14 per cent of the total entrepreneur base in India, i.e. 8.05 million out of the total 58.5 million entrepreneurs.

While some are accidental entrepreneurs due to the lack of other work opportunities, many others are driven by a specific mission or goal. Of the total 20%, women-owned MSMEs, 20.44% are micro-enterprises, 5.26% are small and 2.67% medium enterprises.

States such as Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Gujarat, and Kerala have a higher number of women entrepreneurs, while Chandigarh, Arunachal Pradesh, Diu, and Daman have a low number of women entrepreneurs.

Significant obstacles to women in MSMEs are gender bias exhibited by investors, lack of credit access and unsupportive family.

Census 2011 data shows that 32.8 per cent of women are engaged in the agriculture sector. 33 per cent cultivators and 47 per cent of agricultural labourers are women. In rural India, 84 per cent of women depend on agriculture for their livelihood.


According to Economic Survey 2017-18, the number of women engaged in agriculture as cultivators, agri-entrepreneurs, and labourers is increasing. This feminization of agriculture can enable women to play a decisive role in ensuring food security and preserving local eco-biodiversity. It necessitates access to resources such as water, farm credit, land, technology, and information to women.

However, only 12% of the land is owned by women.

Women employed in the agriculture sector face gender wage disparity, mostly work in low skilled jobs, and many of them work as unpaid subsistence labourers.

Intels Women and Web Study (2013) found that women’s access to the Internet helps them acquire new knowledge, learning. However, there is a 34 per cent gender gap in online access in India. Indian women mainly use it for banking and financial activities. Over 30 per cent of girls drop out before completing secondary education in India.

Further, due to the lack of access to technical knowledge, women mostly occupy low and medium-skilled jobs. It makes them vulnerable to the effects of automation, which may force job layoffs shortly, resulting in further marginalization of women.

Loss of employment can restrict their economic independence and development.

The concept of ‘Vocal for Local’ is possible only when women, whose population is almost half of the total, are made to be the part of the program and participate equally in terms of economic activities.

The government ought to organize a survey on the post-COVID impact on women’s livelihood across sectors. There must be a special allocation of funds to women start-ups and proper incubation process.

MSME ministry, in collaboration with NGOs, should also provide research support and technical inductions to rural women entrepreneurs.

Most importantly, We (govt., administration, society and you) have to ensure an inclusive, no favouritism, and sexual harassment-free workplace.

What is needed are gender-neutral policies, as well as pro-women budgets that promote women entrepreneurship. Strong legislation and public awareness of these laws are required to enable easy conduct of business. Non-discriminatory access to credit facilities and banking is another pre-requisite to encourage female entrepreneurs.


Hopefully, we will see a new dawn of women empowerment in the nation in the coming decades as more and more women are coming into the centre stream of the economy across various sectors like IT, financial, e-commerce, biotechnology etc. which will also increase the productivity of women.

Disclaimer: The facts and opinions expressed in this reader-submitted article are strictly the personal opinions of the author. League of India does not assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information in this article.

This reader-submitted article has NOT BEEN EDITED by League of India and is published as received.

Omm Priyadarshi

Omm Priyadarshi is a Development Studies scholar from NIT Rourkela. He typically writes on socio-cultural, environmental and gender-related issues.

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DEFENCE-SECURITY

The Subject Of Being Atma Nirbhar In Defence Technology

DRDO has to navigate through a complex web of stakeholders and labyrinthine bureaucratic processes.

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Following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Vocal for Local” call and launch of Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan (Self-Reliant India Campaign), the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has tweaked its capital acquisition manual to promote greater self-reliance in defence production.

On July 27, it released the draft Defence Acquisition Procedure 2020 (DAP-2020) for public comments. The draft incorporates suggestions received from various stakeholders on a previous draft – the draft Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP-2020) – which was also put in the public domain.

Among other features, the draft DAP-2020 improvises upon Chapter III A of the draft DPP-2020, which was articulated with the intention to streamline para 72 of Chapter II of the existing DPP that facilitates the acquisition of systems designed and developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs) and the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB).


Will the Chapter-III A make a difference in realising Prime Minister Modi’s call for an Atma Nirbhar Bharat? The answer lies in understanding the issues surrounding the indigenous development of defence equipment by the Indian entities, particularly the DRDO, and then juxtaposing them with the procedures articulated in Chapter III A.

Since its creation in 1958, the DRDO has been at the forefront of indigenous design and development of defence equipment. The organisation, which has 24,700 employees, including 7,300 scientists, and a budget of Rs 19,327 crore (or four per cent of the MoD’s budget for 2020-21), is known for many remarkable achievements in strategic programmes, a glimpse of which was the recent successful conduct of Mission Shakti, an anti-satellite (ASAT) missile test.

However, in regard to conventional arms, there has been a deep-rooted perception that the DRDO has not been so successful, even though the organisation, with all its human resource and budgetary constraints, has designed and developed a range of complex systems including Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), Main Battle Tank Arjun, Pinaka multi-barrel rocket system, advanced towed artillery gun, and myriad other weapons and sensors.


In terms of value, the DRDO-designed products (other than strategic systems), whether inducted or in the process of induction, amount to Rs 2,65,007 crore, as of 2017.

Notwithstanding these achievements, the ultimate users, i.e., the armed forces, often complain about time and cost overruns and performance shortfall of the equipment designed and developed by the DRDO.

It is important to note that unlike strategic systems in which the DRDO has greater freedom in the developmental process, in conventional weapon systems, most of which are developed through the Mission Mode, the DRDO has to navigate through a complex web of stakeholders and labyrinthine bureaucratic processes which often work as a stumbling block.

The involvement of various stakeholders, which include armed forces and production and quality assurance agencies, brings an element of diffused accountability as agencies involved are accountable to different administrative heads.

The lack of synergy among stakeholders has been commented upon by various authorities, including the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, for its adverse impact on timely completion of projects.


More significantly, the lack of synergy has sometimes generated rigid institutional biases, leading to undue delay in placement of orders even after projects have gone through the rigorous process of development and testing. This not only demotivates scientists and the industry involved in the project but directly affects India’s self-reliance as the budget which could have been utilised to procure home-grown technologies is ultimately spent on importing arms from external sources.

The Chapter III A of the draft DAP-2020 has attempted to address some of the abovementioned constraints by articulating detailed step-by-step procedures to enable smooth acquisition of systems indigenously designed by the DRDO and other MoD-owned/controlled design houses. The chapter has identified 12 steps to be followed, ranging from identification of projects for the DRDO and others to award of contract and post-contract management.

The chapter also provides for the spiral development of weapons and platform so as allow quick induction of developed products and continuous capability enhancement of the inducted system through incremental technological improvements.

Significantly also, the chapter provides for Joint Project Management Team (JPMT) to bring a semblance of synergy among various stakeholders. Comprising representatives from the concerned armed force, design house, quality assurance and maintenance agencies and the Acquisition Wing of the MoD, the JPMT is intended to facilitate smooth progress of projects.

While the abovementioned steps stipulated in the chapter are a move in the right direction, they need to be strengthened further to make procedures more robust and conducive for timely completion of projects. One key area which needs improvement pertains to the power of the JPMT.

In its present form, the JPMT can, at best, discuss issues arising during the developmental process without any power to take decisions on its own to facilitate timely completion of the project. The real power is vested with higher authorities who are not directly involved in the project’s day-to-day execution. In short, the JPMT is not empowered to be responsible to deliver projects on time and to the budget.

In comparison to the suggested JPMT in Chapter III A, similar institutions in other advanced defence manufacturing countries such as the United States (US), the United Kingdom (UK) and France are real drivers of the indigenous projects with necessary powers vested with the team to take decisions in the projects’ interest. Such an empowered arrangement would be desirable to promote R&D in Indian defence

Another area that needs refinement pertains to trial and testing of the equipment. The draft chapter in the present form lays emphasis on a multi-layered trial evaluation – developmental trials, user-assisted technical trials, field evaluation trials, staff evaluation, and acceptance trials – before a product is finally inducted. Such a multi-layered trial provision does not necessarily add value; rather, they consume time and money and not necessarily in the best interest of product development.

An empowered JPMT with the responsibility to undertake trial evaluation in its entirety would shorten the process, quicken the developmental pace, and enable India to become Atma Nirbhar in defence technology.


Disclaimer: The facts and opinions expressed in this article are strictly the personal opinions of the author. League of India does not assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information in this article.

Originally published by the Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (www.idsa.inhere.

Laxman K Behera

Dr Laxman Kumar Behera is a Research Fellow at IDSA. He specialises in issues related to Arms Procurement, Defence Offsets, Defence Industry, Military Spending, and Export Control. Dr Behera has authored numerous policy-relevant research publications. His book 'Indian Defence Industry: An Agenda for Making in India' provides a comprehensive analysis of India’s evolving arms manufacturing sector.

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DIALOGUE FOR CHANGE

Clinico-Psycho-Social Aspects Of Infertility

Many infertile women in developing countries consider that without children their lives are without hope.

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Infertility is a global health issue affecting approximately 8-10% of couples. It is a multi-dimensional problem with social, economic and cultural implication and defined as the inability to achieve pregnancy after one year of unprotected intercourse.

Many infertile women in developing countries consider that without children their lives are without hope. Our culture demands that for a woman to be socially accepted, she should have at least one biological child.

Infertility may arise from genetic abnormalities, infections or environmental agents, delayed childbearing behaviour and certain diseases.


Among them, endometriosis, an estrogen-dependent disorder causes 25-40% infertility in women and occur in a wide range of women from pre-menarche to post-menopause and diagnosis have been made in women ranging from 12-80 years of age. It is defined as the presence of endometrial tissue outside the uterine cavity having multifaceted pathology.

Its pathology involves various factors like genetic predisposition, menstrual and reproductive factors, lifestyle factors such as smoking, exercise and consumption of alcohol and caffeine. About a third of the time, infertility can be traced to the woman.

Primary treatment involves removal or reduction of ectopic endometrial implants, restoration of normal anatomy, and hindrance of disease and alleviation of symptoms.


Besides this, ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology), laparoscopic surgery have been also used for the management of endometriosis.

However, high-tech reproductive technologies have associated psychological and ethical issues that must be addressed by the infertile couple.

Infertility counselling and support services are the well organized psycho-social approach to infertility. Psychosocial issues should be discussed by the physician with the couples in every visit.

Information material about the centre, procedural information, booklets or educational videos should be provided to the couple. Presence at support groups will build up coping abilities.

Psychotherapy and psychosocial counselling are effective in minimizing negative outcome, clarifying life goals, the context for support, advice and guidance will help live more satisfied and resourcefully.


– British Council of Association of Infertility Counseling, 1999

The list of various counselling techniques are:

  • ventilation,
  • explanation,
  • reassurance,
  • diversion by physical and mental activities,
  • recreation,
  • yoga,
  • improve problem-solving skill,
  • encourage health defence mechanism,
  • suggestions, reinforcement, change of attitude and lifestyle.

If treatment has been unsuccessful, couples are faced with the decision to either continue treatments or make other choices.

The choices include adaptation and, at the other end of the spectrum, choosing to remain sans a child.

All of these options are difficult decisions.

Early intervention and meeting with a specialist, the infertile person will find answers and be able to realize your dream of having a child.

Disclaimer: The facts and opinions expressed in this reader-submitted article are strictly the personal opinions of the authors/doctors. League of India does not assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information in this health article.

This health/medicine-related article has only been very mildly edited by League of India and is published nearly as received.


Dr Sandhya

Dr Sandhya is Senior Resident, Dept.of Prasuti & Strirog, Institute of Medical Sciences, Banaras Hindu University (BHU).

Dr Om Prakash Singh

Dr Om Prakash Sharma is Assistant Prof. (Physiotherapy/Occupational Therapy), Dept. of Orthopaedics, Institute of Medical Sciences, Banaras Hindu University (BHU).

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