FOR Ujjwalla Devi Patil, chairperson of the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (MSBSHSE), it is necessary to incorporate pragmatism in the education system to motivate students to learn on their own while reducing the gap between books and work. "Our motto is: A student must learn to learn," she says.
With a number of changes integrated in the systems of the board and streamlining education, the MSBSHSE has received been lauded by experts, educationists, principals and even parents.
To start with, the board initially prepared the skeleton for a new syllabus up to Std XII called the State Curriculum Framework in collaboration with Balbharti, Maharashtra Prathamic Shikshan Parishad (MPSP) and Maharashtra State Council of Educational Research and Training (MSCERT) since there was no separate comprehensive framework for the state board. The board before setting up a new curriculum even considered introducing NSERT, CBSE and ICSE syllabus used in 16 states across the country for Std X and XII.
"We went ahead and prepared our own detailed syllabus for Std IX to XII," says Patil. The board, earlier this year, in order to curb instances of cheating and malpractices during board exams set up local vigilance committees that included a committee of citizens, local NGOs, police representatives as well as education board officials, who would keep a watch on exam centres and report suspicious activities.
While introducing more practicality in education, the board introduced sports as a subject in the curriculum for higher secondary school students who are keen to pursue it and also introduced RTI, RTE and human rights as new subjects, while making information and communication technology (ICT) a compulsory subject in Std IX and X from June 2012. The subjects will have detailed concepts based on the Indian political scenario and parties, fundamental rights and duties listed in the Constitution and will carry 50 marks.
After the board announced that it had started a new pattern of examination where 20 per cent of papers in mathematics, science and technology will be based on Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) that requires application of scholarly concepts, there was confusion among students and parents who did not approve of it.
"There's some misunderstanding about it. HOTS is not as difficult as projected and the questions won't be that difficult. We have to understand that students are brilliant and they can do things their own way," says Patil.
Next year the board will prepare books on 14 different subjects, including English, Hindi, maths and Marathi,
for students from Std IX to
XII which will be replete with illustrations, abound in colours and patterns and with links
and resources for students to visit on the web to gain additional information and knowledge.
-- Adnan Attarwala
Entertainment: Festival that lifted spirits
NH7 Weekender 2011
AS the city was being titled the destination where 'Gigs get canned', since international acts by artistes Akon and Jay Sean got cancelled due to mismanagement issues, the NH7 Weekender, known as the Happiest festival, in November lifted spirits of the Punekars.
The three-day musical festival showcased live performances by over 150 artistes. Various attendees labelled it a success on social networking sites and this event grabbed the top spot this year. One of the curators of the festival, Vijay Nair, CEO, Only Much Louder, said that this festival maintained the chilled out vibe in its second year. Overwhelmed with the response this year, he tagged Pune as the smoothest city when it comes to licencing, support from the cops and infrastructure.
"In terms of infrastructure, accommodation in the hotels are reasonable and during the festival areas like Koregaon Park were packed. As for the people, Punekars are an open crowd and love different kinds of music. The festival this year saw a lot of student population and people from Mumbai. I don't think people think twice before planning a trip to the city. Everyone who attended the festival in 2010 came back this year. We didn't expect it, but it happened the happy way," he added.
-- Akshata Shetty
Health: Revival of prisoners' ward at Sassoon hosp
Prisoners' ward, Sassoon Hospital
Although the prisoner's ward of Sassoon Hospital will be officially inaugurated in the New Year, the work for separate ward was completed this year in the month of October, taking into consideration the frequent incidents of escapes of convicts and under-trial prisoners brought to hospital for medical check-ups or admitted for treatment.
Sassoon is the only hospital in the city that has a separate ward for prisoners, including male and female patients. "The prisoner's ward is located in the old building of the hospital which was there since last many years, but it closed down about 15 years ago after a convict escaped by bending window bars. Now, the ward is ready with all renovation and necessary changes in it. We are also thinking of placing CCTV cameras in the cell," said Medical Superintendent of Sassoon, Dr DG Kulkarni.
There are two separate wards for male and female prisoner with separate room for police on bandobast duty of those prisoners. "The wards are having its separate OPD where arrangements have made for medical examination of inmates which lessen the risk of escaping of the prisoners when they taken to the other wards for medical check-up," said Dr Kulkarni.
The six-bed ward for men and four-bed ward for women is the closed enclosure with heightened surrounding walls. The ceiling fans and light bulbs are also installed at a higher place which reduced the risk of attempts of suicides. The city prison department have suggested us some more renovation and we are working accordingly on it, added Dr Kulkarni.
Separate ward to deter escape bids
Deputy Commissioner of Police, Headquarters, Shirish Sardeshpande said, "The construction of prisoner's ward in Sassoon will allow us to use our manpower judiciously and run away attempts by inmates can be avoided in the days to come."
Transport: The makeover man
RTO Arun Yeola
Regional Transport Officer (RTO) Arun Yeola is wants the RTO here to be counted amongst the best government offices in the city. Yeola has initiated several plans in the city's fourth most important government office. Earlier known for filthiness and its un-kept premises, the office is undergoing a massive makeover and will soon a get a swanky look in the coming few months.
Ever since he took over the reins of the department from former RTO Chandrakant Kharatmal this June, Yeola has undertaken several initiatives, including expediting the software update programmes and digitisation of records.
"We will soon update the Vahan and Saarthi softwares for vehicle registration and licence issuance in coordination with technicians from the Center's National Informatics Center (NIC)", said Yeola.
The RTO was earlier infamous for sudden system shutdowns, which had left hundreds of visitors stranded during peak hours. Yeola has also expedited plans to for internal renovation work of the building. The Public Works Department (PWD) is preparing the plan.
"The plan will provide counters and space for moving which is currently very chaotic. Most of the infrastructure is more than a decade old and has been unchanged ever since. We are also focusing at paperless functioning by digitising all the records which also reduce the burden on furniture and maintaining sensitive documents", he added.
-- Parth Satam