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High Literacy Rates, Progressive India, and a Regressive Society?

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Every year India projects progressive literacy rates. There are numerous government-run educational initiatives that are relentlessly working towards spreading literacy and reaching remote areas to spread the need for it.

‘Educate The Girl Child’ has become a nationwide motto, ‘Each One, Teach One’ has been a longstanding vision and the current PM Narendra Modi said, ‘Education makes life self-reliant. It inspires a man to live with dignity in the society’.

The question here is, does a soaring literacy rate mean an educated society?

The terms ‘literacy’ and ‘education’ though similar in the broader sense, are not the same. Literacy, as the dictionary defines it, is the ability to write and read. Education, on the other hand, is much more than just that!

Read: Why are ASEAN Leaders Thronging India on 26th January, Republic Day 2018?

Today, all Indian newspapers and news portals are flooded with reports of rapes and sexual assaults, murders and kidnapping, heinous crimes and petty ones; it’s the same in rural cities as well as the very ‘modern’ urban cities. India has grown in every field and made a global impact across technology, medicine, defence, space research, trade and commerce, inventions and discoveries – but at the ground level, the society is still struggling with social evils and stigmas. The caste system has been abolished by law, but does that mean it has left the society? Dowry is a punishable act by law, but does that mean it’s not clutching the society anymore?

Literacy Rates Vs Comprehensive Education

What India needs is comprehensive education and not just growing literacy rates. The society, as a whole, needs to be educated and developed. Reading and writing makes people capable but not responsible citizens. Education will bring in moral and social responsibility, the capacity to broaden one’s horizon and an independent thinking mind.

It’s redundant and backward thinking that needs to leave the society, it’s superstitions that need to be done and dusted with; India needs to evolve in its thinking. I’m not saying that there are no sections of educated societies in India, the problem is that the majority isn’t. It takes one driving force, one wind of change, and one army of strongly willed educationists to change the society; a nation.

Must Read: 2 Students, 2 Murders, 2 Nations – The Rising Terror of Violence Among Youth

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Abrupt Changes To US Student Visa Rules To Dramatically Impact Indian, Chinese Students

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Unexpected changes to foreign student visa rules by US administration has destroyed the ambitions of more than a million international students, primarily from China and India, that are presently enrolled in various US institutions.

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The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on Monday stated that it would block the visa of foreign students whose entire courses have moved online die to COVID-19, with experts calling the move “xenophobic” and part of Donald Trump’s harsh immigration policy.

The directive by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program is likely to impact hundreds of thousands of students, particularly from India, China and other Asian nations who would either have to leave the US or face eviction.

Universities in the US were forced to shift classes online in mid-March post the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic. The United States is the hardest hit by the pandemic with more than three million confirmed cases.

Two top US universities – Harvard and MIT –  recently filed a lawsuit seeking to revoke the order by the Trump administration. “We will pursue this case vigorously so that our international students – and international students at institutions across the country – can continue their studies without the threat of deportation,” Harvard’s president Lawrence S Bacow said in a statement.

“We believe that the ICE order is bad public policy, and we believe that it is illegal,” he added.

Some other leading universities, including Princeton, Stanford University, California Institute of Technology and Cornell have announced their support for the lawsuit by Harvard and MIT. Brown University issued a statement calling the new immigration order as “nothing short of cruel” and “a direct threat to public health”.

The US government justified the new orders. “You don’t get a visa for taking online classes from, let’s say, the University of Phoenix, so why would you if you were just taking online classes generally?” White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said during a press briefing.

But critics have criticized Donald Trump’s new student visa rules. “The cruelty of this White House knows no bounds. Foreign students are being threatened with a choice: risk your life going to class in-person or get deported,” said Senator Bernie Sanders. “We must stand up to Trump’s bigotry. We must keep all our students safe.”

The restraint on students’ visa is being seen by critics as an attempt by the Trump administration to compel US institutions to resume classes and business. “This is to strong-arm universities and colleges to buy into that narrative which the Trump administration is trying to sell that everything is fine.”

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US Group donates books to Ilocos Norte State University, Philippines: PNA

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The San Diego County Metropolitan Lions Club (SDC-MLC) in San Diego, California donated on Monday a total of 364 books of various titles to the Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) here to be used by its students and the Department of Education (DepEd).

The books were received by the University Library System (ULS) through a shipment package sent by Leo and Norma Sicat, president and Lion Tamer of SDC-MLC, respectively.

The package consisted of five titles in Geometry, Algebra 1 and 2, Milestones, Milestone Workbook, Milestone Teacher Education, Great Expectation, George Washington, Tale of Two Cities, Eleanor Roosevelt, The Meeting on Board HMS Bounty, The Three Musketeers, The Prince and the Pauper, Clara Barton, and The Man in the Iron Mask.

MMSU President Shirley C. Agrupis said that while the university took custody of the hard-bound donations, it will also donate some of these to the DepEd-Division Office in the City of Batac.

MMSU-ULS director Eliza Villarin said some of the books will be distributed to the MMSU main library and its satellite libraries in Laoag City, various high school campus libraries, and college reading centers.

Villarin said organizations and agencies that donate books to the university are considered as library friends because they help the university strengthen its collection of information resources for its students.

The book donation was the result of a tie-up between MMSU and the SDC-MLC in July 2019 through a signed memorandum of understanding which stipulates that the SDC-MLC will help augment the university’s learning resources and support its internationalization programs.

The MMSU and SDC-MLC also agreed to conduct humanitarian medical, dental and optical missions in various communities, and enhance the extension service competencies of MMSU’s faculty and staff.

Philippines News Agency

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Jio Institute – Mukesh Ambani’s ‘Institute of Eminence’ To Revolutionize Indian Education System

Jio Institute, which will be located in Navi Mumbai was to hire university staff and complete the academic curriculum by October this year, however, experts believe that things might get delayed due to coronavirus

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Jio Insitute, Mukesh Ambani’s ambitious institute for reshaping the Indian education system is expected to commence operation in 2021. Will the ‘Institute of Eminence’ – Jio Institute get impacted by Covid-19 is uncertain for now.

Jio Institute – Overview

The Shailesh Kumar led Jio Insitute will start its academic session in 2021. Numerous undergraduate courses will on offer including courses in emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, data sciences machine learning, digital media and marketing.

It is also expected that Mulhern of Northwestern University will be facilitating the Marketing Communication program while Kumar would teach Artificial Intelligence courses. The modern Jio Digital Library project will be headed by Keller from Stanford.

Jio Institute of Eminence

Jio institute has also set up a seven-member global advisory board. According to media reports, the board will consist of Jean-Lou Chameau, president emeritus of California Institute of Technology (Caltech); Michael Keller, vice provost of Stanford University; Rick Levin, former president of Yale University; Subra Suresh, president of Singapore’s Nanyang Technology University. Nadhmi A Al-Nasr, CEO of Saudi Arabia’s futuristic habitat project NEOM; Frank J Mulhem and Vinayak P Dravis of Northwestern University.

Mukesh Ambani, his wife Nita and daughter Isha will also be on the advisory board. The institute is one of the institutes in the country to be awarded the tag of ‘eminence’ by the Human Resource Ministry even before its completions.

Experts at EurAsian Times believe that the tag of ‘eminence’ was given due to the future prospects of the Institute. As of August 2019, ten institutions have been selected by the Institutes of Eminence, which includes Banaras Hindu Univesity, Indian Institute of Science, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay, IIT Delhi, IIT Kharagpur, IIT Madras, University of Delhi, University of Hyderabad, Anna University and Jadavpur University.

Jio Institute Location & Key Details

Jio Institute, which will be located in Navi Mumbai was to hire university staff and complete the academic curriculum by October this year, however, experts believe that things might get delayed.

Students at Jio institute would not only get an opportunity to study at the sprawling 800 acres campus in Navi Mumbai but could also be taught by professors from prominent universities across the world.

The advance studies at the institute will also provide merit-based scholarships worth 38 crores during the first academic year.

Mukesh Ambani aims to make Jio University ranked in top 500 on Times Higher Education and QS World University Rankings. To achieve this feat Jio Institute is in talks universities like Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Stanford University, Northwestern University and Nanyang Technological University and aims to recruit expert faculty and mentors for the institute.

Reliance Jio and the Telecom Revolution

Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd popularly known as Jio in India is a mobile network operator owned by Reliance industries. Jio was the brainchild of Mukesh Ambani and was launched in 2015 in honour of the 83rd birth anniversary of Dhirubhai Ambani, the founder of Reliance Industries.

Since its launch, the network has become immensely popular with Indians as it made internet accessible and affordable. The introduction of Jio revolutionised the telecom industry and made 4G data available pan-India at the lowest rate in the world. Jio Platforms compares with large global digital ecosystem platforms that are largely debt-free like Alphabet, Tencent and Alibaba.

Success at home has caught the eye of investors abroad. With 5 confirmed deals in May and another investment incoming, Jio is now valued at over $65 billion. The investors, all based in the US, include social media giant Facebook, private equity firm Silver Lake, Global investment company Vista, American private equity firm General Atlantic and US-based private equity company KKR.

Collectively, all the deals are worth $10.3 billion or Rs 78,562 crore, which RIL plans to use in order to pay off $44 billion worth of its debt.

Microsoft, the tech giant founded by Bill Gates, is also in talks with Jio to purchase a 2.5% stake at the cost of $2 billion. Abu Dhabi state fund Mubadala, another investment company, is also in talks to invest about $1 billion in Jio platforms.

Within a short span, Mukesh Ambani and Jio have achieved what other companies have not been able to for decades. With the establishment of Jio Institute, India’s most influential businessman has ensured that the company he birthed would be looked after by Jio’s very own.

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