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HRD ministry to set up NTA to conduct exams for higher, secondary education

The Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRB) will soon set up a department – National Testing Agency (NTA) to conduct examinations for higher and secondary education.

NTA will be the single authority that will conduct entrance tests for all higher institutions like JEE, NEET, NET and other prestigious exams.

Key Facts
  • Establishment of NTA will free CBSE, AICTE and other agencies from conducting various exams and enable them to focus on their core areas and work on improving the quality of education.
  • Its main purpose is to bring reforms in the education system. Initially examinations like IIT, NIT and even university exams will be conducted by NTA. Later on secondary school exams will also be handed over to it.
  • Initially, the CBSE staff will be deployed in this department and but later on the specialised people will be hired in the NTA. 
Background

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his Union Budget 2017’s speech had announced that a single authority National Testing Agency will be established to conduct entrance tests for all higher institutions and other prestigious exams. Earlier in 2016, Last year, the CBSE had asked the University Grants Commission (UGC) to conduct the National Eligibility Test (NET) on its own as the board wanted to focus on its core areas and work on improving the quality of education. CBSE even had conveyed to the HRD Ministry that conducting exams for various government bodies puts a lot of burden on them and stretches its resources.

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NITI Aayog launches India Innovation Index

The National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) jointly launched India Innovation Index. Besides country’s first innovation index portal was also launched.

The index has been jointly developed by NITI Aayog, DIPP and CII in consultation with World Economic Forum (WEF), World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Cornell University, UNIDO, ILO, OECD, UNESCO, ITU etc.

Key Facts
  • The index’s objective is to rank Indian states on innovations through the portal that will capture data on innovation from all states on innovation and regularly update it in real time.
  • It will provide impetus to state to build their respective innovation ecosystems and spur the innovation spirit among institutions and people to make India an innovation-driven economy
  • It will be structured based on the best practices followed in Global Innovation Index (GII) indicators and additionally by adding India-centric parameters those truly reflect the Indian innovation ecosystem.
  • The pillars of index include the capacity of human capital and research, strength of institutions, supporting infrastructure and the level of business sophistication, among others.
  • The portal will coalesce, disseminate and update periodically GII indicators and India–centric data from various states. It will be hosted on the NITI Aayog website.
  • It will be a one-stop data warehouse and will track progress on each indicator at the National level and the State level on real-time basis.
Background

The Global Innovation Index (GII) co-published by WIPO, Cornell University and INSEAD ranks world economies including India since 2007 according to their innovation capabilities and outcomes. It uses 82 indicators among a host of other important parameters. It has become a leading reference on innovation and a ‘tool for action’ for policy makers. Currently, India ranks 66th out of 128 countries on the 2016 Global innovation Index (GII).

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India signs $201.50 million Financing Agreement with World Bank for TEQIP III

The Union Government has singed Financing Agreement for IDA credit of $201.50 million with World Bank for the ‘Third Technical Education Quality Improvement Programme’ (TEQIP III).

The agreement was signed by Raj Kumar, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs and Junaid Kamal Ahmad, Country Director, World Bank India.

Key Facts
  • The aim of the TEQIP III programme is to enhance quality and improve efficiency of the Engineering Education System.
  • The objective of agreement is to improve Engineering Education sector in 8 states viz. Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan and UT of Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
  • The project has been designed as a disbursement linked one to the effect that the loan will be handed over only on completion of certain fixed outcomes. The closing date of TEQIP III is March 31, 2022.
Background
  • The TEQIP was launched by the Government in 2003 with World Bank assistance as a long term programme for transformation of the Technical Education System. It was to be implemented in three phases.
  • TEQIP-I (first phase) commenced in 2003 and ended on March 31st, 2009. It covered 127 institutes across 13 States including 18 Centrally Funded Technical Institutions (CFTIs).
  • TEQIP-II commenced in August 2010. It had covered 23 States/Union Territories (UTs) and 191 Institutes (including 26 CFTIs). It concluded in October, 2016.
  • Both phases of the programme had a positive impact on the infrastructure and educational standards in the technical institutions where they were taken up.

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