Education Current Affairs

Renowned academic Professor Yash Pal passes away

Globally renowned physicist, academic and higher education reformer Professor Yash Pal passed away in Noida, Uttar Pradesh. He was 90.

He was known for his contributions to the study of cosmic rays, as well as for being an institution-builder. He was also one of the leading science communicators in India.

About Yash Pal

Yash Pal was born in 1926 in Jhang in then British India (now in Pakistan). He had graduated with a master’s degree in physics from Panjab University in 1949 and earned PhD degree in Physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1958.

He had started his academic career at Mumbai’s Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR). He had served as the first Director of the newly set up Space Applications Centre, Ahmedabad, in 1973.

He was a member of the ‘cosmic rays group’. He was appointed by the government to several school and higher education reform committees. Government had also roped him as chair of National Council of Educational Research and Training after it had started work on the National Curriculum Framework.

He also had served as chairman of the University Grants Commission (UGC) from 1986 to 1991. In 2009, the Union Ministry of Human Resources Development had set up a committee on higher education (known as Yash Pal Committee) chaired by Yash Pal to look into reforming higher education in the country.

He was awarded the Padma Bhusan (1976), Padma Vibhushan (2013). He also has received the Kalinga Prize (2009,), awarded by UNESCO for the popularisation of science.

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Lok Sabha passes The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Amendment) Bill, 2017

The Lok Sabha has passed The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Amendment) Bill, 2017. The Bill amends the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act (RTE), 2009 to extend the deadline for teachers to acquire the prescribed minimum qualifications for appointment.

Through the amending measure inadequately qualified teachers as on March 31, 2015, working after enactment of the RTE Act, 2009 are being given last chance to acquire minimum qualifications within a period of four years i.e. by March 31, 2019 to hold their jobs as teachers.

Key Facts

The amendments to RTE Act, 2009 will enable the in-service untrained elementary teachers to complete their training and ensure that all teachers at the elementary level have certain minimum standard of qualifications. It will ensure that all teachers attain minimum qualifications as considered necessary to maintain the standard of teaching quality. It will ultimately result in improvement in overall quality of teachers, teaching processes and learning outcomes of children. It will reinforce Government’s emphasis on improvement of quality of elementary education.

Background

The RTE Act, 2009 envisages free and compulsory elementary education to every child in the age group of 6-14 years. The section 23(2) of the Act specifies that all teachers at elementary level at commencement of this law if did not possess minimum qualifications under it need to acquire these within a period of five years i.e. by March 2015. However, several state governments have reported that 11.00 lakh teachers at the elementary level are still untrained out of a total number of 66.41 lakh teachers.

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