Higher Education Current Affairs - 2019

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Government launches LEAP and ARPIT programmes for higher education faculty

Union Ministry off Human Resource Development launched two new initiatives viz. Leadership for Academicians Programme (LEAP) and Annual Refresher Programme In Teaching (ARPIT) for higher education faculty. ARPIT is unique initiative of online professional development of 15 lakh higher education faculty. LEAP is three weeks flagship leadership development training programme for second level academic functionaries in higher education institutions,

Leadership for Academicians Programme (LEAP)

It is three weeks (2 weeks domestic and 1 week foreign training) flagship leadership development training programme for second level academic functionaries in public funded higher education institutions. Its main objective is to prepare second tier academic heads who are potentially likely to assume leadership roles in the future.

It will make Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) perform their roles of developing better students who will be future torch bearers. It will provide senior faculty required leadership and managerial skills including skills of problem-solving, team building work, handling stress, communication, conflict management, understanding complexity and challenges of governance in HEIs and general administration.

It will be implemented through 15 National Institute Ranking Framework (NIRF) top ranked Indian Institutions namely, IIT Bombay, IIT Kanpur, IIT Kharagpur, IIT Roorkee, IISER Kolkata, NIT Trichy, JNU; IIT (BHU), Delhi University, TISS Mumbai, University of Hyderabad, NIEPA, Jamia Milia Islamia,  BHU and AMU.

The foreign universities identified for training collaboration are also within top 100 in world global rankings. It includes University of Michigan, Harvard University, Oxford University, University of Cambridge, Purdue University, University of Chicago, NTU Singapore, Monash University, University of Pennsylvania and University of Virginia.

Annual Refresher Programme in Teaching (ARPIT)

It is a major and unique initiative of online professional development of 15 lakh higher education faculty using Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) platform SWAYAM. Under it 75 discipline-specific institutions are identified and notified as National Resource Centres (NRCs) in phase I.

These institutions will be tasked to prepare online training material with focus on latest developments in discipline, methodologies for transacting revised curriculum and pedagogical improvements. The courses will cover diverse range of topics.

Each course will be 40 hour module with 20 hours of video content and 20 hours of non-video content. It will also have built-in assessment exercises and activities as part of the academic progression. There will be a terminal assessment either online or written examination at end of the course.

All faculties after successfully completing the online refresher course will be certified. All in-service teachers, irrespective of their subject and seniority will register and complete these refresher courses which will help them in career advancement.

ARPIT will be every year exercise and NRCs will continuously develop new refresher module in their earmarked discipline each year.  The training materials will be uploaded and made available through SWAYAM.  In inaugural year 2018 itself, NRCs are expected to cater to around 13 lakh faculty of total 15 lakh faculty in higher education.

Cabinet approves establishment of permanent campuses of two new IISERs at Tirupati and Berhampur  

Union Cabinet has approved establishment and operationalisation of two new permanent campuses of the Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISER) in Tirupati (Andhra Pradesh) and Behrampur (Odisha). Cabinet also has approved creation of two posts of Registrar, one in each IISER.

Key Facts

IISERs will provide top quality science education at undergraduate and postgraduate level, PHDs and Integrated PHDs levels. Both IISERs will be constructed on campuses having area of 1,17,000 sqm and shall be completed by December, 2021.  They will have complete infrastructural facilities for 1,855 students each. IISERs will be carrying out research in frontier areas of science and will enable India move towards knowledge economy by attracting best scientific talent as faculty and prepare a strong base of scientific manpower in India

Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISER)

IISERs are a group of most premier statutory science education and research institutes in India of national importance. ISERs are envisioned to be the IITs of Basics Sciences. These institutes were created under The National Institutes of Technology (Amendment) Bill, 2010 (which had amended National Institutes of Technology Act, 2007).  So far seven IISERs have been established across the country, namely IISER Kolkata (West Bengal), IISER Pune (Maharashtra), IISER Mohali (Punjab), IISER Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh), IISER Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala), IISER Tirupati (Andhra Pradesh) and IISER Berhampur (Odisha).