It appears to be the most terrible time for the young generation in India. With blurred announcements on the upcoming Board examination which supposedly was to be held in March, the student’s mental peace and health are being troubled more. As India witnesses the second wave of Covid-19, normal conduct of the board exams will not be efficient. Yet, the Ministry of Education is not likely to take any decision on the cancelation of the exams. With the government giving the least importance to the education sector during the pandemic, it creates an urgency to understand the resilience of board exams.
The board examination for Class X and XII should have been taken as per the normal schedule in March. However, elections and religious occasions stand out to be of prime importance in India. With such a mindset, the student’s future has been neglected. Now, with a ballooning number of cases, the Education Board seeks to conduct the exams in normal mode steering to a complete mess.
Educationists have seen pedagogy compromised due to the absence of classroom teaching. With little time to worry about the modifications required in the school curriculum, educational institutions around the world, supported by their governments, adopted online teaching as an antidote. However, while imitating the developed countries, India forgot to understand their ground realities. Inequality of access to the internet in India posed a challenge. The ownership of computing devices is abysmally low in India – only one out of 10 households possess a computing device. In rural India, less than 15% of the households have an internet facility while urban households are well-placed with 42% having access to the internet. The disparity in access to education at the root of the digital divide left children of poor and uneducated parents in limbo.
The case proved to be worsening for the girl child. Right to Education Forum policy brief estimated that ten million girls in India could drop out of secondary school due to the pandemic. University of Oxford’s sample study on India showed that four in five (80%) girls (based in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana) have never accessed the Internet, and more than three in five (62%) have never used a computer.
The pandemic has also questioned the mental health of the students. Health Parliament’s mental health survey revealed that 99% of the participants had one or more issues related to mental health. Disturbed sleeping patterns (29%) and loss of interest in performing tasks (26%) were the most common issues faced by the students. 82% of students conveyed that most of the health and behavioral issues they faced during the pandemic were due to academic loss.
The result of all this over the past year is that India’s children have lived through a year of lost learning. The pandemic has put a heavy cost on the whole generation of students. In such an alarming academic regression year, with no proper classes, an incomplete syllabus, and where mental peace is at stake, taking board examinations for Class X and XII sounds absurd.
Yet, different boards of examination including CBSE, CISCE, and other state boards have clarified that the examination will be held this year. This statement has risen to be a matter of putting students’ life at risk for the sake of examination. At least 200 undergraduate students at MAMC were exposed to a Covid patient during a practical exam. With no sufficient resources to cover disparity across regions, this decision tends to expose students to worse outcomes. Raising voices, over 1 lakh students across the country have signed a petition on change.org to reconsider its decision. Multiple campaigns have been started on online platforms—#StudentsLiveMatter, #Cancel10thICSEBoard to name a few. Students, teachers, and parents have been proposing alternatives to regular examinations such as online modes of conduct or cancellation of the papers.
There seems to be no valid reason for the approval of Board exams for Class X. It should be completely canceled. National Education Policy (NEP) itself recommends doing away with class X board exams. Nonetheless, now at the time of implementation, the government looks to be backing behind. Addressing Class XII board exams, it should be conducted online only if the government can assure digital access to far-off regions. Else, cancellation of the papers will be the wise step ahead. Postponement of the paper should not even be thought of as it only adds more burden and chaos in the student’s life. Colleges and universities already have entrance exams that address admission issues. Albeit, such processes are not in action for many universities, the past 3-4 years of performance assessment can deal with such admission concerns during extreme times.
Rising tensions have put doubts on the importance of examination. Exams should not be considered as the main criteria for student promotion. Rather, there is a need to bring a transformational structural change to the education system in India. It should be more inclusive in personality and extra-curriculum development. On the other hand, the government should also make available more vaccines for the young age group. Immunising children is important rather than testing their brains.
It is time when India should learn from Nordic countries like Finland and build more cohesive educational programmes realising long-term gains. The government needs to shun the deeply flawed ‘technological approach’ to eliminate human suffering, and instead, adopt a humanist approach to tackle deprivation, including the provision of quality education through public deliberation, systematic investment, and enhanced accountability.
Education is a means to develop the fundamental skills of a child. With more than one lakh daily Covid-19 cases, the decision to conduct the board exams has thrown the entire education system into qualm. No parents are ready to send their children to the exam hall at the cost of their lives. To sustain the meaning of learning, the nation needs to come on grounds to understand the lives and challenges of students, parents, teachers, and the entire education system.
Rajesh Mehta is a leading international consultant & columnist working on Market Entry, Innovation & Public Policy. Diksha Mittal is a public policy researcher. Views expressed are personal.
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Vyapar app simplifies financial management for MSMEs
Financial management is the key to business success. There’s no refuting this fact, but despite that, many business owners are simply not careful enough.
India has approximately 6.3 Crore MSMEs which contributes about 29 percent towards the GDP through its national and international trade. 70 percent of businesses in India are Micro, Small, and Medium-sized (MSMEs), and many business owners cannot cope with their business growth. Financial asset management is one of the contributing factors. In addition to that, many of them also struggle to keep up with digital systems that are supposed to ease the process but don’t actually do so. When they cannot afford better systems, hire qualified accountants and practice better financial management, they tend to lose control of their business.
To solve this issue, Vyapar App was launched in the year 2016 with the aim of making it easier for MSME business owners to run their businesses. Accounting can take a significant amount of their time, but they have comprehensive and accurate financial reports at the tips of their fingers with the app. Vyapar App is a business accounting application that helps the user store and access all their financial data in one place. In addition to offering an accounting solution, they also provide inventory tracking, customer and vendor management, invoice generation, barcode management, online cataloging, and even order tracking features.
Using Vyapar software you can send free transaction messages, payment reminders, generate E-way bills, delivery challan, generate financial reports and much more.
By providing so many features onto one software, they’ve enabled the growth of many MSME businesses in the country. Until now, many business owners would suffer because they had to use different applications for different purposes, which would lead to increased costs and efforts. But by using this easiest one-stop solution, they can manage their finances and get creative with it.
The software offers them the option to customise their dashboard and other feature of software as per their individual requirement. MSMEs have been able to present themselves professionally and see increased business as well.
One of the key points that many of their users talk about is that when the GST filing process was introduced, it was tough to manage it since you’d need an accountant with sound financial knowledge. But now, they can retrieve GST report directly from software in government prescribed format in excel. Later they can convert the excel file to JSON format using an offline utility tool available on GST portal. User can now upload the JSON file by logging in to GST portal.
This shows how the team at Vyapar Apps has taken the concerns of their users into account and adapted the software over time.
Overall, no other service in the market simplifies business and financial management for MSME business owners the way Vyapar App does. It’s available for download on the Play Store and can be done in two languages — English and Hindi. This will be a top-notch option if you’re looking to simplify financial management and grow your business.
ACCURSED SHARE ANNOUNCES NFT COLLECTION BY PHOTOGRAPHER FREDERIC AUERBACH
Artist-led production studio Accursed Share yesterday announced an NFT collection by celebrity photographer Frederic Auerbach that will give an exclusive insight into his work with five of Hollywood’s most notable celebrities as well as 30 never-before-seen ‘process’ photos culled from the working sessions with the stars.
The NFT collection, titled “Captured Moment: The Master’s Process,” will center around five famous figures – boxing legend Mike Tyson, singing legend Zendaya, as well as established actors like Natalie Portman, Benedict Cumberbatch and Sharon Stone.
The Master Series, which will feature celebrities, will be available for bidding in the middle of December. Winners will receive a dynamic NFT and a high-resolution one of the published work. The dynamic NFT is powered by an internal ‘smart contract’ innovation, Accursed Share’s proprietary technology, which displays an alternate edit of the final masterwork randomly at certain intervals.
Accursed Share CEO, John Connor said, “We wanted to give fans, collectors, and students of Auerbach’s work an internal view of his process and inspiration; we wanted to create a set of NFTs that really spoke to collectors and had engaging and intrinsic value.”
He added that Auerbach’s ability to capture the charisma and character of his subjects is unique in the world of photography, and his uncanny ability to ‘summon the ineffable’ in his images is very real. “This is something that seems to be missing from the current popular perception of NFTs, and we hope that this project -and other subsequent Accursed Share NFT projects will provide a renewed focus on high-quality NFT content and continue to push the boundaries of the medium,” Connor said.
Captured Moment’s first selections from the ‘Process Series’ will become available on December 5th, at which point early whitelist submissions will receive free airdrops of the first round.
CROWDFUNDING SOLUTIONS THAT HELP IN EMPOWERING PEOPLE
People must believe in the power to make someone smile, to save a life. Brilliant ideas and social change can make an impact on the world.
Social for Action is easy-to-use to help transform individuals and the non-profit giving sector. The most accurate online tools, offered to mobilise crowds towards great ideas and projects, enabling good things to get done fast. As a tech-for-good platform, there are complete crowdfunding solutions to empower individuals, NGOs and social enterprises. Thus, enabling fundraising for medical emergencies, personal needs, creative projects, or any social cause – be it big or small. The aim is to bring forward the generosity and the need to maximise the potential to do good.
The team works together to assist, innovate, collaborate and support anyone who wants to use crowdfunding to make a positive difference. On a given day, there are interactions with campaigners, stories written, evolving the platform to be more functional by reaching out to more NGOs and disbursing funds. The world can be changed – one fundraiser at a time.
Verification for all required documents for fundraisers from NGOs and individuals ensures that the donation makes a difference in its true goal. The primary objective is to enable social giving to trusted NGO projects and an uncomplicated, credible experience for verified individuals.
FOR NON-PROFITS AND INDIVIDUALS
A simple onboarding process and 0% platform fee make fundraising a simple experience for all NGOs, no matter how big or small.
“Social For Action’s crowdfunding platform has helped 4211 destitute women in Maher Ashram to raise 8,93,000/- INR in a month. The collective amount will support the holistic development of all orphans, for women who have been victims of violence rejected by relatives along with women with mental disabilities to stand on their own two feet,” said Lucy Kuriyan, Founder, Maher
“Social For Action has helped us to raise an amount of 3,34,000/- INR. This amount has helped build hostel and school construction projects at Kudal in Ratnagiri district and help destitute, single parents, and low-income household children,” Renu Gavskar, Founder, Eklavya Balshikshan Arogya Nyas.
Get a 50% tax exemption on the contribution made. All donations made to SFA, India’s most trusted crowdfunding platform, are exempt from tax under Section 80G of the Income Tax Act.
I CALL MYSELF A LAWYER WITH A SOUL: NAINA PACHNANDA
In this conversation, the lawyer and author opened up about her journey from being a full-time lawyer and a motivational influencer at the same time.
Naina Pachnanda recently joined NewsX for an insightful conversation as part of NewsX Influencer A-List. In the exclusive conversation, the lawyer and author opened up about her journey from being a full-time lawyer and a motivational influencer at the same time.
We began the interview by asking Naina about her educational background, to which she replied, “I completed my schooling from Delhi Public School, RK Puram. I then went on to pursue BA LLB (Hons) from the National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata, wherein I graduated in 2014. I then wanted to pursue a carrier in litigation. In 2014, I joined the chambers of Paramjit Singh Patwalia, who is a senior advocate in the Supreme Court of India. At that time, he was an additional solicitor general in the Supreme Court of India. I had the good fortune of beginning my law career with him. Thereafter, I joined the litigation team at l&l partners law offices wherein I worked for about 3 years. After litigating for about 5 years, I decided to switch from litigation to policy and regulatory work. In 2019, I joined Invest India, the National Investment Promotion and Facilitation Agency of India, wherein I drive legal regulatory policy and strategy side of affairs for innovation and technology commercialisation.” She went to say that, “I call myself a lawyer with a soul”.
Speaking about her poetic journey, she exclaimed, “My poetic journey began at the age of 10 when I wrote my first poem on Harry potter. Always been a big fan and still am. Mystically, it got published in the Telegraph kids in Kolkata where I went to school briefly. This gave me a lot of confidence and hence began my journey of poetry. Over the years that I went to law school and practiced litigation lawyer, my creative side took a backseat for some time because of time constraints. In December 2019, there was a calling within me to start an Instagram page to share my poetry based on hope, motivation and very relatable content for our generation because I feel poetry is a very powerful form of expression. I also believe that my words would resonate with many. Apart from sharing my poetry on Instagram, I also have a blog called ‘Lawyer with a poetic soul’ wherein I often share my poetry”.
We expressed our curiosity to hear about the two books that she had written. Naina shared, “In December 2019, when I started my Instagram handle for the sole purpose of sharing my poetry. It was during the lockdown. There were so many challenges so I decided to write about all those challenges very unapologetically in the form of poetry and post them on social media. The reason behind this was that I wanted everyone to feel the spirit of being united. This was the time when the response was very positive and my following started to grow. That is what encouraged me to write both my books. I wrote both my books during the pandemic.”
“I chose a very unique topic for my first book. I work for ‘Make in India’, so I decided to write about the schemes of the government of India such as Make in India, Startup India, Aatmnirbhar Bharat Abhiyan, Digital India Mission, etc. in poetic form because again I believe that poetry is something that touches the heart and it is the most impactful medium of self-expression,” she added.
Sharing insights on her second book, Naina revealed, ” ‘Miracles do happen’ was curated and conceived during the pandemic. It is a book of over 200 poems based on life, love, lost, failure, rejection, hope, motivation and so on. The idea behind this book is that life in general is a blur of uncertainty. The last 1.5 years have been particularly uncertain and full of challenges for all of us. The reason behind writing this book is to spread positivity and hope during these unprecedented times.”
MASKS: THE NEW ‘MODA’ OPERANDI
Wearing a mask has been the mandate and why shouldn’t the trendsetters step up? There is a unique mask available for every mood, every palette and every occasion.
In 2018 not a person (r.i.p. Nostradamus) could have envisaged in their wildest thoughts, they’d have to cover their nose and mouth to socialise. Enter the mask brigade which has swiftly become a fashion accessory to reckon with. Whether you don a jacket, a silky blouse, or even decadent wedding couture, wearing a mask has been the mandate and why should the trendsetters not step up. There is a unique mask for every mood every palette and every occasion. Dominatrix or sporty there is a mask for everybody.
Bows to the medical fraternity whose masks have been their second skin. You make any mask look good.
Payal Singhal the Boheme bridal and occasion wear designer has a new category in-store and online. Masks that are an extension of her ‘Life’s a beach” vibe. Ikat and quirky prints dominate her collection of masks. The icing on the cake is the charming little printed pouches they come in. The printed graphics on these accessories make them covetable.
Reusable and washable three-layered protective cloth cask (Unisex) with reversible prints so that you can wear it both ways and match it with a variety of looks. The top and bottom layers are made of 75 percent cotton and 25 percent silk with a layer of 100 percent cotton in the middle for better protection and breathability. Sits comfortably on the ear with printed ear loops, which gives it a grammable get-up. Ideal for all-day use. You can find these lovelies on Nykaa Fashion.
Pret designer Farida Gupta follows a different montage. Her natural-dye block prints masks are soft against the skin. Made sustainably using 100 percent cotton fabric, these washable cloth masks offer a comfortable fit. Featuring 3-layer protection as per international standards. Farida Gupta’s masks balance safety and style. Featuring elasticised straps, they are designed to fit over the top of the nose and below the chin. Head over to Farida Gupta’s website to add to cart.
Spotlighting a new designer on the block, Diya Aswani, her claim to fame is her eclectic mix of dressy masks. Varying from pink flamingos (my shopping list chart-topper) to monograms embroidered-on-one side. Diya’s mask’s collection casts a spell on you. The Blue evil eye mask chain is a striking piece. Additionally, she creates beautiful chains to suspend her masks from. Worth a mention is the green apple mask chain and the Evil Eye oval mask chain are some of her best-selling mask chains on Nykaa. A must-have mask.
Torani, the haute couture brand has a potpourri of masks(inset). Koran Torani the founder documents stories of his childhood through his work. Feast your eyes on these bright masks kissed in chintz prints. These can be sourced from their brick-and-mortar and online stores.
Life has a new modus operandi that mandates us to wear masks ( until further notice) So while we are at it why not be safe (and stylish).
RESOLVE WELLBEING ISSUES WITH TECH-BASED DATA ANALYTICS
Joygraphy, a unique start-up that is into individual and organisational wellbeing was launched recently.
The well-tech start-up leverages innovative tech tools and research and data analytics for incisive assessment of real-life situations and comes up with intelligent and smart interventions thus offering practical solutions to any issue that challenges wellbeing. An outcome of about 3 years’ passionate research by Founders Abhijit Dabhade and Dr. Vishal Ghule along with a team of psychologists and business experts, Joygraphy is a totally automated and technology-driven platform. It offers analytical intelligence to individuals and organisations leading to improved productivity through effective conflict resolution.
During the 3-year foundational research, the Joygraphy team had mapped 174 human behaviour traits and 414 sub-elements and measured them across 250,000 data points. This exercise gave Joygraphy team insights into 6 key wellbeing areas of day-to-day human life where crises often crop up.
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