Connect with us

Educationally Speaking

Turn US visa restrictions into opportunities

The Trump administration’s decision to change visa rules and temporarily block H1B visas is a setback for Indian students, but other countries have made it up with lucrative educational offers.

Published

on

India is the second largest source of international students after China with over 7.5 lakh students. Amid global coronavirus pandemic, several countries have introduced restrictive visa and immigration policies, thus putting the future of overseas students, especially from India, in limbo.

Many foreign universities sent students back home and continued with digital blackboards. The United States, the most preferred destination for Indian students (over 2 lakh students), recently changed its visa policies and temporarily blocked H1B visas which came as a bolt from the blue for Indians. The US, which claims to be India’s natural strategic partner, is now thinking to switch to merit-based immigration. Under this new rule, international students may stay in the country only if they attend a college or university offering in-person classes. Otherwise, they won’t be able to get visas (Including F1 and M1 visas as well) to enter the country or stay there if they plan to attend one of the many schools that are teaching students entirely online. The new order pertains to F1 students who are pursuing academic courses and M1 students who are pursuing vocation coursework.

US President Donald Trump’s order has now become a major cause of worry among Indian students as their visas might not get renewed and they might face deportation as well. Now most students are thinking of moving to Canada which is the second most preferred destination after the US, followed by Australia which ranks third.

However, many European countries adapted themselves wisely to the situation. The UK government has issued guidance and has confirmed that international students, including Indians, will remain eligible for poststudy work rights at the end of their degree course even if they have to begin the 2020- 21 academic year online from abroad. The post-study work visa, designed for overseas students will make them able to work or look for work for two years after completing their course. This will apply to the 2020-21 intake as long as they are physically present in the UK by April 2021 to complete the final semester.

Barry O’Driscoll, Senior Education Adviser for Education in Ireland

 France too remains a top destination as far as Indian students are concerned. The French Ambassador has also recently emphasised the overall strong Indo-French bilateral cooperation and the French attractiveness in the fields of research and higher education. A significant testimony to this strengthening relationship is the 50% increase in scholarships for the academic year which translates to Rs 10 crore. And now with France lifting nonSchengen travel restrictions from July and students’ visas being processed on priority, it is ready to welcome students on campus from September, although, initially the focus would be on the physical delivery model.

 France is gearing up for a September intake like most other European countries, though Asian students will require a closer monitoring and assistance with travel and visas. The measures for the September intake include physical distancing, rolling classes, restructuring of activities within the curriculum for the MSc programmes; inter-campus digital interactions, digital pre-intake classes from October to December with a spring intake for the MBA programmes.

Ashley Fernandes, the country
head for India, Emlyon Business
School, France

“Needless to mention, this is a VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) situation. However, latest studies show that the global health crisis notwithstanding, majority of students who had planned higher education abroad want to continue because international universities have been expeditious in enhancing healthy safety frameworks for students while putting in place stronger support systems and incentives at the same time,” said Ashley Fernandes, the country head for India, Emlyon Business School, France.

“The main conversation we are having right now with Indian students is how to transform this constraint into an opportunity and we are mostly trying and helping them with increased scholarships to cope with the current situation and help them alleviate the financial burden. We are also helping some prospective students manage their risk assessment with deferment options,” he added.

 The global health crisis notwithstanding, the majority of those who had planned higher education abroad would want to continue because international universities have been expeditious in enhancing healthy safety frameworks for students while putting in place stronger support systems and incentives at the same time. The government of Ireland has just announced that its visa application centres in India have reopened to process Indian student visas, in advance of September. In the initial stages of the pandemic, the Irish government had taken a series of measures, based on scientific advice, to slow the spread of the virus. The Irish government had quickly announced that in terms of healthcare, all international students in Ireland, of all nationalities who were directly affected by Covid-19 would have full access to the necessary part of Irish healthcare system, at no cost. Alongside that, the Irish government also decided that any international student who lost part-time work as a result of Covid-19 would be entitled to an emergency payment of EUR 350 per week, which is reassuring to students who had lost their part time job.

Barry O’Driscoll, Senior Education Adviser for Education in Ireland, said, “For us it is important that international students who remained in Ireland were taken care of. On the academic side, all lecturers and tutors are available online as students now undertake assessments. Higher education students across the world have seen the impact of covid-19 across all walks of life and because of that, expectations have evolved in terms of delivery of higher education programmes. There are currently a large number of Indian students who hold offers for places in Irish higher education institutions, particularly at the Masters level. In Ireland all institutions have developed blended learning options, where online and face to face learning is mixed.”

Educationally Speaking

Make an impact with a career in jewellery design

Aditi Amin

Published

on

Many emotions motivate the art of designing jewellery, including the desire for perfection, the need for recognition, the need to please or display dedication. The need to express reverence, loyalty or remembrance has driven jewellery designers to dream since the beginning of time. For example, artisans designing jewellery have produced representations of spirituality and religion to represent faith. They also crafted jewellery symbolising marriage and lifetime engagement, as well as symbolic jewellery reflecting loyalty to family or organisations. Creations were made in memory, memorialising fallen loved ones, and of course bringing out the pure beauty of a gem. So, it is reasonable that any conversation about jewellery design should begin with an inspiration. Previously, jewellery designing was restricted to only a few skilled people. Being a highly skilled profession, it was passed through generations as family traditions and no other person outside the family could learn or practice it. So, the skill lied only in a few hands making it a profitable family business.

 However, breaking away from stereotypes, jewellery designing has grown into a field that can land you in promising careers. Jewellery designing is thriving as a professional trade, compared to yesteryears. The career path is highly rewarding, particularly for individuals with great creative minds. Jewellery was historically known as a sign of prestige and a source of financial security. Today, however, it has become a fashion statement that gives it a wider scope and opportunities for growth. Training from a reputable institute plays a significant role in career building for a student of jewellery design. Clubbed with abstract knowledge, realistic experience adds to a student’s advantage.

 Courses available 

Apart from the skills discussed above there are few courses which can be pursued to make a career in jewellery design. Some courses like Post Graduate Diploma in Jewellery Management, Diploma in Jewellery Designing & Management, Certificate in Gemmology, Micro Pave Setting, Master Model Making, Certificate in Embossing and Manual Design, Jewellery Design Foundation Course, Industry Oriented Design, Computer-Aided Design/ Rhino, Styles of Jewellery, Jewellery Technology Diploma- Basic, Jewellery Technology Diploma- Advance, Jewellery Technology Diploma, Diamonds and Diamond Grading, Coloured Gemstone Identification and Diploma in Gemmology enable students to opt for jewellery designing as a full-fledged career. 

Career opportunities

 Fashion jewellery designer: Designing jewellery has always fascinated the design community. Ensembles today are crafted with different jewellery styles in mind. Most fashion and jewellery designers work closely together to make exquisite ornamental objects. There is enormous room for working as a fashion jewellery designer. Jewellery designing for shows, parties and red-carpet events is something a jewellery designer should look forward to doing in such a setting.

 Entrepreneur: Pursuing a jewellery designing course can also lead you to work as an independent designer. A course in jewellery design equips you with the knowledge and skill you need to become a successful entrepreneur. The practical and theoretical knowledge imparted at professional institutions in running a jewellery business, can develop entrepreneurship skills. This creates a great stepping stone for your career. Accessory designer for movies: Movies, especially period movies, need jewellery accessories for actors that are clearly researched and designed flawlessly for best impact. This shows the relevance of jewellery in representing history. For so many films being released every year (historical and other), jewellery designers have plenty on their plate. Accessory designing plays a critical role in successfully raising a film’s appeal and authenticity while designing jewellery like finger rings, anklets and waistbands. 

Manufacturer: With the right course in jewellery designing, it becomes easier to either run a small unit or a mass production house. This can help market their own line of branded jewellery. It is a great option for people who already come from a background of jewellery designing. 

Gemologist: In order to become a gemologist, a student must receive education in jewellery design. To be a gemologist, you need to know about the various types of gems, metals and precious stones. Through a gemmology course, you can specialise in the subject. It can also be a module in a jewellery design course as it is related to it like a sub-domain. With so many career options in jewellery designing, all you need to do is make the choice of the career you want to pursue. Let your career in jewellery design shine bright! 

The author is an ace jewellery designer and founder of Uncut by Aditi Amin.

Continue Reading

Educationally Speaking

Mind Wars launches online general knowledge Olympiad

Published

on

Mind Wars launches online general knowledge Olympiad Mind Wars, a multi-platform knowledge programme has announced an online general knowledge Olympiad 2020  to identify, encourage, and promote students towards achieving a better tomorrow. The national-level championship will begin in November 2020, and it is open to students from classes 4 to 12, from all education boards across India. The 20-minute exam comprises relevant and interesting general awareness questions across 5 topics per class. The students can also practice seamlessly 24×7 for the online Olympiad test while getting an opportunity to be recognized as the national champion and win the prize worth Rs. 1 crore. The exam dates are 22nd, 28th & 29th November and 5th, 6th, and 12th December 2020. Students can participate in the competition by visiting the official website ( https://www.mindwars.co.in/olympiad/).

 IIIT-Delhi holds online convocation ceremony 

IIIT-Delhi conducted its 9th convocation ceremony online. During the event, the institute conferred degrees upon 237 B.Tech, 203 M.Tech, 2 M.Tech (dual) and 12 PhD students. Raghav Sood and Shravika Mittal were awarded the Chancellor’s Gold Medal, whereas Pulkit Madaan (B.Tech. CSAM) and Raghavv Goel (B.Tech. ECE) were awarded the Best Academic Performance award. Raghavv Goel (ECE) also won the coveted All Round Performance Medal along with Abhishek Agarwal (CSAM) and Tanish Gupta (CSE). M.Tech students, Aditya Khandelwal and Prateek Singh, received the Gold Medal for Excellent Academic Performance. 

UpGrad, MICA host online valedictorian ceremony

 Online higher education company upGrad in partnership with MICA, Ahmedabad hosted an online valedictorian ceremony to celebrate the successful completion of PG Certification in Digital Marketing and Communications of around 1,300 learners. These learners included seasoned working professionals with an average work experience of 3-25 years, with organisations including Fortune 500 Companies. MICA and upGrad also recognised over 20 learners who scored the highest CGPA and those who went beyond the academic curriculum including those who went out of their way to help their peers, some set inspirational benchmarks for others, pushing them to do better, while many achieved stellar career transitions. 

New Zealand-India Education Week from next week

 Education New Zealand is all set to host its first-ever New Zealand-India Education Week from 5 to 9 October 2020. The online series will bring together researchers, experts and academia from across New Zealand and Indian education and business landscape. The week-long event will strengthen the education relationship between both countries through a range of academic collaborations and student activities across India. The week will feature exclusive panel discussions, specialist master classes, alumni engagement, daily trivia, and a showcase of New Zealand’s Maori culture.

Continue Reading

Educationally Speaking

Govt needs to look into gaps in NEP 2020

There are many areas in which the government needs to rethink and find solutions if it wants to truly create a document that will not only transform the education sector but also make India an education hub in the world.

Rustom Kerawalla

Published

on

The new National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 is a path-breaking document that will transform the entire educational system in the country. The new policy has many firsts to its credit including bringing pre-primary education and vocational studies into mainstream education while aligning Indian education with global trends to bring it up to global standards. At the same time, it has highlighted the rich heritage of Indian education which will continue to guide the future generations. 

One of the key takeaways of the policy is that it effectively takes the initiative to distance Indian education from the age-old rote learning process to a more logical, inquiry-based, projectled ecosystem of education and talks about creating an enabling framework for this. What is heartening to see is that there is a strong emphasis on promoting digitisation, and technology integration in the classroom. The policy also highlights the need for online education which has become so important in the times of Covid-19. However, there are many areas in which the policy leaves gaps which need to be filled considering the needs of society today. While digitisation and technology have found preference in the policy, the policy seems to have fallen short in taking them to their logical conclusion.

 While the policy pushes for the use of technology in the classroom, there is no mention about the use of technology in schools beyond mention of three things: Gamification and apps, online teacher training and smart class. Leveraging technology specifically for online teacher training is good. But the policy is not talking about technology in the schooling section. There should have been more thought on technology in classrooms which has become so relevant in today’s time and will become increasingly important and part of education going forward. Schools will also need to embrace ed-tech widely to avoid dissonance with higher education curriculum in the future.

 Next is the inclusion of vocational studies in mainstream education. While this is a welcome move and will help train students in vocational skills right from the school level, there is no mention of vocational training beyond the school level where it is important to train students for jobs. About 280 million job hopefuls are expected to enter the job market by 2050 and they would need to learn newage skills. In this scenario, a clear roadmap for vocational studies beyond schools was required. The policy is pretty silent on this aspect. 

One of the biggest disappointments in the new policy is regarding its funding. By all means the policy makes Indian education a highly regulated but poorly funded sector. The policy has increased the funding for education to 6 percent of the GDP. This is a welcome step considering that we are currently spending a little over 4.5 percent of the GDP on education.

 However, considering the ground realities and requirements of today’s times, especially at a time when integration of technology and digitisation has become a necessity, it is too little too late. The government’s intent on increasing digital intensity in education needs to be backed by adequate fund allocation. Most developed countries are spending up to 20 percent of their GDP on education.   

Another important miss by the policy is in implementation of the proposals. While it makes many recommendations for transforming the education sector, it has not provided a roadmap for their implementation without which the proposals will remain on paper. And while the new policy talks about the role of the private sector in Indian education, it has not gone into implementation of many of its proposals in the ‘Public-Private-Partnership (PPP)’ mode. The policy also lays a lot of emphasis on higher education, but there seems to be little thought on primary and secondary education which is the foundation of education for students. There is not much in the policy which talks about this. Plus, even while there is emphasis on higher education, what is of concern is that today there is an under-supply of quality education especially at the higher education level. Today 26 percent of Indians go for higher education. The target is to double it by 2035 but the roadmap or supply has not been defined making it uncertain as to how this will be achieved.  

The policy talks about augmenting physical infrastructure. That is not what the education sector needs today. There is an adequate amount of infrastructure present in the Indian education sector which can be effectively utilised. Plus, with the coming of GST, many taxes have been subsumed within it making many offices redundant and making a lot of physical infrastructure available. All that can be repurposed for the education sector rather than spending resources in creating fresh infrastructure. Resources should be used in creating digital and technology infrastructure in schools.

 The NEP rightly puts a lot of emphasis on the role of the private sector in Indian education. While this is a welcome move and will improve Indian education in a large way, what is conspicuous by its absence is the sheer lack of attention to government schools which is required at the moment, especially in context of technology and e-learning. Government schools have been lacking in improving their technology and digital infrastructure and are far behind private schools in this respect. The policy should have laid emphasis on this aspect to bring them at par or closer to that of private schools.  The other important aspect is the proposal to teach in three languages. While this and education in the mother tongue are progressive moves, there are practical difficulties. Some states like southern states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu may have difficulties in the three-language policy and may be opposed to it. This could bring in serious centre-states issues. Similarly, the interdisciplinary approach, which has been borrowed from developed countries like the US, sounds pretty good on paper but may have implementation nightmares. Although this will take time to settle down in India, there will be issues in implementing this in specialized technical institutions like the IITs and IIMs or in medical colleges.

 There are many areas in which the government needs to rethink and go back to its drawing board as far as the NEP is concerned and find solutions if it wants to truly create a document that will not only transform the Indian education sector but will make India one of the most progressive education providers in the world. 

The author is an educationist and chairman of Ampersand Group.

Continue Reading

Educationally Speaking

Pearl Academy brings home studio kits for students

Published

on

While education delivery has shifted to the virtual mode, practical classes have taken a hit because campuses and campus infrastructure like labs/studios are currently shut. As a solution to this problem, Pearl Academy has come up with the idea of providing kits to its students to set up functional home studios. Nandita Abraham, president, Pearl Academy, says: “We thought if students are not allowed to come to the campus and access labs, why not help them set it up in their homes. We took a long-term view of the situation and realised that a home studio is a great way to enable them to learn at their own pace even after the re-opening of campuses.

Continue Reading

Educationally Speaking

IIIT-Bhubaneswar develops unique ventilation device

Published

on

Given the surge in the number of Covid-19 cases, the demand for ventilators has hit an all-time high with governments and hospitals struggling to meet the demand. To address this shortage, a group of engineering students from IIIT-Bhubaneswar have developed SWASNER, a first-of-its kind helmet-like ventilation device for patients suffering from Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS). Unlike regular devices, SWASNER can be used without a ventilator by directly plugging in to available oxygen ports at hospitals and thereby help reserve the existing ventilators for the critical patients. In fact, according to research conducted by University of Chicago Medicine, patients demonstrate a better recovery rate by wearing helmet-shaped ventilator masks than regular ventilator support. Further, the team has conducted trials at a hospital in Cuttack, and has also applied for a patent for the design and technology.

Continue Reading

Educationally Speaking

VLCC launches online course in hairstyling

Published

on

VLCC has launched an online certificate course in hair styling. The 90-hour, 6-week course is timely given the work-from-home trend brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic. Individuals can avail training at the safety of their houses while adding new expertise in their resumes. Course content also includes intensive segments for hands-on practice and styling consultation skills. The course covers a wide range of topics including hair cutting, hair colouring technique, client consultation, hair product knowledge and trendy hair styling. The course also emphasises on the Covid-19 related safety and hygiene protocols that need to be followed and preventive measures while delivering hair services. It also comes with live demonstration classes by VLCC experts and unlimited Q&A opportunities

Continue Reading

Trending