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Grannies Also Have Right To Learn as Ajibai Chi shala sets up in Thane




Age is no bar for learning. This was proved right when a school, named ajibai chi shala was established for grannies in Fangane village at Murbad in Thane district. Sheetal More (26) is the lone teacher for this special cause and she prides this job. Sheetal is ecstatic about her 29 students ability to sign. This was one of the objectives of the seniors’ education initiative in which all the women students, above 60 should know to sign, thereby putting an end to thumb impressions on official documents. Professor Yogendra Bangar has spearheaded this noble cause by starting the school on International Women’s Day, March 8.


Sheetal says that praising one aaji by her does not go down well with other aajis. They complain that had they got same attention and focus, they would have also produced good results. So, she began praising the entire class at once for a good result without singling anyone as special. An all along, Sheetal has learnt many aspects of teaching.”



The school has something unique to its credit. It teaches a 92-year-old student as well.

Here Sheetal has to take special care while teaching her students because each is different. One of the front benchers in her class is Kantabai More, her mother-in-law. She is at times strict with them for being less attentive. And in such cases she feels a bit upset in pulling up her mother-in-law. Sheetal feels that getting angry at them, really upsets them.


The deteriorating senses of her students is a big challenge for Sheetal to deal with. “Some hearing problem for which she has to go near them to explain things. Some aajis have poor eyesight. Another challenge she faces is dealing with her oldest student, a 92 year old aaji whose hands shiver while writing. She has to hold her hand and help her in writing.


Sheetal says that they have been focusing on barakhadi (alphabets) and numbers, to teach the students. The uniform is a pink sari. Those who had lost their husbands were unwilling to wear green sarees, which was earlier decided for them. So, pink saree was chosen for all.

The shala which operates from a village school, run by zilla parishad has classes between 2 pm-4 pm on all days, except on Thursday because aajis go to attend satsang. Gangubai Kedar (65) says, “during their time when people went to school, women were confined to their homes for handling household chores and generally the atmosphere was not conducive for women education. Still she feels glad to have got this opportunity to learn though it has come very late.


Sheetal says the main reason behind the running of this school till date is “I think the only reason we could run the school is that the aajis were and are happy about it. Unless there is some work, none of them like to miss a single day at school.” The idea for opening the shala struck Bangar’s conscience when he found that nearly all village women were illiterate and unable to recite the epics on Shivaji Jayanti.

The grannies assemble inside the school and begin the day by reciting a poem, “Me mothi zhalyavar shalet jaaein dada barobar (When I grow up I will go to school with my elder brother).” Some of them forget the lines and all of them stop abruptly. When their teacher asks why they stopped reciting the poem, all of them start giggling, like schoolgirls do.



FTII To Conduct Film Appreciation Course In Bhubaneswar



The Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune, will conduct a week-long film appreciation course in Bhbaneswar.


This will be a part of the institute’s nationwide programme to popularise film learning. This was informed by the Director of FTII, Pune, Bhupendra Kainthola. The course will provide a unique opportunity to the cine lovers of Odisha, to understand cinema from one of the world’s leading film schools..

The film appreciation course, to begin from February 14 will be conducted for the first time in Odisha, an official release said.

“Odisha has a film industry that goes back over 75 years and is still a robust one. As part of the FTII’s ongoing nation-wide programme to popularise film learning, a week-long film appreciation course has been designed for Bhubaneswar,” Kainthola said.

For over five decades, film appreciation was just a once a year course, conducted only in Pune and this made little sense for a country with a rich cinematic history and millions of cinema lovers, he said.

In the last nine months, the FTII has conducted film appreciation courses in Pune, Mumbai, Nagpur, Delhi, Jaipur, Guwahati, Srinagar (J&K), Haridwar and Srinagar (Uttarakhand), he added.


The programme will be conducted with inputs from National Film Archive of India (NFAI), Pune, in association with the Directorate of Technical Education and Training (DTET), Odisha government, the official release said.

Though the programme will be open to all, only 100 participants will be admitted on a first-come-first-served basis, and it will be held at the Museum of Tribal Arts & Crafts.

The Course will be conducted by renowned film academic Pankaj Saxena, an FTII alumnus, who is a filmmaker and TV programmer based in New Delhi, it said.

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Prince Charles Launches Education Impact Bond for India




Britain’s Prince Charles has launched a new 10-million-dollar Development Impact Bond (DIB) to help improve education for over 200,000 children in India.


The DIB, the largest bond of its type in South Asia, is the latest fundraising initiative by the British Asian Trust (BAT), set up by the royal 10 years ago to fight poverty in South Asia. The new bond has been launched by the trust with the support of the UK government’s Department for International Development (DfID), Comic Relief, the Mittal Foundation and the UBS Optimus Foundation.

“We are launching a 10-million-dollar Development Impact Bond that will improve education for more than 200,000 children in India,” Prince Charles said at a Buckingham Palace event yesterday evening to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the British Asian Trust.

“This will be the largest bond of its type in the region and will, I hope, offer a compelling model for a mere effective approach to philanthropy at scale,” he said.

“These bonds are an innovative and, I think, a tremendously effective way of raising the funds needed to address some of the greatest challenges in the region at the kind of scale necessary to make a significant difference,” he said.


–The concept of DIB is intended as a result-oriented way to attract new capital into development projects, with a strong emphasis on data and evidence.

–Under the initiative, the DIB will provide funding to local not-for-profit delivery partners in India over four years, delivering a range of operational models including principal and teacher training, direct school management, and supplementary programmes.

–It is intended to improve literacy and numeracy learning levels for primary school students from marginalised communities in the country.


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JMI Honours Hotmail Founder Sabeer Bhatia



Founder of Hotmail, renowned entrepreneur and innovator, Sabeer Bhatia was conferred with Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI)’s highest award, ‘Imtiaz-e-Jamia’.

He has been conferred the honour for his ‘outstanding contributions to public service and for technological innovation for the benefit of the society’. 50-year-old US-based, Mr Bhatia was presented with a plaque with the citation and a shawl by JMI Vice Chancellor, Prof Talat Ahmad at a function in the university campus amidst students from the Science and Technology faculties.

The citation read: ‘JMI confers Imtiaz-e-Jamia on Mr Sabeer Bhatia, entrepreneur, philanthropist and innovator for his outstanding contributions to public service throughout his life’.

Accepting the award, Mr Bhatia, who subsequently sold-off Hotmail to Microsoft in 1998, gave a stimulating talk on entrepreneurship and the future of information technology.


— He asked the students to develop innovative ideas and be open to risks that come with entrepreneurship.

— With technology changing at a rapid pace, he said that, newer technology makes old technology obsolete.

— Neural networks are the new paradigm of technology, he said adding that, the Internet of Things (IoT) will bring in the next wave of revolution that will transform the society.

— Talking about the risk involved in entrepreneurship he said that all decision-making has to be based on logic and one should be prepared to face failure. There should be no shame in failing, he added.


Mr Bhatia said that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is future technology and it will bring sweeping changes in the lives of people and business as machines and the superior algorithm will outdo human intelligence. He said that though algorithms are good for machines, it is not how the human brain works or for that matter how a child’s brain develops. “Though algorithms may have more accurate analytical ability than human beings they lack the emotions that human beings can express,” he said.

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