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Has Technology Rendered Teachers Redundant? 




Advances in technology offer the potential to expand access to education, but will online learning ever replace the need for teachers? The fate of teachers in the era of emerging e-class rooms and  online teaching took centre-stage as students from India and abroad engaged in a debate over it.

The Participants

Students from three prominent high schools from UK, Singapore and the US, and some elite institutions from India took part in the near three-hour long debate at the Indian Council for Cultural Relations. NPS International School (Singapore) and Model Westminster (UK) were the other two foreign participants in the debate. Besides St Xavier’s Collegiate School, the Indian contingent included Mayo College (Ajmer), The Heritage School, and DPS Newtown.

What Students Argued

One of the debaters, representing St Xavier’s Collegiate School, said, “Technology has not made teachers redundant. And teachers are not being replaced by technology. But technology has made the task of students easier.” The debate later ended with the resolution that teachers cannot be replaced by any emerging technology and can only make better use of new medium.

“This is incredible to think that despite hailing from different countries, we can understand each other and share different views,” said Timothy Joseph, a student from Boston College High School.

S Ramalingam, on behalf of the organisers ‘Calcutta Debating Circle’, said the three foreign teams came from nations which are more developed than India, and hence, their arguments partly differed.

Dylan Patrick, another participant from Boston College High School said, “It was amazing how we became friends hailing from different parts of world… and debated passionately.”

The teachers, too, were happy with the way the workshop shaped up. They were made to narrate small stories from their lives and the others had to guess the morals that could be learned from them.


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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