UPSC Civil Services (Main) Examination 2015

Six days to go for UPSC Civil Services (Main) Examination 2015New Delhi: The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) will be conducting the civil services (Main) examination from December 18 to 23.

No paper Admit Card will be issued for this examination by the Commission.

The civil services examination is conducted annually in three stages — preliminary, main and interview — to select officers of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS) and Indian Police Service (IPS), among others.

About 15,000 candidates have qualified in this year’s civil services preliminary examination, results of which were declared on October 12.

As against a record number of 9,45,908 candidates who had applied for the exam, about 4.63 lakh wrote the test on August 23, which is about 49 percent of the total applicants.

No paper admit cards for civil services main exam: Union Public Service Commission

No paper admit cards for civil services main exam: Union Public Service CommissionNew Delhi: No paper admit card will be issued for this year’s civil services main examination, scheduled to begin from Friday, the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) has said. The candidates will have to download their e-admit cards and take a printout thereof.

UPSC will be conducting the main examination at 23 centres from December 18 to 23. The civil services examination is conducted annually in three stages — preliminary, main and interview — to select officers of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS) and Indian Police Service (IPS), among others.

“The Commission has uploaded the e-admit cards on its website at www.upsc.gov.in. The candidates are advised to download their e-admit cards and take a printout thereof. The candidates will have to produce the printout of their e-admit cards at the allotted venue for appearing in the examination,” a press release issued by the UPSC said.

“No paper admit card will be issued for this examination by the Commission,” it said. In case the photograph is not visible or available on the e-admit cards, candidates are advised to carry identical photograph for each session along with proof of identity such as valid identity card, Aadhar card, voter identity card, driving license, passport etc. to the venue of the examination.

About 15,000 candidates have qualified in this year’s civil services preliminary examination, results of which were declared on October 12.

As against a record number of 9,45,908 candidates who had applied for the exam, about 4.63 lakh wrote the test on August 23, which is about 49% of the total applicants.

IBPS Clerk Preliminary Examination 2015 Results to be announced soon

IBPS Clerk Preliminary Examination 2015 Results to be announced soonNew Delhi: The Institute of Banking Personnel Selection (IBPS) is soon going to announce the Preliminary Exam Result for Clerk Recruitment.

The results are expected to be announced around 20-25 December 2015.

IBPS Clerk Preliminary Examination 2015 were held on December 5,6,12,13.

IBPS Clerks exam is complete in two process CWE (Common Written Exam) (Preliminary & Mains) and Interview. Those candidates successfully qualified in Online written exam they all are shortlisted for Interview and selected candidates got their allotments. Department will released Score card of IBPS Clerk exam and Cut off marks for IBPS Clerk in January 2016. Candidates who are qualified they will be recruit in participating banks and participating organizations.

The Clerk Main Examination 2015 is schedules on 2nd and 3rd January 2016. The resulst will be declared in the sam emonth and the interview and provisional allotment will be done in February and April respectively.

Promise safe, quality education for every child

Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani education advocate, on Friday asked world leaders who are here to attend UN General Assembly to promise that every child will have the right to safe, free and quality primary and secondary education.

Malala Yousafzai made the remarks as she was speaking at the UN General Assembly alongside 193 youth representatives from the 193 UN member states, reported Xinhua.

Also on Friday, world leaders adopted the Sustainable Development Goals in the General Assembly, which include the global efforts to improve education opportunities for every child in the world.

“World leaders sitting there, look up because the future generation is raising their voice,” Yousafzai, who was shot in 2012 by the Taliban for attending classes, told hundreds of senior government officials in a stirring address delivered from the highest mezzanine of the General Assembly Hall.

“Today, we are 193 young people representing billions more. Each lantern we hold represents the hope we have for our future because of the commitments you have made to the global goals,” she said as each young person on the scene held up a blue light.

The 17 Global Goals are part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which was adopted by the General Assembly just minutes after the youngest-ever Nobel Laureate addressed the Hall.

They aim to build on the work of the historic Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which in September 2000 rallied the world around a common 15-year agenda to tackle the indignity of poverty.

“I’m hopeful that we all in the UN will be united in the goal of education and peace, and that we will make this world not just a better place, but the best place to live. Education is hope, education is peace,” Yousafzai said.

At a press conference following the event, she was joined by girl ambassadors from Syria, Nigeria and Pakistan who echoed her call to world leaders to ensure that every child gets 12 years of safe, free and quality education.

“The world leaders need to take all these issues more seriously,” Yousafzai told reporters. “They need to give it full attention and they should think about their own children. No one leader would want their own daughter, their own son, to be neglected of education, to be neglected in society and not given full rights.”

“It’s really tragic what’s happening to children around the world, especially in Syria, in Iraq, and how they’re suffering. It’s shocking,” she said.

Yousafzai noted how difficult it is for her to watch the news about those conflict-torn areas because every time she does, it makes her cry that no one is taking action while children die and girls continue to be sexually abused.

“I’m hopeful that when girls like us come together and raise our voices, the voices of those girls will be listened to because we speak on their behalf, we speak for their rights,” she said.

Yousafzai’s first visit to the UN took place on July 12, 2013, which coincided with her 16th birthday. The date is now marked internationally as Malala Day.

New draft education policy by December

New draft education policy by December: Smriti Irani

Efforts are underway to prepare the draft of a new education policy by December with involvement of people at the district level, Union HRD minister Smriti Irani said on Saturday.

“Till now, education policies were prepared by some persons at the national level, but people at ground level were never asked,” she said.

Irani said that on how new education policy should take shape, she was holding meetings with education minister of every state and district magistrates.

The HRD minister was speaking at a conclave organised by Hindustan Media Ventures Ltd.

“Till now plans were framed at national or state level. From education point of view if we prepare district-wise plan then the systemic change we want can be achieved,” she said.

She said that there was a need to understand what people at the district level need.

“I am going to request our institutions to revamp their curriculum and include technology learned in foreign countries in Indian institutions,” the minister said.

She said if students do not have much choice then it was natural they would think to study abroad.

Irani said how education increases employability was a subject of discussion, but it should also be seen that what it means in the life of a man.

“How our education increases employability has been a subject of discussion,” she said when asked about 23 lakh applicants, including PhD holders, applying for 368 posts of peon in Uttar Pradesh.

She said what was the real meaning of education in life was also a matter which should be thought about.

“So, for me while employability is a corner stone, it has been equally important for me as to what type of citizens we prepare,” she said.

IITs to decide on single-test entry

IITs to decide on single-test entry today

A proposal to scrap the two-phase IIT entrance examination — comprising JEE (main) and IIT-JEE (advanced) — is on the agenda of the JEE Apex Board (JAB) meeting at IIT-Guwahati on Sunday.

Sources say many IITs want to break away from JEE(main) that is also the gateway to NIITs and IITs and is conducted by CBSE. Instead, they want to revert to the old system and hold a single entrance examination exclusively for IIT aspirants. IIT-Guwahati will be conducting the entrance test for 2016.
IITs find the two-step entrance examination cumbersome and time consuming. Some faculty members have found faults with the present system, say sources. “The probability of a candidate getting into an IIT is far less than to an NIIT. There can’t be a common examination for two different sets of students,” an IIT professor held. Also, this “cumbersome process” leads to a waste of time that could be a reason why some IIT seats remain vacant, he added.

IIT admission became a two-phase affair in 2013 at the prodding of the HRD ministry. “The ministry wanted to bring admissions to all engineering colleges under one roof and decided to hold a common entrance test for NIITs and IITs. But when IIT-Kanpur threatened to quit the common entrance system and hold its own admission test on its own, MHRD allowed the IITs to hold a second test (IIT-advanced),” explained a senior faculty member of an IIT.

IITs now want to revert to the pre-2013 system in which an IIT from each of the seven zones conducted the entrance test by rotation. If the proposal is accepted at the JAB meeting on Sunday, it will be forwarded to the IIT Council, which will take the final call.

JAB’s experience with the two-step admission system hasn’t been quite happy, say sources. “We see no reason why IIT aspirants should take two examinations. The main and advanced exams, held within a span of one and a half months, burden students. The pressure taxes their concentration,” said a senior IIT-JEE official.

IIT officials argue that they can increase the number counseling rounds if they hold a single examination for the IITs. “IITs could hold only hold three rounds of counseling due to a time constraint. If a single entry test is allowed then the results will be published much earlier and the number of counselling rounds can be increased.”

However, switching to the old system has its problems, too. Unlike under the existing system — in which only 1.5 lakh students are allowed to take the IIT(advanced) entrance after screening — anyone can sit for the single IIT entrance, thus pushing up the number of candidates. “Reverting to the old system is at the proposal stage right now. It will be placed in the JAB meeting tomorrow. There will be discussions and consultations at different levels before a final decision is arrived at,” said Devang V Khakar, director of IIT-Powai.

Online examination at IGNOU soon; talks on with HRD, UGC

Online examination at IGNOU soon; talks on with HRD, UGC

The Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), one of the largest distance learning universities in India with over 28 lakh students, is considering giving them the option of taking examinations online.

The varsity, which adopted the online admission process from this year, is in talks with the HRD ministry and University Grants Commission (UGC) regarding the proposal.

“We are actively considering offering the examination online to make the process smooth and easy for students. Government is also examining the proposal and the modalities are being worked out. We are in talks with HRD ministry and UGC regarding the same,” IGNOU Vice Chancellor Nageshwar Rao told PTI.

“We started online admissions this year and got a massive response. At present we have the entire process in online mode including the registration, issuing of admit cards, schedule updation but the examination is still conducted in the traditional paper mode where students have to go to their respective study centres,” he added.

The task, however, is going to be challenging for the university considering the large number of students , who are spread across the country.

“When we look at the distance learning system in other countries of the world where universities have adopted online examination, we have to take into account that they have a small student strength of 4000-10,000.

“In our case, the number is large and we also see that the people are spread throughout the country with different backgrounds and demographic issues. Some are housewives, some are poor, some are working, some are located in remote areas so we have to see the feasibility,” he said.

The VC said the university is yet to figure out whether the option will be made available at its centres or students will be able to take the examination from anywhere.

“The modalities are being worked out. Working out on the examination pattern as well as the infrastructural issues, is a challenging task but the experts are on the job,” he said.

The university had started online examination for 27 courses in 2010 on an experimental basis, but the proposal had been withdrawn two years later after the UGC objected to it.

“We had started with 27 courses which had a student strength of not more than 300, to experiment the feasibility. The response was good but later it had to be withdrawn when UGC said it doesn’t recognise the online mode of examination.

“Now, they (UGC) will be taken onboard to find a way out which is also recognised by the commission,” the VC said.

The university offers a total of 228 bachelors, masters, diploma and certificate programmes.

100 study centres in commerce colleges to offer CS courses

100 study centres in commerce colleges to offer CS courses

COIMBATORE: The Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI) will enter into tie up with top commerce colleges across the country to open 100 study centres where courses for students could be offered, a top official said on Sunday.

The ICSI faculty will train the students in these colleges after college hours, so that they can become qualified company secretaries, while they finished their graduation, Atul H Mehta, president, ICSI, told reporters here.

All the Centres would be opened by this year, he said.

The institute is in the process of negotiations with leading software companies to develop an e-learning programme so that over 30 courses could be taught online, including videos and animation, Mehta said.

Stating that the new Companies Act 2013 envisaged a multi-dimensional role for company secretaries, he said the profession has undergone tremendous change.

When asked about the demand-supply gap, Mehta said with more than nine lakh private companies and one lakh Public Sector companies, there was tremendous scope for the professionals, as there were only 40,000 company secretaries in India currently.

Mehta, here to attend 14th conference of Students Company Secretaries, said that a National Company Law Tribunal, on the line of Income Tax Tribunal, will soon be set up in the country.

All the disputes and litigation can be filed in this tribunal, Mehta said.

Call for school exam failure levy to aid FE colleges

 

Exam hall
Image captionA think tank wants more support for FE colleges taking on pupils who have to re-take exams

Schools where pupils fail to get good GCSE grades in English and maths should pay a levy to fund pupils who re-take their exams in further education colleges, says a think tank.

Policy Exchange has published a report highlighting that FE colleges in England teach a higher proportion of pupils re-sitting exams than schools.

But FE colleges face greater pressures on their budgets than schools.

Two teaching unions have criticised the levy proposal.

Brian Lightman, of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said the idea of a levy was an “own goal”.

‘Passing the buck’

The report from the right-leaning think tank suggests re-allocating financial support to further education colleges in England which take on pupils who have previously struggled in school.

It proposes that secondary schools where pupils have failed to achieve at least C grades in GCSE English and maths should face a financial penalty of about £500 per pupil which would then be used to support students retaking exams in further education colleges.

There are five times more students retaking English in FE colleges than in schools, says the report.

For maths, almost six times as many retakes are in FE colleges as in schools.

Natasha Porter, author of the Policy Exchange report, said: “It is unfair for some schools to pass the buck to FE colleges who are already facing extreme funding pressures to fix a problem they have not caused themselves.

“To recognise the additional burden on FE colleges and shoulder more responsibility, schools should cough up and pay a re-sit levy.”

A Department for Education spokesman defended the existing arrangements.

“Post-16 funding is already allocated on a per pupil basis, and we already provide an extra £480 per student, per subject for all those with GCSE English or maths below grade C,” he said.

More retakes to come

In terms of funding, while school budgets have been protected in cash terms for the next five years, further education colleges face growing financial problems.

FE student
Image captionThe spending watchdog has warned of deepening financial problems in further education colleges

Last month, the National Audit Office (NAO) warned that the further education sector was “experiencing rapidly declining financial health”.

At the same time, the number of retakes is likely to increase because of a requirement for pupils to retake English and maths if they fail to get at least a C grade.

Mr Lightman of the ASC said funding for post-16 education “urgently needs to be addressed”, but he argued that taking money from schools would be a step backwards.

“Schools are already facing real-terms cuts in their budgets and unprecedented difficulties in recruiting staff, particularly maths teachers,” he said, “a re-sit levy would potentially worsen this situation.”

John Widdowson, president of the Association of Colleges, welcomed the recognition of the funding pressure on his members and said it was “extremely disappointing” that the government had failed to ring-fence spending for colleges in the way it had for schools.

But Christine Blower, leader of the National Union of Teachers, said the think tank’s proposals would in fact “penalise secondary schools without improving matters substantially for further education colleges”.

Wealth gap

A Department for Education spokesman emphasised the importance of key subjects such as English and maths.

“If young people have not mastered them by 16, it is more likely they will be held back for the rest of their life,” he said.

“That is why we want all young people who do not achieve at least a GCSE C in English or maths to continue studying until they reach that standard.”

A separate report being published on Tuesday emphasised the achievement gap between rich and poor that had opened by the age of 11.

An analysis of primary school test results in England showed that in the most deprived areas, 31% of pupils did not reach the expected levels in English and maths, compared with just 11% in the wealthiest areas.

The study of the 2013-14 test results was published by the New Schools Network, which supports the opening of free schools.

“This important new research shows the deep inequality that still exists within the state school system,” said director Nick Timothy.

“We have many excellent schools in England but it cannot be right that children from poor families are three times more likely to be unable to read, write and add up properly than children from wealthy families.”

A Department for Education spokeswoman said that the pupil premium, worth £2.5bn per year, is supporting disadvantaged children and narrowing the attainment gap.

“We are determined to ensure every child regardless of background is given an education that allows them to realise their potential,” said the education department’s spokeswoman.

‘Oldest’ Koran fragments found in Birmingham University

What may be the world’s oldest fragments of the Koran have been found by the University of Birmingham.

Radiocarbon dating found the manuscript to be at least 1,370 years old, making it among the earliest in existence.

The pages of the Muslim holy text had remained unrecognised in the university library for almost a century.

The British Library’s expert on such manuscripts, Dr Muhammad Isa Waley, said this “exciting discovery” would make Muslims “rejoice”.

The manuscript had been kept with a collection of other Middle Eastern books and documents, without being identified as one of the oldest fragments of the Koran in the world.

Koran fragments
Image captionThe fragments were written on sheep or goat skin

Oldest texts

When a PhD researcher, Alba Fedeli, looked more closely at these pages it was decided to carry out a radiocarbon dating test and the results were “startling”.

The university’s director of special collections, Susan Worrall, said researchers had not expected “in our wildest dreams” that it would be so old.

David Thomas
Image captionProf Thomas says the writer of this manuscript could have heard the Prophet Muhammad preach

“Finding out we had one of the oldest fragments of the Koran in the whole world has been fantastically exciting.”

The tests, carried out by the Oxford University Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, showed that the fragments, written on sheep or goat skin, were among the very oldest surviving texts of the Koran.

These tests provide a range of dates, showing that, with a probability of more than 95%, the parchment was from between 568 and 645.

“They could well take us back to within a few years of the actual founding of Islam,” said David Thomas, the university’s professor of Christianity and Islam.

“According to Muslim tradition, the Prophet Muhammad received the revelations that form the Koran, the scripture of Islam, between the years 610 and 632, the year of his death.”

Extract from manuscript

Prof Thomas says the dating of the Birmingham folios would mean it was quite possible that the person who had written them would have been alive at the time of the Prophet Muhammad.

“The person who actually wrote it could well have known the Prophet Muhammad. He would have seen him probably, he would maybe have heard him preach. He may have known him personally – and that really is quite a thought to conjure with,” he says.

First-hand witness

Prof Thomas says that some of the passages of the Koran were written down on parchment, stone, palm leaves and the shoulder blades of camels – and a final version, collected in book form, was completed in about 650.

He says that “the parts of the Koran that are written on this parchment can, with a degree of confidence, be dated to less than two decades after Muhammad’s death”.

“These portions must have been in a form that is very close to the form of the Koran read today, supporting the view that the text has undergone little or no alteration and that it can be dated to a point very close to the time it was believed to be revealed.”

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Media captionSusan Worrall says the university wants to put this internationally significant discovery on public display

The manuscript, written in “Hijazi script”, an early form of written Arabic, becomes one of the oldest known fragments of the Koran.

Because radiocarbon dating creates a range of possible ages, there is a handful of other manuscripts in public and private collections which overlap. So this makes it impossible to say that any is definitively the oldest.

But the latest possible date of the Birmingham discovery – 645 – would put it among the very oldest.

‘Precious survivor’

Dr Waley, curator for such manuscripts at the British Library, said “these two folios, in a beautiful and surprisingly legible Hijazi hand, almost certainly date from the time of the first three caliphs”.

The first three caliphs were leaders in the Muslim community between about 632 and 656.

Dr Waley says that under the third caliph, Uthman ibn Affan, copies of the “definitive edition” were distributed.

Muhammad Afzal
Image captionMuhammad Afzal of Birmingham Central Mosque said he was very moved to see the manuscript

“The Muslim community was not wealthy enough to stockpile animal skins for decades, and to produce a complete Mushaf, or copy, of the Holy Koran required a great many of them.”

Dr Waley suggests that the manuscript found by Birmingham is a “precious survivor” of a copy from that era or could be even earlier.

“In any case, this – along with the sheer beauty of the content and the surprisingly clear Hijazi script – is news to rejoice Muslim hearts.”

The manuscript is part of the Mingana Collection of more than 3,000 Middle Eastern documents gathered in the 1920s by Alphonse Mingana, a Chaldean priest born near Mosul in modern-day Iraq.

He was sponsored to take collecting trips to the Middle East by Edward Cadbury, who was part of the chocolate-making dynasty.


The Koran

A copy of the Quran
  • Muslims believe the words of the Koran were revealed to the Prophet Muhammad by the angel Gabriel over 22 years from 610
  • It was not until 1734 that a translation was made into English, but was littered with mistakes
  • Copies of the holy text were issued to British Indian soldiers fighting in the First World War
  • On 6 October 1930, words from the Koran were broadcast on British radio for the first time, in a BBC programme called The Sphinx

The origins of the Koran

Discover how the Koran became part of British life


The local Muslim community has already expressed its delight at the discovery in their city and the university says the manuscript will be put on public display.

“When I saw these pages I was very moved. There were tears of joy and emotion in my eyes. And I’m sure people from all over the UK will come to Birmingham to have a glimpse of these pages,” said Muhammad Afzal, chairman of Birmingham Central Mosque.

Extract from the manuscript

The university says the Koran fragments will go on display in the Barber Institute in Birmingham in October.

Prof Thomas says it will show people in Birmingham that they have a “treasure that is second to none”.