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September 16, 2019

India's Human Resource Development Minister launches Leadership for Academicians Programme (LEAP) - 2019

Academic Leaders

Photo: India’s Minister for Human Resource Development, Dr. Ramesh Pokhriyal’ Nishank’, at the launch of the Annual Refresher Programme In Teaching (ARPIT) and Leadership for Academicians (LEAP), in New Delhi on 16 September 2019.

Cornell Campus

Photo: A building in Cornell Campus. Cornell University (Ithaca, New York) is an Ivy League School. Image Credit: Tom Flemming.

New Delhi, 16 September 2019 — Union Human Resource Development Minister, Ramesh Pokhriyal’ Nishank’, launched Leadership for Academicians Programme (LEAP) - 2019 and Annual Refresher Programme In Teaching (ARPIT) - 2019 under Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya National Mission on Teachers and Teaching (PMMMNMTT) in New Delhi today.

The Minister said that teachers are the base of the education system. ARPIT is an excellent platform for teachers to learn about the latest developments in their field and develop their teaching qualities. He said that for better results, we need to increase the participation of teachers in this program.

He said that we have a vision and mission. We need better coordination, such as between the University Grants Commission (UGC) and All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE).

The Minister appreciated the LEAP program and said that we could develop administrative capabilities and leadership for organizations through this program. He further said that the leaders thus produced would have the responsibility of bringing institutions to the world ranking.

• Leadership for Academicians Programme (LEAP) -

The Leadership for Academicians Programme (LEAP) develops leaders for Higher Education Institutions.

LEAP is a three weeks leadership development program (2 weeks domestic and one-week foreign training) for second level academic functionaries in public-funded higher education institutions. Its main objective is to prepare the second tier academic heads that are potentially likely to assume leadership roles in the future. The Government is implementing LEAP through the following 15 institutions:

  1. Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur
  2. Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur
  3. Banaras Hindu University
  4. Jamia Milia Islamia
  5. Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee
  6. Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Kolkata
  7. University of Hyderabad
  8. NIT Trichy
  9. University of Delhi
  10. Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay
  11. Jawaharlal Nehru University
  12. Indian Institute of Technology, BHU
  13. TISS, Mumbai (CALEM)
  14. AMU (CALEM)

The mandatory eligibility conditions are a minimum of eight years of experience as Professor, three years of administrative experience, Impeccable Integrity, and high academic standing.

A maximum of Rs. 10 Lakhs per participant (including foreign training) is approved and each training institution signs MoUs with its international counterpart. LEAP training institution prepares information brochures with relevant information, such as the Structure of the Program, Curriculum, Resource Persons, Pedagogical aspects, Assessment and Evaluation, and Scheduled Dates for Indian & Foreign training. Each training module has a batch of 30 trainees. At the end of the training, the program evaluates the trainees on ten critical leadership attributes, namely, visioning & strategizing; communication skills; people management; conflict management & handling stress; decision making; teaching & learning research and innovation; financial planning and management; administrative skills; understanding students; and collaboration. In 2018-19, out of 15 LEAP approved Institutions, 12 have completed LEAP training with 280 participants.

In 2019-20, a centralized online selection process has been put in place and is now open for applying. The last date of registration is 25 September 2019, and the institution-wise selections would be available by 27 September 2019. The tentative LEAP (2019-20) Training Schedule is as follows:

LEAP Training Institution - Tentative Dates - Proposed Foreign University

• Annual Refresher Programme In Teaching (ARPIT) -

Ministry of Human Resource Development launched the Annual Refresher Programme In Teaching (ARPIT) in November 2018. ARPIT is a unique initiative comprising the online professional development of 1.5 million higher education faculty using the MOOCs platform SWAYAM.

The ARPIT program first identifies the discipline-specific National Resource Centers (NRCs). These NRCs are then tasked to prepare online training material with a focus on the latest developments in the discipline, new & emerging trends, pedagogical improvements, and methodologies for transacting revised curriculum.

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September 12, 2019

Oxford tops Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020

Oxford University

Photo: The University of Oxford. Sheldonian Theatre and Bodleian Library from beneath Balliol’s Great Beech. Image Credit: Piers Nye.

London, 11 September 2019 — Times Higher Education today announced its World University Rankings 2020. The rankings include 1,400 universities across 92 countries, standing as the largest and most diverse university rankings ever to date.

The University of Oxford tops the rankings. It is in the first place. The California Institute of Technology is second, while the University of Cambridge is in the third place.

Stanford, Yale, Harvard, UC Berkeley, and Imperial College London all appear in the top fifteen.

Times Higher Education ranks universities on 13 carefully calibrated performance indicators that measure an institution’s performance across teaching, research, knowledge transfer, and international outlook.

Mainland China now provides both of Asia’s top two universities, with Tsinghua and Peking universities finishing at 23rd and 24th place respectively. The country’s universities have continued to expand their influence and presence on the world stage.

Ha Wei, Associate Dean, Graduate School of Education, Peking University, says that China’s excellence initiatives have “poured billions of US dollars” into select groups of universities.” “Talent attraction programs” have also helped the institutions improve, he said.

The latest Double World-Class project, launched in 2015, includes a “monitoring and evaluation system to make it more results-oriented,” Ha Wei added. It means that “those who are deemed less efficient in using the resources will get removed from the list of beneficiaries.”

“I believe the upward trend for Chinese universities will continue,” he said.

• Times Higher Education World University Rankings — Top 30

  1. University of Oxford, United Kingdom
  2. California Institute of Technology, United States
  3. University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
  4. Stanford University, United States
  5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, United States
  6. Princeton University, United States
  7. Harvard University, United States
  8. Yale University, United States
  9. University of Chicago, United States
  10. Imperial College London, United Kingdom
  11. University of Pennsylvania, United States
  12. Johns Hopkins University, United States
  13. University of California, Berkeley, United States
  14. ETH Zurich, Switzerland
  15. UCL, United Kingdom
  16. Columbia University, United States
  17. University of California, Los Angeles, United States
  18. University of Toronto, Canada
  19. Cornell University, United States
  20. Duke University, United States
  21. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, United States
  22. Northwestern University, United States
  23. Tsinghua University, China
  24. Peking University, China
  25. National University of Singapore, Singapore
  26. University of Washington, United States
  27. Carnegie Mellon University, United States
  28. London School of Economics and Political Science, United Kingdom
  29. New York University, United States
  30. University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Source: Times Higher Education

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September 10, 2019

A View of the United Nations Headquarters on 09 September 2019

United Nations, New York


Photo: A view of United Nations Headquarters and parts of Manhattan as seen from Queens. 09 September 2019. United Nations, New York. UN Photo/Evan Schneider.

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September 7, 2019

UNESCO Creative Cities Annual Conference: Santos, Brazil, will host it in 2020; Istanbul, Turkey, will host it in 2021.

UNESCO Creative Cities Network, Istanbul

Photo: Istanbul, Turkey. Image Credit: Juan Antonio Segal. The city of Istanbul in Turkey is a UNESCO Creative City of Design.

Paris, France, 07 September 2019 — Istanbul has been selected as the Host City of the XV UNESCO Creative Cities Network’s Annual Conference in 2021 following an online vote by the 180 members of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) present in 72 countries.

Istanbul is a major city in Turkey that straddles Europe and Asia across the Bosphorus Strait. Istanbul’s Old City reflects the cultural influences of the many empires that once ruled here.

“Future Proof Cities” will be the theme of the 2021 conference. This theme refers to the concept of urban future-proofing. It involves monitoring developments in all areas of urban life to ensure an equilibrium between the environment, technology, economic activity, and human needs and aspirations.

The UCCN Annual Conferences bring together mayors, municipal decision-makers, and other stakeholders. They examine ways to place people at the center of sustainable urban development from the economic, environmental, social, and cultural perspectives. The UCCN conferences echo the overarching objective of the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development - Leaving no one behind.

Fabriano, Italy, hosted this year’s conference.

Santos, Brazil

Photo: Santos, Brazil. Image Credit: Ricardo ATB. The city of Santos in Brazil is a UNESCO Creative City of Film.

The 2020 event will take place in the city of Santos in Brazil, a UNESCO Creative City of Film since 2015. Santos will be the first city of the Latin America and Caribbean Region to host the UCCN Annual Conference and the first Creative City of Film to do so. Under the theme “Creativity, Path to Equality,” the 2020 Annual Conference will demonstrate the power of creativity and culture in advancing sustainable development and reducing social and economic inequalities.

Krakow and Katowice, Poland hosted the Annual Conference in 2018, after Enghien-les-Bains, France (2017), and Östersund, Sweden (2016).

UNESCO established the Creative Cities Programme and Network to promote international cooperation between cities that are committed to investing in culture and creativity to stimulate and drive sustainable development. The Network covers seven creative fields: Crafts and Folk Art, Design, Film, Gastronomy, Literature, Media Arts and Music.

Cities in the Network anchor culture and creativity in their development frameworks and policies to advance objectives such as social cohesion, employment, entrepreneurship, and gender balance among others for the achievement of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. The annual conferences are a unique opportunity for cities to review their results, exchange best practices and ideas, and identify new trends. The cities discuss challenges and opportunities and build connections and partnerships.

Home to over half of the world’s population, the cities play a crucial role in developing and implementing strategies that address the development challenges of the 21st century. In this context, the UNESCO Creative Cities Programme and its Annual Conference have an ever more critical role to play in addressing the contemporary challenges and opportunities facing cities and human settlements.

Source: UNESCO, Paris.

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September 4, 2019

UN Secretary-General Appoints Melissa Fleming of United States Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications

United Nations, New York

Photo: UN Secretary-General António Guterres swears in Melissa Fleming, Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications. 04 September 2019. United Nations, New York. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe.

New York, NY — United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has appointed Melissa Fleming of the United States as the next Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications.

She succeeds Alison Smale of the United Kingdom.

Ms. Fleming brings to the position more than 25 years of strategic vision, innovative management, and communications expertise. She worked in the UN in the fields of humanitarian action, conflict prevention, peacebuilding, and free media.

Since 2009, Ms. Fleming has been Head of Global Communications and Spokesperson in the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Geneva. While there, she led global media outreach campaigns, social media engagement, and a multimedia news service serving audiences ranging from media, public, donors, Governments and refugees themselves.

Ms. Fleming joined UNHCR from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), where she served for eight years as Spokesperson and Head of Media and Outreach. Before IAEA, she headed the Press and Public Information team at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). Earlier still, she served as Public Affairs Specialist at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in Munich, Germany.

Having begun her career as a journalist, Ms. Fleming held the position of Senior Advisor and Spokesperson on the transition team of the current Secretary-General from 2016 to 2017.

She holds a Master of Science in journalism from the College of Communication, Boston University, and a Bachelor of Arts in German studies from Oberlin College, Ohio, United States.

Source: United Nations, New York

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September 3, 2019

High Court Censures Panjab University Vice-Chancellor and Registrar for Irresponsibility, Incompetence, and Dishonesty.

Court of Law

Chandigarh, 03 September 2019 — Punjab and Haryana High Court today censured the Vice-Chancellor and the Registrar of Panjab University Chandigarh for their irresponsible, incompetent, and dishonest conduct in the administration of the institution.

Panjab University

The Court was delivering the interim order in “Professor Emanual Nahar versus Panjab University, Chandigarh” case. The court will announce the final judgment on 16 September.

The petitioner, Professor Nahar, had contended that the Vice-Chancellor had gone against the rules to remove him from the post of Dean Student Welfare (DSW). Professor Nahar, through his counsel, had claimed that 48 senators had favored his extension during the Senate meeting before providing written information to the Vice-Chancellor.

After hearing the arguments from both sides, the Court observed that the irrefragable position emerges that the Senate is the Supreme Body of the Panjab University. The Syndicate constituted by members of the Senate follows it. The Vice-Chancellor follows the Syndicate. The Vice-Chancellor is also a member of the Syndicate as well as the Senate.

“Record produced by the University before this Court reflects that Senate resolution is merely signed by Vice-Chancellor, as a single vote. It does not bear signatures of any other member of the Senate,” the court said.

“Prima facie, it appears that the Vice-Chancellor was the only one who had expressed dissent on the continuation of the petitioner as DSW although the Syndicate had recommended his extension. The tearing haste in which the Vice-Chancellor passed the impugned order, at first flash, is indicative that the Vice-Chancellor wanted his dissent to prevail,” the Court concluded.

According to the Court, “Another redeeming factor, that weighs in favor of the petitioner, Professor Nahar, is that 15 members constitute the Syndicate, of which Vice-Chancellor is just one vote. The Syndicate recommended the petitioner’s continuation by 14 votes in his favor and only one dissenting vote, that of the Vice-Chancellor.”

“To suggest that Syndicate or Senate can not disregard recommendation or non-recommendation by the Vice-Chancellor for the post of DSW flies in the face of the reasoning the University has itself adopted,” the Court noted.

Commenting on the role of the Registrar, the Court observed, “It is incumbent for the Registrar to record the minutes of the Senate meeting/proceedings for the approval by the Chairman/Vice-Chancellor. The record produced before the Court does not contain any such minutes either draft or approved. Even otherwise, general prudence warrants the Registrar to prepare the minutes of any meeting/proceedings before passing of a resolution conveying the discussion/decision taken therein and not the vice versa. In the present case, while the resolution is on the record, the minutes to be recorded by Registrar are discernibly missing. Further, the video of the Senate proceedings is contrary to what has been produced on record by the University.”

The Court, in its order, directed Panjab University to restore status quo ante as it existed a day before the date of the meeting of Senate. Doing this allows the petitioner, Professor Nahar, to continue as Dean Student Welfare (DSW).

Further, the Court instructed the University to convene a meeting of the Senate within seven days to consider the recommendations of the Syndicate, and put the matter to vote, if need be, per the law.

Source: Punjab and Haryana High Court, Chandigarh.

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September 1, 2019

Newly Crowned World Badminton Champion, Ms. P.V. Sindhu, calls on the Vice President of India, M. Venkaiah Naidu.

Sindhu, Naidu, Badminton

Sindhu, Naidu, Badminton

Photos: The Newly Crowned World Badminton Champion, Ms. P.V. Sindhu, with the Vice President of India, M. Venkaiah Naidu, in Hyderabad on 31 August 2019.

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