Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has announced that the Government of India is investing Rs 1000 crore to set-up 200 new TV channels to provide access to quality education for the underprivileged youth in remote and backward areas. The announcement was made while inaugurating the new computer centre and e-classroom building of the National Institute of Technology (NIT) Hamirpur. He went on to say that there will soon be one channel for each class in every Indian language.
TheUnion Education Minister took to Twitter to announce the setting up of 200 new TV channels. He further said that these new channels will also require content while encouraging NITH to think in this direction. He tweeted, “These 200+ TV channels will require innovative and quality content. @NITHamirpurHP should think in this direction and create innovative audio-visual-gaming based content for students of both basic and advanced courses.” Pradhan went on to say that Himachal Pradesh is a ‘Devbhoomi’ and ‘Veerbhoomi’ while adding that now the focus should be in making it a ‘Gyan-bhoomi’.
A team of scientists at IIT Roorkee has developed a dopamine sensor to detect neurological diseases such as schizophrenia and Parkinson’s at an early stage. When a person suffers from these diseases, the level of a chemical called dopamine is altered in the brain, and the sensor works by measuring the dopamine levels. It can detect even a small change in the level of this chemical in our brain thus detecting the possibility of neurological disorders like schizophrenia and Parkinson’s disease. As most of these diseases cannot be completely cured, early detection helps in controlling the advancement of the disease. In this regard, the sensor developed at IIT Roorkee has the potential to play a significant role in the medical field.
The IIT Roorkee team has used a material called graphene quantum dot which was mixed with sulfur and boron for fabricating these sensors. In the presence of a very small amount of dopamine, this sensor changes light intensity which can be easily measured, thus providing an estimate of the amount of dopamine in the brain.
A question asked in the Madhya Pradesh Public Service Commission (MPPSC)’s State Service and Forest Service Preliminary Examination held on Sunday, has led to a controversy. In sets A, B, C and D of the preliminary examination, a statement and logic-based question on Kashmir was asked: ‘Should India decide to give Kashmir to Pakistan?’ The question was followed by two arguments:
Argument 1: Yes, this will save India money.
Argument 2: No, such a decision will lead to a further increase in similar demands.
The four answer options were:
- A- Argument 1 is strong.
- B- Argument 2 is strong.
- C- Argument 1 and Argument 2 are both strong.
- D- Both Arguments 1 and 2 are not strong.
There was a ruckus as soon as the controversial question went viral. Following the growing controversy, the Public Service Commission has banned all the work of the particular MPPSC paper setter by sending him a notice. It said that the paper setter had “not complied with the schedule”.
“Therefore, considering it in the category of misconduct, you are debarred by the commission from all the work of the commission for the future,” the letter said.
MVJ College of Engineering students develop yoga pose assessment tracker to facilitate self-learning
With the impact and popularity of yoga growing way beyond India and being spread across the world, thousands of people now practice yoga by watching YouTube videos or TV programmes. However, without the instruction of a coach or guide, a yoga practitioner may perform poses incorrectly and it is tough to identify the errors by oneself. A group of computer science students from MVJ College of Engineering has now developed a yoga pose tracking method to tackle this problem. The team of students who were involved in the project include Deepti Singh, Deepak Pandey, Hima VS and Bhaskar Katragadda.
The idea for such a device or software first came to Deepti Singh when she was practicing yoga by herself at home and was in doubt about whether she was moving right. She says, “The major concern here is that performing complex Yogasanas without the supervision of a trainer could cause serious injuries, especially to the spine and the neck. When we were asked to submit our topics for the college final year project, I discussed this idea with my team. It was liked by all and we started planning on the design.” This is how the group of engineering students came up with the solution called ‘Yoga Pose Assessment System for Self-Learning’.
When the team started their research, they found very little had been done on the subject before.
“Existing solutions include an AI-enabled yoga mat which evaluates the accuracy of a user’s stance, and a software-based solution which takes a static image of a practitioner for the assessment of their yoga pose,” says team member Deepak Pandey, adding that “We realized that an efficient, cost-effective and fully software-based solution for this problem did not exist. Hence, we started developing such a software that uses state-of-the-art technology like deep learning.”
The yoga assessment system developed by the team of students from MVJ College of Engineering, Computer and Engineering Department, uses the system uses the webcam of the user’s PC to capture the video of them performing a particular yogasana. “It employs BlazePose, a deep learning based human pose estimation model, to get the key point coordinates of the body,” explains Hima VS from the student researcher team, adding that it then runs an algorithm which calculates the accuracy of the pose based on these coordinates and the data gathered from video of an instructor performing the same pose. The user can see the output in real-time that helps them to understand where they are going wrong.”
The students have used Media Pipe Blaze Pose, an on-device body pose tracking approach to create the yoga solution. It is convolutional neural network architecture for human posture assessment that Google launched in August 2020. The network works at over 30 frames per second and infers 33 2D body landmarks from a single frame. Heat maps and regression to key point coordinates are used as well.
NEEV, a community outreach programme of the Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar (IITGN), successfully trained nearly 150 rural youth and women in six skill development courses during April to June 2022. The Institute organized a valedictory event for the participants on June 10, 2022, to award course certificates for successful completion of the courses. Professor Sharad Gupta, In-charge Dean, R&D, was present on the occasion to encourage the participants.
A total of 145 participants were trained at NEEV-IITGN in this edition of Summer Skills Courses, including 26 in Stitching Skills course, 30 in Beautician Skills course, 34 in Basic Computer Skills course, 26 in Spoken-English Skills course, 16 in Tally Skills course, and 13 in Vocational Skill course of wiring and CNC machining. Many of them have already started earning after gaining these skills. These courses are offered entirely free of cost with philanthropic support from the Desai Foundation Trust.
NEEV charges only a refundable security deposit of Rs 500 per participant, which is refunded to the participant after they complete the course. Moreover, the courses such as stitching skills and beautician skills, which are exclusively organized for women, are conducted in their village itself.
The popularity of NEEV’s courses has grown beyond Gandhinagar or Ahmedabad, and this time they hosted five outstation participants, mainly from the South Gujarat region. NEEV also provided them with lodging and boarding in the IITGN hostels for the duration of their courses, and did not charge anything from them.
IIT Guwahati researchers create affordable prosthetic leg for Indians that enable deep squatting & cross-legged sitting
Researchers at IIT Guwahati have designed an affordable prosthetic leg specifically designed for the Indian population. It is suitable for uneven terrain and supports Indian needs such as cross-legged sitting, and deep squatting. It is also adjustable for the different age groups and multiple stages of prosthesis use. This research has been funded by the Ministry of Education, Government of India and the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India. IIT Guwahati researchers collaborated with 151 Army Base Hospital, Guwahati, Tolaram Bafna Kamrup District Civil Hospital, Guwahati, Guwahati Neurological Research Centre (GNRC), North Guwahati, and North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences (NEIGHRIMS), Shillong for the research on the prosthetic leg.
Prosthesis development in India faces several challenges. Highly functional mobility for amputees requires devices with advanced features which are expansive and cannot be afforded by many. Further, affordable prosthetics that are available in the market have many functional limitations. In addition, the Indian lifestyle and uneven terrain require prosthetics with specifications unique to India, which are not widely available in the market. A team led by Prof. S Kanagaraj, Department of Mechanical Engineering, IIT Guwahati, set out to tackle these issues. Prototypes of their models developed by this research team are currently undergoing trials.
Highlighting the key areas of their research, Prof. S. Kanagaraj, Department of Mechanical Engineering, IIT Guwahati, said, “The knee joint developed by our team has a spring assisted deep squat mechanism, which helps to use Indian toilet system more comfortably; the knee rotating mechanism helps to have cross-legged sitting. The locking mechanism helps to reduce the fear of falling of patients while walking in an unknown terrain; adjustable link length in a knee helps to have either more stability or easy flexing depending on age and requirement of the patients. Overall, the knee joint is designed to meet the Indian lifestyle which other products fail to fulfill.”
About 14 students in Delhi who were admitted to a top private school under the EWS quota have been asked to clear dues of over Rs 67,000 in fees for the first term of this academic year in order to continue further education, even as Delhi government officials said they are look into the issue. According to the provisions of the Right to Education Act 2009, all private schools in Delhi are required to reserve 25 per cent of seats for economically weaker section (EWS) and disadvantaged group (DG) students during admissions at the entry level, and compulsorily provide them free education. All India Parents Association (AIPA) President Ashok Agarwal has issued a legal notice to Modern School, Barakhamba Road, in this regard.
There was no response to calls and text messages from school management. Delhi government officials said they will look into the matter, asserting that schools set up on public land have an obligation to admit students under EWS and DG category and provide education to them free of cost. “The students were admitted under EWS and DG category and they have appeared for class 10 CBSE examination in the academic year 2021-22 and are waiting for their results. These students were admitted in nursery class and since they are studying under the EWS and DG category free of cost. These students have now been asked to pay dues of Rs 67,835 for class 11’s first term to either continue further education or get school leaving certificate,” said Mr. Agarwal.
Modern School is one of the 400 schools in the city which are built on land given to them by public land-owning agencies such as the Delhi Development Authority. These schools had been allotted land at concessional rates on the condition that they would provide free education to EWS children. A senior official of the Directorate of Education said “Schools set up on public land have an obligation and they are not allowed to charge fees from EWS and DG category students. We are looking into the issue.”
With schools in Delhi geared up to reopen from July 1 following summer vacation, rising Covid cases in Delhi-NCR have sparked concerns among parents even as principals said there should be no more disruption in offline learning and asserted that all measures are being taken to get students accustomed to living with the pandemic. According to school principals, while coronavirus is posing new threats, there is a need for parents to understand that the pandemic is nearing the endemic phase and one should get accustomed to living with it.
Ms. Alka Kapur, Principal, Modern Public School, Shalimar Bagh says “While the schools are scheduled to open from July 1 after the summer vacations, increasing Covid cases have become a major concern for the parents yet again. “The state government has stated that it is not in favour of any more disruptions in studies and aims to continue education while keeping the safety of students and teachers at prior.” She added, “At our school, children with low immunity are provided with the option of staying at home, while parents can connect with the school authorities to get the class work of the student at home. Also, MPS has special classes for students seeking education in isolation.”
Delhi reported 1,060 new Covid cases in a day and six deaths, the highest in around four months, while the positivity rate rose to 10.09 per cent, as per the data shared by the city health department on Monday. This is the highest test positivity rate recorded in the capital since January 24 when 11.8 per cent of the people tested had turned out Covid positive. Schools reopened for completely offline classes from April 1 after prolonged closure in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. Experts have raised concerns about learning losses due to disconnect from physical classrooms and have been warning against any further disruptions in offline classes. Despite the rise in the positivity rate, the city government has not implemented the graded response action plan (GRAP) devised by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority since the hospital admissions are low.