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Feb 2020

Feb 29, 2020

Air India Flight Brings Back 119 Indians, 5 Foreigners from Coronavirus-hit Cruise Ship in Japan

  • A special Air India flight brought back 119 Indians, including 113 crew members and six passengers, who were on board coronavirus-hit Diamond Princess cruise ship docked off Yokohama, Japan.
  • The Ministry of External Affairs, in a statement, said that the flight which arrived in New Delhi from Tokyo, also evacuated five foreign nationals — two Sri Lankans and one each from Nepal, South Africa and Peru.
  • All evacuees will undergo a 14-day quarantine at a facility set up by the Indian Army in Manesar, Haryana.
  • Originally, there were 138 Indians on board the Diamond Princess. Of these, 16 Indian crew members have tested positive for coronavirus. They are receiving medical care and treatment at onshore facilities in Japan.
  • According to the ministry, three Indian crew members did not board the special flight and conveyed their wish to continue their stay on board the cruise ship — to complete the extended quarantine period put in place by the Government of Japan. The Indian Embassy in Tokyo has established contact with those individuals and is following-up on their recovery, the ministry said.

Feb 28, 2020

Atal Innovation Mission, NASSCOM launches AI Based Learning Courses for Students

  • NITI Aayog supported Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) and NASSCOM have joined hands to impart Artificial Intelligence-based learning at Atal Tinkering Labs aimed at empowering students to innovate and create valuable solutions to problems.
  • With an imperative to empower the youngest minds of the country with the latest technologies, NITI Aayog, Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) in collaboration with the National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) launched an AI-based Module rolled out for students in Indian schools.
  • The objective of the AI-based module is to leverage the full potential of AIM's ATL and empower students to innovate and create valuable solutions benefiting society at large.
  • The module contains activities, videos and experiments for students to work through and learn various concepts of AI.

Feb 27, 2020

Union HRD Minister Launches Leadership Development Programme for Higher Education Administrators

  • Ramesh Pokhriyal aka Nishank, Union Minister for Human Resource Development, launched 'Higher Education Leadership Development Programme For Administrators'– a joint initiative of UGC and British Council under the auspices of UK India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI) today in New Delhi.
  • The initiative, which aims to deliver a leadership development programme for middle and senior-level administrative functionaries in Indian Universities, was rolled out in the presence of Amit Khare, Secretary, MHRD; Prof. D. P. Singh, Chairman, UGC; Ms. Barbara Wickham OBE, Director, British Council India and other officials from the Ministry of Human Resource Development, University Grants Commission and British Council.

Maharashtra Scraps International Education Board

  • The Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, a coalition of Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress, scrapped the Maharashtra International Education Board (MIEB), which was started by the previous Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government.
  • The announcement was made by Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad in the legislative council, based on the recommendations of Dattatray Sawant, presiding officer in the council, in place of chairman Ramraje Naik Nimbalkar. Gaikwad was responding to a calling-attention motion by Vikas Potnis, member of legislative council (MLC).
  • There are 83 public and private schools affiliated with the MIEB, which was set up in 2018 to provide education at par with international standards. Following allegations by Potnis of misconduct, lack of transparency in functioning and curriculum and exclusivity towards selection of schools, several members demanded a review of the board.
  • Members also alleged that many schools had not even received the updated syllabus as per the board.

Rest of World Overtakes China in New Virus Cases

  • The World Health Organization said that for the first time the number of new coronavirus cases reported daily outside mainland China exceeded those within the country, marking a shift in the outbreak that has killed more than 2,700 and infected over 80,000.
  • The agency had previously warned that the contagion, which is believed to have originated from a meat market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019, would spread across the world while the outbreak in China appears to have peaked on February 2.
  • The UN health agency put the number of new cases in China on Tuesday at 411 (down from 508 a day before) while those registered outside the country stood at 427.

Feb 26, 2020

Kerala to Use New Tech to Teach English

  • The state-run Kerala Infrastructure and Technology for Education (KITE) launched a special initiative for enhancing and enriching English language proficiency of students by making use of hi-tech lab facilities in schools. The ambitious project is titled E3 (E-cube- Enjoy, Enhance & Enrich).
  • State minister for General Education, C. Raveendranath said that training would be given to all teachers and the project would be implemented fully in the academic year.
  • The project aims to enhance and enrich English learning of students in an enjoyable atmosphere effectively making use of technology in schools in Kerala.
  • The project has three components. The first is Samagra e-Library, a digital repository of international standard digital books.
  • The second is e-Language lab, which will have language lab software that will provide opportunities for students to enhance their listening, speaking, reading, writing, pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary.
  • Students can work in e-language lab alone with the support of the mentor teacher at their own pace of learning.
  • KITE has already customised the engine for language lab by using Free and Open Source Software, the CEO explained.
  • The third component, eBroadcast, includes multimedia programme. The broadcast lessons will help learners use English in conversational and academic contexts in an interactive mode. This shall also be screened in KITE Victers channel.

Chandigarh University Makes National Record in the fFeld of Research

  • Chandigarh University made a national record in the field of Research; Filed 500 patents in just 7 years.
  • The economic status of a nation depends upon the efforts put by the respective countries in the field of research and innovation.
  • Developed nations such as US, Japan ,Germany are amongst the top nations which have major share in global innovation index, whereas countries like India lag behind and are dependent on such countries for new age technologies.
  • As per the data available from world intellectual property organisation (WIPO) with more than 1.5 million patents filed ,China leads the list of countries who has filed the maximum number of patents in 2019 which is followed by USA with 0.6 million . India was ranked 7th in this list with more than 50,000 patents being filed in 2019 with just 2.3 % increase over the last year. The main reason attributed to the current situation is that India with 0.85% contribution of its GDP for R&D currently ranks 52nd amongst the nations which contributes higher percentage of their GDP towards research and innovation.

Feb 25, 2020

Top IITs, IIMs Launch Consortium to Boost Entrepreneurship Ecosystem in Indian

  • Premier technical and management institutions in the country have joined hands to launch a consortium to boost Indian entrepreneurship ecosystem through high quality research in innovation, venturing and entrepreneurship.
  • Called 'Innovation-Venturing and Entrepreneurship in India Network (iVEIN),' its founding members are faculty at IIT Madras, IIT Bombay, IIM Bangalore, IIM Calcutta and IIM Kozhikode. This network of institutions will leverage strengths of the partners and would work with other stakeholders such as incubators, government and investors to generate and disseminate knowledge.
  • iVEIN was launched in February, 2020 along the side-lines of 'Dialogue with Stakeholders' event held by SINE (Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship) at IIT Bombay.

Prepare for Pandemic, Warns WHO

  • The World Health Organization chief warned countries to prepare for a potential pandemic of new coronavirus, calling the sudden increase in cases in Iran, Italy and South Korea deeply concerning.
  • But Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also said that a WHO joint mission to China that concluded found that the virus there peaked between January 23 and February 2 and has been declining steadily since then.
  • China's bold actions in the epicentre of Hubei province and its capital Wuhan have probably prevented hundreds of thousands of cases, Bruce Aylward, leader of the WHO delegation said in Beijing adding that the global community was not ready with either the mindset or material to act in the same way.
  • The remarks from WHO came amid a rise in Covid-19 cases and deaths in Italy, South Korea and Iran amid and fears that the outbreak could escalate into a pandemic.
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