Year-ender: Tamilnadu school education dept sees vigorous changes

Chennai: Had he been in a race for making announcements among his colleagues in the State Cabinet, School Education Minister K A Sengottaiyan should be taking the top position for coming up with a circular or order at least twice a week. The year 2018 has been one great year in recent times when it comes to education in Tamilnadu as it saw a lot of developments. There were also some shortcomings when it came to NEET examination. Here’s a look at events that happened in the education sector of the State.

JANUARY 

5 – The State School and Higher Education departments sought the support of corporate houses to improve infrastructure in schools and colleges. The departments roped in non-governmental organisations to upgrade the quality of education. Funds were sanctioned by companies’ corporate social responsibility activity and NGOs pitched in with ideas to improve pedagogy. School Education Minister K A Sengottaiyan said though the government allotted around Rs 30,000 crore in the budget annually for school education, over 60 per cent went towards salary.

28 – Sengottaiyan informed about the government’s policy decision in getting exemption from National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) and it had been urging the Centre continuously in this regard. ‘The State government’s policy is to get exemption from NEET. Continuous efforts are being made in this regard,’ he told reporters.

FEBRUARY

1 – Minister for School Education Sengottaiyan informed that 12 districts in Tamilnadu will get mobile libraries which will cover two schools a day.

2 – The vice-chancellor of Bharathiar University in Coimbatore, A Ganapathi, was arrested after he was caught taking bribe for regularising the service of an assistant professor on probation. The arrest was made by officials from the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption after the assistant professor approached them.

19 – The School Education Department announced that 318 government schools in the State will be equipped with wi-fi facilities soon. It signed an MoU with ACT Fibernet, a private Internet service provider, at the Secretariat.

MARCH

1 – The Tamilnadu government said a 24-hour helpline has been set up for the first time in the country to provide information on education and offer guidance to students. Chief Minister K Palaniswami formally launched the toll-free number 14417 through the 24-hour Education Guidance Centre set up at the Secretariat to provide information relating to school education and guide students.

20 – Nine Tamilnadu education institutes among 60 were given UGC special autonomy status.

22 to 24 – Suryanarayana Shastri was appointed V-C of Tamilnadu Dr Ambedkar Law University (TNALU). Principal Opposition DMK and the CPM demanded revocation of the appointment as, they said, it had violated rules. DMK then working president M K Stalin noted that V-C selection must have been made from the list of three shortlisted candidates submitted by the search committee. He said Suryanarayana Shastri, while employed with the same university, had faced disciplinary action when the DMK was in power.

28 – The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) declared a re-examination of the class X Mathematics paper as the question paper had been compromised. Thousands of class XII students from the city also will have to re-appear for the Economics paper. Students said they were demoralised over the fact that they had to prepare for the examinations once more and said they felt let down by the board.

APRIL

4 – The State government, which had been planning to complete the school education syllabus revamp in three years, would do the task in two years, Sengottaiyan informed.

15 – An assistant professor of a private arts college in Aruppukottai in Virudhunagar district, Nirmala Devi, was placed under suspension for allegedly luring four girls to get ‘certain things’ done. In return, the students were promised both academic progression and financial support. The suspension was followed by the filing of a complaint by the girls.

26 – Higher Education Department through a GO, made it mandatory for minority institutions to fill at least half of their seats with students belonging to the minority community or lose their minority status.

MAY

16 – A total of 91.1 per cent students passed class XII board examinations. Girls performed better than boys. The pass percentage of girls was 94.1 per cent and of boys, 87.7 per cent.

22 – The State recorded a pass percentage of 94.5 in the class X public examinations. Sengottaiyan said girls secured a pass percentage of 96.4, higher than that of boys, who secured 92.5 per cent.

30 – Higher Education Minister K P Anbalagan announced that the Tamilnadu government would impart skills in English to students studying in government arts and science colleges with the assistance of British Council. As many as 67,000 students in 91 government arts and science colleges would benefit during the fifth and sixth semesters.

JUNE

5 – MBBS-aspirant Prathiba committed suicide after failing to crack NEET. The girl, a resident of Peruvallur in Villupuram district, belonged to an oppressed community. She had scored 1,125 out of 1,200 marks in her class XII examination but secured 39 marks in NEET.

11 – In order to simplify the State higher secondary (HSc) syllabus, the School Education Department issued an order to abolish Tamil and English language paper – II. The order means that from the academic year 2018-19, students will write only six papers for HSc board examinations instead of eight.

20 – The State Higher Education Department earmarked Rs 62 crore to start 264 new courses in government arts and science colleges. The courses will be offered in 61 of the 91 government arts and science colleges and will begin in academic year 2018-19.

JULY

9 – Six universities which had applied to the Institute of Eminence (IoE) were left disappointed following the announcement of the Union HRD Ministry which granted the status to only two IITs and IISc Bengaluru among public institutions.

10 – The State government announced that 12 skill-based courses would be part of class XII syllabus from the next academic year.

14 – Sengottaiyan informed that 3,000 government schools in the State will have smart classrooms by September-end.

24 – In a major policy decision, the government scrapped weightage marks system for recruiting elementary and upper primary teachers in government schools. According to the GO issued by School Education Secretary Pradeep Yadav, TET-qualified candidates have to appear for the competitive exam to get an appointment in government schools.

AUGUST

14 – Social Welfare department along with the School Education Department started working to choose 2,000 anganwadis situated within middle schools, to convert them into LKG and UKG schools.

19 – Higher Education Department said college students across campuses in Tamilnadu will not be able to carry cellphones following a ban. A circular was issued by the Directorate of Collegiate Education, which directed all regional joint directors to forward the order to all government, government-aided and self-financing colleges.

27 – To provide NEET coaching to students, 412 centres were funded to be set up and 3,200 teachers were to be roped in from the first week of September by the State government.

SEPTEMBER

1 – The Department of School Education started to establish modern labs in 500 schools, Sengottaiyan said, and added that the department would establish Atal Tinkering Labs in schools to kindle the scientific spirit among students and improve their understanding of concepts.

15 – The Tamilnadu government withdrew its proposal to provide a consolidated mark sheet for classes XI and XII. Two mark sheets, each for 600 marks, will be issued separately.

25 – The Madras High Court directed the School Education Department authorities to not assign homework to students of classes 1 and 2.

OCTOBER

2 – Eighteen educational institutions from the State, including five from Chennai, were among top 100 Swachh Campus Rankings for higher educational institutions conducted by the Central government.

3 – Presidency Higher Secondary School (for girls) in Egmore becomes the first government school in Tamilnadu to get smart classroom facility designed by a Japanese firm.

15 – With nearly 800 students, the Government Higher Secondary School in Porur became the first school in the State to issue smart identity cards to monitor the entry and exit of students.

NOVEMBER

12 – The Madras High Court, comprising justices M Sathyanarayanan and P Rajamanickam, impleaded the Directorate of State Council for Education Research and Training, Chennai, to implement spoken English classes in government schools.

14 – School Education Minister passed a circular that students from government schools in the State would be selected and taken on study trips abroad in December.

DECEMBER

2 – Sengottaiyan made a controversial comment in response to why girl students had been banned from wearing rings, anklets & flowers. He said these things have been banned because they can distract boys.

13 – The Madras High Court bench asked the Tamilnadu Higher and School Education departments to file the true list of faculty members transferred through the online counselling process.

15 – The School Education Department said it will consider reducing the lessons for higher secondary classes as students and teachers feel the syllabus is vast and difficult to cover within the stipulated time.

Santhosh Mathevan