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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 30 July 2020


NOTE: Please remember that following ‘answers’ are NOT ‘model answers’. They are NOT synopsis too if we go by definition of the term. What we are providing is content that both meets demand of the question and at the same time gives you extra points in the form of background information.


General Studies – 1


 

Topic: Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.

1. Language is the lifeline of a civilization, it denotes the identity, culture and traditions of the people. It plays an important role in preserving music, dance, customs, festivals, traditional knowledge and heritage. In the backdrop of the statement analyse the linguistic diversity and richness in the country. (250 words)

Reference: pib.gov.in

Why this question:

The question is about the significance of linguistic diversity that India has and the richness of it.

Key demand of the question:

One must discuss in detail the linguistic diversity of India.

Directive:

analyze – When asked to analyse, you have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Begin with brief write up on what you understand by linguistic diversity in Indian context.

Body:

Explain that in India, there are more than 200 languages, being spoken by different groups. There exists ‘linguistic pluralism’ in India, which is a state of ‘mutual existence’ of several languages in a contiguous space.

Discuss the factors responsible for diversity in the languages.

Explain the relevance of official languages.

Conclusion:

Conclude with need to preserve such rich heritage of the country.

Introduction:

India is one of unique countries in the world that has the legacy of diversity of languages. The Vice President of India recently inaugurated an online webinar on “Knowledge Creation: Mother Tongue” organized by the Department of Telugu, University of Hyderabad and the Telugu Academy. While observing that language was the lifeline of a civilization, he said it denotes the identity, culture and traditions of the people. It plays an important role in preserving music, dance, customs, festivals, traditional knowledge and heritage. He also stressed the need for giving a special thrust to the respective official language by every State Government.

Body:

Languages are more than a medium of expressing ourselves. They carry cultural and historical accomplishments of a society with them. This is the reason that during colonial rule, rulers tried to impose their language on common folk.

Cultural diversity is the element which creates a strong sense of belonging among people in various parts of the country. Linguistic diversity adds new shades of cultural richness in our social life and any attempt to destroy it will destroy that beauty of this part of the land.

Linguistic diversity in India:

  • The rich demographic mixture of India can be gauged from the fact that it has 28 states and 9 union territories.
  • Each State has its own commonly spoken language, and the spoken dialect of the language can change every hundred kilometers.
  • Multilingualism is the way of life in India as people in different parts of the country speak more than one language from their birth and learns additional languages during their life time.
  • According to the Census of India (2011), there are 121 languages spoken across India.
  • Out of these, 22 are scheduled languages, which can be given official status by respective states or be used to conduct administrative work or used in the state legislature; the remaining 99 languages have the status of non-scheduled languages.
  • The two official languages of India (federal government) are Hindi and English, while the states have the authority to designate their own official language.
  • Though officially there are 122 languages, Peoples Linguistic Survey of India has identified 780 languages, of which 50 are extinct in past five decades.
  • The twenty-two languages that are recognised by the Constitution are: Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kashmiri, Kannada, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu are included in the Eighth Schedule of the constitution.
  • 14 of these scheduled languages have more than 10 million speakers each. To put this figure into perspective, the population of some countries, e.g. Norway is much less than 10 million.
  • There are around 528 million Hindi speakers, while there are 3 million speakers of Odiya and 1.4 million speakers of Bodo.
  • Tamil (declared in 2004), Sanskrit (2005), Kannada (2008), Telugu (2008), Malayalam (2013), and Odia (2014) have been recognised as classical languages with special status and recognition by Government of India.
  • The classical languages have written and oral history of more than 1000 years. In comparison to these, English is very young as it has the history of only 300 years.
  • Rabindranath Tagore once said “If God had so wished, he could have made all the Indians speak one language, the unity of India has been and shall always be a unity in diversity.”
  • There are many more languages that are spoken in India, and astonishingly all these languages further have numerous dialects.

Challenges faced by the linguistic diversity:

  • Acquaintance with different languages and dialects enriches the power of expression of an individual or society. Every language has its own qualities. For example, if the softness of Urdu captivates the soul of an individual, Rajasthani generates a different kind of charm.
  • When attempts are made to make a language dominate over other languages, it will adversely affect the creativity in vernacular languages and disappoint the common folk.
  • In a country where people happen to be very sensitive and sentimental towards the use of their language, any attempt to play with the dignity of any dialect or regional language could compel the authorities to walk on hot bricks.
  • Imposition of any language over this linguistic heritage will definitely destroy our cultural and historical melodies.
  • This is also noteworthy that the UN has already expressed its concern over the vanishing of several local scripts and languages.
  • We are lucky enough to have most of our regional languages and dialects intact enough, but any attempt to damage them will ruin our cultural riches.

Way forward:

  • Government should be sensitive towards the people’s aspirations. Any attempt of forceful imposition of any one language on masses should be refrained.
  • Our society, multicultural by default, can be made multilingual by design if the right interventions, at State and non-State levels, are taken.
  • In the post-independence era Central Institute of Indian Languages (CIIL), based in Mysore was assigned to carry out an in-depth survey of languages.
  • The language policy of India has been pluralistic, giving priority to the use of mother tongue in administration, education and other fields of mass communication. The Language Bureau of Ministry of Human Resource Development is set up to implement and monitor the language policy.
  • Advanced technologies like Artificial Intelligence should be used to preserve and protect the languages under threat of extinction.
  • Programme like Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat is a step in the right direction to promote unity in diversity.

Conclusion:

There is probably no other country in the world that is as linguistically diverse as India. An astounding, 19,500 languages or dialects are spoken as mother tongues. Thus, it is quite clear from the above facts that the language diversity and richness of the country is much beyond just the recognised official languages and is the true identity of the diverse Indian culture. In recent years the language diversity is under threat as speakers of diverse languages are becoming rare and major languages are adopted after abandoning the mother tongues. The problem needs to be addressed at societal level, in which the communities have to take part in conservation of language diversity that is part of cultural wealth.

 

Topic: Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues.

2. Gender-based violence is a barrier to women’s empowerment and gender equality, and a constraint on individual and societal development, with high economic costs. Critically analyse the role men must play in addressing the problem of sexual violence against women. (250 words)

Reference: Live Mint 

Why this question:

The recent incident of woman veterinarian, who was raped and killed on November 27 has again raised the debate of death penalty for the rapists and women’s safety is once again in the news and back in the public consciousness.

Key demand of the question:

Directive:

Critically analyze – When asked to analyse, you have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, one needs to look at the good and bad of the topic and give a fair judgment.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly talk about the alarming figures of violence against women and the new modes of protest on social media platforms.

Body:

Explain what is violence against women

The Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women issued by the UN General Assembly in 1993, defines violence against women as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.”

Explain how there has been a huge hue and cry about more stringent laws, death penalty for rapists.

Discuss the associated concerns of poor implementation of law, lack of sensitivity and awareness to the female gender, strong patriarchy etc. still prevalent in the society.

Suggest other measures of sensitizing the male members, how community i.e. We the people—men as much as women—need to feel equally responsible.

Conclusion:

Conclude with what should be the way ahead.

Introduction:

Gender- based violence against women is among the most egregious and commonly experienced abuses of women’s rights. Intimate partner violence, female genital mutilation, early and forced marriage and violence as a weapon of war, sexual and gender-based violence, are a major public health concern across the world, a barrier to women’s empowerment and gender equality, and a constraint on individual and societal development, with high economic costs.

Body:

The National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4) suggests that 30 percent women in India in the age group of 15-49 have experienced physical violence since the age of 15. The report further reveals that 6 percent women in the same age group have experienced sexual violence at least once in their lifetime. About 31 percent of married women have experienced physical, sexual or emotional violence by their spouses.

Gender violence – a barrier to women empowerment:

  • Women who experience violence are more at risk of unwanted pregnancies, maternal and infant mortality, and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.
  • Such violence can cause direct and long-term physical and mental health consequences.
  • Exposure to violence has been linked with a multitude of adverse health outcomes, including acute injuries, chronic pain, gastrointestinal illness, gynaecological problems, depression, and substance abuse.
  • Mental health consequences include increasing women’s risk of depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and substance abuse
  • In many societies, women who are raped or sexually abused are stigmatised and isolated, which impacts not only their well-being, but also their social participation, opportunities and quality of life.
  • Women who experience violence from their partners are less likely to earn a living and are less able to care for their children or participate meaningfully in community activities or social interaction that might help end the abuse.
  • Women exposed to partner violence have higher work absenteeism, lower productivity, and lower earnings than working women who are not beaten.
  • Women in formal wage work who are exposed to severe partner abuse (both lifetime and current) have 60 per-cent lower earnings.

Causes of violence against women:

 Gender roles and relations

  • Men’s agreement with sexist, patriarchal, and sexually hostile attitudes
  • Violence-supportive social norms regarding gender and sexuality
  • Male-dominated power relations in relationships and families
  • Sexist and violence-supportive contexts and cultures
  • Social norms and practices related to violence
  • Lack of domestic violence resources
  • Violence in the community
  • Childhood experience of intimate partner violence (especially among boys)
  • Access to resources and systems of support
  • Low socioeconomic status, poverty, and unemployment
  • Lack of social connections and social capital
  • Personality characteristics
  • Alcohol and substance abuse
  • Separation and other situational factors

Role men for problem of sexual violence against women:

  • Promoting gender equality is a critical part of violence prevention.
    • The relationship between gender and violence is complex. Evidence suggests, however, that gender inequalities increase the risk of violence by men against women and inhibit the ability of those affected to seek protection. There are many forms of violence against women; this briefing focuses on violence by intimate partners, the most common form. Though further research is needed, evidence shows that school, community and media interventions can promote gender equality and prevent violence against women by challenging stereotypes that give men power over women.
  • School initiatives are well placed to prevent violence against women.
    • School-based programmes can address gender norms and attitudes before they become deeply ingrained in children and youth. Such initiatives address gender norms, dating violence and sexual abuse among teenagers and young adults. Positive results have been reported for the Safe Dates programme in the United States of America and the Youth Relationship Project in Canada.
  • Community interventions can empower women and engage with men.
    • Community interventions can address gender norms and attitudes through, for example, the combination of microfinance schemes for women and methods that empower men as partners against gender-based violence. The strongest evidence is for the IMAGE microfinance and gender equity initiative in South Africa and the Stepping Stones programme in Africa and Asia. Community programmes with male peer groups show promise in changing attitudes towards traditional gender norms and violent behaviour, but they require more rigorous evaluations. Well-trained facilitators and community ownership appear to boost the effectiveness of these interventions.
  • Media interventions can alter gender norms and promote women’s rights.
    • Public awareness campaigns and other interventions delivered via television, radio, newspapers and other mass media can be effective for altering attitudes towards gender norms. The most successful are those that seek to understand their target audience and engage with its members to develop content. We do not yet know, however, whether they actually reduce violence.
  • Programmes must engage males and females.
    • There is some evidence that microfinance schemes that empower women (without engaging with men) may actually cause friction and conflict between partners, especially in societies with rigid gender roles. Further research is needed to explore how such possible negative effects might be overcome.

Way forward: 

  • Addressing the deeply entrenched patriarchal attitudes of the police, lawyer and other judicial officers that continues to contribute to low reporting and conviction rates.
  • Bridging the gap between GBV laws and its correlated areas such as legal rights to property, land, inheritance, employment and income that allows a woman to walk out of an abusive relationship and specific emphasis on political and economic participation of women.
  • Systematic intervention for multisectoral linkages between Health sector (medical and psychosocial support), Social Welfare sector (Shelters, counselling and economic support/skill), Legal (legal aid)
  • Not just engage with “men and boys” as change agents but also acknowledge the expectations linked to masculinity, their position as victim of violence especially for young boys to address the perpetuation of cycle of GBV.
  • Recognize sexual and reproductive health and rights by promotion and protection of women’s right to have control and decide freely over matters related to their sexuality, including sexual and reproductive health, family-planning choices and access to comprehensive sexuality education.
  • Reclaiming the spaces for women to increase their presence in visibility through political and economic participation and diversifying their engagement in non-traditional sectors.
  • Use of technology and emerging concepts such as Smart City in urban policy for ensuring safer and gender friendly infrastructures and spaces that prevents GBV.

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

3. The National Education Policy lays particular emphasis on the development of the creative potential of each individual, in all its richness and complexity. Discuss the key highlights of the policy and how does this policy overcome the lacunae in previous education policies. (250 words)

Reference: pib.gov.inLive Mint 

Why this question:

The Union Cabinet chaired approved the National Education Policy 2020 recently, making way for large scale, transformational reforms in both school and higher education sectors. Built on the foundational pillars of Access, Equity, Quality, Affordability and Accountability, this policy is  aligned to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and aims to transform India into a vibrant knowledge society and global knowledge superpower by making both school and college education more holistic, flexible, multidisciplinary, suited to 21st century needs and aimed at bringing out the unique capabilities of each student.

Key demand of the question:

One must explain the key highlights of NEP, 2020. Later, one must also assess as to how the NEP is different from the previous education policies of 1986.

Directive:

Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Talk about the introduction of NEP 2020 and how it was much needed one since there has been a lot of changes in knowledge landscape since last education policy 34 years ago.

Body:

Highlight the features of NEP 2020.

Discuss how the new NEP is trying to overcome the lacunae in the previous policies.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a balanced way forward.

Introduction:

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister recently approved the new National Education Policy 2020, making way for large scale, transformational reforms in both school and higher education sectors. This is the first education policy of the 21st century and replaces the 34-year-old National Policy on Education (NPE), 1986.  Built on the foundational pillars of Access, Equity, Quality, Affordability and Accountability, this policy is aligned to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and aims to transform India into a vibrant knowledge society and global knowledge superpower by making both school and college education more holistic, flexible, multidisciplinary, suited to 21st century needs and aimed at bringing out the unique capabilities of each student. A panel headed by former ISRO chief K. Kasturirangan submitted a draft in December 2018, which was made public and opened for feedback after the Lok Sabha election in May 2019.

Body:

Key highlights of the NEP 2020 are:

new_edu

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School Education

  • Ensuring Universal Access at all levels of school education:
    • NEP 2020 emphasizes on ensuring universal access to school education at all levels- pre-school to secondary.
    • About 2 crores out of school children will be brought back into main stream under NEP 2020.
  • Early Childhood Care & Education with new Curricular and Pedagogical Structure:
    • With emphasis on Early Childhood Care and Education, the 10+2 structure of school curricula is to be replaced by a 5+3+3+4 curricular structure corresponding to ages 3-8, 8-11, 11-14, and 14-18 years respectively.
    • This will bring the hitherto uncovered age group of 3-6 years under school curriculum, which has been recognized globally as the crucial stage for development of mental faculties of a child.
    • The new system will have 12 years of schooling with three years of Anganwadi/ pre schooling.
  • Attaining Foundational Literacy and Numeracy:
    • Recognizing Foundational Literacy and Numeracy as an urgent and necessary prerequisite to learning, NEP 2020 calls for setting up of a National Mission on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy by MHRD.
  • Reforms in school curricula and pedagogy:
    • The school curricula and pedagogy will aim for holistic development of learners by equipping them with the key 21st century skills, reduction in curricular content to enhance essential learning and critical thinking and greater focus on experiential learning.
    • Students will have increased flexibility and choice of subjects.
    • There will be no rigid separations between arts and sciences, between curricular and extra-curricular activities, between vocational and academic streams.
    • Vocational education will start in schools from the 6th grade, and will include internships.
  • Multilingualism and the power of language:
    • The policy has emphasized mother tongue/local language/regional language as the medium of instruction at least till Grade 5, but preferably till Grade 8 and beyond.
    • Sanskrit to be offered at all levels of school and higher education as an option for students, including in the three-language formula.
    • Other classical languages and literatures of India also to be available as options.
    • No language will be imposed on any student.
  • Equitable and Inclusive Education:
    • NEP 2020 aims to ensure that no child loses any opportunity to learn and excel because of the circumstances of birth or background.
    • Special emphasis will be given on Socially and Economically Disadvantaged Groups(SEDGs) which include gender, socio-cultural, and geographical identities and disabilities.
  • Robust Teacher Recruitment and Career Path:
    • Teachers will be recruited through robust, transparent processes.
    • Promotions will be merit-based, with a mechanism for multi-source periodic performance appraisals and available progression paths to become educational administrators or teacher educators.
    • A common National Professional Standards for Teachers (NPST) will be developed by the National Council for Teacher Education by 2022, in consultation with NCERT, SCERTs, teachers and expert organizations from across levels and regions.
  • School Governance:
    • Schools can be organized into complexes or clusters which will be the basic unit of governance and ensure availability of all resources including infrastructure, academic libraries and a strong professional teacher community.
  • Standard-setting and Accreditation for School Education:
    • NEP 2020 envisages clear, separate systems for policy making, regulation, operations and academic matters.
    • States/UTs will set up independent State School Standards Authority (SSSA).
    • Transparent public self-disclosure of all the basic regulatory information, as laid down by the SSSA, will be used extensively for public oversight and accountability.
    • The SCERT will develop a School Quality Assessment and Accreditation Framework (SQAAF) through consultations with all stakeholders.

Higher Education

  • Increase GER to 50 % by 2035:
    • NEP 2020 aims to increase the Gross Enrolment Ratio in higher education including vocational education from 26.3% (2018) to 50% by 2035. 3.5 Crore new seats will be added to Higher education institutions.
  • Holistic Multidisciplinary Education:
    • The policy envisages broad based, multi-disciplinary, holistic Under Graduate education with flexible curricula, creative combinations of subjects, integration of vocational education and multiple entry and exit points with appropriate certification.
    • UG education can be of 3 or 4 years with multiple exit options and appropriate certification within this period.
    • For example, Certificate after 1 year, Advanced Diploma after 2 years, Bachelor’s Degree after 3 years and Bachelor’s with Research after 4 years.
  • Regulation:
    • Higher Education Commission of India(HECI) will be set up as a single overarching umbrella body the for entire higher education, excluding medical and legal education.
    • HECI to have four independent verticals – National Higher Education Regulatory Council (NHERC) for regulation, General Education Council (GEC) for standard setting, Higher Education Grants Council (HEGC) for funding, and National Accreditation Council (NAC) for accreditation.
    • HECI will function through faceless intervention through technology, & will have powers to penalise HEIs not conforming to norms and standards.
    • Public and private higher education institutions will be governed by the same set of norms for regulation, accreditation and academic standards.
  • Rationalised Institutional Architecture:
    • Higher education institutions will be transformed into large, well resourced, vibrant multidisciplinary institutions providing high quality teaching, research, and community engagement.
    • The definition of university will allow a spectrum of institutions that range from Research-intensive Universities to Teaching-intensive Universities and Autonomous degree-granting Colleges.

Other Provisions:

  • Motivated, Energized, and Capable Faculty:
    • NEP makes recommendations for motivating, energizing, and building capacity of faculty through clearly defined, independent, transparent recruitment, freedom to design curricula/pedagogy, incentivising excellence, movement into institutional leadership.
    • Faculty not delivering on basic norms will be held accountable
  • Teacher Education:
    • A new and comprehensive National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education, NCFTE 2021, will be formulated by the NCTE in consultation with NCERT.
    • By 2030, the minimum degree qualification for teaching will be a 4-year integrated B.Ed. degree.
    • Stringent action will be taken against substandard stand-alone Teacher Education Institutions (TEIs).
  • Mentoring Mission:
    • A National Mission for Mentoring will be established, with a large pool of outstanding senior/retired faculty – including those with the ability to teach in Indian languages – who would be willing to provide short and long-term mentoring/professional support to university/college teachers.
  • Financial support for students:
    • Efforts will be made to incentivize the merit of students belonging to SC, ST, OBC, and other SEDGs.
    • The National Scholarship Portal will be expanded to support, foster, and track the progress of students receiving scholarships.
    • Private HEIs will be encouraged to offer larger numbers of free ships and scholarships to their students.
  • Professional Education:
    • All professional education will be an integral part of the higher education system.
    • Stand-alone technical universities, health science universities, legal and agricultural universities etc will aim to become multi-disciplinary institutions.
  • Adult Education:
    • Policy aims to achieve 100% youth and adult literacy.
  • Financing Education:
    • The Centre and the States will work together to increase the public investment in Education sector to reach 6% of GDP at the earliest.
  • Open and Distance Learning:
    • This will be expanded to play a significant role in increasing GER.
    • Measures such as online courses and digital repositories, funding for research, improved student services, credit-based recognition of MOOCs, etc., will be taken to ensure it is at par with the highest quality in-class programmes.

NEP 2020 vis-à-vis the older Education policies:

  • The implementation of previous policies on education has focused mainly on issues of access and equity, with a lesser emphasis on quality of education.
  • The unfinished agenda of the National Policy on Education 1986, Modified in 1992 (NPE 1986/92), is appropriately dealt with in this Policy.
  • A major development since the last Policy of 1986/92 has been the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009 which laid down the legal underpinnings for achieving universal elementary education.

Way Forward:

  • The New Education Policy 2020 aims to facilitate an inclusive, participatory and holistic approach, which takes into consideration field experiences, empirical research, stakeholder feedback, as well as lessons learned from best practices.
  • It is a progressive shift towards a more scientific approach to education.
  • The prescribed structure will help to cater the ability of the child – stages of cognitive development as well as social and physical awareness.
  • If implemented in its true vision, the new structure can bring India at par with the leading countries of the world.

 

Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

4. The National Education Policy 2020 has emphasized the integration of technology in all levels of learning. Providing the highlights of Digital education, critically analyse whether the digital divide would ensure ‘Equitable and universal access to education’. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu Times Now

Why this question:

The National Education Policy (NEP), approved by the Cabinet yesterday, has a new section on digital education to ensure “equitable use of technology”.

Key demand of the question:

One must explain the new features under the Digital education of NEP, 2020. One has to critically analyse whether equitable and universal access to education will be ensured with the digital education. Discuss the challenges and provide the solutions for the same.

Directive:

Critically Analyse – When asked to analyse, you have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, one needs to look at the good and bad of the topic and give a fair judgement.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Talk about the introduction of NEP 2020 and inclusion of digital education section in it. Highlight its importance in the current times of pandemic.

While education will play a critical role in this transformation, technology itself will play an important role in the improvement of educational processes and outcomes; thus, the relationship between technology and education (at all levels) is bi-directional.

Body:

Highlight the features of digital education section under NEP 2020.

Discuss the challenges present in ensuring equitable and universal access to education using digital means.

Provide solutions to overcome the same.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a balanced way forward to ensure that digital education is used to reach greater number of people and make India emerge as a knowledge economy.

Introduction:

The closure of schools and universities over the last four months has highlighted the inequities in the Indian education system, with some students able to continue the learning process via online tools, while others being left out. The National Education Policy (NEP), approved by the Cabinet on Wednesday, has a new section on digital education to ensure “equitable use of technology”.

Body:

India is a global technology leader in information and communication and in other cutting-edge domains such as space. The Digital India Campaign is helping to transform the entire nation into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy.  While education will play a critical role in this transformation, technology itself will play an important role in the improvement of educational processes and outcomes; thus, the relationship between technology and education (at all levels) is bi-directional.

Highlights of Digital education under the NEP 2020:

  • New technologies involving artificial intelligence, machine learning, block chains, smart boards, handheld computing devices, adaptive computer testing for student development, and other forms of educational software and hardware will not just change what students learn in the classroom but how they learn.
  • An autonomous body, the National Educational Alliance for Technology (NEAT), will be created to provide a platform for use of technology to enhance learning, assessment, planning, administration, and so on, both for school and higher education.
  • The aim of NEAT will be to provide on a single portal various educational technology solution that are tested for their robustness for improving the learning experience, with a special focus on the needs of the students with disabilities.
  • To remain relevant in the fast-changing field of educational technology, NEAT, through its expert body, will maintain a regular inflow of authentic data from multiple sources including educational technology innovators and practitioners, particularly at the grass-root level, and will engage with a diverse set of researchers to analyse this data.
  • It will act as a forum for harnessing the distributed energy that democratising technology can unleash, particularly among the youth of the country who continually prove their capacity to innovate and lead, while also bringing a scholarly emphasis to ensure that the overall impact of these efforts is positive.
  • To support the development of a vibrant body of knowledge and practice, NEAT will organise multiple regional and national conferences, workshops, etc. to solicit inputs from national and international educational technology researchers, entrepreneurs, and practitioners.
  • The National Research Foundation will initiate or expand research efforts in the technology, including fundamental research in the domain, development   of   the   technology (including   possible   mega-projects), and   assessment of its socio-economic impact.
  • Particular attention will need to be paid to emerging disruptive technologies that will necessarily transform the education system and what it teaches to students.

Challenges:

  • India is far behind some developing countries where digital education is getting increased attention.
  • In countries where e-learning is popular, students have access to various online resources such as Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) which help students, teachers and professionals upgrade their skills.
  • The major challenge in EDTech reforms at the national level is the seamless integration of technology in the present Indian education system, which is the most diverse and largest in the world with more than 15 lakh schools and 50,000 higher education institutions.
  • Further, it is also important to establish quality assurance mechanisms and quality benchmark for online learning developed and offered by India HEIs as well as e-learning platforms (growing rapidly).
  • Many e-learning players offer multiple courses on the same subjects with different levels of certifications, methodology and assessment parameters. So, the quality of courses may differ across different e-learning platforms.
  • Democratization of technology is now an important issue, comprising internet connectivity, telecom infrastructure, affordability of online system, availability of laptop/desktop, software, educational tools, online assessment tools, etc.
  • Since our education system has not trained our teachers and students to think creatively and manage in a crisis situation, and has underplayed the importance of e-learning, they are unprepared for the transition from the classroom to online.
  • Parents feels too pressed, having to support their children’s classes while working from home themselves.
  • The physical classroom does not only impart the syllabus. Children are also socialised, and there is an element of sport and play which is absent in virtual learning.
  • The matrix for socialisation is not replicated on an LCD screen.
  • Poor are disconnected and irrespective of background, some children cannot relate to the online classroom, and many more are losing out on midday meals.

Measures needed:

  • There should be ease of digital access and the ability of parents to support learning at home.
  • Online classes offered as live teaching can be sustained only with a mix of activities, worksheets and interactive sessions.
  • Teachers should have a structured plan which does not suffocate or burden them and also keep the students involved.
  • All institutions will have to chalk out an infrastructure plan which can be used in such a crisis.
  • Teachers need to be considerate about how children feel or what they are going through these days so an understanding should be developed.

Going forward, the use of technology in teaching or recruitment will lead to a new era wherein the best of faculty will be available from across the globe to students.  Education quality will be gauged not just by the quality of faculty but will also have quality of IT infrastructure and familiarization of the faculty will digital teaching technologies as important parameters.

Conclusion:

To summarize, education must continue. Students should keep learning. The lockdown period should be productive. Educators should think creatively and introduce innovative ways of learning. In a country where access to the Internet and high-speed connectivity is a problem, and the digital divide is an issue, it is important to address the challenges. Those who are involved in education planning and administration should give a serious thought to reducing the digital divide in the country and popularize digital learning.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

Topic: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

5. Offshore wind generation offers several benefits over onshore wind energy generation but there are many challenges involved. Discuss. (250 words).

Reference: Down to Earth 

Why this question

Offshore wind energy generation estimated to increase between 650 and 3,500 terawatt hours every year by 2050.The central government has recently revealed its aim to build 30 GW of offshore wind energy. Offshore wind energy offers several benefits over onshore wind energy. But there are also several challenges involved in exploitation of such energy.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to describe the benefits of offshore wind energy generation in general and also vis a vis onshore wind energy generation. It also wants us to enlist and describe the challenges involved in harnessing offshore wind energy in India.

Directive word

Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– Mention that India has a long coastline, high economic growth rate, high energy demand, increasing pollution which necessitates exploitation of all economically feasible renewable energy generation methods.

Body-

Discuss in points the benefits of offshore wind energy generation over onshore wind energy generation. E.g more area available, lesser turbulence, less visual impact, more consistent and stronger winds, closeness to load centres, lower gestation period etc.

Discuss in points the challenges involved. E.g lack of bathymetric data and wind resource maps, high initial costs, need for policy and regulatory support in the form of a dedicated mission on the lines of JNNSM etc.

Conclusion-

Bring out a fair, concise and a balanced opinion on the overall scope of onshore wind energy generation in India.

Introduction:

Offshore wind power or offshore wind energy is the use of wind farms constructed in bodies of water, usually in the ocean on the continental shelf, to harvest wind energy to generate electricity. Wind turbines harness the energy of moving air to generate electricity. Onshore wind refers to turbines located on land, while offshore turbines are located out at sea or in freshwater. Offshore wind energy generation estimated to increase between 650 and 3,500 terawatt hours every year by 2050.

Body:

The key findings of a report by World Resources Institute are as follows:

  • Offshore wind energy generation cannot just reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, but also increase return on investment (RoI) made to scale up these technologies
  • It pointed out a reduction of 0.3-1.61 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide every year by 2050 if offshore wind energy generation is scaled up.
  • Every $1 invested in increasing production capacities can generate a $2-17 benefit on RoI.
  • An increase in offshore wind energy generation — between 650 and 3,500 terawatt hours (TWh) every year by 2050 — was also estimated to take place.
  • This estimate is a significant jump from the 77 TWh per year in 2018, according to the report. The total global capacity of wind energy was 564 GW in 2018, while offshore wind energy accounted for 23 GW.
  • Most offshore installations are currently in Europe, but a significant increase was expected in Asia, especially in China.

Benefits:

  • Offshore wind turbines are being used by a number of countries to harness the energy of strong, consistent winds that are found over the oceans.
  • Offshore winds tend to blow harder and more uniformly than on land.
  • Wind speeds of only a few miles per hour can produce a significantly larger amount of electricity.
  • Offshore wind speeds tend to be faster than on land.
  • Offshore wind speeds tend to be steadier than on land. A steadier supply of wind means a more reliable source of energy.
  • Many coastal areas have very high energy needs. Building offshore wind farms in these areas can help to meet those energy needs from nearby sources.
  • Offshore wind farms have many of the same advantages as land-based wind farms.
    • They provide renewable energy
    • They do not consume water
    • They provide a domestic energy source
    • They create jobs
    • They do not emit environmental pollutants or greenhouse gases.
  • These support larger wind turbines and so generate higher amounts of power. Given their location, these facilities face minimal space constraints and physical obstructions to wind flow

Limitations:

  • Cost:
    • The capital cost of such projects is very high as compared to onshore wind power projects. Not much has been done in the offshore wind field in India as the capital cost of such projects is very high and the necessary supply chain is also not established.
    • Offshore wind farms can be expensive and difficult to build and maintain.
    • The production and installation of power cables under the seafloor to transmit electricity back to land can be very expensive.
  • Data:
    • The data required for the calculation of o- shore wind potential and identification of suitable sites is not available.
  • Bathymetric Data:
    • This data gives the information about the sea depth at various positions. At present there is no such data available for the Indian sub-continent and no such data was available from any other source.
  • Transmission losses:
    • Wave action, and even very high winds, particularly during heavy storms or hurricanes, can damage wind turbines.
  • Effects of offshore wind farms on marine animals and birds are not fully understood.
  • Local protests:
    • Offshore wind farms built within view of the coastline may be unpopular among local residents, and may affect tourism and property values.
  • Another major constraint is grid. As there is no clarity on how to make transmission lines available.
  • Short gestation period:
    • A mega size and ultra-mega size thermal or hydro power project may have a gestation period of 3-6 years whereas as an offshore wind project has a gestation period of 1-2 years, depending upon depth and distance from shore.
  • Issues with manufacturing or procuring equipment:
    • Offshore wind farms typically have larger turbines of around 6 MW capacity (as against the average of 2.5 MW machines used onshore) and longer windmill blades.
    • But most firms in India don’t yet make such high-capacity machines, so components will have to be imported.
    • The factories’ configuration has to be changed. In terms of logistics, putting larger blades on Indian roads is next to impossible. That’s the reason wind blades on average are smaller in India than in China as the roads are smaller here. This might dampen investor interest

Steps taken by Indian government to harness offshore wind energy:

  • In 2013, national institute of wind energy set up a 100-metre mast in the Rameshwaram town (TN) to measure wind speeds in the region. The NIWE has been studying the data and says the results obtained from the measurement campaign are promising and encouraging.”
  • In 2015, the country released its first National Offshore Wind Energy Policy, which involves wind energy mapping of the country to identify high-potential locations to be offered to firms for development through a bidding process.
  • More recently, in 2018, government said it was exploring options to set up a government owned offshore wind farm near the Pamban island off the Tamil Nadu coast. The idea is to have four or five windmills with a capacity to generate 6 MW of power each.
  • Meanwhile, one of India’s largest windmill manufacturers, Suzlon, has set up its own offshore met station off the coast of Gujarat to collect wind data and study the region’s potential
  • The government-owned research and development agency, National Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE), has sought expressions of interest from wind power companies to set up an offshore wind farm with a capacity of around 1,000 megawatts (MW) in the Gulf of Khambat, off the coast of Gujarat
  • Development of offshore wind is a timely progression for India. The resource offers much higher PLFs that position it closer to base load generation, and now with larger sized turbines it is much more viable.

Conclusion:

The government’s plan will put India in the same league as other countries investing in offshore wind energy. Globally, there’s around 14,300 MW of installed offshore wind energy capacity, 88% of it in European waters and the rest in China, Japan, South Korea, and the US. If India is able to achieve the 5,000 MW target it will be one of the first markets to do so on a large scale. The need of the hour is a clean and sustainable energy source and offshore wind power can play a significant role. In India offshore wind power still remains untapped and given the power deficit in the country this huge potential needs to be tapped.

 

Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation.

6. Lakes are important part of urban ecosystem. The depleting lake resources lead to not only disturbed hydrology but also loss of local ecology. In this light, discuss the significance of community-based lake management and rejuvenation. (250 words).

Reference: Down to Earth 

Why this question?

Local bodies and activists are leading by example and working to save the dying the lakes in urban and non-protected areas.

Key demand of the question:

One must first discuss the importance of lakes and wetlands for urban ecosystem. Then analyse the impact of deterioration of lakes and their effect on the ecology and hydrology. Now talk about how the community based conservation efforts have led to the rejuvenation of the lakes.

Directive Word:

Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start off with the importance of the lakes and wetlands in the urban ecosystem.

Body:

Discuss the challenges faced in safeguarding the lake ecosystem?

  • Encroachment and increasing stress on the lake boundaries
  • Dumping of the solid waste, sewerage etc.
  • Industrial and residential effluents from the cities that discharge into the lake
  • spread of the invasive alligator weed is slowly destroying the beneficial vegetation growing in the lake
  • Increasing siltation etc.

How can this be overcome?

Discuss the importance of community based conservation efforts.

Conclusion:

Based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.

Introduction:

Lakes are important part of urban ecosystem. Though relatively small in size, lakes perform significant environmental, social and economic functions, ranging from being a source of drinking water, recharging groundwater, acting as sponges to control flooding, supporting biodiversity and providing livelihoods. Water in lakes is an easily available source of water for the needs of many sectors of economy such as agriculture, domestic and industrial. These waterbodies, whether man-made or natural, fresh water or brackish play a very vital role in maintaining environmental sustainability particularly in urban environments especially in today’s context when the cities are facing the challenges of unplanned rapid urbanization.

Body:

Challenges to the Urban lake ecosystem:

  • According to a study, nearly 80% of surface water in India—rivers, lakes, canals, etc—to be highly polluted.
  • Lakes or wetlands near urban centres are under increasing developmental pressure for residential, industrial and commercial facilities.
  • At present, in India, lakes and wetlands are in extremely bad shape and are in varying degrees of environmental degradation. Despite knowing their environmental, social and economic significance, city planners have willfully neglected and destroyed these water bodies.
  • There is growing concern about the effect of industrial pollution on drinking water supplies and the biological diversity of lakes. For e.g.: Industrial and residential effluents from the cities that discharge into the Wular lake has deteriorated.
  • water bodies are encroached, full of sewage and garbage. Because of unplanned urbanization, much of the landscape around the lakes has been covered by impervious surfaces.
  • As a result, instead of rainwater, it is the sewage and effluents that are filling up urban waterbodies. Once the sponges of urban area, today urban lakes have turned into hazards that get choked even with low rainfall and overflow into the blocked canals during high rainfall causing floods in the city.
  • It is the disappearance of these sponges of the city that has exacerbated floods and sharpened the pain of droughts.
  • Indian lakes are threatened by invasive alien species – exotic introduced plant species such as water hyacinth and salvinia. They clog waterways and compete with native vegetation. E.g.: Invasive alligator weed is slowly destroying the beneficial vegetation growing in the lake
  • Today urban lakes have turned into hazards that get choked even with low rainfall and overflow into the blocked canals during high rainfall causing floods in the city.
  • Misuse of these water bodies by local communities for their cultural or religious festivals such the immersion of idols.
  • Unplanned tourism activities without systematic planning and regulation is another major threat to urban water bodies.
  • Dal Lake in Srinagar, Tso Morari and Pongsho Lakes in Ladakh where the unplanned and unregulated tourism has posed long-term negative impacts.
  • Entry of nutrients through raw sewage has become the part of lake system and cause various destructive changes in the waterbody such as growth of aquatic weeds in lakes and ponds.

Significance of community-based lake management and rejuvenation:

  • Multi-stakeholder collaboration that involves all participants, from communities, to government, to NGOs, and promotes coordination among them.
  • Local bodies and activists in Bengaluru, Pune are coming together to deal with lake pollution, de-silting, encroachment.
  • The revival of Jakkur lake, with integrated wetlands ecosystem in Bangalore, is another example of community effort.
  • Conflict management mechanisms support processes to manage natural resource conflicts among stakeholders.
  • Participatory action research collaborative fact-finding and analysis generates a mutually agreed upon perspective for action.
  • Strong local organizations, such as forest-farmer groups and inter-village networks are built from the bottom-up.
  • Livelihood improvement and environmental services work to sustain environmental conservation by linking it to farm and community enterprises.
  • Provide opportunities for reinvestment by linking upland environmental services to lowland and urban communities.
  • Policy support and law enforcement are essential to curbing illegal encroachment leading to ecosystem degradation.
  • Collaborative management plans – build shared responsibilities and decision-making among all stakeholders through joint management plans of natural resources. This leads to healthy communities and ecosystems.
  • Participatory monitoring and evaluation – promote learning, trust and accountability through monitoring of the natural resource base and application of the management plan.
  • Citizens’ participation is as important as that of locals. Meetings with residents on awareness and restricting the visiting hours help maintain the ecosystem.
  • Another example witnessed in community and government participation is that of the Loktak Pat lake in Manipur, where the Ithai barrage and hydro-electric power projects did more harm to the lake than the promised benefit.
  • Gender and social justice in access to, and control of, natural resources is the ultimate measure of the sustainability of community-based natural resource management efforts.

Way forward:

  • The green tribunal incentivised the states to act against polluters in a “polluter pays” model.
  • Hefty fines, for lax state and local governments as well as private sector polluters, will go a long way in ensuring action against pollution.
  • The ecosystem services provided by a waterbody must be valued in terms of quantification of its benefits.
  • Without making the citizens aware of the importance and benefits of lakes and wetlands in their lives, it is extremely difficult to implement laws effectively.
  • Stakeholder participation and capacity building must be used as an important instrument for better management of urban waterbodies.

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic: Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics in private and public relationships. Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators; role of family, society and educational institutions in inculcating values;

7. “A good education policy is Data-informed but values-driven.” Analyse the statement in light of new national education policy. (250 words)

Reference: Times Now

Why this question:

The question is statement based and is about analyzing the importance of values in education policy which drives the education system of a nation.

Key demand of the question:

Explain in detail the significance of value education. One must also talk about the values that are driven by the national education policy.

Directive:

Analyze – When asked to analyze, you have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Define value education in brief.

Body:

Explain the significance of value education.

Discuss the various values that drive the new national education policy and its importance.

Conclusion:

Conclude by reasserting significance of the value education using quotes of great leaders.

Introduction:

Value-education is a many sided endeavour and in an activity during which young people are assisted by adults or older people in schools, family homes, clubs and religious and other organisations, to make explicit those underlying their own attitudes, to assess the effectiveness of these values for their own and others long term well-being and to reflect on and acquire other values which are more effective for long term well-being.

Body:

According to C. V. Good —” Value-education is the aggregate of all the process by means of which a person develops abilities, attitudes and other forms of behaviour of the positive values in the society in which he lives.”

The New National Policy on Education, 2020 has very strongly recommended the need for value-education. The principle values on which the NEP is based are:

  • The foundational pillars of this Policy are access, equity, quality, affordability and accountability.
  • It believes that the purpose of education is to develop good human beings capable of rational thought and action, possessing compassion and empathy, courage and resilience, scientific temper and creative imagination, with sound ethical moorings and values.
  • It aims at producing engaged, productive, and contributing citizens for building an equitable, inclusive, and plural society as envisaged by our Constitution.
  • Creativity and critical thinking to encourage logical decision-making and innovation.
  • Ethics and human & Constitutional values like empathy, respect for others, cleanliness, etiquette, courtesy, democratic spirit, spirit of service, scientific temper, liberty, responsibility, pluralism, equality and justice
  • Life skills namely the cooperation, teamwork, communication, resilience.
  • Teachers and faculty as the heart of the learning process – their rigorous recruitment and preparation, continuous professional development, positive working environments and service conditions must be assured.
  • A ‘light but tight’ oversight and regulatory system to ensure integrity and transparency of the educational system through audit and public disclosure while simultaneously encouraging innovation and out-of-the-box ideas through autonomy, good governance and empowerment.
  • Outstanding research as a prerequisite for outstanding education and development.
  • It is based on the premise that Education is a public service and not a commercial activity or a source of profit.
  • Access to quality education must be considered a fundamental right of every citizen.
  • Substantial investment in a strong, vibrant public education system – as well as the encouragement and facilitation of true philanthropic private participation.

Conclusion:

Value-education influences all aspects of a person’s growth and development. Thus, value- education consequently, is an integral part of education which cannot be separated from the educational process. Value-education has to be placed, therefore, at the centre of the educational endeavour. This National Education Policy aims at building a global best education system rooted in Indian ethos, and aligned with the principles enunciated above, thereby transforming India into a global knowledge superpower.


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