|Startups jump to top of placements queue at IITs|
MUMBAI, Dec 05: Life can come full circle in just a year. Advitiya Sharma sat uncomfortably in his dark suit as he pitched himself to top companies at IIT-Bombay last year. This week, Sharma was back on campus, in informal tees—as befits an engineer-turned-entrepreneur—picking up students from the Class of 2014.
The co-founder of Housing.com, a campus-born company, seemed at home sharing space at the IITs with global tech biggies like Google and Oracle—them with their bulge-bracket salary offers and promises of overseas postings—on the opening day of campus placements. The house-hunting portal snared 45 IIT graduates during top slots at campuses in Delhi, Mumbai, Kharagpur and Guwahati.
The mating season spreads across five months at engineering colleges; they have traditionally been fertile ground for startups in search of fresh talent and energy. This year though, a new pecking order appears to have emerged. Several recently incubated ventures have jumped to the head of the queue and are powering the opening days of campus placement.
"Never have so many startups made it to the first few slots. Not only are they paying a lot more, they are also popular among students because they have interesting profiles," said Avijit Chatterjee, placement head at IIT-Bombay. "A lot of them are students who have graduated from here and they know exactly what they are looking for." Companies are paying northwards of Rs 12-18 lakh (gross), and many are offering stock options, said placement team member.
Apart from Housing, IIT-B has given pride of placement to online restaurant discovery guide Zomato, online retailers Flipkart and Myntra, job site Naukri and Gulf Talent (for a posting in Dubai), classifieds website Quickr, and multi-screen gaming platform Snapstick. In the coming days, cab companies Ola and Meru, algorithmic trading firm iRagecapital, flight ticket booking site ibibo and customised software developer Skiify Solutions are in line to come.
Over the past couple of years, with the success of tech-based startups like Flipkart, Inmobi and Snapdeal, there is a sea-change in the way students at the prestigious IITs are evaluating offers from this new universe of employers. While most startups said it's still difficult for non-funded ventures to attract talent from the IITs, the dynamics change dramatically once they've got money in the machine.
Bhavish Agarwal, 27, co-founder & CEO of Ola and an IIT-Bombay alumnus, said his two-year-old company will hire as many as 20 IIT students this year compared to five in 2012. "We'll be at IIT-Bombay on Thursday and look for students who are not necessarily the best academically but have the raw talent to take risks. Ola plans to offer an annual package of Rs 10-12 lakh this year. "The profiles we look for are not typically the ones a big consulting firm would pick," he added.
Zomato hired students from IIT-Delhi and IIT-Bombay in the first two days of placement season this year at an annual remuneration of Rs 26 lakh. Founder & CEO Deepinder Goyal said his five-year-old venture went for pre-placement talks with students this year to understand what they were looking for while evaluating offers. "We had to give competitive salaries because by Days 5 and 6 the best talent is gone. That's how campus hiring works," he said. Zomato raised $37 million from Sequoia Capital and existing investor Infoedge valuing the Delhi-based startup at over $150 million (Rs 900 crore).
One of the older startups Snapdeal hired 40 students from across IITs last year and its co-founder Kunal Bahl, a Wharton grad, said the e-commerce firm is looking to pick another 50 students this year. "For us the fit with the cultural and business needs are more important than the number we hire. The idea is to keep building a pipeline of future leaders who will bring new thoughts and abilities," Bhal said.
|UGC regulations for approval of colleges offering tech education|
NEW DELHI, Dec 05: UGC has come out with draft regulations for approval of colleges offering technical education in wake of a Supreme Court ruling earlier this year.
The apex court had ruled that colleges affiliated to a university do not come under the purview of the definition of "technical institution" as defined in AICTE Act, 1987.
Hence, it has become imperative for the universities and UGC to evolve a suitable methodology to ensure that existing technical or engineering colleges affiliated to universities do not dilute standards of technical education imparted by them.
Under the draft regulations, every university shall maintain a list of unapproved colleges offering programmes in technical education based on the information received and verified by the university and shall also inform the UGC and general public about the same from time to time.
Besides, any college offering technical education and which has already started without following approval procedure shall be treated as unapproved college.
Colleges imparting courses in technical education in temporary location or at location not approved by the university shall be liable for action.
In case of such a withdrawal of approval to the college, operations of the said college and course shall not be started again before completion of two academic years from the date of such a withdrawal.
Source:The Times of India
|IBM hires 68 students of Patna Women's College|
PATNA, Dec 05: Altogether 68 students of Patna Women's College (PWC) were selected for IBM, Gurgaon, at a placement drive conducted on the college campus on Wednesday. A two-member HR team of the company conducted group discussion, telephonic interview and a written test of nearly 265 3rd year students on December 3 and 4. Earlier, Wipro BPO, Kolkota, had also given expression of interest letters to 30 students of the college. The placement drives were organized by faculty members Debjani Sarkar Ghosh and Sahar Rahman.
Poster-making contest at PWC: At a poster-making contest organized on the PWC campus on HIV/AIDS, Shaym Priya, Pooja and Madhulika bagged the first, second and third prizes. Addressing the students at a guest lecture on 'Role of Capital Market', National Stock Exchange NSE) of India manager Anir Ban Kundu on Wednesday said approximately 50 million skilled personnel would be required in India by 2020 and NSE was assigned with the task of identifying potential educational institutions for conducting special courses. "An agreement to this effect has also been signed with PWC for conducting one such course," Kundu said.
Campus selection: Eleven students of BCA and BBA of Dr Zakir Hussain Institute were selected by ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and Mostech Software Private Limited, at a campus placement drive on the college campus. The students selected are Ajit Prasad, Vikash Kumar, Deepak Kumar Dubey, Ram Prakash Singh, Abhimanyu Kumar, Surendra Singh, Vicky Kumar, Mohammad Shakib Zia, Guddu Kumar, Deepak Kumar Jha and Amit Kumar.
AISA protests student's death: The members of All India Students' Association (AISA) on Wednesday protested the death of a student on Tilka Manjhi Bhagalpur University campus after a police jeep hit him. The AISA members demanded suspension of Bhagalpur DM and SP over the issue and a compensation of Rs50 lakh to the next kin of the deceased.
Prarambhika: Young students of Prarambhika are all set to put up a colourful cultural programme to mark their annual function 'Concord 2013' to be held on December 7. The theme of the function is 'Celebrating works of literature'. Some of the programmes staged on the occasion would be Rajasthani dance, Salsa, The Pied Piper of Hamlin etc.
Source:The Times of India
|Schools in Maharashtra to follow uniform admission process|
PUNE, Dec 05: The admission process to pre-primary and primary section in schools of all education boards across the state has been put on hold, with the state issuing a notification asking them to follow a common admission schedule that will be released by month-end. The notification states that the admission process can start only two months before schools reopen for the new academic year.
The state directorate of primary education issued a notification recently stating that the common admission schedule will be released by December end. The notification was issued in view of several schools starting the admission process from October, and in some cases even September.
State director of education, Mahavir Mane said, "Until now, schools had been given the liberty to conduct their own admission procedures for seats other than 25 % reserved for economically weaker sections of the society as per the Right to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act. However, it has been a practice for several years that school start the procedure way ahead of the academic year. The new admission schedule will bring about uniformity in the admission procedure."
The directorate of education issued a notice on November 22 to education officers across the state directing them to stop any ongoing admissions in schools or even distribution of application forms. The common schedule applies for admissions to all pre-primary and primary schools, but not standalone kindergartens. "We have directed the officers to ensure that the procedure is stayed with immediate effect. The common admission schedule will be released and schools will have to follow it," Mane said.
Explaining the reason for the new rule, Mane said, "When the academic year begins in June, there is no reason why admissions should start in September or October. Seeking application forms and allotting admissions does not take more than 45 days and hence it can begin two months before the new session starts."
Earlier, the state education department has announced that admissions under RTE will be conducted online and in a centralised manner two months before new academic year begins.
Source:The Times of India
|Pune University clueless about UGC's draft norms for tech institutes|
PUNE, Dec 05: On the eve of the University of Pune's (UoP) crucial academic council meeting, the university management was clueless about the University Grants Commission's (UGC) latest move seeking suggestions and comments from the universities and colleges on its draft regulations related to technical and professional education.
"The university has yet to receive any communication from the UGC regarding the draft regulations," UoP vice-chancellor Wasudeo N Gade told TOI. "As a university, we do follow the UGC regulations subject to approval by the state," he said. When pointed out that the UGC has already posted the document on its website, he said, "The draft is not a part of the agenda for Thursday's academic council meeting."
Gade, however, pointed out that the state is known to normally approve the regulations that are released by the UGC.
The draft regulations, released by the UGC on Tuesday, hold significance in the wake of the Supreme Court's April 25 judgment that ruled that colleges affiliated to a university do not come under the purview of the definition of 'technical institution' as defined under Section 2(h) of the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) Act, 1987.
The apex court ruling has effectively taken away the AICTE's powers to regulate technical institutions which are affiliated to the universities and has mandated the UGC to come out with a fresh set of regulations on technical and professional education.
Upamany Basu, UGC secretary, posted the draft document called the 'UGC (Approval of Colleges Offering Technical Education by Universities) Regulation, 2013', with a plea that suggestions and comments on the same should reach the office of the UGC joint secretary K P Singh by December 9 either by post or through e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The university's academic council is a key multi-member body that takes decisions on all matters related to academics including introduction of new courses, grant of affiliation, extension of autonomy etc. Usually, the council meets only once every six months.
Meanwhile, Gade dismissed speculation doing rounds on the university campus that the UoP management has done little to further its announcement of introducing a special academic programme for external students. "The issue will be definitely discussed at tomorrow's academic council meeting and a report will also be tabled at the meeting," he insisted.
Source:The Times of India
On November 13, the UoP management council had rolled back its new postgraduate (PG) external enrolment policy in favour of the old system of allowing access to regular as well as external graduates to the PG external courses.
Gade then announced that a special academic programme for external students will be introduced with effect from 2013-14 and a proposal related to the programme will be put up for academic council's nod on December 5. Among other things, the programme is to feature online and offline study components; a dedicated web portal; teacher-student contact hours and training modules designed by subject experts.
|Madurai Kamaraj University students up ante after dismissal of three research scholars|
MADURAI, Dec 05: About 150 students of the Madurai Kamaraj University on Wednesday began an indefinite strike protesting the dismissal of three research scholars from the varsity on various charges. The protesting students have sought the authorities to immediately revoke the dismissal orders and readmit the three students.
On Tuesday night, the MKU syndicate dismissed two more research scholars on charges of damaging the institution's reputation by taking part in protests against the management, while a differently-abled post doctoral student, who was pursuing her research in biotechnology was earlier on that day was dismissed stating that she cannot continue her studies as per UGC norms.
In the case of P J Eswari Pandaranayaka, the differently abled post-doctoral student was dismissed citing that she cannot continue her research in the same university where she did her doctoral research as per the UGC guidelines, according to university vice-chancellor, Kalyani Mathivanan. The other two - Pandiarajan, UGC senior research fellow and J Arun, UGC-BSR junior research fellow were dismissed for allegedly damaging the university's reputation by taking part in protests and also based on the recommendations by their respective guides, Kalyani Mathivanan had said.
However, the dismissed students said on Wednesday that they were not provided the opportunity to express themselves. Shocked by the sudden turn of events, the other students began the protest and said they would continue it until the university revokes its action against the three fellows.
The students also termed the university decision as hasty and taken purely out of vengeance. Since the university authorities were not ready to pay heed to their demands they had petitioned the district collector about their grievance. They had also sent a communication to the chancellor explaining their plight which had irked the university authorities, the students added.
According to the vice-chancellor, the students were found to be not showing interest in their research activities and instead they were actively involved in organised protests. The university research committee conducted an investigation and submitted a report based on which the syndicate took the decision, she said.
However, the research fellows denied the allegations. Pandiarajan said, "While a report submitted by my guide on my performance six months back showed I am doing good, how come the new report suddenly providing a negative one. I suspect foul play in the issue."
"Our dismissal was just the outcome of vengeance. The authorities did not like any peaceful protest inside the campus. Our representation to the chancellor and district collector has irked them which resulted in this situation," Arun said.
Meanwhile, the Madurai Kamaraj University Faculty Association communicated its support to the protest.
Source:The Times of India
|India plans IT institute at university in Cairo, Salman Khurshid says|
NEW DELHI, Dec 05: India on Wednesday discussed the situation in Syria and West Asia with Egypt's foreign minister Nabil Fahmy who has chosen India as the destination of his first visit to Asia. The government said that he had broad ranging discussions with his counterpart Salman Khurshid.
The focus of the two-hour-long deliberations was to sustain the momentum in India-Egypt bilateral relations and to expand the interactions to wider areas of regional and international issues of interest, said government officials.
Khurshid informed his Egyptian counterpart of India's approval to establishing a Centre of Excellence in Information Technology at the Al Azhar University in Cairo. The Centre which will be set up as project under the India-Africa Forum Summit is planned for completion in a year after the confirmation of infrastructure by the host institution. Once completed, it will train 500 students annually.
The Egyptian foreign minister also outlined the developments in Egypt and the roadmap ahead.
The two ministers also discussed various specific issues related to enhancing economic cooperation including the need to ease work permit regulations for professionals. Currently, bilateral trade between India and Egypt stands at $5.4 billion. India is the third largest destination of Egyptian exports ($2.6 billion) and Egypt is the 11th largest destination of Indian exports ($2.9 billion).
The Egyptian foreign minister also called on the Vice-President Hamid Ansari and met the national security adviser (NSA) Shivshankar Menon.
Surce:The Times of India
|Karnataka grants funds for innovative ideas|
BANGALORE, Dec 05: The Karnataka government has created a fund of Rs 20 crore to provide grants of $30,000 (Rs 18 lakh) each to innovative ideas.
The first of these grants has been made to biotech researcher and entrepreneur Ezhil Subbian, whose startup string is working to make plastics biodegradable.
The state government's initiative is in collaboration with three universities in California and TiE (The Indus Entrepreneurs) Silicon Valley chapter, and is part of the San Francisco-Bangalore Sister City Initiative.
Kumar Malavalli, one of the richest Indians in the US and who is closely associated with the initiative, said the California organizations would vet the ideas and recommend to the Karnataka government those they think should be given the grant.
Malavalli, who grew up in Mysore and Bangalore, was in the city as part of a large delegation from San Francisco that included its Mayor. He co-founded Brocade Communications in1995. Its IPO in 1999 was the largest of the time.
Malavalli said the funded startup would have the obligation to establish operations in Karnataka. "The funding will be at the idea stage, and we expect the entrepreneurs to use the funds to validate the idea and come up with a business plan. The idea has to be disruptive, scalable and sustainable, and must seek to solve real-life problems," he said.
The three California universities — Berkeley, Santa Cruz and San Francisco — will vet biotech proposals, and TiE Silicon Valley will vet all other ideas. TiE SV will also offer space free of cost in California for these startups to operate out of for some time.
"TiE SV has just created a venture fund of $20 million called LaunchPad. Those who receive the Karnataka grant can later apply to this fund. But this fund will also serve those who are not part of the Karnataka initiative," Malavalli said.
Source:The Times of India
|University bungles engineering papers, sends corrections via SMS|
MUMBAI, Dec 05: Engineering students are at their wits' end with the university's question papers, which are riddled with errors. What has rattled them more is that the corrections are being communicated via SMS. Even then, the rectification process is time-consuming, mostly 30 minutes but at times two hours, with only an hour to go before submission time. While test centre heads, mainly principals, who receive the corrections on their cellphones, are surprised at the sheer number of errors, students complain that the university does not compensate for the time lost over incorrect questions.
On Wednesday, centre heads received six text messages for semester III students, who were writing their exams in the afternoon slot. There were two corrections each in the chemical, mechanical, and electronics & telecommunications engineering papers.
A principal said the SMS system is not foolproof. The centre heads convey the corrections to the senior supervisor of each classroom. "Though the supervisors announce the clarifications diligently, there are chances of yet more errors creeping in if, say, more than five corrections come in," said the principal.
Every day, the university makes at least 10 corrections across question papers for all branches. While some errors are spelling mistakes, at least 50% of the corrections are factual and other errors that render questions invalid, a principal said. Semester-end exams started from November 21 for repeaters and November 22 for regular candidates and are being held in morning and afternoon slots.
First-year students, for whom these are their first university exams, panicked after six corrections for about 20 marks were made in a single paper on Tuesday. The rectification process for them is chaotic because of the sheer number of test centre blocks accommodating their large numbers. At least 30 minutes are spent in notifying all the blocks about the corrections. "In our applied mathematics paper, I and some of my friends wasted a lot of time attempting questions with errors. But we were not given extra time," said a first-year engineering student.
While errors in question papers are a common occurrence during university exams, principals say it is for the first time that they are seeing such a large number of mistakes. "There are more mistakes in the mathematics paper, which uses signs and symbols that may not necessarily be understood by the person who types the paper from the manuscript. Using the test-setter's handwritten manuscript is an age-old practice of the university to avoid malpractice or the involvement of a third party," said a principal. Nevertheless, malpractice does occur. Last year, the basic electrical and electronics engineering paper leaked from the college of a paper setter in Karjat.
Source:The Times of India
Exam controller Padma Deshmukh said about the current mess, "Most errors were minor and were corrected within 30 minutes of the start of an exam. The paper setting panel comprises teachers, one of whom is always present during the exam."