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India leads in number of students opting for science, tech degrees

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Students engineering tech college

United Nations, May 16: India leads the world in the number of students getting bachelors degrees in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects, according to the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

Of about 5 million students who received their bachelor’s degrees in 2012 in STEM subjects worldwide, 29.2 per cent were from India, UNCTAD’s Technology and Innovation Report 2018 released on Tuesday said.

China came next with 26 per cent of the STEM graduates. The EU accounted for 9.5 per cent of STEM graduates that year and the US for 6 per cent, the report said.

The report used statistics from 2012 and said the total number of bachelors-equivalent degrees awarded that year was 20 million.

The wide gulf in the numbers of students graduating in STEM explains why the US relies on such a large number of foreigners, especially Indians, to fill its technology workforce needs.

“Many countries are witnessing skills shortages in the fields of digital technologies and many employers report difficulties in filling high-skill vacancies,” UNCTAD said, citing a 2016 worldwide survey by ManpowerGroup on talent shortage that found that 40 per cent of employers reported difficulties in filling positions.

According to India’s University Grants Commission, 10.7 million students were studying science, engineering/technology or computer science in 2016-17, although it did not give a breakdown between undergraduate and postgraduate levels or by year of study.

They made up 36 per cent of those studying in universities and colleges, UGC statistics showed.

Looking to the future, UNCTAD cautioned that “there were indications that educational institutions were not keeping pace with technological advances during the current transition period”.

It urged educational institutions to “react with agility” to the rapid pace of technology and the labour market changes and said this may require “significant transformations” in the education and training systems.

With the widespread use of artificial intelligence and robots looming on the horizon, the report said that “rapid technological progress required the labour force to develop a broader range of skills, focusing on humans’ comparative advantage, to increase employability”.

UNCTAD called for broadbasing education and said: “In the new technological landscape, there is a need for generic, core or fundamental skills such as literacy, numeracy and academic skills, together with basic financial and entrepreneurial skills and increasingly, basic digital and even coding skills.”

IANS

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BJP leader shot dead in Mandsaur

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BJP leader and Mandsaur Municipal Corporation President, Prahlad Bandhwar, was shot dead in Nai Abaadi, Mandsaur on Thursday. Police has launched a search operation for the miscreants.

SL Borsi, SHO Kotwali police station, said, “We have got a name, police is searching for him. A police team has gone for the same. They had a land dispute.”

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Army commander visits forward positions in Poonch

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Jammu, Jan 17 : Amid heightened tension on the Line of Control (LoC), the Northern Army Commander on Thursday visited forward positions in Poonch district.

Defence spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Devender Anand said, “Lt General Ranbir Singh, Army Commander, Northern Command, accompanied by the White Knight Corps Commander, Lt general Paramjit Singh visited forward posts of Poonch Sector to review the operational preparedness and the prevailing security situation.

“During the visit to the sector, the Army Commander was briefed by the commanders on the ground about the current operational situation, prevailing security dynamics and the preparedness of the formations in dealing with the same.

“The Army Commander was also briefed on the actions being taken to ensure a robust counter-infiltration and counter-terrorist grid to enable continued peace and stability in the region.

“The Army Commander interacted with the soldiers and complimented them for their unwavering dedication to duty.

Tension has been prevailing along the LoC in Poonch and Rajouri districts due to frequent ceasefire violations by Pakistan.

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JNU sedition row BJP creation, says ex-ABVP member

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JNU Protest

New Delhi, Jan 17 : A former ABVP member has said the chargesheet filed against the 10 JNU students, including Kanhaiya Kumar and Umar Khalid, is the brainchild of BJP and claimed that some ABVP members had themselves raised “Pakistan Zindabad” slogan on the JNU campus in 2016 which led to the slapping of sedition charges.

Pradeep Narwal, who left the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) after the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) sedition row in 2016, told IANS that the entire issue is politically-motivated and has been raised to benefit the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the upcoming general election.

The entire controversy was fomented by the ABVP in 2016 to divert the attention from the University of Hyderabad student Rohith Vemula’s suicide.

“This was a media trial, then, and this is a media trial, now. The controversy was created by the BJP to dilute the suicide of Rohith Vemula, who was forced to end his life by Bandaru Dattatreya (then Labour Minister from Telangana), who escalated the matter to the HRD Ministry, while the matter should have been dealt with at the Vice Chancellor level,” Narwal said.

He also suggested that certain members of the ABVP and its sympathisers were also seen among the students in the video grab which captured “Pakistan Zindabad” slogan — the slogan purported to be the heart of the sedition charge in the chargesheet — being raised.

“Hence, either the video is doctored, as I have been saying all along, or the chargesheet should also be filed against those ABVP members,” he said, adding that he was frequently threatened and abused by the ABVP members for days after his leaving the group.

Vemula committed suicide three years back on this day in his room on the University of Hyderabad campus.

In his suicide note, he had narrated how he was being victimised for coming from a low caste and how casteism was rife in the university. His death sent thousands of university students across India into agitation, who waged several protests against the “institutional discrimination” at places of higher education.

Narwal, who joined the Congress six months back, said the chargesheet has been filed to create a “narrative” before the general election on the basis of “doctored videos”.

“If due process is not followed in this case, it would be the biggest fraud on democracy,” he said.

The Delhi Police on Monday filed a chargesheet naming Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid, Anirban Bhattacharya and seven Kashmiri students, mentioning that anti-national slogans were raised by them at an event held at Sabarmati Dhaba on the JNU campus in February 2016.

The police have cited video footage made by ABVP members, among others, as evidence.

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