” Future of Students Lies With Electronic Learning ” – November 30, 2020.

COVID-19 caused Lockdown ; Precautionary awareness tasks implemented ; Therapeutics and Vaccine research and discovery were speeded up ; Lockdowns were relaxed in steps ; Many public places and activity centres that remained closed for months are opening up their doors now – Educational Institutions, however, remain closed still.

On-line classes and courses offer a viable alternative even if they cannot be a real substitute for practical experience. ” A welcome move “, laud many Education Administrators. Some, however, report its Inadequacies vis-a-vis traditional teaching and learning practices.

The case of Sakshi Sharma, a student preparing for the Medical Entrance Exams in Chandigarh ( months before ) is worth recollecting. She was initially shocked and disheartened when the preparatory classes she attended announced its closure due to COVID-19 restrictions. Disheartening experience soon turned into a cheerful experience when on-line classes were made available, inspiring a new confidence in her. She completed the exams in September (NEET) and secured admission too.

The entrance exams for undergraduate MBBS and Dental courses were announced for May 3, first. COVID-19 Impact caused it to be postponed to July 26. Again, a change in the date ensued and finally it was held on September 13.

COVID-19 lockdown started on March 24 first. Since June 8, the Government announced and implemented relaxations in the lockdown schedule. This is when the on-line classes started getting a boost with more and more students enrolling. Education experts and Administrators hold that the trend will continue even after full control of COVID-19. Same has been the case with Competitive examinations and regular semester/final examinations in colleges. Examinations for some semester courses, however, were held with stringent public health measures in practice. But the fact remains that college students constituted a major group that suffered resulting in mental pain and unhappiness – says Dr Kapil Gupta, a private on-line course Chief Administrator. Specially for those students training for JEE and NEET it was not just a boon but a boon-companion too.

Experience of on-line classes have become very popular within a short period. Reduced expenses ; Comfortable learning at periods of individual choice ; and the increasing confidence among students are being portrayed as reasons behind the success of on-line learning and courses. Significant to note is the fact that the student securing the first rank with 720 marks in NEET exam this year is one who has been trained on-line.

About 550 students have secured admissions in Government Medical Colleges this year from an on-line training school in Janakpuri, New Delhi, according to Dr Anil, the Chief Administrator. Apart from the reduction in training time, the courses serve as harbinger to prepare oneself for the future learning process in today’s technological world. It has also driven the competitive spirit among institutions organising on-line courses even as they change their training activities and schedules to suit the new environment.

Beyond all of the above and carving a special niche in the income probabilities and contribution to our economy (in specially the sector of Education), the role of on-line courses/learning is becoming more than significant each year. At $ 187.8 billion in 2019 it is headed towards a whopping $ 319.2 billion by 2025. North America affords an excellent market for this specially. There are increasing opportunities in the Asian market too, specially in China, India, Malaysia, and South Korea.

What was ₹ 38 billion in 2018 in India is expected to grow to ₹ 360.3 billion by 2024 is the estimation provided now.

The exceptional aspect of On-line learning is that it is reaching a level that nobody can take away from anyone in future. But, does it reveal its potential to relegate the traditional teaching and learning methods and pushing it to be the relic of a different age altogether ? Not yet. It also needs to be ensured that the underprivileged are not left behind in society.

” Dieu avec nous”

Monday, November 30, 2020 – 11.51 a.m. (IST)

Tidbit :

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” Academy Awards 2021 – Indian Pride Surfaces Again ” – November 29, 2020.

Three days ago, the Malayalam Film, “Jallikattu” had been selected as the official entry in the Best International Feature Film category for the 93rd Academy Awards 2021. The film is an action thriller featuring Antony Verghese, Chemban Vinod Jose, Sabuman Abdusand and Santhy Balachandran.

The 93rd Academy Awards (Oscar) honouring the best films released between January 2020 and February 2021 will be held at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, on April 25, 2021. Originally scheduled for February 28, 2021, the ceremony is now postponed by 2 months due to the impact of COVID-19 Pandemic.

Since 1957, Indian Films have been making entries in the Best International Film, Oscar category. Uptil now, only 3 Films – “Mother India, 1957 “, ” Salaam Bombay, 1988 “, and “Lagaan, 2001 ” – have reached the final stage of Top 5 in this category. This statistics may be known to all. But, a deeper analysis of the statistics reveal some interesting facts.

1. About 52 Indian films have been sent for the Oscar awards since 1957. Of these, 33 are Hindi films ( “Hey Ram” and four other films come under two Indian categories of films – Hindi and one other language ).

2. Tamil Films come next ( after Hindi Films ) with 9 Films to have made their entries into the Oscar category. It is a matter of pride for the Tamil film makers that it had a greater representation than many other Indian feature filmmakers in Bengali, Marathi, Kannada, Telugu, and Malayalam. First Tamil Film to be selected for the Oscar category was “Deiva Magan”-1969 in which Chevalier Great, Sivaji Ganesan, had donned 3 roles. The last Tamil Film to be selected for the Oscar category was “Visaranai”- 2015, the film featuring Attakathi Dinesh and Anandhi in lead roles.

3. Since the year 2000 Tamil Film World has been witnessing newfangled and qualitatively different efforts in making films – “Alavanthan”, “Enthiran” are just two to cite. Notwithstanding these neoteric ventures, the only film that made its representation is the film “Visaranai”.

4. From 1987 to 2000, about 7 Tamil films have been selected for the Oscar category. It is significant to note that during this period, both Hindi and Tamil films have had almost equal representation – Hindi with 7, and Tamil with 6. In 1993 and 1994, two Hindi films made the category. In 1995 and 1996, two Tamil films gained entry. It was the Golden Period for the Tamil Film World as far as the Academy Awards entries go.

5. From 1985 to 2000, about 7 films made their entries in Oscar Category in which the highly acclaimed Tamil Actor, Kamal Haasan, acted. ( Saagar, Swathi Muthyam, Nayagan, Thevar Magan, Kuruthippunal, Indian, and Hey Ram ). No other Indian actor has garnered this distinction yet. ( Only Amir Khan, the Hindi film actor, had 4 films selected ). It was also the period when Kamal Haasan’s ambitions of securing an Oscar Award was deeply entrenched in his mind. That his famous feature films like, ” Mahanadi”, “Anbe Sivam”, “Guna”, failed to make the grade was a great disappointment, nevertheless.

6. Famous Tamil Film Director, Manirathnam, gained the distinction for his two films Nayagan and Anjali when selected as Oscar entries . Quite surprisingly, the great commercial Tamil Film Director, Shankar, had also two of his films selected – “Indian”, and “Jeans”.

7. Including “Jallikkattu”, only 3 Malayalam films have been successful in gaining entry into this Oscar category. “Jallikkattu” was released in October 2019 and was screened also at the Toronto Film Festival last year. The other two films to have made the cut earlier was “Guru” in 1997, and “Adaminte Makan Abu” in 2011. One Telugu movie, “Swathi Muthyam”, 1985/1986 , featuring Allu Arjun, Kamal Haasan, Somayajulu, Radhika Sarathkumar, and Sarath Babu, secured the Oscar entry earlier.

8. Surprising is also the fact that the Kannada Film Industry that STANDS FIRST in NATIONAL AWARDS has not been able to secure a single representation yet !

P.S. Speaking of Karnataka :

It is also a matter of deep pain and disappointment that the GREATEST KING of MODERN TIME, Mysore Maharaja, Nalavadi Krishnaraj Wodeyar, has not been recognised well.

” Mahatma Gandhi called him, RAJA RISHI ; Lord Sankey called Mysore the best administered state in the world ; Lord Samuel compared Mysore Maharaja to the great Ashoka ; Lord Paul Brunton called him, ‘Living expression of Ideal King as described in Plato’s Republic’ ; Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya called him Dharmic King ; People of Mysore keep his pictures in Puja room and pray him like a GOD.

Well, I don’t know the answer, unless someone explains.

“Dieu avec nous”

Sunday, November 29, 2020 – 9.29 a.m. (IST)

Tidbit : ” Netflix’s arsenal of content this year could give the streamer the most best picture nominations from any Studio in history held by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, which had 5 at the Academy Awards in 1937 “.

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” In Youth We Learn ” – November 24, 2020.

Life of every individual is measured in terms of the number of days lived. His/her actions in life are evaluated based on days lived. The pride and preciousness of time are like the respect and pride of our lives. Life and time never come back once lost.

The proverb, “Time is Golden”, is known to us all. ” Take the case of a person visiting a health clinic for diagnosis and treatment. If the doctor lets you cool your heels unduly, you find no option but to return home or make a complaint with the Hospital Administrator. You have one of two following courses of actions : 1. Let the hospital administrator change the doctor ; or 2. Let not your time be wasted and the situation turn offensive unnecessarily , and you withdraw “. This was the advice that the great American lawyer and Founder Chairman of IMG, Mark H McCormack gave.

In this world of intense competition, on the road to your success lies the great wall that can be scaled and conquered by ” reading” alone. Reading books that dwell at length the stories of great accomplishers can shape students’ competitive advantage in society. It will help dump one’s shortcomings and fill one’s strengths.

” Select your field of interest ; read books and writings on accomplished greats in that field ; concentrate on the obstacles and the means that helped cross them ; hold them as your steps to climb the ladder set to reach your goal.” – key to reading.

Books prepare you to understand events and actions that took place decades or centuries ago ; books prepare you to understand innovations and inventions that happened decades or centuries ago elsewhere in the world ; and books prepare you to understand what others witnessed and understood decades or centuries ago. This is what also separates us, human beings, from animals.

” We can live anyway ” – very succinctly sums up animal nature. ” We have to live like this only ” – succinctly sums up human nature. Taking the knowledge and experiences of our elders/ancestors and continuing our way of life from there on signifies the growth of human life. Books hold the vast knowledge and experiences of elders/ancestors.

” Books are the best friends which give themselves in entirety to you without any expectations or obligations ” – said Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Thousands and millions of pollens make a beehive. Thousands and millions of opinions and ideas make books. They are not just blank sheets.

Best books constitute best friends. Opinions and ideas going beyond times make friends with great attributes and characteristics. Finding good friends is a rarity. Even friends may act in dishonest ways to gain an advantage. Books will not.

” Books are my friends who stand with me daily without letting me fall or fail in life ” – says another poet.

” Reading maketh a full man ; confident and ready to act ” – says Francis Bacon. Yes, books teach us to gain great ability and strength to face the challenges of life. It only lies in selecting good books ; books that will nurture one’s imagination, and books that will plow your mind for benefits in life. History is full of evidences to prove this.

” Except for the nations that are barbaric (exceeding agreements, discipline, laws, control, and restraint) all others are ruled by books ” – says Bacon again.

Nalanda University burnt in flames for months after it was ransacked by Bakhtiyar Khilji in c. 1200 CE. ; and

the burning of Jaffna University Public Library (June 1981) are violent examples of ethnic biblioclasm revealing and exposing people with fear of Books.

Alexander and Babar stand as excellent examples of leaders who took great precautions in protecting the Libraries even in times of War. Akbar the Great, despite his weaknesses in reading and writing strove hard to assemble a library with a huge collection of books. He would have those books read to him by his stewards and frame policies and programs to become the greatest Mughal Emperor/Reformer.

” Karl Marx became the father of Communist Philosophy after reading and researching in London (libraries) for 20 years “.

India’s first PM, Jawaharlal Nehru, asked his people that after his death his body should be covered with books and not garlands.

When Tamil Nadu CM, CN Annadurai, during his hospital treatment for cancer in America was informed by the doctors that his operation was due immediately, he requested them to delay the operation until such time as he completes the ‘book’ he was reading.

India’s former President, Dr Radhakrishnan, was working in Russia as India’s Ambassador. He used to spend 12 hours reading each day. Joseph Stalin, the Russian ruler, was amazed that Dr Radhakrishnan can read so long each day. Dr Radhakrishnan earned Joseph Stalin’s deep and mutual respect from a ruler who never respected India in those times. The lesson here is reading habits can be a powerful tool for creating approval and acceptance even from staunch enemies.

It is only when children are young that special characteristics can be nurtured and developed well. It helps broaden their thought processes ; Intelligence/ingenuity ; memory enhancement ; and mental strength. Reading makes children/students translate their interests into a meaningful goal.

History records the lives of leaders who became great due to their keen involvement in reading.

” Dieu avec nous “

Tuesday, November 24, 2020 – 4.15 p.m. (IST)

Tidbit : ” Students/Children are not things to be molded, but are people to be unfolded “.

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” Deepavali 2020 is Unique in History ” – November 14, 2020.

Deepavali 2020 is Unique and Quite Unlike what has been for decades and more.

Deepavali 2020 brings with it the “Children’s Day 2020 “, “World Diabetes Day 2020 “ , and the first time a celebration of this nature with a “Mask”. It still remains a ‘Festival of Lights’, nevertheless.

” Ghar ka Chirag” or the light of the house is your sibling(s). As the light dispels the doubts, fears, and darkness in a room or a house, it dispels the clouds in one’s mind bringing cheers all the way. A festival that unites people through lamps.

This is also the day when the last Jain Tirthakar (spiritual teacher), Mahavira (599 BC – 527 BC) attained salvation, celebrated in Jainism ; the day when Emperor, Ashoka the Great, converted to Buddhism after the Kalinga War ; and the day when the Sixth Sikh Guru, Hargobind Singh, was released from the Gwalior Fort where he was imprisoned, the day celebrated in Amritsar, Golden Temple decorated with lights ( celebrated as Bandi Chhor Divas ). Again, a festival uniting people with lamps.

Jews Celebrate, “Hannukah” ; Muslims light lamps at Shab-i-Barat ; in the US and England people light Jack-o’-lantern at Halloween ; Japan and China have a feast of lanterns. So do citizens in Sri Lanka or Myanmar. A universal festival globally in today’s times with a universally impactful COVID-19 struggle.

Let me cite 10 facts that will mark this Deepavali 2020 from my Commonsense perspective here :

1. Deepavali 2020 is different because it makes even the demon Narakasura less frightful before COVID-19 fears, thus affording a new dimension and meaning to the word ‘demonic’.

2. Deepavali 2020 is different because it comes at a time when parents need to be more concerned about the mental well being of their children than their physical health or safety as never before – due to COVID-19 making children caged in a room within the house.

3. Deepavali 2020 is different in that it is the only time that I see (in my life) mothers becoming the most disciplined and stringent “teachers/lecturers” and fathers becoming the “headmasters/principals” ever in homes.

4. Deepavali 2020 is different because it deprives the children/students to be free confining them like butterflies within a glass house – thanks to COVID-19 fears.

5. Deepavali 2020 is different because it deprives the children/students of a unified celebration with friends, classmates, and companions.

6. Deepavali 2020 is diferent because children/students are compelled to imagine the world as a rectangular or a quadrilateral rhombus than an oval or circular Globe – remaining captive in homes.

7. Deepavali 2020 is different because it has reshaped children/students’ faith and belief in lessons, courses, and exams into mere remembrances.

8. Deepavali 2020 is different because it deprives children/students of their playful energy and desire to be pleasantly frolicsome together in the external world.

9. Deepavali 2020 is different because it deprives children/students of their usual classroom pranks and illuminating interactions making their homes classrooms and offices instead.

10. Deepavali 2020 is different because it makes the children/students less motivated ; less encouraged ; and less inspired in outdoor Celebrations with their usual mood and penchant for spirited entertainments subdued.

Amidst all the above, the sole silver lining is the revelation and interest that new vistas of learning have opened itself in a big way – I mean the ‘on-line learning’ .

If Deepavali 2020 makes the leaders and administrators shun their fears of COVID-19 and make steps immediately to reopen schools and colleges with stringent public health measures in practice, not later than January 1, 2021, the lives of all children and students – the future leaders of our society – will shine with the loss of 10 months ( research evidences that it had already taken the students back by 3 years) erased from our memories.

” Let the Festival of Lights 2020 make the Lights of everyone’s Confidence glitter.”

“Dieu avec nous”

Saturday, November 14, 2020 – 6.01 a.m. (IST)

Tidbit : ” Children’s Day in India is being celebrated from 1964 on the birth Anniversary of our esteemed First Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru “.

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