Learning English and Mathematics the mGuru way

At 22, most of my friends had taken up internships or were job-hopping to figure out what worked best for them. I, however, had no clue what I wanted to do. And then, there are those like Adam Khorakiwala, who at that age had already interned with the World Bank, Palantir, and Unique Identification Authority of India (UIADI). He had also founded mGuru, a mobile learning app aimed at enhancing basic literacy and numeracy skills of K-5 students.

A Stanford University graduate with a major in Public Policy and a minor in Computer Science, Khorakiwala was always interested in “using technology to solve social problems”. While reading the 2014 Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) by Pratham, he realised that learning for the average person is not just poor, but criminally bad. “One out of two kids in Class 5, still reads and does Math at Class 2 level or less. At the same time, I knew that a smartphone could be bought for Rs 2,000 and in the next 3-5 years every family, whether they live in a penthouse in Lower Parel or a slum, will own a smartphone. It made no sense that kids would know so little, while their families have the world’s information in their pockets,” shares the 23-year-old, who was born in Virginia, lived in Manila till age 7, and then grew up in Mumbai until he moved to the US in 2011 to study.

With a scalable solution that could ultimately have an impact on those numbers in his mind, Khorakiwala returned to India after graduating in 2015. “For almost two months, I spent time with NGOs and in BMC schools, where I interviewed parents, students, teachers and NGO leaders to understand their problems, experiences and perspectives,” shares the Lower Parel-resident, who has worked on a range of things, including human rights, development and anti poverty.

From phonics to vocabulary, and grammar to comprehension, mGuru covers basic English skills through interactive games, stories and activities that are “built in-house in collaboration with a few NGO partners like LeapForWord and the Pratham English team. mGuru has around 60 stories, sourced through Pratham, to which we’ve added audio, questions and vocabulary. We have curated videos from the best sources on YouTube,” says Khorakiwala. New users go through a quick assessment that will roughly determine their level and unlock activities accordingly. Kids then go through levels and ‘worlds’ that correspond to different concepts.

“When I interviewed parents in slums around Mumbai, I could not find a primary-school student, who did not go to private tuition. If they’re willing to spend Rs 300-700 a month on tuitions, maybe they’ll pay Rs 40 a month for an app. During our interviews, every parent said that English and Math are the most important subjects, hence the focus on these two,” says Khorakiwala, who started working on the app at the end of 2015. The final Math version of the app should be out in about three months.

The mGuru team of five tested the prototype of the app with around 100 Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation school students in Class 3 and 4. They spent an hour with them every Monday and Tuesday; while the kids had a go on the app using mGuru’s devices, the team observed what the kids understood and figured out what made sense. “Students did not know what to do next, or what to press. The app should have been obvious enough from a design perspective for those things to be clear. Aside from ease of use, the other main challenge was stickiness, so we started working with a design firm to make the app colourful, bright, lively and engaging; we added daily notifications and tasks, SMS report cards for the parents, the mascot—Motu the monkey, and the concept of earning and using mangoes and stars to unlock stories and videos,” says Khorakiwala, who is inspired by his parents, Steve Jobs, Barack Obama and several other leaders in technology and politics. He loves food, sports, travel, and reading up on politics, technology and policy.

Currently bootstrapped with funding, mGuru plans to use the money it won this year for NASSCOM’s Social Innovation Prize in Primary and Secondary Education. Used by approximately 30, 000 kids, the app has been available for download on Android phones, since August 2016. While you can download the app for free, “unlimited usage of it falls behind a paywall”. It works without internet (except for videos), and has language options for Hindi, Marathi, Bengali and Gujarati.

Rat in mid-day meal: Sample fails quality test

It is official. The mid-day meal served to students in a Delhi government school in Deoli, Sangam Vihar, on February 17 was unfit to eat. As much as 50 per cent of the food sample collected on the day when a dead rat was found in the meal has failed the quality test. Nine students from the school had fallen ill after consuming the meal.

The Delhi government’s Department of Food Safety had lifted six food samples from the school on February 17. On Monday, the department sent a letter to the Director of Education, giving details about the test results and urging for necessary action.

“Three of the six samples have failed the quality test and have been found to be unsafe. When categorised under the unsafe category, the samples are considered to be extremely harmful for consumption. The maximum punishment is life imprisonment,” a senior official from the Department of Food Safety said. The sample lifted included masoor dal, chana dal, poori, and rice. They have now been sent to the Central Referral Laboratory for final confirmation.

As per the process, once the department finds samples unfit for consumption, a notice is sent to the food supplier. If the supplier reaches out to the court, the samples are sent to the Central Referral Laboratory for final confirmation. If the samples fail the test there as well, the supplier is punished as per the guidelines.

On February 17, nine students of the Government Boys Senior Secondary School in Deoli had to be rushed to the Madan Mohan Malviya Hospital after a dead rat was found in the mid-day meal served to them. The Directorate of Education (DOE) officials said the mid-day meal was being supplied to the school by a private firm.

Mumbai University fails to kickstart on-screen evaluation process

Almost two months after the announcement and just a month away from the exams, the University of Mumbai has not been able to kickstart its ambitious on-screen evaluation process to assess roughly 19.5 lakh answersheets for the upcoming exams. On Monday, the University extended the deadline for the tender process from March 17 to March 23, as it failed to get any response.

A recent circular uploaded on the university’s website mentioned a revision in criteria for the bidders. While the annual turnover condition was brought down from Rs 100 crore to Rs 30 crore, the minimum technical score requirement for the bidder was brought down from 70 to 60. “The university did not get enough response in the first round and there was only one bidder as a result of which, we could not go further with the process. We are hopeful that more agencies would approach after the relaxation in criteria and extension in application deadline,” said MA Khan, Registrar, University of Mumbai.

In January, Mumbai University vice-chancellor Sanjay Deshmukh had announced that all the evaluations done by the University would be through the on-screen process from April. The initiative was expected to reduce the malpractice of tampering with answersheets. Through this process, all the answersheets would be scanned at the university and would be then made available for assessment, for the evaluators, on computers. Until now, only the answersheets of Engineering stream are corrected on-screen. The decision would mean that close to 19.5 lakh answersheets would have to be evaluated by the University, which, as per experts, is a Herculean task especially considering the slow pace of setting up the process. Poor response in the tenders will mean a further delay in the process, said a university official. Sanjay Vairal, ex-senate member at the University said that the initiative can boomerang if it’s not implemented well. “There were several technical glitches in the engineering evaluation process when it was introduced. The University should take lessons from that and complete the initial set-up well in advance to avoid such issues “ he added.

Colleges, meanwhile, are yet to get any instructions about the process. “The University has till date not come up with any notification after the initial announcement of on-screen evaluation. There needs to be training for all the teachers which is not announced yet. The delay in the process can affect colleges and students to a large extent,” said the principal of a college.

Nagaland students to get lessons in financial literacy

National Stock Exchange Academy, a wholly owned subsidiary of India’s leading stock exchange NSE and the Nagaland Board of School Education (NBSE) have joined hands to impart financial literacy to Class 9 students throughout the state. From the 2017 academic session, NBSE has made NSE Academy’s Financial Literacy course compulsory for Class 9 students of all higher secondary schools under the Board.

The course, Concepts of Financial Literacy, has been designed by the Academy, and will help in familiarising students about the basics of finance and financial planning.

As part of the initiative the NSE Academy trains teachers, who then teach the course to the Class 9 students in NBSE registered schools. For the 2017 academic session, teachers from 167 schools affiliated to the Nagaland Board have been trained at the Board’s office in Kohima by NSE Academy faculty. More than 15,000 students are expected to enrol for the course in 2017. Asano Sekhose, Chairman, NBSE said that the Board has taken this decision as it felt that financial empowerment at a young age is very important if they are to improve the quality of life. The objective of the course is to help the students acquire necessary life skill and prepare them to learn about the basics of financial management and discipline.

The curriculum comprises of 25 periods of 45 minutes each. The topics that students will be taught include financial planning, setting of financial goals, concepts of savings and investments, banking transactions and making a family budget, this will help in empowering children on the need for financial planning, to ensure their financial well being in the future.

The textbook for the course will be available at the Board’s office. NSE Academy will conduct an offline examination at the end of the academic year.

NSE Academy and NBSE will issue joint certificates to students and teachers under various categories. Certificates will be issued to successful candidates and participation certificates will be issued, even if they don’t qualify in the exam. A certificate of merit to the topper of every school will be given by the Board and NSE Academy.

CBSE exams 2017: Smart tips to prepare for Biology paper

CBSE will conduct Biology paper on April 5. Here are some tips for students on how to score well in the paper.

cbse, cbse bio paper, cbse date sheet, bio paper 2017, biology 2017 paper tips, bio sample paper, bio paper dates, cbse 2017, education news1) Concentrate on NCERT content for the board exam preparation as the question paper is designed out of NCERT content.

2) Most of the process-based content should be prepared in the form of flow-charts and experiment set-ups and structure description can be prepared in the form of diagrams.

3) While preparing content, handy notes can be prepared where important terms/keywords related to a particular topic should be included as while evaluating weightage is given to the usage of specific terms.

4) Before you start preparing a chapter, segregate the complete chapter into graph study, diagrams and other illustrations, structure-description and processes. This will help you prepare the chapter more comprehensively.

5) Do as many sample papers with proper analysis for your performance in those tests. This will help you understand the specific lacunae in the preparation of a particular topic. Also you will be able to make out if you are uncomfortable with specific mode of questions (skill based, application based, HOTS, etc.)

6) To deal with a topic which you feel is difficult and most of the times you fail to attempt questions related to that topic, teach it to one of your friends. This will improve your understanding of the topic.

For over two months: No woman guards at SPPU girls’ hostel complex

For the last couple of months, woman students at the Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) hostel have been facing a serious problem. A couple of months ago, nearly 125 security guards, including women personnel, were asked to leave after their contracts expired. The staffers, including women security guards posted at each of the nine hostel buildings, also left.

SPPU, SPPU college, SPPU girls hostel, woman guard, woman security, pune college, education, indian express news, pune newsResidents of the hostel said that earlier, the job of the woman security guard was not just guarding the building, but also patrolling each floor to see if students needed something. They also accompanied handymen and workers who visited the hostel to carry out minor repairs in the girls’ rooms.


The immediate impact of the discontinuation of their service is that the number of security staffers at the hostel complex has reduced. We do have security at the main entrance gate but inside the complex, there are fewer security guards. Given the recent incidents that have raised concerns about security… this is one issue that should be looked into,” said one of hostel residents.

Students said the woman security guards were also responsible for turning off the water supply to the tank in the evenings.

“Almost on a daily basis, there is some issue or the other in the girls’ hostels. Sometimes the fan stops working, sometimes it’s the taps and so on… earlier, the woman security guards would accompany the workers who came here to carry out the repairs. Now, there are male personnel but we must say they are careful. Usually, they send a woman housekeeping staff with the workers, but the staff’s duty hours are only till the afternoon,” said another student.

However, not all students are unhappy with the absence of woman security guards. “I am glad they are not here as some of them were annoying. They would make rounds of the floors and if they found items such as water heaters, they would confiscate them and give them to the rector. They also used to be very strict about us not bringing our friends inside campus but with them gone, the male staffers are more accommodating,” said one of the hostel residents.

But SPPU Registrar Narendra Kadu admitted that the absence of woman security guards at the girls’ hostel complex was worrying. “The problem is that earlier we used to do e-tendering and appoint a security agency by contract. The last security agency’s contract term ended on December 31 and after that, we were told to hire through the Guard Board, which is a government agency. Of the 100-plus staff that we had under contract earlier, the board selected only 40, and others levelled serious allegations in the selection process. So, we couldn’t recruit even the 40 guards selected… Of late, we have been writing to the state government, to allow us to do e-tendering as we need security staff, but we are yet to get permission for that,” he said.

As an interim arrangement, Kadu said the varsity administration created the post of additional chief rector; a woman has been appointed to the post and she lives inside the hostel complex.

“The girls have been told to approach her if they face any issues. Besides that, we have appointed nine woman professors as wardens and asked them to visit the hostels at least once every day, to ensure that students don’t have complaints and can discuss their issues with woman staffers. However, from the point of view of security, I agree that we need woman security guards inside the girls’ hostel,” he added.

Maharashtra HSC Board Exam: Another Class 12 Paper Leak Now

A day after the std 12th Marathi question-paper leaked, the Maharashtra HSC board officials today found that the Secretarial Practice paper too began to circulate on social media minutes before the exam yesterday. Police had identified the WhatsApp group where the leak originated, said the Navi Mumbai police commissioner Hemant Nagrale. The examinations of std 12th, conducted by Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (commonly called SSC and HSC Board), are being held at present. The std 12th Secretarial Practise paper was scheduled from 11 am to 2 pm, but photographs of three pages of the question-paper began to circulate on WhatsApp from 10.46 am, Board officials found.

Maharashtra HSC Board Exam: Another Class 12 Paper Leak NowThe question-paper of Marathi had leaked in the same way two days before.

Dattatray Jagtap, chairman of Konkan division of the Board, filed a complaint with Vashi police in the neighbouring Navi Mumbai.

Inspector Chetan Kakde of Vashi police said that Navi Mumbai Crime Branch and Cyber Crime Cell were also taking part in the probe.

“We have identified the WhatsApp group (where the leaked paper was shared first) and its members,” said Navi Mumbai police commissioner Hemant Nagrale.

The members of the group seemed to be based in Mumbai, police sources said.

Jagtap told PTI that students were admitted inside the exam halls at 10.20 am, while the photographs of the question-paper began to circulate after 10.46 am, so “it can’t be called a leak”.

No re-examination of Marathi and Secretarial Practise subjects would be held, he said, appealing the students not to panic.

Three-Day National Conference On Innovation In Educational Administration Begins

A three-day National Conference on Innovation in Educational Administration is beginning today at Pravasi Bhartiya Kendra, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi. This Conference has been organised by National University of Educational Planning and Administration (NUEPA), New Delhi. About 150 district and block level education officers from across India and resource persons and faculty of the university are participating in the Conference. The focus of the conference will be on a host of innovations by district and block level officers who have been selected for awards. This will act as an ideal forum for learning and sharing of experiences.

Three-Day National Conference On Innovation In Educational Administration BeginsThe main objective of the programme is to recognise innovative ideas and best practices adopted by district and block level education officers for effective management of the educational administrative system at district and block levels, and ensuring institutional development and performance at school level. The educational officers at the field level are also an essential link between system level administration and institutional level management of education. Role of these officers is crucial in the process of implementation of policies programmes at the field level. Recognition of innovation is more likely to motivate the officers at the field level.

At the end of Conference, National Awards for innovation in Educational Administration will be presented by Union Minister for Human Resource Development Shri Prakash Javadekar on 7th March. The Awards have been instituted by the National University of Educational Planning and Administration (NUEPA), New Delhi. Shri J. Veeraraghwan, Former Secretary, Ministry of Human Resource Development will preside over the function, said a statement from Press Information Bureau.

Prof. Akhtar Siddqui, Professor of Education at Jamia Millia Islamia, and former Chairman, National Council of Teacher Education will be the key note speaker at the inaugural session, which will be presided over by Prof Jandhyala BG Tilak, Vice Chancellor, NUEPA. There are several education experts listed to address conference during the three days in which nearly a hundred cases of innovations and best practices will be presented.

AMU Malappuram Centre To Celebrate Annual Day On March 2

Aligarh Muslim University (AMU)’s Malappuram centre will celebrate its 6th annual day on March 2, 2017. University Vice chancellor Lt. Gen. Zameer Uddin Shah will be the chief guest of the programme and he will also inaugurate the ceremony. Brig. Syed Ahmad Ali, Pro Vice Chancellor of AMU will be the guest of honour at the programme. The annual day ceremony will also witness the inauguration of newly constructed Academic Block 4 and open air stage in the campus. There will be deliberations on the future plans of the campus and discussions will be conducted with various stakeholders including teachers and students tomorrow, a statement from the centre said.

AMU Malappuram Centre To Celebrate Annual Day On March 2

Aligarh Muslim University Malappuram Centre was established by AMU in 2010 empowered by Section 5(2)(C) of the A.M.U. (Amendment) Act,1981 and under Section 12(2) of the University Act. [Act XL 1920 and A.M.U. (Amendment) Act,1972] .

Prof.Abul Rasheed KM, Director of AMU Centre, Malappuram, ET Muhammad Basheer, Member of Parliament (also court member of AMU) and Perinthalmanna MLA Manjalamkuzhi Ali will also be addressing the gathering tomorrow.

AMU Malappuram Centre now runs graduation and post-graduation courses in various streams.
Read: Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) Admissions 2017-18; Online Application Process Started

Aligarh Muslim University has three special centres including the ones in Kishanganj, Bihar and Murshidabad, West Bengal. These centres were established in the backdrop of the Sachar Committee findings about the backwardness of the Muslim community.

Sex Education To Be Made Compulsory In England Schools

Schoolchildren in England will be taught about safe and healthy relationships from the age of four as part of broader compulsory sex education, the government said today. Children will be taught about sex at an “appropriate age” but parents will still have the right to withdraw their children from these classes. Until now, sex education has been compulsory only in government council-run schools and not for privately-run schools and academies. The latest guidance on age-appropriate lessons has a particular emphasis on what constitutes healthy relationships, as well as the dangers of sexting, online pornography and sexual harassment.

Sex Education To Be Made Compulsory In England Schoolsa

“The statutory guidance for SRE [Sex and Relationships Education] was introduced in 2000 and is becoming increasingly outdated. It fails to address risks to children that have grown in prevalence over the last 17 years, including cyberbullying, ‘sexting’ and staying safe online,” said UK education secretary Justine Greening.

All children from the age of four will be taught about safe and healthy relationships, Greening said.
“Parents will continue to have a right to withdraw their children from sex education. Schools will have flexibility over how they deliver these subjects, so they can develop an integrated approach that is sensitive to the needs of the local community; and, as now, faith schools will continue to be able to teach in accordance with the tenets of their faith,” she said.

The announcement follows a widespread campaign by charities, MPs and local authorities, calling for SRE to be made a statutory for all schools.
The UK government is to table an amendment to the Children and Social Work Bill that will make “age appropriate” SRE part of the national curriculum in primary and secondary schools.
British Prime Minister Theresa May has lent her backing to the new changes.

“There is a threat online and that threat we would all recognise has grown. That does mean that now is the right time to look at how we can ensure children have the access they need to the teaching in those subjects,” a No 10 Downing Street spokesperson said.