Tag Archives: india

Cheating in School: A Family Affair in India

March 26th, 2015

Cheating_India
Photo Credit: NDTV

For this week’s blog, I’m going to keep it short and sweet and share with you the true story of hundreds of parents and family members endangering their own lives by scaling walls outside the examination hall in a town in India. No, these parents weren’t risking their lives to rescue their children from a fiery inferno or deranged terrorist. They were scaling the walls to help their children by feeding them the answers to the questions on the final examinations. Yes, you heard me correctly. The parents were complicit in cheating with their children. This brazen act of collective cheating was caught on tape and if you don’t believe me, here’s the video for your own eyes to see: YouTube Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=14suVlM0FNk

For more on this cheating extravaganza, read the article by the Independent UK newspaper: Parents risk lives climbing exam buildings to help hundreds of Indian students cheat

In the words of James E. Faust: “Cheating in school is a form of self-deception. We go to school to learn. We cheat ourselves when we coast on the efforts and scholarship of someone else.”

Frustrated
Frustrated Evaluator

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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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The Brief Shelf Life of India’s Four-Year Bachelor’s Degree

October 16th, 2014

india

In India, the bachelor’s degree in arts and sciences has been typically a three-year program patterned after the British system. Here in the U.S. a few international credential evaluation professionals have been recognizing the three-year bachelor’s degree from India as equivalent to the U.S. four-year degree. At ACEI, our position has been less generous. Though some U.S. credential evaluators may have been liberal with their professional judgment on this matter, it seems that many within India’s higher education institutions were not so content with their three-year bachelor degree offerings. In fact, some Indian institutions of higher education had started to champion the idea of expanding the three-year program by another year to include a research component and additional courses at the advanced level, particularly in the sciences. They viewed this move as essential if India intended to be competitive globally in the area of scientific research and development.

However, this push toward the four-year degree has been met with strong resistance from the University Grants Commission (UGC), India’s higher education regulatory and funding body. The battle brewing between some key public universities and the UGC, concerning the four-year bachelor’s degree finally came to a head last month. University of Delhi, the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and several Institutes of Technology (IIT) that had either embarked on offering the four-year bachelor’s degree or were already offering them were ordered by the UGC to scrap the program and revert to the standard three-year programs.

In June of this year, University of Delhi was forced by the UGC to close its four-year undergraduate degree program because it was deemed by the human resource minister Smriti Irani to not have complied with the recommended education pathway. Even the state-run Indian Institute of Science (IISc), considered one of the prestigious institutions of higher learning, had come under the scrutiny of the UGC. IISc has been allowed to retain its four-year bachelor degree programs in physics, biology, chemistry, environmental science, materials and mathematics on the condition it adheres to changes recommended by the UGC. For example, IISc Bangalore, was able to strike a compromise with UGC by agreeing to restructure its four-year BSc to a research degree while also offer the standard three-year BSc degree. However, the same compromise was not afforded to the University of Delhi that was ordered to completely dismantle its four-year program.

It is not just the public, state-run institutions affected by UGC’s rampage, even private institutions such as Shiv Nadar Univesrity, Azim Premij University and OP Jindal Global University which had recently set up American-style four-year undergraduate liberal arts degrees were told to conform with UGC rules. As can be imagined, this move by the UGC has drastically affected the public and private institutions as well as their students who are now required to switch to the three-year program.

The proponents of India’s four-year bachelor degree see the additional year as a more holistic approach to teaching and learning, allowing for broad-based training in the humanities and sciences. The abrupt dismissal of the four-year program by the UGC is seen by many of the educators and the institutions as shortsighted and lacking any serious academic discussion that is supported by convincing facts and arguments. Many foresee that the UGC resistance toward the four-year degree will only push students away from studying sciences, pursuing careers in sciences and stymieing India’s chances in scientific innovation. It will also mean that in evaluating the three-year bachelor’s degree, ACEI will continue with its current position of recognizing the program as equivalent to three years of undergraduate study but not the four-year U.S. bachelor’s degree.

For more on the institutions affected by the UGC directive, please click here: http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=20140828091614324

Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert
Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert
President & CEO, ACEI

ACEI

http://www.acei-global.org

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INDIA: The 2014 Millennium Development Goals Report

September 4th, 2014

UN

In 2000, at the Millennium Summit of the United Nations, all 189-member nations (today the UN has 193 members) committed to help meet ambitious development targets across categories such as primary education, nutrition, health, mortality, sanitation and others.

The new Millennium Development Goals Report 2014 examines the latest progress made towards achieving the MDGs. It shows that millions of people’s lives have improved due to concerted global, regional, national and local efforts to achieve the MDGs, which serve as the foundation for the next global development agenda. 

The following MDGs Report on India, was released by Najma Heptulla, the Union Minister for Minority Affairs. Jayati Ghosh, Professor, JNU and Lise Grande, UN Resident Coordinator.

MDGs
(Source: http://www.in.undp.org/content/india/en/home/mdgoverview/)

As demonstrated in the table shown above, India has made moderate progress with respect to Goal 1: poverty; Goal 4: gender equality; Goal 7: HIV/AIDS. It is also on-track with respect to Goal 3: achieving universal primary education; Goal 9: environmental protection; Goal 12: developing global partnerships for development. However, the country is off-track with respect to Goal 2: hunger; Goal 5: reducing mortality rate, Goal 11: improving the lives of slum dwellers. Though there is partial successes achieved on targets and indicators with respect to Goal 3: education; Goal s 7 and 6: health, there are a few caveats. For example, the school enrollment rates are ahead of the targets, but the dropout rates are also high. The incidence of HIV/AIDS has come down, but what is alarming is that HIV/AIDS incidence is increasing in states where it used to be low. The performance of the majority of states on many of the goals and targets has been below satisfactory.

ACEI

http://www.acei-global.org

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Understanding the Institutes of Chartered Accountants in India and Pakistan

April 11, 2013

Filing Taxes - 1040 Form

For institutions in the United States, accounting credentials from India and Pakistan can be especially difficult to interpret. Typically, comparative education researchers and credential evaluators in the U.S. seek to determine the comparability of foreign studies to domestic equivalents based on several criteria including:

• admission requirements for the academic program in question;
• course content covered via classroom instruction;
• specific knowledge base and skills tested via examination;
• the nature of the program in the source country.
– Do partial studies transfer into other academic programs?
– Does the completed program provide eligibility for higher academic programs?
– Does the completed program allow eligibility for professional registration, etc.?
– Is the completed program terminal?

Official accounting credentials in India are issued by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) http://www.icai.org/ and official accounting credentials in Pakistan are issued by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan (ICAP) http://www.icap.org.pk/web/index.php .

Both the ICAI and ICAP programs inherit much of their structure from the British system, which frequently uses a “Qualifications-Based-Assessment” approach in which all program requirements are based on examination results, and students become eligible for examinations through either academic studies, professional experience, or some combination of both. Another aspect of the British “Qualifications-Based-Assessment” method is that examinations may be graded as “pass-fail” and thus have no grades or marks associated with them.

From a comparative education perspective, the ICAI and ICAP credentials do not fit very well into the traditional mold of a U.S. educational program. ICAI and ICAP programs have very flexible “admission requirements” since eligibility for examinations can be derived from both academic and professional qualifications and classroom instruction is not necessarily a central component in every case.

Despite the fundamental differences between ICAI/ICAP and U.S. programs, the comparability of ICAI/ICAP examinations to U.S. academic levels is well established. Some of the best research done on this topic is available through NAFSA (the Association of International Educators) in the PIER Workshop Report on South Asia published in 1986 and the PIER World Education Series published in 1997. Both publications are based on research performed by a hand-picked group of experts who conducted in-country investigations and site-visits to many institutions. It has been documented and confirmed that ICAI/ICAP examinations do provide “transferrable credit” into other academic programs in India and Pakistan, and much of the comparative education research since the PIER reports has concluded similarly that the following “placement recommendations” be made for ICAI and ICAP examinations:

• Passed ICAI/ICAP Foundation Examinations are comparable to one year of undergraduate coursework in business administration and accounting in the U.S.;
• Passed ICAI/ICAP Intermediate Examinations are comparable to an associate degree in in business studies and accounting (two year of undergraduate coursework) in the U.S.;
• Passed ICAI/ICAP Professional/Final Examinations with membership are comparable to a completed Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting, a Bachelor of Science in Accounting or another similarly named degree in the U.S.

For U.S. institutions seeking to understand and process ICAI and ICAP qualifications, it is important to be aware that many details we expect to see in most academic documents might not be available. ICAI/ICAP usually issue credentials that prove completion of the program, but not individual examination titles, grades/scores, and other information that would be included in a “transcript” or similar document. Additionally, ICAI and ICAP do not typically include a description of how individuals become eligible for or exempted from certain examinations. Thus, we recommend that U.S. institutions ask applicants for the following documentation along with any official ICAI/ICAP credentials:

• Descriptions/Titles of the ICAI/ICAP examinations during certain years (similar to a curriculum) and preferably descriptions/titles of exams taken and passed by an individual – this will allow a better comparison to specific U.S. courses*;
• Documents for any previously completed academic coursework – this may provide a straightforward academic basis for exam eligibility or exemption;
• Resume and other professional experience documentation – this may add details for any exam eligibility or exemption derived from experience.

*Samples of ICAI and ICAP exam descriptions are available along with other comparative education data in Credential Consultants’ GRADE™ Database http://www.credentialconsultants.com. Additionally, the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) compiles CPA examination results taken in the U.S. for a given year, including breakdowns of performance by country of residence, educational institutions attended, etc. The 2012 Candidate Performance Book is can be found here https://nasbareport.com/index.php?main_page=document_product_info&cPath=6&products_id=61

Although the nature of ICAI and ICAP accounting programs may differ from typical collegiate accounting programs in the U.S., they can be compared to each other in meaningful ways for both academic and professional purposes.

Authored in collaboration with the Association of International Credential Evaluators http://www.aice-eval.org (AICE) by:

Drew_Feder
Drew Feder
President of Credential Consultants, Inc.
http://www.credentialconsultants.com

Hany
Hany Arafat
Senior Comparative Education Specialist at Credential Consultants, Inc.
http://www.credentialconsultants.com

Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert
Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert
President of Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc.
http://www.acei1.com

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How I Discovered Bollywood

April 4, 2013

LP cover - Bollywood - Tuhje Nahin Chhodunga (1991)

My first experience with Bollywood music came with a couple of cd’s back in the 1980s called Golden Voices from the Silver Screen, on a cool UK label called Globe Style. Vol 2 featured songs from the TV series Movie Mahal; the first volume featured classics from Lata Mangeshkar, her kid sister Asha Bhosle, Mohammed Rafi, and others. I was aware of the two sisters who held the Guiness World Record for most recordings. Lata was #1, Asha at #2.

I remember leaving KCRW once back in the late 80s and pulling into a Chevron Station in Santa Monica to fill up, with a cassette of Lata playing. An attendant came over and said, “you know our divine Lata?”. Yes I said smiling proudly.

Later came Bappi Lahiri’s “I am a disco dancer”. Another hit, “Pump Up the Bhangra” came shortly after Technotronic’s “Pump Up the Volume”.

I watched Satyajit Ray’s epic Apu Trilogy with the great soundtrack music from Ravi Shankar. I’d known about Hindustani classical Indian music all the way back into the 1960s, when Ravi Shankar and Ali Akbar Khan came onto the American scene. I remember a great Ali Akbar Khan lp on the World Pacific label called Sound of the Sarod. It featured a rhapsodic piece called “Chandranadan”. Hearing it engraved it into my memory forever.

When I taught World Music at UCLA Extension in the 1990s, I invited two people on Indian night. The first was a guy named Jac Zinder, who ran a wildly eclectic pop-up nightclub that featured Bollywood videos, music, as well as fluff from Herb Alpert and other light fare. Jac showed some of the wilder clips from classic Bollywood films such as Gumnaam, which my class loved. When Jac was done, a very flustered and annoyed Harihar Rao–who founded LA’s great presenting organization The Music Circle with Ravi Shankar in 1966–admonished the class, telling students “I hope this isn’t all you learn about Indian culture!!!” He was clearly rattled.

I was delighted to see Lagaan come to mainstream cinemas here. Four hours never went by so fast. I was also the host of the big Bollywood Show at the Hollywood Bowl a few years ago; it was an unbelievable night, 18,000 people cheering. A.R. Rahman’s big entrée into Hollywood. A later show featuring orchestral versions of his soundtrack followed, but it lacked the spectacle and energy of that first show. I felt the second show was to show that Rahman can write orchetral soundtrack music for any film….not just Bollywood.

I wish Bollywood movies appeared at more mainstream theaters…..in LA you have to go to Artesia or in the past to Laemmle Fallbrook Theater, which has now closed and become another AMC venue. Channel 18 on Saturday mornings 11-12 noon; there are also Indian channels on Dish Network.

It may be that for non-Indians, following Bollywood is just something for those who know. It is fun and the films are produced in the most fantastic manner….you get it all: soap opera, musicals, dancing, spectacle, beautiful clothing. What’s not to like? I love it, and hope Bollywood finds a bigger audience.

Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles 2013

Tom Schnabel, M.A.
Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres
Host of music program on radio for KCRW Sundays noon-2 p.m.
Blogs for KCRW
Author & Music educator, UCLA, SCIARC, currently doing music salons
www.tomschnabel.com

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