41% Indian workers left jobs in past year, health top priority: Report

A staggering 41 percent of Indian employees left their jobs during the past year, indicating that the great reshuffle is here to stay as the last two years of the pandemic have fundamentally changed how we define the role of work in our lives, a new Microsoft report showed on Friday.

Two out of three employees in India are more likely to prioritize their health and wellbeing overwork now than before the pandemic, according to Microsoft’s ‘Work Trend Index’.

“The last two years have shown us how employees have learned to work differently and rethink their priorities. With the evolving mode of work here to stay, we are now at a long-awaited inflection point: the lived experience of hybrid work,” the report noted.

We are not the same people that went home to work in early 2020.

This year, nearly 65 percent of workers in India are likely to consider changing employers — from 62 percent in 2021.

The power dynamic is shifting, and perks like free food and a corner office are no longer what people value most.

For Gen Z and Millennials, there’s no going back.

The report revealed that 70 percent of Gen Zs and millennials in India are somewhat or extremely likely to consider changing employers this year, up 7 percent from last year.

In all, there’s no erasing the lived experience — and lasting impact — of the past two years.

“Flexibility and wellbeing are non-negotiables that companies can’t afford to ignore. The best leaders will create a culture that embraces flexibility and prioritizes employee wellbeing,” the report noted.

UP Board examinations begin today for 52L students

Around 52 lakh students are taking the Class 10 and Class 12 UP Board examination from Thursday.

Of these, 27.8 lakh students will appear for Class 10 and 24.1 lakh for Class 12. The exams will be held at 8,373 centers across the state.

The UP Secondary Education Board (UPSEB) has identified 254 centers as ‘highly-sensitive’ and 861 centers as ‘sensitive’ in view of vulnerability for cheating.

To prevent mass cheating in the UP board exams, the government has set up a state-level ‘monitoring and control room’ for CCTV surveillance and to monitor voice recordings.

About 2.9 lakh CCTV cameras have been installed at 8,373 centers and 75 district control rooms (each in one district).

Over 2.7 lakh invigilators have been put on duty.

Chief Secretary D.S. Mishra said that strict action will be taken against those spreading fake news during the examinations.

Congress demands unemployment emergency in Telangana

Stating that 40 lakh people are facing hardships due to unemployment problem in Telangana, the opposition Congress party has demanded an unemployment emergency in the state.

AICC spokesperson Dasoju Sravan Kumar said Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao should consider concrete interventions to address and resolve the unemployment problem.

He also urged the Chief Minister to set up a high-level task force with various national-level industrialists, academicians, intellectuals, strategists, policymakers to formulate a strategy with specific task policies to deal with the unemployment which is plaguing the Telangana society. He recalled that such a task force was set up by the Kiran Kumar Reddy government in undivided Andhra Pradesh.

“Since this is a social issue, an emergency all-party meeting should be held with all political parties,” the Congress leader said and demanded that each unemployed youth should be provided with an unemployment allowance of Rs 3,016 a month as promised in the 2018 assembly elections by the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS).

“Skill Development Centres should be set up in each Mandal center in collaboration with the Central Government and job fairs should be organized in collaboration with private sector companies to provide employment to the youth, employment opportunities, and training,”

Stating that there are lakhs of applications pending in SC, ST, BC, Minority, and MBC corporations, he demanded immediate disbursement of self-employment loans so that they can stand on their feet.

Congress also demanded to bring a statutory Act to ensure that 95 percent of jobs reserved for locals in the private sector too. He also made several other demands, including ex-gratia of Rs one crore to the 70 field assistants who died after being dictatorially terminated from the service causing serious distress, and also suggested releasing the full salary to them for two years.

Sravan Kumar said the Telangana government failed to create new jobs and instead the existing jobs were blown away. The government laid off a total of 52,515 employees, including 7651 field assistants. He said 21,200 employees in Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, 1640 Nurses, 709 in Mission Bhagiratha, 315 in Horticulture, 16,400 Education Volunteers, 2000 Junior Panchayat Secretaries, Social Welfare and Education, and 2,640 employees of Road Transport Corporation (RTC) were sacked.

In a letter addressed to the Chief Minister, he found fault with the chief minister for his announcement made in the Assembly that 90,000 jobs would be filled while the Bishwal Committee said that there were 1.91 lakh job vacancies in the government departments.

He also offered to help the government as a former professor of HRD and also having worked in large companies, in various capacities in human resource development departments, in solving the unemployment problem.

New age boarding school redefining Indian education system

True education is far beyond imbibing theoretical knowledge or learning new concepts. Parents today want holistic education for their children, which includes the joy of learning, attaining life skills, developing an inquisitive mindset, discovery perspective, and innovative thinking. To equip their children with these qualities, parents are keen on sending their children to progressive educational institutions, which help them identify their strengths and ways of overcoming their weaknesses.

Pathways Education 2.0 is one such premium institute, which can be called a ‘house of learning as it helps students grow academically while parallelly helping them in reaching their true potential in sports, public speaking, music, arts, leadership, and design thinking. From an early age, the school encourages students to adopt an entrepreneurial mindset while holding a sense of adventure and developing leadership qualities that contribute to the overall growth of society. The schools’ curriculum design and offerings set it aside from the other regular boarding schools of the country. Being the first International Baccalaureate (IB) Continuum School in North India and the first residential school in the region to follow the IB curriculum, Pathways 2.0 is truly a one-of-a-kind boarding school that ensures a child’s holistic growth and development.

With a total strength of 1400 students belonging to 40 different nationalities, the school offers a perfect platform for indirect global exposure alongside myriad opportunities of learning from each other and growing together. With each classroom having an average strength of 15-20 students, all the children get maximum attention, despite the huge strength of the entire school. With this, it becomes convenient for the teachers to evaluate and mentor students as per their strengths and weaknesses. To ensure the holistic development of a child, Pathways provides multiple platforms to hone their academic and interpersonal skills such as empathy and active listening.

Pathways have successfully imbibed the Gross Student Happiness philosophy from Bhutan. The concept is new for any school as it evaluates how safe and loved a student is feeling within the premises and the boarding environment.

At Pathways, students are allowed to explore a sport of their interest. The range of sports facilities given at the school not only helps students in staying active and mentally alert but also helps them in developing life skills such as gamesmanship, team spirit, and a sense of building self-worth. One of the school’s key attractions is its elaborate sports infrastructure that includes an Olympic-sized Soccer field, Half Olympic-sized all-weather swimming pool, Glass Squash Courts, Multi-utility Gymnasium, Aerobics & Gymnastics, Horse Riding, Golf area, they even have Mini Basketball & Tennis Courts for kindergarten kids.

Apart from sports, Pathways focuses on developing creativity among students as it helps them in problem-solving, gaining perspective, purpose, and satisfaction in life. Unlike traditional schools, Pathways equally emphasizes arts for having a huge significance in daily activities. Students can explore their creative side while learning and experimenting in theatre, visual and digital art, and music labs. The emphasis on creativity can easily be assessed by the aesthetic values of the school, which is adorned with student masterpieces, ceiling to floor.

To help students develop various competencies required to ace in the 21st century, Pathways provides them multiple opportunities such as participation in the Model UN or StartUp Challenges. The school takes pride in nurturing and preparing students for various competitions and has won accolades at the World Scholars Cup competitions or IB Student Conferences around the globe. The school organizes assemblies and competitive events to encourage excellence in spoken word poetry, design challenges, and robotics. Apart from these, drama, music, and dance are a part of the regular curriculum.

Pathways organize camps, expeditions, and international exchanges to expose students to a wide range of cultural, educational, and linguistic diversities during their stay in camps and international visits. These camps and expeditions make students more sensitive towards biodiversity and natural resources available on the earth. To inculcate practical learning, Pathways shares research projects with students where they can implement various concepts learned in science, economics, history, and environmental issues. At Pathways, students are motivated to take initiatives through which they often display their capabilities by making small-level but effective changes. For instance, a Pathways student formed a team and cleaned a garbage field near his house to grow veggies, which are free to be consumed by passers by.

Pathways also have several ‘interact clubs’ that enable students to develop leadership skills and personal integrity. The separate leadership council helps students democratize their thoughts and provides an avenue for identifying a variety of issues affecting them while suggesting innovative, yet implementable solutions.

Unlike traditional boarding schools, Pathways provides flexible boarding options, which help students stay connected with their families. The school has replaced strict wardens with ‘residence parents’ who are available all the time and cater to all student needs.

‘Creating confusion’, SC junks plea against physical exams for Class 10, 12

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The Supreme Court on Wednesday junked a plea seeking cancellation of physical exams for Class 10 and 12 scheduled to be conducted by all state boards, CBSE, ICSE, and NIOS.

The top court pulled up petitioners for filing premature petitions and creating confusion among lakhs of students through such PILs. It warned the petitioner of exemplary costs if such action is repeated.

A bench headed by Justice A.M. Khanwilkar told the petitioner’s counsel, “Creating confusion by such petitions, what kind of petition you filed?”

Advocate Prashant Padmanabhan, representing the petitioners, urged the top court to see the present CBSE directions and also pointed at the petition filed in connection with the exams last year. The bench, also comprising Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and C.T. Ravikumar, said what has happened in past cannot become a norm, and that will be misleading. Padmanabhan added that CBSE has conducted the first term exam in offline mode in December 2021 in MCQ mode and results aren’t published yet.

Justice Khanwilkar said the situation has not arrived yet and told the council to allow authorities to take a decision in the matter. “How can you pre-empt everything”, said the bench.

The top court added, “These kinds of petitions are misleading, what kind of publicity do these petitions get. These petitions create confusion. Let students and authorities do their jobs.”

The plea said many students studying in CBSE, ICSE, NIOS, and state board approached the petitioner, Anubha Shrivastava Sahai, for issues they are facing regarding the board exams and are directly affected by the outcome of this PIL.

“The other petitioners are students as well as the parents from different states, who were aggrieved by the Board’s decision. That, the mental pressure that is created for performance in this exam is so much that every year a number of students commit suicide for fear of underperformance, or of failure”, said the plea.

The plea added, “To make students appear and face the examination with the additional fear of getting infected by the Covid-19 virus will not only be unfair but the same will be absolutely inhuman”.

The plea urged the top court to issue directions to concerned authorities to pass a notification regarding alternate mode of assessment of students from Class 10, 11, and 12 of CBSE, ICSE, NIOS, and state boards instead of offline exams.

The second petitioner in the plea is the Student Union of Odisha. The plea has also included a list of students from various parts of the country who approached Sahai regarding issues with the board exams.

Hijab row: K’taka HC resumes hearing; many students boycott exams

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A three-judge panel of Karnataka High Court, formed to look into the petitions on hijab row, resumed hearing on Monday afternoon.

Even as the bench headed by the Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi is hearing the matter on a day-to-today basis, the hijab crisis continues in the state, raising concerns over the law and order situation.

Meanwhile, many students across the state have boycotted crucial II PUC practical exams that have started on Monday for not being allowed to wear hijab in the classrooms. However, majority of the students, including those from Muslim community, took off their hijab and attended exams.

Bengaluru Police Commissioner Kamal Pant has extended the prohibitory orders surrounding 200 meters of surroundings of schools, PU Colleges, Degree Colleges or other educational institutions till March 8.

If II PUC students remain absent for practical exams they will lose out 30 marks and that will make them get a maximum score of 70 marks in theory exams. To attend CET, the students will have to score a minimum of 45 marks. The scores of practical exams are crucial for the future of students.

The main exams are scheduled between April 16 and May 6. Practical exams will be held for physics, chemistry, biology, psychology, computer science and electronics subjects. The marks will be uploaded to the website of PU Board immediately after exams. If students remain absent for practical exams, no second chance would be given to them.

More than 40 students in Vijayapura district boycotted exams for being asked to remove hijab and staging protests before the District Commissioner’s Office. More than 10 students refused to take off their hijab and waited near Women’s Polytechnic College in Hassan on the premises. Later, they got into an argument with the Principal demanding entry into classes with hijab.

Prohibitory orders will continue in Koppal district till February 26. The district administration has warned that around 300 meter radius more than five people can’t gather. Meanwhile, the six students who started the agitation at Udupi Pre-University Girl’s College have remained absent for the practical exams.

As many as nine students of Madikeri Junior College staged a silent protest at the entrance gate. They sat near the gate holding placards containing messages of ‘hijab is our right, our choice’, ‘we want justice’.

Students of Kolar Government Pre-University College demanded a letter from the Principal for not allowing them with hijab to classrooms. They claimed that the court has consented for the entry of students in colleges which do not have a college development committee. They have also staged a protest.

The larger bench has directed the state government to see to it that it’s interim order is not violated. Counsels for petitioners have been vehemently pressing for allowing Muslim students with hijab by reconsidering interim order. One of the counsels has requested the court to allow Muslim students to wear hijab at least on Fridays, the jumma day which is considered as most auspicious day for Muslims.

The counsels have also submitted that there is no legal sanctity for the College Development Committee (CDC) and School Development and Management Committees (SDMC). They have also questioned MLA, representing a political party and ideology being let in the academic environment.

The bench has already questioned Advocate General Prabhuling Navadagi representing the government on the legal sanctity of CDCs and SDMCs. He had submitted that the order issued by the government on February 5, did not ban the headscarf but only gave the power of deciding on uniform to CDCs. He also clarified that the government has taken a conscious stand not to intervene in the matters related to religious symbols and it is unnecessarily being dragged into the issue.

The Advocate General will present his arguments on three points and stated firstly he would prove that hijab is not an essential religious practice of Islam, preventing its use did not violate Article 25 of the Indian constitution and the challenged Government Order was in accordance with law. The bench has questioned Advocate General on why the government has referred to verdicts given by the high courts and the Supreme Court while giving the order.

SC sets aside HC’s ‘one line order’ on Haryana law on 75% job quota in pvt sector

The Supreme Court on Thursday set aside the Punjab and Haryana High Court order, which stayed the Haryana law providing 75 per cent reservation in industries to youngsters with a domicile of the state.

A bench headed by Justice L. Nageswara Rao set aside the high court order and ordered no coercive steps should be taken, and the high court should decide the matter expeditiously and not later than the period of four weeks. “High Court order is set aside as the court has not given sufficient reason…”, said the bench.

Pointing at the one-line order of the high court, the top court said: “All statues can be done in one-line order?”

It was submitted before the bench that the high court was prima facie satisfied that the legislation was unconstitutional. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Haryana government, contended that the high court merely gave 90 second hearing in the matter, which was against the principles of natural justice. “In the meanwhile, the Haryana government should not take coercive steps against employers”, said the bench.

Senior advocate Dushyant Dave, representing a petitioner on caveat, submitted that there are over 49,000 companies registered in Haryana. He added that there is no reservation in the private sector and it can only be done by Parliament. “There is no empirical study, no data to give reservation”, said Dave.

Senior advocate Shyam Divan, representing Manesar Industrial Welfare Association, urged the top court not to vacate the stay granted by the high court on the law.

In a special leave petition, the Haryana government contended that the interim order was passed in the teeth of law laid down by the top court in Bhavesh D. Parish vs Union of India (2000), and also in violation of the principles of natural justice.

“It is submitted that the hearing granted by the High Court was a mere empty formality, whereby, the High Court with a predetermined conclusion opened the hearing by saying that the Act is liable to be stayed and thereafter did not afford any opportunity to the law officer appearing on behalf of the state of Haryana,” said the plea. It further added, “Violation of principles of natural justice is manifest from the fact the entire hearing in the matter concluded within one minute”.

NEET becomes major issue in TN urban local body polls

The National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test (NEET) has become a major issue in the urban local body polls to be held in Tami Nadu on February 19 after a gap of ten years.

The returning of the Bill moved by the Tamil Nadu assembly in September 2021 by Governor R.N. Ravi last week triggered a fresh controversy that is now taking centrestage in the urban local body polls.

The AIADMK said that it was during the Congress-led UPA regime to which DMK was a constituent partner when the NEET was formulated. AIADMK leaders and former Chief Ministers, O. Panneerselvam and K. Palaniswami countered Chief minister M.K. Stalin that the DMK was not practicing what it preached and that it was the ruling party that had supported the NEET bill in the Parliament when the UPA government moved it.

Responding to the allegation, Stalin said there was never an instance of the NEET exam being held in Tamil Nadu during the previous DMK government and that it was after Palaniswami became Chief Minister that the exam was held in the state.

The BJP has also taken up NEET as a major issue in the elections stating that it was because of NEET that several students from poor backgrounds got admissions to government Medical colleges in Tamil Nadu.

BJP leader Pon Radhakrishnan, a former Union Minister, told IANS, “NEET has given life to students from poor backgrounds in Tamil Nadu to get admission in government medical colleges in the state which would not have been possible earlier. A centralized system of exams is good for society and students are benefiting from it.”

However, with the two Dravidian majors stepping up the campaign centered around NEET, the voice of the BJP has become much feeble and may even backfire.

With NEET taking the centre stage, other contentious issues like the poor quality of materials in the gift hampers for Pongal, the failure of the DMK government to provide Rs 1,000 monthly emoluments to women as promised in the assembly elections, have taken a back seat.

M. Periyasamy, AIADMK leader from Erode, told in an interview, “We will counter the allegations leveled by the DMK against us vis-a-vis NEET as it was the DMK which was part of the then UPA government that supported formulating NEET in the country, not the AIADMK.”

Convene House and pass NEET exemption Bill again: TN parties

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The meeting of political parties having their representatives in the Tamil Nadu assembly on Saturday decided to convene a special session of the house and pass again the Bill seeking exemption for the state from NEET.

The meeting chaired by Chief Minister M.K. Stalin decided to send it again to Governor R.N. Ravi to be forwarded to President Ram Nath Kovind’s assent.

The meeting was convened after Ravi had sent back the Bill that was passed by the Assembly on September 13, 2021, to the Speaker for reconsideration of the House.

The meeting resolved that the people of Tamil Nadu will not accept that the Bill seeking an exemption from NEET is unnecessary.

A statement issued by the Raj Bhavan earlier had said the Governor was of the opinion that the Bill is against the interests of the students, especially the rural and economically poor students of the state.

“Hence, the Hon’ble Governor has returned the Bill to the Hon’ble Speaker, Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly on February 1, 2022, giving detailed reasons, for its reconsideration by the House,” the Raj Bhavan said.

US private sector cuts 301,000 jobs in January

Private companies in the US slashed 301,000 jobs in January, indicating a disrupted recovery in the labor market amid the Covid-19 resurgence fuelled by the Omicron variant, payroll data company Automatic Data Processing (ADP) reported.

“The labor market recovery took a step back at the start of 2022 due to the effect of the Omicron variant and its significant, though likely temporary, impact to job growth,” Xinhua news agency quoted Nela Richardson, chief economist at ADP, as saying on Wednesday.

“The majority of industry sectors experienced job loss, marking the most recent decline since December 2020,” she said.

Richardson noted that leisure and hospitality saw the “largest setback” after substantial gains in fourth-quarter 2021, with job losses of 154,000.

The service sector saw 274,000 jobs lost in January, while the goods-producing sector cut 27,000 jobs, according to the report produced by the ADP Research Institute in collaboration with Moody’s Analytics.

Large firms slashed 98,000 workers, medium-sized businesses let go of 59,000, while small companies cut 144,000 employees, the report showed, indicating an unbalanced recovery across different company sizes.

The ADP report came two days before the crucial monthly employment report to be released by the Labour Department’s Bureau of Labour Statistics, which will include employment data from both the private sector and the government.