Category Archives: Education

Checkmate nerves in championship endgame – Calcutta teenager conquers enemy within on way to breakthrough international title

Arpita Mukherjee, who won gold in the under-20 Commonwealth Chess Championships in Delhi this month. Picture by Mayukh Sengupta
@Byline: Debraj Mitra

A 16-year-old Dum Dum girl has made a career gambit out of a “distraction” once employed by her parents to get her to swallow her medicine.

Arpita Mukherjee won gold in the under-20 Commonwealth Chess Championships in Delhi this month, an achievement pieced together after several years of dominating performances in state and national championships across age groups. A Class X student at Shahid Rameshwar Balika Vidyamandir in Dum Dum, she sees her first international victory as the turning point in her career.

“I had been losing crucial matches from favourable positions. Not being able to hold my nerves is a failing that I seem to have finally overcome,” said Arpita, whose father Partha gives chess lessons to children for a living.

The teenager looks up to chess stalwarts Magnus Carlsen and Judit Polgar for inspiration and trains at the Dibyendu Barua Chess Academy. Her top goal is to become a Grandmaster.

“There was never any doubt about Arpita’s talent. But she had a confidence problem. Winning the Commonwealth gold will settle her nerves,” Barua told Metro.

For Arpita, this competition had been all about not crumbling under the weight of expectations. A few months before the Commonwealth Games, she had started meditating to get into the right frame of mind. She finished the tournament undefeated, winning five games and drawing two.

“I won at least a couple of close matches that could have gone either way. My concentration did not slip,” Arpita recounted.

Arpita’s first big year in chess was 2008, when she was just seven years old but skilled enough to defeat several higher-seeded players at the Telegraph School Chess competition. The same year, she won the state championship in the under-8 category.

In 2009, Arpita won silver at the Asian Youth Championships in Delhi. A bronze in the under-9 section of the national championships in Chennai followed. Since then, she has consistently earned medals in successive state and national tournaments, including bronze in both the under-17 and under-19 categories of the 2016 nationals.

Arpita, much more confident after her Commonwealth success, aims to become a Women International Master (WIM) soon. “I have one WIM norm. I need two more to get the rank,” she said.

Arpita attributes her success to her father, with whom she plays “mind chess” after dinner every day. Having Grandmaster Barua as a mentor has also been a big advantage. But getting sponsors is proving to be difficult.

The teenager had been selected to represent India in the under-20 Asian Championships in Tehran in May but could not go. “I needed to arrange more than Rs 1 lakh, which I could not do. Arpita had to cancel her trip,” Partha said.

A relative gifted her a laptop last year. “It has helped me a lot – playing with the computer regularly,” she said.

What message do you have for Arpita? Tell

source: / The Telegraph, Calcutta,India / Front Page> Calcutta> Story / Friday – July 28th, 2017

Kolkata’s last surviving Chinese school set for 2nd innings

Members of the new managing committee most of whom studied in Pei May


One of the city’s last Chinese schools that had closed down seven years ago has got a new lease of life. Members of the community in Tangra’s Chinatown are drawing up plans to reopen the institute that has taught Mandarin to at least two generations of Indian Chinese before the classrooms were padlocked in 2010 after the management committee was taken over by a Chinese businessman. The Chinese Tannery Owners’ Association has won the legal tussle and regained control.

“The sweat and blood of our grandparents and parents went into establishing the school so that we could learn the Chinese language and culture. When it was set up nine decades ago, the Indian Chinese community wasn’t prosperous. In fact, most were impoverished and earned a living from sale of leather waste. In our generation, we have not been able to create any infrastructure. It is our moral responsibility to look after the school so that future generations are not deprived of education,” said Chu Ying Wah, vice-president of the school’s new managing committee.

The three-storied U-shaped school building with a football field and basketball court sits on 3 bigha, 13 cottah of prime land in Tangra that developers have been eyeing for a while. With a cottah now selling for Rs 25 lakh in the area, it is a virtual gold mine waiting to be grabbed. Aware of the threat, the committee wants to restart the school from the next academic session, initially from KG to Class V, then till VIII before approaching the CISCE board for affiliation. “Students who get admitted next year should be able to sit for ICSE and ISC exams,” said Yeh Chi Yan, the president of the managing committee.

While restarting the school will be relatively easy, the committee is aware that convincing parents to admit their children in Pei May instead of an established English medium school will be a challenge. “Times have changed. It has to be an English-medium school that will be open to all. Chinese will be available as a second or third language but English will be the first language,” said Chan Yung Sheng, treasurer of the committee. Also, instead of Chinese and world history and geography that was taught earlier, students will now learn about Indian history and geography.

The school’s fortunes had begun to decline from the 1970s when the Indian Chinese community, embittered after being interned during the Sino-Indian border conflict in 1964, began to migrate. The population declined from 10,000 in the 1960s to 5,000. Another wave of migration in the late 1990s after the government decided to shift tanneries out of Tangra saw the population decline to 2,500. This apart, the school also lost out when another school — Grace Ling Liang — was set up and offered English along with Mandarin.

“At present, there are only 2,000-odd Chinese in Tangra. In the 1960s, the school had over 1,000 Chinese students. Now, there will be only a few. Most of the students will be non-Chinese,” said Chen Khoi Kui, secretary of the association as well as Tangra Chinese Youth Club. Such is the situation now, the committee may well have to appoint a non-Chinese to teach Mandarin.

source: / The Times of India / News> City News> Kolkata News> Schools & Colleges / TNN / July 09th, 2017

Kolkata boy No.3 on AIIMS list, state trio in top 50

Kolkata :

When Tollygunge boy Tamaghna Ghosh quit IITDelhi to return home after only one semester in computer science and engineering, he faced a lot of criticism from family and friends. On Friday though, the same people were heaping praise on him after he stood third in the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) entrance exam. This is the highest rank secured by any student from Bengal in the past five years. Two other state students feature on the top-50 list.

“In 2016, I had 93 rank in IITJEE (Advanced) and took admission in IIT-Delhi. But when I chose to return, everyone apart from my parents criticised me,” said Ghosh. His interest in medical research prompted him to take the decision.

“The course at IIT would have given me a good career with a luxurious life. But that is not what I wanted to do. In 2016, my rank in NEET was not good and that motivated me to prepare well,” said the top-3 rank holder.

The 21st position was secured by Aranya Dutta, a student of Ramakrishna Mission Vidyalaya, Narendrapur. Dutta, an Arijit Singh fan, wants to become a cardiologist. “I was confident of doing well. But being 21st was beyond my expectations,” he said. Dutta, who stood seventh in the HS, said he dedicated eight hours every day for his preparation. ” Accuracy and speed are important,” he added.

On No.28 is Shivam Singh of Birla High School for Boys. “Consistency, revision of lessons and taking mock tests are my success mantra. I would suggest medical aspirants to study the NCERT books,” said the Belur resident. Singh wants to study neurosurgery and likes to play chess, watch comedy shows on TV and devoted five hours every day to prepare for medical entrance tests.

Apart from the three, two more names from Bengal are in the top 100. “For the first time, three students from the state will be joining AIIMS Delhi to pursue MBBS course. In the past, barely one student was able to crack the exam every three or four years,” said Sunil Agarwal, centre director of Aakash Institute in Bengal.

source: / The Times of India / News> City News> Kolkata News / by Somdatta Basu / TNN / June 16th, 2017

Singur movement ‘historic win’, to be part of school syllabus: West Bengal minister

The minister also said that by March 15 the government would complete the entire process of employing 72,000 teachers in primary, upper-primary, Madhyamik and Higher Secondary schools.

West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee addressing a rally at Singur in 2011. (Express archive)

The iconic Singur movement would be introduced in the history syllabus of schools run by the West Bengal government from this year, West Bengal education minister Partha Chatterjee today said.

The minister, who described the Singur movement as a “historic win” for the farmers, told a question-answer session in the Assembly that a chapter detailing the agitation would be included in the history syllabus of class eight.
Later, speaking to reporters, Chatterjee said, “It’s a historic win for the farmers. Along with the Singur movement, the Tebhaga movement and Krishak Andolan will also feature in the syllabus and students must know that this movement is one of the milestones in the country’s history.”

Chatterjee said that distribution of the books had already been started. After the Supreme Court verdict allowing redistribution of Singur land among farmers, the state education department had sent the proposal to the syllabus committee for approval of the inclusion of Singur movement in the Madhyamik school syllabus.

The minister also said that by March 15 the government would complete the entire process of employing 72,000 teachers in primary, upper-primary, Madhyamik and Higher Secondary schools.

He requested ‘opponents’ not to move court creating hurdles in the process of employment of teachers and said that his department was going through a verification process at present.

source: / The Indian Express / Home> Education / by PTI / Kolkata – February 13th, 2017

IIT-Kharagpur and State Bank of India develop a customised portal for intellectual property

Kolkata :

Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur and State Bank of India are collaborating to develop a customized portal for launching ‘Intellectual Property Development as a service’ (IPDaas) for Intellectual Property Rights generation. Mr. Mrutyunjay Mahapatra, Deputy Managing Director and CIO of SBI launched this project today at IIT-Kharagpur.

A symbolic submission of a patentable project was made by him in the preliminary version of IPDaas.
A MoU has already been signed between India’s largest commercial bank and the largest IIT in the country for a larger gamut of collaborations in the FinTech domain. Four departments from the Institute are engaged in this collaboration.

SBI has a history of creating innovative banking and IT solutions in-house. The IPDaas will facilitate streamlining patent applications for solutions developed internally and thereby making them available for external use through licensing. Since solutions created by SBI are based on actual challenges faced by the organization, they would prove to be useful for various bottlenecks experienced by financial institutions that too in the Indian scenario.
It will also tap the huge technical expertise of seasoned banking professionals in the organization. “It is trend-setting for an organization like SBI to move towards holistic IP creation. This would create an ecosystem for organizations in India especially in the financial sector to promote their technical expertise. With the exponentially growing economy of India such solutions will decide the quality and efficiency of financial services which would be provided to customers in India and similar other regions” said Partha Pratim Chakrabarti, Director, IIT Kharagpur.

IIT-Kharagpur will work with SBI Collaborative Innovation Centre (CIC) team. Going forward, this premier technology institute of the country with unique distinction having an IPR law school in the campus will assist in review and associated activities for a full-fledged offer of IP as a service.

Mrutyunjay Mahapatra, Deputy Managing Director and CIO of SBI visited several labs focused on research related to security solutions for mobile banking, hardware such as ATM, POS machine, IoT, intelligent asset tracking etc.

There were further discussions pertaining to commercialization of such products developed by IIT-Kharagpur through SBI.

“This is merely the beginning of what could be termed as a long-term association between SBI and IIT-Kharagpur. IIT has proposed several solutions for real challenges faced by banks in IT, user application, security, management of human resources etc. For e.g. tracking of hypothecated or lien property, prevention of erroneous usage of administrative rights, voice identification of caller, tracking of human resources and office stationary on premise and many more. Some of the solutions are already existing which needs to be customised for SBI’s requirements while some problem situations or feedback SBI will share with IIT based on which they will develop the solutions. We have found several of the solutions intriguing and further discussion would be held to collaborate on those projects,” Mahapatra added.

source: / The Times of India / News> City News> Kolkata / by Somdatta Basu, TNN / January 31st, 2017

Now, Rs 5 wonder sachet to help you save teeth, bone


. Scientists have developed an inexpensive kit to test the fluorosis level in the body

. The fluoride level detection kit that will soon be available in shampoo-like sachet

Kolkata :

Scientists at a top-notch research institute in Durgapur have developed an easy-to-use, inexpensive kit to test the fluorosis level in the body so that one can take corrective measures before it causes teeth and bone deformity.

A team led by CSIR-CMERI scientist (surface engineering and tribology division) Dr Priyabrata Banerjee has developed the fluoride level detection kit that will soon be available in shampoo-like sachet. The sachets, to be priced around Rs 5 each, will contain two kits comprising two vials and a strip of colour-coded paper. While one vial will be empty, the other will contain a chemo-sensor liquid.

“All that a person has to do is spit into the empty vial, then pour the chemo sensor into it, close the vial and shake it vigorously. There will be an instant colour change, indicating the level of fluorosis in the body. If it is orange, it will indicate unsafe level of more than 1.5 ppm. Yellow indicates safe level of less than 1.5 ppm. The vial can be placed against the colour coded strip to match the colour and the fluorosis level it indicates,” Banerjee pointed out.

The Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute (CMERI) is a leading mechanical engineering R&D institute under the aegis of Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) that has developed technologies to provide societal solutions.The folurosis level detection kit is one such that has already been provisionally patented and technology tranferred to small scale industry for commercial production. The institute showcased this and other technologies at the 31st Indian Engineering Congress organised by the Institute of Engineers (India) in Kolkata recently.

“We expect the kits to be available in health stores in rural Bengal, particularly villages in Purulia, Bankura and Birbhum where fluorosis is a problem,” said Banerjee, who is the key inventor. Fluorosis can be dental, skele tal or non-skeletal and cause motteled teeth or deformity of limbs.

Banerjee’s team has also developed a chemo sensor station costing around Rs 2,000 each that will be placed at the primary health centres in fluorosis-affected districts where people can get the samples electronically verified.

“The salivary fluoride level detection kit is the latest technology that our scientists have come up with. The patent for this product was filed on November18,” said CSIR-CMERI director Harish Hirani.

Another technology that the R&D institute demonstrated was a smart card operated and pluggable energy meter through which one can instantly measure the energy level of an electrical installation using a smart phone. “One only needs to have internet connectivity or bluetooth to link a smart energy meter with a smartphone,” said a scientist.

source: / The Times of India / News> City News> Kolkata News / by Suman Chakraborti / TNN / December 20th, 2016

Project for novel artistic ideas

(From left) Max Mueller Bhavan's director Friso Maecker and programme officer Sharmistha Sarkar along with arts curator Nandita Palchoudhuri hold a poster of the New Patrons project
(From left) Max Mueller Bhavan’s director Friso Maecker and programme officer Sharmistha Sarkar along with arts curator Nandita Palchoudhuri hold a poster of the New Patrons project

A system that makes it possible for people to commission public art projects themselves has been introduced. New Patrons, already active in Europe, Africa and the US, has just been launched in India.

Max Mueller Bhavan, Calcutta, is accepting applications for the New Patrons project from across Bengal, Jharkhand, Odisha, Bihar, Sikkim, Tripura, Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh.

“They have been planning this for a long time in Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai. But we managed to see it take off here first,” Nandita Palchoudhuri, arts curator and entrepreneur, said.

She has been brainstorming with Max Mueller Bhavan’s director Friso Maecker and programme officer Sharmistha Sarkar over the past few weeks on how best to implement the project.

Any group of individuals over 18 with an original idea that could start an artistic dialogue or participatory process can apply for the New Patrons project.

The idea has to be novel and aesthetic that will bring sustainable change in the local milieu, make life easier, bring people together, restore and beautify architecture or invent new ways to sensitise people about an issue.

A special jury will select an idea and place it before a team of mediators from the New Patrons initiative who will collaborate with the group to identify a suitable artist and a funding plan. The core team of the New Patrons initiative will guide and monitor the progress regularly.

In France, a community got a renowned composer to create a composition for an orchestra of amateur musicians with unconventional instruments.

Another community commissioned an artist to landscape and restore a heritage landmark.

So far, there has been a heartening response from the Northeast and Calcutta, Sarkar said. “There are interesting projects on the city they live in, dying art forms etc. But we are still waiting for Bihar and Odisha to respond.”

People often have ideas but don’t know how to take it forward or who to contact or how to negotiate with various government or private bodies, Palchoudhuri said.

“The New Patrons team takes care of all such issues through discussions with the group. For the artists, too, it is a new experience,” she said.

“The collaboration between citizens, mediators and artists makes for equal involvement and sharing of responsibilities not always seen in cultural productions. It is also possible to rope in foreign sponsors.”

Those wishing to apply can send in their proposals in English or Hindi to before November 30.

Proposals should include a short description of the project idea that the group collectively seeks to execute, the need for such a project and the impact expected and an introduction of the group and its members.

source: / The Times of India / Front Page> Calcutta> Story / by Sebanti Sarkar / Wednesday – November 23rd, 2016

IIT Kharagpur introduced Staff Excellence Award on 66th Foundation Day

Kolkata :

Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur celebrated its 66th Foundation Day on August 18.

“With the history of a political detention camp where freedom fighters, of the age of first year IIT students, gave their lives, the IIT system has become one of the finest brands that independent India offered to the world”, said Partha Pratim Chakrabarty, Director of IIT Kharagpur. He also remembered his school teacher on this occasion who was incarcerated in the Hijli Detention Camp for 15 years. “Building leaders is the aim that is fostered at the Institute now” added Chakrabarty.

Surajit Kar Purkayastha, Director General of West Bengal Police and an alumnus of IIT Kharagpur who was the Chief Guest of the programme said, the standard of IIT Kharagpur is such that any student can become high ranking civil service officers. He explained how the scenario of recruitment in civil services changed in late 70s’ with encouraging more engineers to join the services and enrich the country with their analytical skills and technical expertise. Shri Purkayastha also appreciated the serene atmosphere of the IIT Kharagpur campus separated from the chaos of the world outside and helping students to concentrate more on their career development. He urged the students to lay foundation of strong character on the occasion of the Foundation Day which will take them and the country forward.

On this day, the Institute announced life-long email service for its 55000+ alumni community. The Institute presented the Nina Saxena Excellence in Technology Award to Jeen Britto.M, ISRO Scientist, for his exemplary innovation in the field of Cryogenics Instrumentation and Automation. Krishnendu Chakrabarty, distinguished professor and Director of Graduate Studies at Duke University, was handed over the Distinguished Alumnus Award to which he was a recipient in 2014. IIT Kharagpur also introduced the Staff Excellence Award this year and honored three staff members in various categories.

The programme also saw participation from high school students of three schools – South Point, DAV Model School and Kendriya Vidyalaya. An interactive session was organized with the school students with the faculty and students from IIT Kharagpur. The students were given brief introduction of the interdisciplinary domains of technology education which they can pursue. While the faculty emphasized on the following the passion of the young mind instead of 7-digit pay packages, the 1st year students from IIT Kharagpur suggested their juniors to balance the hours of study and recess.

source: / The Times of India / News Home> City> Kolkata / Somdatta Basu / TNN / August 19th, 2016

Alpana decision taken at Kala Bhavan

Each district has its own 'brotos' with corresponding  alpanas
Each district has its own ‘brotos’ with corresponding alpanas

Kolkata :

It was at Kala Bhavan that the idea of including alpana as part of the fine arts syllabus germinated, through a series of workshops that Rabi Biswas was called in to conduct. Biswas, in fact, has been crusading to revive folk alpana, with foundations like Daricha and Intach playing a key role.

To most of us, the word alpana means patterns drawn with rice paste on auspicious occasions. In today’s age, when one has very little time to soak and grind rice to make the paste and then take time out to draw the patterns, stickers make for easy use. The result is that one of the most vibrant folk traditions of Bengal is gradually becoming extinct.

However, two of the country’s premier art schools have taken it upon themselves to make alpana a part of their teaching-learning process, to help start a revival of sorts.

The one-year foundation course at Kala Bhavan – compulsory for all students taking up fine arts at the undergraduate level – has been revised to include alpana, both in the Santiniketan gharana that was perfected by Nandalal Bose’s daughters Jamuna Devi and Gauri Bhanja, and also the genre inspired by folk traditions. “All students of painting, sculpture, graphics, design and art history have to first go through the foundation course, get their grades and then be given a chance to choose their specializations,” said principal Dilip Mitra. ” Alpana now features in the foundation course because we want every student to be aware of both the Santiniketan and the folk traditions. This will save it from extinction.”

The most popular among these are the six different kinds of ‘Lakshmi brotos’, coupled with specific corresponding alpanas. There are brotos in the monsoon for sowing paddy seeds popular in Birbhum, Burdwan, Bankura and Purulia, where the paddy sheaf is the central alpana motif, brotos for the Nabanna festival, for a custom called Punyipukur, where the pond and the lotus are the central motifs, for Dasputul, where the alpana is inspired by the ‘Ramayana’, the Senjuti broto that characterizes evenings in the month of Agrahayana, with a 52-motif elaborate alpana, the Jampukur broto where the god of death is appeased through rituals and alpanas, and the Hyachra broto to ward off seasonal diseases like chicken pox.

Though unrelated to the Visva-Bharati initiative, similar alpana workshops by Biswas were a routine affair at Rabindra Bharati University at its state academy of dance, drama, music and visual art. “We are toying with the idea of expanding a portion of the painting syllabus to include folk traditions from Bengal, including alpana of the different districts,” said head of the painting department at RBU, Nikhil Pal.

source: / The Times of India / News Home> City> Kolkata / TNN / August 15th, 2016

Future of banking decoded


Calcutta Management Summit 2016, the annual signature event of Calcutta Management Association, was held at The Lalit Great Eastern on August 3. The theme? Challenges and Future of Indian Banking. It was inaugurated by the chairman of the State Bank of India, Arundhati Bhattacharya – seen here with Achintan Bhattacharya, director, National Institute of Bank Management (Pune), Gautam Ray, president (CMA), and industrialist Sanjay Budhia.

Bhattacharya delivered the 16th Sir Jehangir Ghandy Memorial Oration on “Challenges and Future of Indian Banking”. The summit had two technical sessions on “Changing Contours of Risks and Positioning Indian Banks” and “Digital Banking and Redefining of Efficiency Paradigm in Banking”.

The other speakers at the summit were Achintan Bhattacharya, A.S. Ramasastri, director, Institute for Development and Research in Banking Technology(IDRBT), Hyderabad, C.S. Ghosh, MD & CEO, Bandhan Bank, Anup Sinha, professor of economics, IIM, Calcutta, Pavan Trivedi, COO, Srei Equipment Finance, Shubhada Rao, group president & chief economist, YES Bank; Saugata Bhattacharya, senior vice president & chief economist, Axis Bank, Deshbandhu Kataria, deputy general manager, Anytime Channel, State Bank of India, and Rajarshi Sengupta, partnerchief innovation officer, Deloitte, Touche, Tohmatsu India LLP

source: / The Telegraph,Calcutta,India / Front Page> Calcutta> Story / Thursday – August 11th, 2016