Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Singapore education- an overview

      Singapore is a small island country in South East Asia. The diverse culture is mostly made up of Chinese, Indians, Malays and Caucasians. For a student who wishes to study abroad, Singapore is a good option The infrastructure, accessibility and high standards of education are the main reasons for the flow of international students here. There is definitely a huge difference in the fee structure between Indian and Singapore colleges and education in India is  good in most colleges and generally cheaper but education in Singapore has a different approach. It is less of rote learning/ memorizing and more importance is given to course work and thinking 'out of the box'. Even though fee may be high, the best part is there are scholarships, tuition grant, student loans etc which helps to ease the financial strain. There are 5 local universities and plenty of foreign universities and collaborations of Singapore universities with foreign universities. 

So what the requisites for a foreign student should have/ know before he applies to universities here?
  • Decide which university you would like to join. Read their brochure and see if you fit the bill.
  • Apply directly to the university .Online application are also accepted.
  •  International students are required to apply for a Student's Pass to pursue a course of study in Singapore unless he / she is a holder of a Dependant’s Pass (DP) or an Immigration Exemption Order (IEO).
  •  After getting admission, you must go the Immigration and checkpoint authority (ICA) to apply for student pass.
  •  Make sure you have a valid visa. If you require a visa to come to Singapore, please ensure that your application for the Student Pass is submitted to the ICA at least 2 months and not more than 6 months before the commencement date of the course
  •  Generally, a security deposit has to be paid upon approval of the student pass application. For India, its around S$5,000 in the form of a Banker's Guarantee from any established banks in Singapore or Casher's Order.
  •  Scholarships are awarded by the universities themselves for meritorious students.
  •  Applications for admissions are available from October the preceeding year to March
  •  Though SAT scores are not required for international students, it is always an advantage to help gain entry easily.
  •  TOEFL scores are mandatory for students seeking admission in Singapore. Final interviews might be conducted before gaining admission into any of the universities.

Monday, January 30, 2012


     NEET or National Eligibility cum Entrance Test  is a proposed common All India Medical Entrance Exam for admission to medical Colleges in India. Even before it could take off, there was stiff opposition to this entrance test. Several states like Uttar Pradesh, The State of Goa, Maharashtra, West Bengal , Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka were the few states to fight this decision of a common test tooth and nail. So as of now, NEET is postponed for a year. It will be held in 2013.
So,what is NEET and why this confusion over a common entrance test?
     The Medical Council Of India (MCI) decided to conduct an All India Level  common entrance test for admission to the UG, PG and super speciality courses in medical for the year 2012 – 2013. The total number of seats for UG was around 42,000 and for PG was around 20,600.
The states which opposer NEET say that
1.The notice period given to students for this academis year is very less. The NEET is immediately after the board exams. Though MCI argues that it had informed boards a year earlier, trust the state boards to drag their feel till the very last moment.
2.It is not conducted in vernacular languages which is a handicap to many students of various states.
3.The syllabus of NEET is more tilted towards the CBSE syllabus. This is unfair to the students who are in state boards. In Gujarat for eg.There was more opposition from parents and students as most of the students,almost 70%, study in state run schools where the main medium of instruction is gujarati. Similarly they felt that the state board syllabus is almost 20-25% easier than the cbse which is a disadvantage to the students.
4.There are issues of concern regarding reservation of seats, markings and seats in private colleges.
     While these are genuine concerns, the most vociferous are from influenced and politically connected quarters as, sad but true,most of the private institutions are privately run and if seats are given based on merit marks,it will affect the capitation fee. AP and Maharashtra which is congress ruled have the maximum private colleges with political connections. Karnataka and Gujarat are now playing the waiting game.
      On the other side,many academics feel this is a good move for a single entrance test. They feel there is no difference in the syllabus between boards. AIIMS has refused to participate in NEET as they feel their entrance tests are of higher standards.The decision is still unclear as with J&K who have not agreed for NEET for 2012.
     Kerala,which has the highest literacy rate, has surprisingly welcomed the move of a common test even though 80% of its students study in state board.
     So as of now, NEET has been postponed for a year,not scrapped, with UP,West Bengal,Karnataka and Gujarat requesting for the exam to be conducted in a vernacular language from 2014.
     So this leaves me wondering why this mess? It’s the responsibility of the education boards to formulate a method where all merit students are given equal opportunities for entering the medical profession as this is a noble field and only the best brains are need in this profession regardless of the econmic background. Doctors deal with human lives and the selfish interest of a few vested interess should not mar this profession.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Environmental Science

            The main aim of environmental education is to raise awareness  and sensitivity about the environment ,understand the environmental challenges and develop the right skills and attitudes to become aware of the various problems faced. As the population grows and latest technology available, there will definitely be a major impact on the environment like global warming, acid rains, energy depletion, soil erosion due to deforestation, habitat destruction, depletion of coral reefs etc.
            This is an inter disciplinary subject. A student must have taken Chemistry,Physics,Biology or Ecology,(Geology ) in grade 12. This is an exciting and an intersesting field which has seen a lot of strides in the past few years. Learning takes place all the time be it  in the classroom, the library ,the laboratory, the field and so on.
            Environmental science is a generalised subject encompassing many  science subjects. It is possible to specialise in one area for example geologyt,hydrology, ecology,climatology etc.  Even those who have studied law but are passionate on environmental issues, this is an ideal subject as there is a strong demand for lawyers who have a good grasp of the science behind environmental issues.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Wildlife Photography

Photography is your passion..You love animals and want to get into their world..Imagine how wonderful it would be to capture animals in their surroundings…their various moods, their habits, how they capture their prey etc. A real passion and plenty of patience is the main requisite to become a wildlife photographer. This is a lucrative field especially if its your dream to get into the pages of National Geographic!!To be a successful photographer, you must hone your skills in areas like  photographic technique, exposure and metering, light and composition. Since you will be shooting subjects in their natural settings, not posed to click, timing and eye for detail is important. At times, a photo clicked in the right moment will make a successful career for you. In addition to this, presence of mind in unexpected situations is important for eg. What would you do if you come face to face with a bear and her cubs!!

Another good idea is to study under an established wildlife photographer. At first try to photograph people and nature. Try to capture moments of your pets..a sleeping or yawning dog, stretching of your pet cat,close up of a squirrel nibbling etc..anything that captures the moment.Read more about wildlife and attend classes and seminars. In this field it is important to keep widening your knowledge. Be prepared to travel to remote places or high mountains for that perfect shot.Who knows, you could start your own show on wildlife!!