NCTE set to grade B.Ed and teacher training institutes to improve quality

The National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) will start grading B.Ed colleges and teacher training institutes in the country from July 10, starting with Bihar.

According to Dr. A. Santhosh Mathew, chairperson of NCTE, each institution will be classified into four categories: A, B, C and D. Those falling in category D will be asked to close down while category C institutes will be inspected again within a year’s time and if it fails to improve it will be asked to shut shop. Under the revised framework, the institutions will be ranked on four key elements: physical assets, academic assets, teaching and learning quality and student learning outcomes.

In a major departure, greater weightage will be given to the methods used by teachers to teach and the overall quality of teaching and the learning levels of the students.


The council has already put up on its website details of institutions that have submitted either an affidavit that it had sought or those that were issued show cause notices and have replied. The council has issued an advisory to students not to enroll in any other institute other than those listed on the website.

The council will now start the process of inspecting the 11,474 institutes that will be given a grading depending on their performance. So far, students have been advised to take admissions in only 11,474 institutes. But with the exercise for allocating grades to institutes starting now more institutes are likely to be taken off this list. “We will grade all B.Ed colleges and institutes and it will be put out on our website,” said Dr. Mathew. So far, recognition and accreditation was given for lifetime but now it will be done every five year.



New 'Brain Training' App May Help Improve Memory in Early Stages of Dementia

A team of researchers from the University of Cambridge have developed a game that can delay cognitive decline in patients suffering from dementia. The transitional phase between healthy ageing and dementia is known as Amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI). During this period, a person may experience memory problems.

It has been seen that cognitive training can help these patients by increasing attentional processing, but it tends to be boring which is why most patients are not motivated enough to undertake it. To overcome this challenge, researchers from the Departments of Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences and the Behavioural and Clinical Neuroscience Institute at the University of Cambridge have created a new memory game that affects cognition.

New 'Brain Training' App May Help Improve Memory in Early Stages of Dementia

For the study, randomly divided 42 patients with amnestic MCI into two groups. Participants in the cognitive training group played the memory game for eight one-hour sessions over a four-week period while participants in the control group continued their clinic visits as usual. In the game, which was played on an iPad, the player need to win gold coins for which he has to link different geometric patterns with different locations. With more correct answers, the number of geometric patterns presented also increases which keeps them motivated and engaged in order to maintain their performance.

The findings showed that people who played the game were able to improve their memory score by 40%. They were also able to retain more complex visual information after the training. Their confidence and subjective memory also increased with gameplay as compared to those in the control group. Thus, researchers conclude that such interactive games can keep the patients engaged and help in cognitive training. The study was published in The International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology.

Regular Strength Training Can Reduce the Risk of Diseases

Resistance exercises or more commonly known as strength training is a form of physical activity. It is a great way to lose weight as these exercises target multiple muscle groups in your body. It helps in increasing your strength and endurance and building muscle mass. Not just this, according to a new study, conducted by researchers from Radboud University Medical Center in Netherlands, performing resistance exercises regularly can help in boosting overall health and lower the risk of developing chronic lifestyle diseases like heart trouble, diabetes and obesity.

The study shows that moderate amount of exercise, just 30 minutes per week, can have many beneficial effects including reducing the risk of metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome refers to a group of conditions (biochemical and physiological abnormalities that occur in our body) like increased blood pressure,

high blood sugar, excess body fat, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels that occur together and may lead to the development of heart disease, diabetes, obesity and even stroke. People who suffer from at least three or more of these conditions are known to have metabolic syndrome.

The study found that when generally healthy people performed strength training even for a small amount of time every week (less than an hour), they were able to lower their risk of developing metabolic syndrome by 29% in comparison to others who did not exercise at all. A lot of previous studies have shown that aerobic exercises like walking, jogging, running and swimming can help boost overall health, this is probably the first time that the benefits of performing resistance exercise alone have been assessed.

For the study, the team examined data from more than 7,400 people who took part in medical examinations at the Cooper Clinic in Texas between 1987 and 2006. They were between the age of mid-30 and mid-50 at the time of the examination.


Those who performed resistance exercises for two or more days per week had a 17% lower risk

Researchers found that at least 1,147 participants or 15% of them had developed metabolic syndrome over the follow-up period. But those who performed resistance exercises for two or more days in a week were able to reduce their risk by 17%. Moreover, those who performed aerobic exercises along with resistance training were further able to reduce their risk by 25%.

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends that a strength training should be performed a minimum of two non-consecutive days each week, with one set of 8 to 12 repetitions for healthy adults or 10 to 15 repetitions for older and frail individuals. The team suggests that resistance exercise should be included in standard medical recommendations to prevent metabolic syndrome along with aerobic exercise which is already a part of the current guidelines. They are planing to conduct more studies on the same topic including the effects of resistance training on heart health and the long-term effects of different types and intensities of resistance training on metabolic syndrome.