Daily Current Affairs : 1st February 2024

Topics Covered

  1. National mission for mentoring
  2. Verdict on Fact checking rule
  3. Facts for Prelims

1 . National Mission for Mentoring


Context : With an aim to provide mentoring to school teachers, the National Council of Teacher Education (NCTE) has proposed to expand its pool of mentor teachers from 60 to 1,000 and is awaiting the nod of Ministry of Education to approve the National Mission for Mentoring (NMM), so that the mission can be rolled out across the country. 

About National Mission for Mentoring

  • The National Mission for Mentoring (NMM), as envisaged in NEP 2020, is about the creation of a large pool of outstanding professionals willing to provide mentoring to school teachers and ensure their continuous professional development.
  • These potential mentors, regardless of the age or position of the mentor and mentee, will contribute towards realizing 21st century development goals of our nation.
  • National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) launched NMM in Pilot mode on 29th July 2022 in selected 30 Central Schools (15 KVs, 10 JNVs, 5 CBSE) across the country. In the pilot mode, up to 700 mentee teachers have registered to seek training on the NMM portal. “Of the 60 mentor teachers who are assigned to provide mentorship in these areas, at least 30 are Padma awardees.
  • Areas of mentoring identified by the mission include Instructional modules on Hindi and Mathematics in primary, middle and secondary sections, digital education, and socio-emotional learning, Inclusive Education including models of disability, learning, and assessment methods for special needs, Professionalism and Ethics, Classroom Management, Building 21st century skills, Interpersonal Skills, Action Research Project, Art Integrated Pedagogy, and Teacher’s Mental Health Engagement. 

Benefits and Current Status

  • Program is not only enhancing the teaching abilities of the mentee teachers but also facilitating a culture of continuous learning, enabling teachers to stay updated and relevant in today’s dynamic educational landscape.
  • In 2021-22, after the mission found a mention in the Union Budget, the Ministry of Education approved, and the NCTE utilised ₹1.28 crore to build digital infrastructure to support the mission. In 2022-23, another ₹two crore were spent to run the mission on pilot mode. In July last year, the NCTE also drafted a National Mission for Mentoring – The Bluebook, a draft document, which it is waiting for MoE to approve.

2 . Verdict on Fact checking rule


Context : A Division Bench of the Bombay High Court delivered a split verdict in a petition that challenged the Union government’s Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Amendment Rules, 2023, which empower the Centre to establish a fact-checking unit to identify “fake, false and misleading information” on social media platforms about the government’s business.

About the case

  • Under the new IT rules, the government can ask social media platforms such as Facebook, X, Instagram and YouTube to remove any content/news related to the “business of the Central government” that was identified as “fake, false, or misleading” with the help of the FCU. An organisation appointed by the government will be the arbiter of such content, and if intermediaries do not comply with its decision, they may lose their safe harbour status under Section 79 of the IT Act, 2000.
  • The Internet Freedom Foundation, which assisted Mr. Kamra in filing the petition, said the plea had challenged the validity of the IT rules, arguing that the amendments are ultra vires to Section 79 of the IT Act.
  • The petition also argued that the amendments violate the right to freedom of speech and expression under Article 19 (1)(a); they do not satisfy provisions of reasonable restrictions on freedom of speech and expression under Article 19(2) and the amendments violate the right to practice and trade or profession under Article 19(1)(g).

Key observations of the Verdict

  • Justices Gautam Patel and Neela Gokhale pronounced the verdict on the four petitions filed by satirist Kunal Kamra, the Editors’ Guild of India, the Association of Indian Magazines, and the News Broadcasters and Digital Association (NBDA).
  • Justice Patel questioned how the court can be expected to limit the scope of the word “information” defined under the IT Act. During the proceedings, Mr. Mehta said social media platforms did not have the liberty to do anything once content on their platform was flagged by the FCU. If a social media or news website continued to host flagged information, it would have to defend its stand in the court if any action was taken against an individual involved in such social media posts.
  • Justice Patel ruled in favour of the petitioners, Justice Neela Gokhale disagreed and upheld the amendment. The case will now be placed before a third judge by the Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court.

3 . Facts for Prelims


Neuromorphic Computing

  • Neuromorphic computing is the practice of modelling computers after the human brain — to a new level by directly including brain tissue in a computer.

Biocomputing

  • Biocomputing, uses biological components to perform computational processes. Last year, for example, a group of researchers from Australia cultured brain cells and trained them to play pong (a table-tennis-like videogame), in the process demonstrating the initial steps of long-term training.

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