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Washington, July 29 (IBNS): Library of Congress (LoC), Washington has restored and made available online the Gandhara Scroll, one of the world’s oldest Buddhist manuscripts, LoC reports said.
Library of Congress/Facebook
The Gandhara Scroll, a manuscript dating back to around the first century Before Christ (B.C.), offers insight into early Buddhist history.
“This is a unique item because it is very old compared to similar manuscripts and, as such, it does bring us, historically speaking, relatively close to the lifetime of the Buddha,” says Jonathan Loar, reference librarian in the Asian Division at the LoC.
The scroll is available for viewing at loc.gov/item/2018305008.
The scroll originates from Gandhara, an ancient Buddhist region located in what is now the northern border areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan, and tells the story of buddhas who came before and after Siddhartha Gautama, the religious leader on whose teachings Buddhism was founded.
Gautama had reached enlightenment under the Bodhi tree in eastern India around the fifth century B.C.
Richard Salomon, director of the British Library-University of Washington Early Buddhist Manuscripts Project said that Gautama's scroll is about 80 percent complete compared to the other more fragmentary Gandharan manuscripts known to scholars.
Only the very beginning and end are missing in the Gautama's scroll of LoC.
Digitizing the Gandhara Scroll was very complicated as the scroll arrived folded and packed in an ordinary pen case.
Due to the fragility of the scroll, an unrolling technique on a dried-up cigar facilitated the conservators to work with a compacted birch bark scroll.
“Digitizing the scroll offers both scholars and Buddhist communities worldwide access to a lesser-known part of Buddhist history,” Loar said. “This being as old as it is and also one of only a couple of hundred Gandharan manuscripts known to scholars means the Library’s
scroll can shed new light on Buddhism’s formative period.”
The Library’s new user-centered strategic plan to expand access and making unique collections and services available to experts when, where and how users need them is reflected in the digitization of the Gandhara Scroll.
To promote and support additional research of the treasure, a facsimile of the Gandhara Scroll was created this year by the LoC.
The Library purchased the single scroll from a British antiquities dealer in 2003. It is the oldest holding in the Library’s Asian Division.
Founded in 1928, the Asian Division of LoC currently holds of more than 4 million physical items in over 130 different Asian languages found in seven collections: Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Mongolian, South Asian, Southeast Asian and Tibetan.
Asian Division of Library of Congress/Twitter
The Asian Reading Room, located in the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building, room 150, is the public gateway to access the Asian collections on-site.
LoC, the world’s largest library offering access to the creative record of the United States as well as extensive materials from around the world both on-site and online, is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)
July 26, 2019 10:11 A.M.Ministry of Education
TORONTO — Ontario is putting a renewed focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math as well as the skilled trades.
Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce and Alberta Education Minister Adriana LaGrange signed an agreement while at the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC) meeting in Victoria, B.C. to enhance learning opportunities for students in science, technology, engineering and math as well as the skilled trades.
"Our government is committed to helping Ontario students gain the skills they need to prepare for the demands of the global economy and jobs of the future," said Lecce. "This agreement is another step we are taking to better prepare our kids for future success. By increasing educational opportunities for our students in the STEM and skilled trades sectors, we are giving them the tools they need to be successful in the classroom, to the boardroom, to the shop floor."
The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Ontario and Alberta will support and enhance opportunities for elementary and secondary students in STEM fields, and ensure that the skilled trades are recognized as a career of choice by young people, parents and educators.
"Encouraging students to pursue careers in STEM and the skilled trades will help address the current labour shortage Ontario is facing," said Ross Romano, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities. "There are so many opportunities for Ontario students to prosper in the areas of science, technology, engineering, math and the skilled trades."
"Our government is working hard to ensure our younger generations will get the skills and training needed for the jobs of tomorrow," said David Piccini, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities. "We are focusing on promoting the skilled trades as a first-choice career path for young people and increasing access to the apprenticeship system."
The MOU proposes to expand and enhance existing knowledge sharing and educational cooperation between the two provinces, including:
Association of School Librarians recognizes NatGeoEd.org as the best website for teaching & learning
Washington, July 22 (Canadian-Media): According to an announcement made by the American Association of School Librarians (AASL), at the ALA conference in Washington, D.C. National Geographic’s NatGeoEd.org, a resource for K-12 educators, was recognized as the best website for the year 2019, media reports said.
A list of the Best Websites for Teaching & Learning Every year, is released by the AASL to honor creativity websites which enhance learning and development for educators.
NatGeoEd.org offers classroom resources, student programming, and online courses and professional development opportunities for educators.
The Resource Library provides free standards-aligned resources, including photographs, articles, classroom activities, videos, and maps. The carefully curated content covers an array of topics beyond geography. Educators can find content by grade level on biology, art, music, storytelling, math, and more.
Some of the most popular resources from the past school year are: Forces of Nature (grades 2-12, higher ed), an interactive activity for a wide variety of ages that helps students understand the science behind earthquakes, volcanoes, tornadoes, and hurricanes; Ancient Mesopotamia 101 (grades 5-12, higher ed), an engaging video to teach students about ancient Mesopotamia!; Great Pacific Garbage Patch (grades 4-12, higher ed), a comprehensive resource for teaching students about how litter affects our oceans; The Road to the Afterlife (grades 5-8), an infographic to teach students about mummification and can be used in a variety of classes including social studies, science, or anthropology.
Seneca College Canada & DEI India Collaborate in Online International Learning Initiative Student Projects
Toronto, July 16 (Canadian-Media): A Certificate Ceremony on a Collaborative Online International Learning Initiative Student Projects on “Computer Network Design” & "Web and Video Publishing on the Internet” between Dayalbagh Educational Institute (DEI), India & Seneca College, Canada, organized by Prashant Srivastava, Director, Seneca International, was held yesterday at Seneca College Newnham Campus, Toronto, Ontario.
DEI is located in Dayalbagh, a colony renowned for its serene environment and secular establishing and conforms to an excellent academic setting contributing to the strength of the social, moral and spiritual fiber of the institute`s educational system.
EDUSAT -- (Education Satellite), reportedly is a network completely an audio-visual medium using multimedia technology wherein teacher-student connectivity is facilitated in distance mode by creating a Teaching End and Classroom End -- is connected to 57 centres in India and is in regular use.
EDUSAT Leased line connectivity from DEI to its centres at Soami Nagar, Delhi and between Rajabori (Hardha District) and between Tirmani at Madhya Pradesh has been established. In addition virtual labs facilities through Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) have been established to facilitate National Mission of Education (NME) through Information and communications technology (ICT) to facilitate communication, creation, dissemination, storage, and information management and enhances the connectivity of national knowledge.
DEI has successfully maintained large repository of recorded video lectures and printed material for for various Vocational Certification and Diploma programs. Some of these are also available in local languages like Tamil and Telugu.
Rajabarari Tribal Campus (left) and Multimedia DEI (right)
Tarachand Satsangi, International Coordinator of DEI Collaboration officially welcomed the audience and said DEI consisted of 6 faculties, 23 departments, 22 undergraduate and 21 post graduate programmes.
DEI also has 9 postgraduate diploma programs, 21 Master of Philosophy programmes and 21 Ph.D programmes. 21 diploma programmes are also offered by technical colleges.
Satsangi then informed the audience that in a review of 130 Deemed Universities conducted by the Ministry of Human Resources Development, Government of India, DEI was placed in 8th position among all 130 Deemed Universities with Grade A.
After DEI received the status of a deemed university in 1981 by University Grants Commission of India it began functioning as the faculty of Arts, Commerce, Education, Engineering and Science from the academic session 1981-82. The Institute has since been accorded the Membership of the Association of Indian Universities.
Professor Saketaram (Sam) Surendra from Seneca College spoke on Seneca India Project Online Collaboration which engages students and faculty from DEI for cross-cultural experiences using various online information and communication technologies that are available through the open-source market. He said this international collaboration on group project levels is really a win-win situation for both Seneca and DEI students in their curriculum learning projects with most of the course offerings in Seneca have group projects and assignment components.
Saketaram (Sam) Surendra
Distribution of certificates to DEI students in India then took place, shown live through video presentation.
DEI students receiving certificates
Presentation of Certificates to Seneca College students was done by both Srivastava and Laurel Schollen, VP, Academic of Seneca College. Schollen then congratulated students of DEI, India and Seneca College, Canada for overcoming challenges in collaboration and their success.
Prashant Srivastava (left) and Laurel Schollen (right)
Question and answer session then took place followed by networking.
Rajan Sharma (Left) and Hadi Majzoub (right)
Rajan Sharma, representing the friends of the Dayalbagh Educational Institute (DEI) in Canada thanked Laurel Schollen, Professor Sam Surendra, Prashant Srivastava and Tarachand Satsangi for facilitating the student exchange between DEI, India and Seneca College, Canada. He stated that he would like to see this exchange grow over the years and would love to be a part of such events that support and encourage the students. He also thanked the counterparts in India; Prem Kalra and Prem Sudhish from DEI as well as Ragini from the Tribal Rajaborari Education Centre for making this exciting educational exchange possible.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)
With half of Somaliland children not in school, UNICEF and partners launch education access programme
United Nations, July 14 (Canadian-Media/UN): Access to education in Somaliland is extremely limited, with more than 50 per cent of children in Somaliland out of school. In an effort to address the problem, the UN children’s fund, UNICEF, has partnered with the government, and the global fund Education Cannot Wait, to launch a programme designed to help children affected by ongoing crises in the country.
Rampant unemployment in Somaliland has prompted thousands of young people to leave the territory every month: Credit: IRIN/Mohamed Amin Jibril
Drought, food insecurity, poverty and inequality are some of the challenges that hinder efforts to get more Somaliland children and youth in schools. The education prospects for children in rural areas, and school age Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Somaliland are particularly poor: only 26 per cent of children in rural communities, and 16 per cent of IDP children, are enrolled in primary schools.
The programme, which will run for three years, has a budget of $64 million, with initial seed money of $6.7 million provided by Education Cannot Wait. The remaining $57.3 million is being sought from additional donors. The programme is expected to provide more than 54,000 children with an education.
A UNICEF statement released on Saturday explained that the aim is to “achieve improved l
earning outcomes for school-aged children who are affected by emergencies”, by increasing access to quality, inclusive, gender-sensitive, child-friendly and sustainable education.
“In our collective quest to reach the Global Goals, it is unacceptable that one in every two children in Somaliland doesn’t have the opportunity of an education”, said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait. “With the launch of this programme, we firmly stand with these children and youth. We stand with the Government and all our education partners”.
It is unacceptable that one in every two children in Somaliland doesn’t have the opportunity of an education” Yasmine Sherif, Director, Education Cannot Wait.
Education, the statement emphasises, is a “central pillar” of the long-term stability and socio-economic growth plans of the Somaliland Government, which “recognizes that the economic growth of the country correlates with the proportion of people with access to education.”
Education Cannot Wait is the global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises, and is administered under UNICEF’s rules and regulations.
Education Cannot Wait is the global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises, and is administered under UNICEF’s rules and regulations. UNICEF is committed to working with the Ministry of Education and Science in Somaliland to strengthen children’s resilience through education, providing technical assistance, pilot projects, and overall system strengthening.
World Heritage Committee decision commends Canada’s Action Plan to protect Wood Buffalo National Park World Heritage Site
Ottawa, Jul 3 (Canadian-Media): A comprehensive Action Plan to protect Wood Buffalo National Park World Heritage Site (WBNPWHS) was developed the Government of Canada, in collaboration with provincial and territorial governments, Indigenous communities, and stakeholders at the request of the World Heritage Committee (WHC) to ensure its safety for current and future generations, media reports said.
Wood Buffalo National Park
Implementation of the Action Plan includes over 140 measures to increase protection of ecosystems, improve understanding and water management of the Peace-Athabasca Delta, strengthen relationships with Indigenous partners, and support the recovery of iconic species for which the World Heritage Site was established, such as Whooping Cranes and Wood Bison.
Action plan on World Heritage Values
Canada is home to several of UNESCO World Heritage sites and the Government of Canada is committed to their ongoing protection.
The World Heritage Committee’s annual meeting is currently taking place in Baku, Azerbaijan
World Heritage sites represent some of humanity’s most outstanding achievements and nature’s most inspiring creations.
Today, at its annual meeting, the WHC adopted a decision on the state of conservation of WBNPWHS and did not inscribe Wood Buffalo National Park on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
The Government of Canada was aware that climate change and external development pressures are having serious impacts on the WBNPWHS at Peace Athabasca Delta.
Canada is taking measures including strengthening relationships with Indigenous peoples, protecting the ecological integrity of the park and surrounding ecosystems, and taking action to improve water management in the Peace Athabasca Delta and has invested $27.5 million through Budget 2018.
This funding is part of the historic $1.35 billion investment by the Government of Canada to protect Canada’s nature, parks, and wild spaces – a true legacy for our children and grandchildren.
Decision has been taken to create new Wildland Provincial Parks by the Government of Alberta in collaboration with Indigenous groups to conserve more than 6.7 million hectares of boreal forest, the largest protected boreal forest in the world. This would provide significant buffers and landscape connectivity to support the conservation of the Peace-Athabasca watershed and the recovery of iconic species such as Whooping Cranes and Wood Bison.
Through ongoing collective action with provincial, territorial, and Indigenous partners, the Government of Canada will preserve the Outstanding Universal Value of Wood Buffalo National Park World Heritage Site so that it remains a treasured place for generations to come.
“While we are pleased that the World Heritage Committee’s decision has recognized the... value of Wood Buffalo National Park World Heritage Site; there's a lot more work to do...Through ongoing collaboration and action, including with eleven Indigenous communities in the region, we will preserve Wood Buffalo National Park World Heritage Site for the benefit of Canadians and the world,” said Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada
New York, Jul 2 (Canadian-Media): The United Nations’ (UN) cultural agency announced on Tuesday that it was removing the place that is officially recognized as the Birthplace of Jesus, from its List of World Heritage in Danger – crediting extensive restorative work on Bethlehem’s Nativity Church, in Palestine, UN reports said.
Birthplace of Jesus: Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route, Bethlehem/UNESCO/Ko Hon Chiu Vincent
The gospels of the New Testament of the Bible state that Christ was born in a manger in Bethlehem, in the reign of King Herod, to Mary and Joseph. The nativity is the basis for the Christian festival of Christmas.
Meeting in Baku, Azerbaijan, the World Heritage Committee made its decision based on the high quality of work carried out on the church in recent years, including the restoration of its roof, exterior facades, mosaics and doors.
The Committee also welcomed the shelving of a project to dig a tunnel under Manger Square and the adoption of a management plan to conserve the site.
Just last week reports revealed that archaeologists had discovered inside one baptismal font, or basin of holy water used for the baptism rite, a more ancient font that dates back to the sixth or seventh century.
Since the Second Century the church, situated 10 kilometers south of Jerusalem, has been identified by Christians as the birthplace of Christ.
While the edifice of a church built there in 339 CE was replaced after a fire in the sixth century, the elaborate floor mosaics were retained from the original building.
The official site also includes Latin, Greek Orthodox, Franciscan and Armenian convents and churches, as well as bell towers, terraced gardens and a pilgrimage route.
Inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2012, due to the poor state of the Nativity Church, it was simultaneously added to the List of World Heritage in Danger.
Others on the list include Syria’s ancient cities of Aleppo, Bosra and Damascus, all inscribed in 2013, and the “Maritime Mercantile City of Liverpool” in the United Kingdom – which consists of six locations in the city centre– inscribed in 2012.
The 54 properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger aim to alert the international community to threats to essential characteristics for which a property was initially inscribed on the World Heritage List. These can include armed conflicts, natural disasters, unplanned urbanization, poaching or pollution.