Citizens' Issues
Most college students use smartphones in classroom: Study
Most college students surf the internet, check social media, send texts and even play games on their smartphones while in the classroom, a new study reveals.
 
"During the typical four years they're in college classrooms, an average student may be distracted for two-thirds of a year," said Barney McCoy, associate professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the US.
 
Boredom was the top reason students gave for turning to their digital devices during class, the findings showed.
 
Faculty and students need to change their practices to adapt to the reality of phones and other digital devices, the study indicated.
 
"The study intends that instructors might benefit from learning and experimenting with new ways to engage college students in classroom activities," suggested McCoy.
 
According to the survey of 675 students in 26 states, students checked their phones and other digital devices in class more than 11 times a day, on an average.
 
It's not just a quick glance to see if someone's trying to reach them. Students in the study estimated that, on an average, they spend 20 percent of their classroom time using digital devices for activities unrelated to class -- mostly texting but also emailing, web-surfing, checking social media and even playing games, the researchers said.
 
"It's their desire to be connected and not wanting to miss a message," McCoy explained. 
 
Nearly 30 percent believed they could use their digital devices without distracting from their learning, the study showed.
 
Around 13 percent said the benefits of using digital devices for non-class purposes outweighed the classroom distractions they caused. More than 11 percent of the respondents said they could not stop themselves from using digital devices.
 
Acknowledging the cost of monitoring digital devices, the students admitted that they don't pay attention and hence miss the important instructions. 
 
They added that their grades suffer and that their professors can haul them out. Yet most respondents indicated they can't or won't change their behaviour, the researchers noted in the study published online in the Journal of Media Education. 
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Increased hospital births not reducing maternal deaths in India
A programme being implemented in India to promote institutional delivery among poor pregnant women has not reduced maternal deaths as much, especially in poor areas, new research has found.
 
The programme that provides monetary incentives for women to give birth in health facilities instead of at home was launched in 2005. 
 
The so called Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY) programme successfully increased births at facilities, but due to its implementation in a fragile health system context, it has been less effective at reducing fatalities, the study said.
 
"The cash transfer programmes are by themselves inadequate to improve health outcomes," said researcher Bharat Randive from Umea University in Sweden. 
 
"While the programme can improve service utilisation, it will not reduce maternal and neo-natal deaths unless the socioeconomic inequalities in access to facility-based care are also addressed and the care is of good quality,” Randive noted in an official statement.
 
"Emergency obstetric care, which is essential to save lives of pregnant women and babies, is grossly unavailable at public facilities in the poor states of India that form a global hotspot for avoidable maternal deaths," Randive pointed out in his research conducted for his doctoral dissertation.
 
In his research, Randive looked at nine Indian states and compared access to care and health outcomes in rich and poor areas. 
 
The poor areas of these nine less developed states had 135 more maternal deaths for every 100,000 births and the decline in maternal deaths during the programme in these areas was four times slower than in the rich areas, the study found.
 
"In five years, institutional births increased significantly from a pre-programme average of 20 percent to 49 percent. However, no significant association between district-level institutional birth proportions and maternal mortality rate was found,” the study said.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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India's merchandise exports fall for 13th straight month
India's merchandise exports fell for the 13th straight month in December and were valued at $22.29 billion against $26.15 billion in the like month in the previous year, as per official trade data released on Monday.
 
Imports also fell during the month by 3.88 percent to $33.96 billion from $35.33 billion, even as the trade deficit went up to $11.66 billion from $9.18 billion, as per official data released by the Commerce and Industry Ministry.
 
On the positive side, the continuing fall in the crude oil prices brought the import bill on this count down by 33.19 percent to $6.66 billion from $9.96 billion, while the non-oil shipments to the country increased 7.63 percent to $27.30 billion from 25.36 billion.
 
"The export figures, which reflected the continuous decline for more than over a year now, seems to be now gaining lost ground," said S.C. Ralhan, president of the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO).
 
"As commodities and crude oil prices have more than 40 percent bearing on India’s exports, this has further led to continuous decline in exports. Global demand also does not seem to be picking up," he added. 
 
"With only countries like US showing some signs of improvement, this does not augur well."
 
Looking at the cumulative figures, exports during the first three quarters of the current fiscal were valued at $196.60 billion down 18.06 percent over previous year's $23.99 billion and import fell 15.87 percent to $29.58 billion from $35.16 billion.
 
Oil imports during the period declined 41.60 percent to $68.07 billion from $116.56 billion and non-oil commodity shipments to the country were down 3.11 percent lower at $227.74 billion, as against $235.05 billion.
 
Between the disappointing export numbers, the federation president sought to suggest that among the top 30 commodity groups traded in December, half the numbers saw a positive development in December, as against seven in the previous month.
 
"Export sectors including jute manufacturing, including floor covering, have shown an impressive growth of over 135 percent. Spices with 34 percent, handicraft (27 percent), tea (25 percent) and fruits and vegetables (24 percent) were some of the high export growth sectors."
 
Ralhan urged the government to reconsider the inverted duty structure for "Make in India" scheme and sought service tax for exports, besides calling for the creation of fund with a corpus of 0.5-1 percent of total export value to push India's merchandise shipments.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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