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Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Counsellor - 8

Language wise

What exactly is philology? I think it has something to do with languages. Please guide.

Sushma Kumari

Yes, it is concerned with language, but there's more to it. In modern usage, philology is most accurately defined as "an affinity towards the learning of the backgrounds and current usages of spoken or written methods of human communication." Since philology seeks to understand the origins of a language, it is often defined as "the study of ancient texts and languages", although this is a rather narrow and not entirely accurate view.

In the academic sense of the term, philology describes the study of a country's language along with its literature and the historical and cultural contexts which are indispensable for understanding the literary works and other culturally significant texts. Philology thus comprises the study of the grammar, rhetoric, history, interpretation of authors, and critical traditions associated with a given language.

If all this doesn't sound like Greek and Latin to you, you could well look at becoming a philologist who can recognise the words of one language from the roots of another, by recognising the common (shared) roots and grammar.

For instance, the similarities between Sanskrit and European languages, first noted in the early 16th century led to the speculation of a common ancestor language from which all European languages descended - now named Proto-Indo-European.

Philology is further divided into five main branches: comparative philology, radical philology, textual philology and text editing, cognitive philology and deciphering ancient texts.

Fire services

Please tell me something about the sub-officers' course for joining the fire services.

Hem Singh

Being a state subject, fire services are administered by the respective states/UTs. The ministry of home affairs renders technical advice to states, UTs and central ministries on fire protection, fire prevention and fire legislation.

Amongst others, the National Fire Service College (m/o home affairs), Nagpur conducts different types of courses for training fire officers including a BE (fire engineering).

An all India entrance exam is conducted for the sub-officers course at Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Bhubaneswar and Nagpur. Duration of the course is 25 weeks (including four weeks of practical attachment with major fire brigades of the country, anywhere in India. Private and defense candidates have to undergo additional practical attachment for a period of eight weeks.

The course provides the basic knowledge needed for protecting life and property from fires and other natural disasters and to familiarise the trainee officers with the actual fire situations, different fire fighting organisations, and with the operation and maintenance of appliances and equipments. This course is useful for those who want to make fire service as their profession.

The exam, conducted in two sessions on the same day covers general English and general knowledge in the first session and general science and mathematics in the second session.

The objective type question paper is printed bilingually (Hindi and English) and can be answered in either language. The questions are of the higher secondary level. Eligibility: Age: 18 - 23 years, relaxed by five years for SC/ST. Academic Qualifications: 10+2 or equivalent with science subjects. You must be able to read, write, speak and comprehend instructions in both Hindi and English. Physical Standards: (i) Height: minimum 165 cm. (160 cm. for candidates belonging to hilly regions like Gurkhas, Garhwalis, Assamese, Nagaland, tribes among others). (ii) Weight: Minimum 50 kg. (iii) Chest: Minimum 81 cm normal with minimum expansion of 5 cm. (d) Vision: 6/6; No colour blindness. Medical Exam: Shortlisted candidates are examined by the College Medical Office for physical fitness. Those found medically unfit will not be granted admission. Results are communicated individually to selected candidates by post.

Which way

I am pursuing BSc in mathematics as I could not clear the medical entrance exams but I am keen to pursue a career in medicine and related fields. Besides, I had PCMB in school. Is there any specialisation through which I can pursue my dream?

Abhilash Singh

One option that immediately comes to mind is biostatistics which is an inter-disciplinary field that applies statistical methods and techniques to collect, manage and analyse data on living organisms and biological systems. Biostatisticians also study the risk factors that lead to the development of a disease and apply experimental design and projection methods, descriptive statistics and specific applications to health and biological sciences.

The real skill lies in identifying and assessing the sample and accurately analysing the mass of data, as in the case of bioinformatics, for instance, for mapping the number of genes on a chromosome or a large study of patients.

The work also involves analysing clinical trials of new medicines before they are released in the market.There are three phases of a trial:

The first step is to check the toxicity of new drugs on volunteers; the next step is to study the economic viability of the drug and the last step is to determine the exact dosage.

However, biostatistics - and even applied statistics - are only just beginning to take shape in India. You can opt for working in any of the following areas: programme management, policy analysis or teaching.

You will closely work with doctors, paramedics, pharmacologists, sociologists and other related professionals on collaborative projects in hospitals, pharmaceutical firms and large biochemical and bioengineering labs with strong research programmes and public health policy research centres to structure and plan effective public health programmes or devise strategies for disease prevention and control, population and nutrition studies.

There is a huge demand for trained professionals who can crunch numbers and feel at home with handling complex data. Exciting new methods like neural network modelling (fuzzy logic) makes this field highly challenging and fascinating for those with a Bachelor's in mathematics (pure or applied) or statistics, and computer science and an interest in health and medical sciences. Medical practitioners with an interest and aptitude for statistics can also specialise in this field.

Only a handful of universities offer a specialisation in biostatistics at the Master's level. Typically a Bachelor's degree in mathematics, applied mathematics or statistics is required for admission to these courses.

You may refer:

Indian Statistical Institute (ISI), 203, Barrackpore Trunk Road, Kolkata, 11 centres including Delhi - SJS Sansanwal Marg, New Delhi,

Course: MSC statistics with a specialisation in biostatistics, applied mathematics and statistics. University of Pune, Ganeshkhind, Pune offers biostatistics as a component in BSc and MSc courses.

IIT-Mumbai, PO IIT Powai, Mumbai 400076, offers a course in applied statistics and informatics.

T N Dr MGR Medical University, Chennai. Course: MSc (non-clinical) in biostatistics.

University of Madras, Centenary Bldgs, Chepauk, Chennai. Course: MSc in biostatistics.

Christian Medical College, Vellore Course: MSc (medical) in biostatistics.

BHU, Varanasi MSc in health statistics.

Biostatistics is also offered as a subsidiary subject at the Bachelor's degree level in BSc zoology in some universities. Other areas where statistics plays an important role include population studies, anthropology and nutrition, the basic sciences and bioinformatics.

Nusing dreams

My wife is keen to pursue a course in nursing. Are married people eligible for enrolling in nursing programmes?

Abbas Akthar

Sure, married candidates are eligible for admission to all nursing programmes, provided they produce a medical fitness certificate. I trust she has passed her class XII with physics, chemistry and biology with a minimum aggregate of 50%.

Admission to BSc (nursing) courses is on the basis of an entrance exam. Make sure she enrolls in a nursing college which is duly registered with the Indian Nursing Council,, otherwise, she will not be allowed to register as a nurse/ midwife outside the state within which the institute is located.

A number of nursing schools recognised by State Nursing Councils are functioning on the basis of affiliations granted by concerned universities. However, INC does not recognise this qualification at the national level.

Sunil Sharma


Dil Se Desi Group

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