News India
August 2006

News India

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Pondicherry tapping e-Learning for school education
The Pondicherry Government has planned to improve the quality of school education through e-Learning. According to the Education Minister  M. O. H. F. Shahjahan, a blueprint had been prepared. The teachers would  train students in e-Learning with the support of centralised laboratory. A  coaching centre to prepare students for various professional courses was  also on the anvil. The thrust areas would include infrastructure  development, orientation courses for
teachers and helping children overcome their disability to learn fast.  The anganwadis would be made a hub of educational activities to encourage  opening of kindergarten schools.  

Deemed varsities need not get UGC approval for new courses  In a relief to deemed universities,
the University Grants Commission has clarified that they do not require its  approval for starting new courses or post-facto clearance.  It was only a few days ago did the UGC write to most of the 103 deemed  universities in the country seeking information on the courses they  offered and asking them to give an undertaking that they would not start  any new programme or vary student intake without its approval. Reversing  its stand, the UGC in its communication said its approval is not  required for starting new courses. 

Progress review on Education for All movement
The Human Resources Development ministry has reviewed the  progress of Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA) in India  and has approved steps to fill up infrastructure gaps so as to provide  education to children with special needs (CWSN).  The National Mission for SSA focuses on improving the learning level of children thereby increasing  the literacy rate in the country. On the occasion of the second Meeting of  the Executive Committee, the HRD minister released a publication by  National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration (NIEPA) on District Information System for  Education (DISE) data for the year 2005. This is an analytical report  based on the Education Practices for  children at their home. Another document- “Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan: Discovering New Paths in Inclusion” was also released which was a record on the initiatives being undertaken by  states to impart home-based education to Children With Special Needs (CWSN) in SSA. States have  adopted different methods to provide  home based education to CWSN. Cyberage PC in Goa faces
conflict The Cyberage PCs continue to be a  bone of contention for the Goa ITChannel Association and the  government in the state. The state  government in India has decided to continue with the scheme and there is  a requirement for about 22,000 PCs to  be supplied to the high school students in Goa under it.

The Cyberage PC is a government of Goa initiative,
which began as an  attempt to take computers to schools in Goa. Under this scheme, high school students are to get a PC   irtually free, paying a nominal sum of Rs 1,000. The PCs are supplied  through the IT channel to the  principals of the various schools who  then pass it on to their students. But Computer professionals in the state  have questioned the scheme and have  asked whether it would not make more  sense to hand out PCs to schools, to be used collectively. There are other  questions on whether the computers have been delivered as promised, and  on schedule.   AICTE’s new Web Portal to
make admissions easier
The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) will soon  launch a new section under it’s site
www.aicte.ernet.in where students will  be able to get any information regarding admission process and  ven apply to more than 9000 technical institutions in the country. The portal will not only make the  admission easier but also help the students to choose their best  institutes on the basis of teaching  standard and other facilities. The candidates who have been qualified in the AIEEE (All India Engineering  Entrance Examination) will no more  face problems of traveling to more than one institute for submission of  application forms. They will be able to apply online and also pay their fees  through credit cards. The final selection list and waiting list will also  be available on the net.

Global publishers eye India to 
outsource e-Publishing projects
India is all set to emerge as a hub of e- Publishing because several global publishers such as Oxford University  Press, Cambridge University Press, Prentice Hall, Macmillan, and Pearson   re eyeing at India for outsourcing their e-Publishing projects. According to A. Elangovan,  Managing Director of Cadgraf Digitals, the Indian companies in the  e-publishing space are currently
working on books and journals for  overseas clients. The process the Indian publishers follow is completely different from others. He said that  Indian e-publishing houses are able to meet the clients’ requirements. While  the opportunity is tremendous, the hunt is for trained manpower. There is  no formal educational institute on  digital publishing. People are trained by companies. Only in the last few years have Indian companies forayed into copyediting and the orders are  really heavy.

India rubbishes MIT’s laptop scheme for kids
The Human Resources Development  ministry in India has rejected the idea of ‘one-laptop-per-child’ (OLPC)  being aggressively marketed by Nicholas Negroponte of MIT Media Laboratory.  The ministry says, India must not allow itself to be used for experimentation with children in this  area. The ministry’s detailed objection based on technical, social and  financial grounds were sent to the Planning Commission few times back.  Negroponte had made a presentation
on OLPC seeking to sell one million laptops at the rate of USD100  per unit for children, the cost to be borne by the government. HRD  contends that spending INR 450 crore  on digital empowerment can be better spent on primary and secondary  education. The ministry says 6-12 is a highly vulnerable age group to cover in an area of human technology  interface, which is so new and heavily debated.

Educomp launches online mathlearning  portal
Delhi-based Educomp Solutions Ltd. launches a math-learning portal for classes 6 to 12 based on the NCERT  curriculum. The product, Mathguru.com, will provide step-by-step solutions for all   math problems from NCERT schoolbooks through visual and voice explanation. The subscription to the site comes at INR1,200 a year for  each student. The company is targeting a subscriber base of 75,000  students in the current fiscal and 2,00,000 students by the end of the  next fiscal. The portal would also have solutions categorised on the basis of
chapter so that students of other  boards can also find solutions.

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