India
April 2007

India

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National Knowledge Network gets nod

The Central government has accorded in-principle approval to the establishment of a National Knowledge Network to connect libraries, hospitals, scientific and research institutions, universities and agricultural institutions across the country.

The network, comprising 5,000 nodes with one gigabyte facility to interconnect the institutions, is expected to cost around one billion dollars. The idea behind this network, expected to fructify within the next year, is to create “an infrastructure of tomorrow” to ensure maximum use of convergence of technology.

Global introduces India’s first web-based cross-cultural educational portal

Global Adjustments, a cross-cultural education and India destination services company, has announced an e-learning portal, www.globalindian.com, which is claimed to be the India’s first web-based cross-cultural educational portal, designed specifically for professionals seeking to function effectively in a global environment.

Dayanidhi Maran, union minister for communications and information technology formally launched the e-learning portal with David T Hopper, US consul general and Lakshmi Narayanan, vice chairman, Cognizant Technology Solutions Pvt Ltd at a function in Chennai. The e-learning portal is designed in such a way that it offers the learner ample space and time using innovative multimedia technology.

‘E-GURUKUL’ : Distance learning for the army

One of the greatest challenges of the Armed Forces is to keep their manpower up to date with the latest in technology. However, commitments in the form of peace time duties, exercise and large scale deployments in Counter Insurgency operations both in the North and Northern Eastern states, leave very little time for training. The new distance learning programme, e-Gurukul comes as a solution in this direction.

For e-Gurukul, the Corps of Signals of the Indian Army has embraced technology to overcome this problem. By using available commercially available equipment, an interactive video and web based virtual classroom has been created for the first time in the Army. Instructors based in a central location can run classes on the backbone communication network of the Indian Army with students being in remote far-flung areas. To add the element of “human touch”, the video images of the instructor will be streamed live to all the students. The students in turn can interact with the instructor either via a chat facility or through an embedded voice application. An online test feature allows the assessment to be carried out individually.

Vadekakara first e-learning constituency

Vadakkekara in Ernakulam district in southern India became the first e-learning constituency in the state Kerala with Chief Minister V S Achutanandan formally inaugurating the project.

As part of the INR one crore project, computers would be provided in all schools. Edusat Receive Only Terminal (ROT) would be set up in all high schools and higher secondary sections in aided and government schools with the help of KELTRON and IT@School programme. Over 100 schools will get the facilities. Computers would be provided in all lower primary and upper primary schools in the constituency free of cost. A kit containing 50 CDs would be distributed in all schools in the constituency.

Policy for setting up of a NRI / PIO University in India

The Union Cabinet has given its approval to a policy framework for establishing a NRI/PIO University in India in the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) as a Deemed University de-novo under Section 3 of the UGC Act as an Institution of Excellence. The university will be set up by Overseas Indian Trusts or Societies with credible standing and experience in the field of education under the overall supervision of the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs.

In developed countries like USA and UK, higher education is expensive and increasingly overseas Indians do look to their country of origin for meeting the higher educational needs of their children. Setting up of NRI/PIO University in India will cater to the needs of the PIOs/NRIs in sought after disciplines as well as impart educational standards at part with the best Universities in the world in one campus. There are around 25 million people of Indian origin living abroad in nearly 130 countries.

World Bank funds USD 74.34 million by March ’07 for primary schools in rural areas

The World Bank had funded the District Primary Education Programme (DPEP) and the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) as an ongoing programme, the assistance of which is provided on reimbursement basis, when Central Government funds provided for these programmes are first utilised.

The World Bank had provided for US $ 500 million between 2004-05 to 2006-07, for the SSA programme. Under the SSA, 2.4 lakh schools have been sanctioned upto 2006-07. The DPEP programme is only functional in 9 districts of Rajasthan presently, with World Bank funding tied up for US $ 74.34 million over the period 2001 to March 2007. 729 primary school buildings have been sanctioned under this programme.

ICSI, India plans for e-learning initiative for students

The Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI) will be introducing e-learning initiative for students in a couple of months.

The ICSI is also setting up career awareness programmes to bring more students into the course. The demand for company secretaries is huge. Even the salaries have now doubled for the company secretaries who start somewhere around INR 25,000 to INR 30,000 and can even go upto INR 50 lakh and INR one crore, as they progress in their career. ICSI is in the process of rationalising its syllabus and is constantly updating their members on the various amendments and changes brought in by the regulators.

Indians don’t get drawn to online education

Indian universities are reluctant to go in for research collaborations though the quality of state-run institutions in the country is better than in many Southeast Asian nations, education experts from Britain say.

Although India is an IT giant, there is still a great reluctance towards online education in this country, say London Metropolitan University educationists, Robert Aylett and Mark Bickerton. In India, there is a tendency to look down upon distance education as the second best. LondonMet is in the process of developing a curriculum for delivering lessons in higher education courses through mobile phones, said Robert Aylett, deputy vice-chancellor (academic).

A virtual business school

International College of Financial Planning has tied up with the New Zealand Institute of Online Learning to offer two courses in business and management to students.

This collaboration provides an exclusive licence to ICFP to use the two-year Diploma in Business and one-year Certificate in Management online courseware that will be available to learners – both students and working professionals at affordable prices. One can pursue them from home or work and study whenever it is suitable.

IIM-A receives Skoch Challenger Award for Academic Excellence

Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM-A) has been awarded the Skoch Challanger Award 2007 for Academic Excellence. Neelam Dhawan of Microsoft was honoured as Person of the Year. For exemplary usage of ICT in education Soochna Shakti Yojana of Chhattisgarh was also honored.
While IIM-Ahmedabad is known to be the region’s leading business school, it has done some incredible work in sectors like agriculture, health, e-governance and rural intellectual property development and protection. Skoch Challenger Awards are independently instituted by Skoch Consultancy Services and adjudged to salute best practices since 2002. In India, Skoch actively works towards ICT led improvement of citizen

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