INDIA
September 2007

INDIA

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SC, ST school dropout rate increasing – CAG report

A recent report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) says that the gap between general category students and Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) students in schools is increasing despite various Government schemes and projects.

The CAG report had analysed seven schemes of the Social Justice Ministry for SCs, eight schemes of the tribal affairs ministry for Sts. According to the report – “The gap in the gross dropout rate (GDR) between general-category candidates and SC/ST candidates, which was 6.7 per cent and 15.1 per cent in 2001-02, deteriorated to 10.4 per cent and 16.6 per cent in 2003-04 respectively.

e-Learning portal for Indian diaspora

A Chennai-based e-Learning portal on cross-cultural skills has been retrofitted for a global launch during the Salaam India expo, held in Singapore between August 15 and 19.

The portal, www.globalindian.com, is targeting members of the Indian diaspora who are keen on cross-cultural nuances, ranging from soft skills to international etiquette. Infosys founder N. R. Narayana Murthy launched the portal.

According to Ranjini Manian, founder-CEO of Global Adjustments, who conceptualised the portal, the course content has been structured to enable expatriates get jobs in software companies and help those already in corporate slots to enhance soft skills for career advancement. The programme provides subscribers an interactive multimedia-based, self-paced learning experience — 12 hours of audio-video lessons on international etiquette, cross-cultural tools and effective communication with world cultures.

500 students receive EU scholarship

More than 500 Indian students and scholars have secured admission to a number of European universities under the Erasmus Mundus (EM) scholarship funded by the European Union (EU).

Students from different parts of the country will go to universities in 27 EU member countries to pursue their respective masters level courses. The European Commission allocated a sum of 33 million euro in 2005 for the India Window, within the EM programme. For the academic year 2005-06, 133 scholarships were approved. In 2006-07, this number rose to 288 and in 2007-08, 403 students were granted scholarship.

In addition to this, 81 Indian students and 27 scholars received scholarships under the general EM programme in 2007-08. The 80 Erasmus Mundus consortia selected a total of 1,825 students and 273 scholars from all over the world.

IT Ministry to link ERNET with Internet-II

In a significant move, the Government of India has decided to link its Education and Research Network (ERNET) with America’s Internet-II network to help Indian researchers in the fields of information technology, life-sciences, biotechnology, material science and environmental science.

Its linking with America’s Internet-II would not only help the Indian researchers but also help the likes of Harvard, Massachusetts and Boston to set up their independent on-line centres in India. The tie-up would help Indian universities and institutions to access online resources from 209 institutions in the US. Internet-II is the foremost U.S. advanced networking consortium with a high-speed network which provides a minimum of  100 MB bandwidth between member institutions.

e-Learning plan for Inter education

The Minister for Higher Education, Government of Andhra Pradesh, D. Srinivas asked the Intermediate Education Department to prepare a comprehensive e-Learning programme so that the vital gaps of institutional instruction could be filled up.

Reviewing the performance of Intermediate Education, he said the gaps could be plugged by providing computers, DVD players, television sets and compact discs related to various subjects. He also emphasised the need to formulate suitable proposals for Government Junior colleges on the lines of Jawahar Knowledge Centres of degree colleges.

North-East Open varsity set to offer courses from 2008

K. K. Handique Open University (KKHOU), the first and only state-run open university of the north-eastern states, will start functioning from January next year.

The varsity which was established in September 2005 at Dispur, Assam, received grants worth INR25 lakh and INR1 crore from the Government of Assam and the Distance Education Council (DEC), respectively. The DEC will also grant another INR3 crore to KKHOU over the coming years. Academicians, industrialists and experts on distance education attended a workshop organised in Guwahati earlier this month to develop a roadmap for the institution under the 11th five-year plan and discussed how ICT can be used to make KKHOU more accessible across the region.

Recommendation for Workers Technical University

The Committee constituted by the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry has recommended establishment of a Workers Technical University for inter-alia training of students from workers family and those belonging to economically poor sections of the society particularly form rural areas to make them more relevant  to the needs of today’s technology intensive and knowledge driven industrial society.

The Committee has recommended the industry to contribute a small percentage of their gross profit (ranging from 0.5% to 2%) as the education cess for the proposed university. The Committee recommended that the jurisdiction of the proposed National Workers Technical University shall be the whole of the country, having the main campus at Hyderabad with regional centres at different major cities in the country.

NTPC, DU to set up IT centre for disabled students

The National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) and Delhi University (DU) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to set up an Information and Communication Technology Training Centre for physically-challenged students.

The centre will be the first of its kind in providing the latest IT skills to economically backward and physically challenged students. As per the agreement, the NTPC foundation will provide equipment and software and DU will provide teaching and support staff for the centre, to take care of the day to day functioning of the centre. Students with visual, hearing, mobility and cognitive impairment will benefit from the newly setup IT centre.

INR60 bn for primary education in Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu will spend INR60 billion for the development of primary and basic education in 2008-09, the state’s Minister for School Education Thangam Thennarasu said.

Fifty percent of the amount will come from the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan programme, a central scheme aimed to provide education to all. The infrastructure and facilities of all primary and middle schools of the state will also be upgraded.

New Nasscom programme to aid NGOs

Taking corporate social responsibility forward, Nasscom Foundation (NF), the social development arm of India’s premier software industry body Nasscom, launched a technology assistance programme for non-profit and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
The programme, BiG Tech, is a partnership between NF and TechSoup, a San Francisco-based non-profit technology capacity building organisation. The programme will be run in partnership with IT companies, which will act as donors by providing software and other applications to the civil society organisations. Explaining the basic concept of Big Tech, NF chief executive Rufina Fernandes said: ‘This is basically an online resource service. NGOs can log onto our website and apply for aid. We will do a due diligence of the applicant and then help them. The whole process will take around two weeks.’

In 2006, TechSoup distributed 799,000 technology products worth $207 million. Its donor partners include IT majors like Microsoft, Cisco Systems, Symentec, Adobe and Intuit.

Edusat Network in Bangalore

Karnataka Chief Minister inaugurated the Edusat Network in Bangalore, aimed at imarting higher education and training programme in the state.

The network, which has been set up with the assistance of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), marking the first such venture, would help in conducting classes at first grade government colleges, using trained lectures. Receiving centres would be installed in 102 first grade government colleges by ISRO, out of which 72 had already been installed.

The network in a phased manner would cover 349 colleges in all

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