INDIA
October 2007

INDIA

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India funds ICT training in Zambia

Zambia and India have signed an agreement that will see India fund Zambian training centres to train researchers and the public in information and communication technology (ICT) skills.

India will provide US$300 million of computers and servers, as well as US$100,000 toward operating the centres. India’s international status was due to science and technology literacy, and that establishing the training centres would similarly empower Zambian researchers, science students and young people with science and technology skills.

Zambians are reluctant to take ICT courses in higher education, but that these skills are important for creating wealth. Besides researchers and science students, the centres will also provide free computer training to ordinary Zambians who could not otherwise afford it.

School Education Dept. plans to launch mobile library in Chennai

The School Education Department of Chennai is planning to launch a mobile library for about 10 corporation schools in north Chennai to encourage reading habits among students.

School Education Minister Thangam Thennarasu announced that the mobile library will have about 3,000 children’s books and computer and educational compact discs to screen programmes for the youngsters. The state government is also planning to set up about 12,400 rural libraries within the next five years under the scheme

‘Anaithu Grama Anna Marumalarchi Thittam’ to benefit the rural population. The state government is also setting up a INR 100 crore worth digital library in the city.The library has a collection of about 5.21 lakh books and it has acquired six additional facilities worth INR 55 lakh, including an e-resource centre networked with 24 computers, online public access catalogue and computerisation of library operations.

10,000 vocational schools needed to meet manpower deficit in India

Presently only 5.06% Indian youth have single skill inventory, posing a major challenge to the availability of skilled manpower. 10,000 new vocational schools are required to fulfill India’s skill deficit, said Champak Chatterjee, secretary, department of school education and literacy, ministry of Human Resources Development.

A proper system has to be in place to get skilled jobs fill up the middle level of the economy, the Secretary. For this curriculum development and creating a policy and staff framework is necessary and efforts are needed to make vocational education drive industry. It is also necessary to meet skilled manpower requirement through cooperation with international institutes and organizations and to mobilise teachers’ training as an integrated part of the skill development process and maintain consistent quality standards.

Media Lab Asia brings education to the doorsteps of tribals

Media Lab Asia is bringing vocational training programme at the doorsteps of the tribals of Maharastra.

The Media Labs Asia in collaboration with Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Mumbai, and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) like Vigyan Ashram and Bhatke Vimukta Vikas Pratishthan to train over 100 children of de-notified nomadic tribes in Maharashtra. Media Labs Asia looks at the application of Information Communication and Technology for the upliftment of the backward sections of the country. At the click of a button, the child sees in front of him a virtual market, where he transacts with virtual vendor to buy vegetables, or fruits against some amount of virtual money. This simple exercise teaches him basic arithmetic like substraction, addition, etc. The Media Lab Asia uses local language in an interactive video and relevant animation to make children more interactive within their surroundings.

IT practical tests on ‘open’ platform

In the largest such simultaneous deployment of ‘free-and-open’ software in India, over 15 lakh Kerala schoolchildren start taking their quarterly practical tests in Information Technology on personal computers using a special Linux version.

The IT@School project of the State Education Department has developed an operating system based on the Linux version Ubuntu. Called IT@School GNU Linux Version 3.0, it was distributed to 2,832 high schools – over a thousand of them government schools, the rest aided and unaided ones.

Between September 7 and 22, children of Classes 8, 9 and 10 will use some 30,000 PCs to do their quarterly practical examinations in IT. The project has created a whole ecosystem of computer-aided tools for self-paced learning, online testing, instant evaluation, marks generation and so on. All this is done using royalty-free Open Source software.

IIT, Mumbai topper among 7 other Indian institutes

IIT Mumbai secured the first position among the educational institutes in the Indian subcontinent in the Webometrics Ranking of world universities released by Cybermetrics Lab, a unit of the National Research Council, which is located in Spain.

Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore; IIT, Kanpur; IIT, Madras; IIT, Delhi; National Informatics Centre, Karnataka and National Institute of Technology, Calicut (NIT-C) followed IIT Mumbai in the list. The survey was conducted by searching the Internet. The recognition would be a great boost for Indian higher educational institutes.

Room To Read sets to open 1,600 libraries in India

John Wood, founder and CEO of the non-profit Room To Read libraries announced opening of 1,600 libraries by this year. The libraries will add to those already are operational in schools in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and five other countries.

Wood is hoping Indian donors will step forward and planning to enlist the Young Presidents’ Organisation, a non-governmental organisation comprising company presidents and CEOs, for his fund-raising efforts in Mumbai. To ensure that children get books and read in the school libraries that it funds, and also to help over worked teachers, the organisation employs facilitators and has begun publishing children’s books in Hindi. It will soon bring out titles in Telugu, Bengali and Marathi. Room to Read also sets up computer labs for students, and in some countries runs schools as well. Currently it provides scholarships to 900 girls in India.

Amity to launch educational TV in India

Amity University announced to launch a 24-hour education channel. The network would be called Youth TV .

The students would be a part of this plan, and only a core team of TV professionals would be hired. Doordarshan’s Gyan Darshan and Vyas – both 24-hour education networks are also in the airs, but have low viewerships. Zed TV, the only attempt made by the private players, in launching education television network, is no longer in the airs. Youth TV has revived hopes in television based education delivery.

KISS, Asia’s first largest tribal university in India

The Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS), Orissa has been entered into the record books as the Asia’s largest residential tribal school. More than 5000 tribal children from several districts are taking formal and vocational education in the Institute.

The school offers free education from KG to post graduation along with all the facilities to tribal students. The Institute provides range of facilities from well stocked library to hostel and computer centre and vocational training centres to complete medical care. KISS was started with 100 children in 1993 and now it offers post graduate courses.

Indian Govt. plans to link educational e-Network with US institutes
The collaboration between the Indian and Australian universities will boost the government’s planning to align countrywide online network of educational institutions with its American counterpart.

The online network will help to do research on Information Technology, life-sciences, biotechnology, material science and environmental science. Under the government’s plan, linking the ERNET network under the ministry of Information Technology with America’s Internet-II will help Indian researchers as well as the researchers of Harvard, Massachusetts and Boston to set up their independent online centres in India. The tie-up would provide Indian institutions and universities with an opportunity to share a common platform with 209 institutions in the US. ERNET has already established connectivity with the top research network of European Union, GEANT.

NIOS launches online payment system in India

The National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) has currently introduced an online payment system to ensure better support services to learners. NIOS for this reason has signed an agreement with the ICICI Bank for installation of a payment gateway for making online payment through credit cards.

From now onwards, after the learners have completed and submitted their online admission forms, they have two options of making the payment of the admission fees–either through a demand draft or a credit card. Learners who wish to avail themselves of the services of NIOS and have access to a credit card can now make the payment online from anywhere in India. This is perhaps the first time that an educational institution at a school level has introduced online payment facility for the entire India.

NAC to be introduced in Kerala

An agreement to introduce the NASSCOM Assessment of Competence (NAC) test has been signed between NASSCOM and Kerala state IT Mission. NAC is a test, which comprises of from range of skills required of an employee in the ITeS-BPO sector.

The test will cost a candidate INR 1,300 and will be conducted in the third week of December. The long-term goal of NASSCOM is to convert India’s ‘trainable workforce’ into an ’employable workforce.’ The test will benefit the govt. also in various other ways.

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