India news
January 2008

India news

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Smart School System’ in Puducherry
The Government of Puducherry has decided to launch a programme on e-Learning in schools. In this regard, the Government of Puducherry has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Wipro Foundation to implement the scheme.

The project titled, “Smart School System”, is aimed at enhancing computer-based teaching and learning. The administration has identified around 80 schools in the Union Territory for the first phase of the implementation of the programme.

Satellite lectures for Engineering Students

For receiving signals, receivers will be installed at the colleges to receive the encrypted signals transmitted from IIT-B. This will be a two-way transmission and students at remote locations can interact with faculties also. Open courseware is already available from IITs and IISc. Banglore, this will be first time in India when live cases will be available. IGNOU will provide the virtual support to its students at selected centres through this facility.

Nearly, 100 colleges have already joined ISRO for the project. The receiver will be supplied by ISRO, costing nearly INR 3.2 lakhs. It is expected that other engineering institutions will also join in shortly.

e-Learning for Alagappa University

Under the programme, study materials of courses could be sent to the students through Internet.

The students can download these during the course, thereby saving time spent in sending study materials by post. Teams consisting prominent academicians would frequently inspect study centres in their respective areas to study their trustworthiness.

India launches new satellite enabled learning programme
Former President A P J Abdul Kalam has launched the Total proficiency in satellite and ITC- enabled education programme, as part of Application of Science and Technology in Educational Reform (ASTER) and enhancing the teaching-learning process in the country.

The programme is a milestone heralding a new leap forward in the Atomic Energy Education Society (AEES) project ASTER as it is planning to train its entire faculty and employees across the country at the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) study centre in Kochi. Dr. Kalam highlighted the importance of acquiring scientific knowledge as a lifetime mission and the use of these modern technologies to reach out to remotest corners of the country for virtual learning and teaching.

Indian varsities to help set up education hub in Malaysia
Five Indian universities will help set up an education hub in Malaysia’s Perak province.

The international university is being set up by Blair Education Services, a Malaysian firm in which the principal foreign equity holder is the Maan Sarovar Group of Companies. The company will collaborate with a consortium of five universities in Chennai, Hyderabad and Belgaum in India. The consortium comprises the Anna University and the M.G.R. Medical University in Tamil Nadu, the International Institute of Information Technology and University of Hyderabad in Hyderabad and KLE University in Belgaum, Karnataka. The new university will offer medical courses, including dentistry, pharmacy and nursing, information technology, biotechnology, nano technology, geoscience and management courses.

NKC recommends expansion of ODL
In a letter to the Prime Minister, the National Knowledge Commission (NKC), recommended massive expansion of the Open and Distance Learning (ODL) system in order to attain a gross enrolment of 15% by 2015. A copy of the letter was also sent to the Vice-Chancellors of Open Universities.

More that 30 Vice-Chancellors, Pro Vice-Chancellors, Directors and representatives of open and conventional universities met to address concerns of the ODL system with the support of the NKC and the Distance Education Council (DEC).

Recommendation made included the need to improve the quality of distance education and tailor it to the needs of the society. Concerns were also raised about the quality of higher education provided by the ODL system, that it is not sufficiently recognised. In it’s 10-point recommendation, NKC suggested creation of a national ICT infrastructure, setting up of a national education foundation to develop web-based common open resources, establishing a credit bank, effective transition to a course credit system and a national education testing service (NETS) for assessing ODL students, convergence with conventional universities, setting up a research foundation for research activity in ODL, increasing access for learners with special needs, creating a new standing committee for regulation of ODL and developing a system for quality assessment among others.

UNESCO honours IIT-Bombay as knowledge heritage centre
UNESCO designated Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT-B) as a ‘knowledge heritage centre’ for its contribution in creating a knowledge society.

The designation has come as the premier technology institute is observing its year long golden jubilee celebrations. IIT-Bombay was originally established with the cooperation and participation of Unesco, and over the past 50 years it has grown in stature as an institution of national importance and a leader in higher education, research and training. Fostering human and institutional capacities to improve security through sustainable development is a core mission of UNESCO. Currently, the institute has nearly 2,100 undergraduate and 3,200 postgraduate students.

UGC facilitates access of journals at low rates
The University Grants Commission (UGC) of India is planning to provide access to world class journals to over 200 private universities in the country through it Information and Library Network (Inflibnet).

UGC has chalked out a plan to facilitate research activities in private universities by opening access of around 23 world-class research journals through its inter-university centre – the Information and Library Network (Inflibnet). The Inflibnet is in talk with over 23 world-class research e-Journal publishers to provide services to the interested universities at a subsidised rate. The services include accessing contents of around 5,000 top research journals and helping research scholars and academicians publish research papers in them. Some top ejournals include Blackwell, Oxford University Publication, Cambridge University Publication, American Chemical Society, Project Euclid, Institute of Physics Journal, UK, American
Institute of Physics, among others. As of now, Inflibnet provides e-Journal subscription to 149 universities, funded by UGC.

UNESCO-SALIS e-Learning Portal on information literacy for South Asia

The Indian Society for the Advancement of Library and Information Science (SALIS), in collaboration with UNESCO, launched the e-Learning Portal for Awareness Raising on Information Literacy.

The Portal aims to raise awareness, sensitise and enhance information literacy competency skills of common information users as well as information professionals and educators in the South Asian sub-region. Its objectives are fully in line with UNESCO’s mandate to bridge the digital divide and UNESCO’s vision of knowledge societies.

The Portal covers a number of self-learning modules. Indian library experts, in collaboration with lifelong learning experts, have developed the contents of the Portal modules using Moodle open source learning content management software.

Academic, industry leaders join hands to set up Indo-UK education centre
The India-UK Advanced Technology Centre (IU-ATC), a virtual research and innovation centre comprising 22 industry and academic partners, has been launched recently to drive collaborative research programmes and technology transfer between the two countries.

The IU-ATC will conduct research on current and next generation fixed and wireless communications, with the aim of becoming a global centre of excellence for next generation networks (NGN) and information and communication technologies (ICT) research. The IU-ATC, which has British Telecom (BT) as its prime industry partner, will facilitate industry collaboration with academic research and government as part of an initial five-year research and development plan. The Indian partners include – IIT-Madras, IIT-Bangalore, IIT-Delhi, IIT-Mumbai, Infosys Technologies Ltd, BT India, Wipro Technologies and Sasken Communications.

Vet university goes online
TANUVAS launched e-Learning programme, the first veterinary institution in India to launch such facility.

The objective was to create interactive multimedia elearning modules for the BVSc and AH courses as per the syllabi stipulated by the Veterinary Council of India. The Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) has sanctioned INR 169 lakh under National Agricultural Innovation Project (NAIP) to Tamil Nadu VAS e-Learning programme at the Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (TANUVAS). The programme would create a repository of learning resources in veterinary
and animal sciences and develop online and offline modules to reach out to even the less endowed institutions, faculty and students.

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