India news
August 2008

India news

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HRD proposal to universalise secondary education

With the Expenditure Finance Committee (EFC) clearing the proposed Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) recently, the way is cleared for the launch of a mission-mode exercise to universalise secondary education. Union Human Resource Development Ministry will now place the proposal before the Cabinet. Designed along the lines of the ongoing Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) to universalise elementary education, the RMSA seeks to make secondary education ‘available, accessible and affordable’ to all 15 and 16-year-olds by 2017. Another target of the RMSA is to ensure universal retention by 2020.

The estimated cost of the RMSA has been fixed at INR 42,705 crore in the 11th Five Year Plan. Of this, INR 34,164 crore will be the Centre’s share. With the road map to universal retention being chalked out till 2020, the total spill-over beyond the current Plan will be in the range of INR 54,000 crore.

DU tie-up with CII for professional skills

Delhi University has joined hands with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) to provide professional skills to college students and address the skill shortages faced by the Indian industry. The partnership is aimed at providing industry endorsed professional skills through a six-month certification programme under the aegis of School of Open Learning and DU. There would be separate courses on IT and automotives. More than 200 students have applied for the professional skills project, an MoU for which was signed between DU and CII in March.

The objective of this partnership is to bridge the demand-supply gap for skilled workforce. The course curriculum has been developed in consultation with industry and would be delivered using methodologies like case studies, interaction with domain experts, case simulation and a two-month internship programme with industry.

Sulabh International to set up world’s first Sanitation University

Internationally acclaimed for its sanitation movement, Sulabh International will soon set up a Sanitation University in Gurgaon, Haryana. The land for setting up the proposed university has already been acquired in Gurgaon and other formalities for making it operational are in the process.

One of its kind in the world, the Sanitation university will be a deemed university and will be structured much on the pattern of London School of Economics. To come up in the next five years, it will be an institute that will impart education in cleanliness — environmental, health and societal. The institute plans to offer post-graduate programmes in various courses of sanitation to science graduates.

NCERT gets EduSat hub to boost teachers’ training

In an effort to facilitate better teachers’ training programmes across India, a ‘mini hub’ has been set up at the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) for dissemination of information via Edusat. NCERT Director Krishna Kumar inaugurated the hub set up by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and said that thousands of teachers will benefit with the training provided through EduSat.

The move would enhance the NCERT’s efficiency and effectiveness to reach out to its target audience base. Earlier, NCERT used to depend on ISRO’s hub at Ahmedabad to air its teachers’ training programmes. Central Institute of Educational Technology (CIET) Joint Director Vasudha Kamat said the mini hub will help them set up direct link with 100 Satellite Interactive Terminals spread across the country. With the increase in the bandwidth, in addition to the 100 CIET centres, about 120 centres from the Consortium of Educational Communications (CEC) will be operative through this mini hub.

UP ITIs to be ugraded into centres of excellence

Uttar Pradesh government has decided to upgrade 125 out of 258 state-run Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) into centres of excellence in order to create a workforce with specialised skills. The upgraded ITIs will be different from the conventional ITIs in respect of curriculum, duration of training, trade testing and certification. These ITIs will cater to specialised skill requirement in different sectors of industrial activity.

The ITIs provide technical training to those who have passed Class 10, offering diplomas for one- year and two-year courses. The upgraded ITIs will offer specialised training and courses in various sectors, including IT, automobiles and transport. For promoting technical education and job avenues, Uttar Pradesh has already undertaken an ambitious project of setting up 250 ITIs, covering every block of the state, through public-private partnership. To help it in establishing ITIs, the state government has sought inputs from a British consultancy agency.

Web Resource Center inaugurated at Patna Women’s College

Bihar Information and Technology Minister Anil Kumar inaugurated the Web Resource Center of the Computer Application Department at Patna Women’s College, calling the move ‘very progressive that would go a long way in educating the girls of Bihar’. Urging other colleges in Bihar to emulate Patna Women’s College, Dr Kumar said such efforts were highly commendable and helped bridge the gender divide that exists in the state and other parts of the country.

The Web Resource Center includes 40 computers and offers broadband Internet connectivity while also providing most popular software titles for the students. The Center is also directly connected with the University Grant Commission (UGC), National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), and Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).

Gujarat ITI students to receive training from GM India

Gujarat government has signed a MoU with General Motors India to train students of the Tarsali Industrial Training Institute (ITI) in Vadodara. According to the agreement, GM India would develop and provide technical courses on automotive technology for Tarsali ITI students. The courses would leverage GM’s global resources and take advantage of expertise at GM’s manufacturing facility in Halol in Gujarat and the GM Technical Centre in Bangalore.

The company would also upgrade the existing infrastructure at the institute and assist in providing other course-related facilities. Minister of State for Industries Saurabh Patel said the programme would help provide skills required to ensure that Gujarat remains a favourable destination for domestic and foreign investors. The company would also sponsor trainees as apprentices in the organisation.

Nagaland varsity-IIITM-K link to boost education

Nagaland University and Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management of Kerala (IIITM-K) have been linked through India’s longest terrestrial connection over the Indian Railways optical fibre cable (OFC) network for enhancing technology education in the state. Launching the terrestrial link, Minister for Development of North East Region (DoNER) and Panchayati Raj Mani Shankar Aiyar said it was the first formal Education Grid between two academic institutions located in two of the farthest states of India.

The link will connect several premier institutions and extend the Education Grid to every village of the north eastern Indian state. With this, the state government plans to launch several open supported technology enhanced education programmes at all levels to reach quality education all over Nagaland. The link will be a principal driver in building the national education grid connecting universities for resource sharing, content, content generation on their core competence, e-Learning, tele-education and universal certification.

Haryana to give a boost to technical education

Haryana government has decided to increase the technical education seats from the existing 52,000 to one lakh by 2010 to establish the state as India’s show window for technical education. From 33,000 seats in technical institutes three years ago, Haryana today boasts of 52,000 seats. ‘Our aim is to take this number to one lakh by 2010,’ Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda said.

An additional 50 private engineering colleges will be added this year to the current 62 engineering colleges in the state. The largest of these additions are likely to take place in districts like Faridabad, Sonepat, Panipat and Gurgaon. Hooda said the state government has increased budgetary allocation to the Education department from INR 16 billion in 2004-05 to INR 32 billion this year. The government would also open a ‘Rajiv Gandhi Education City’ this year at Kundli, which will be modelled on Oxford University. It has already earmarked 2,000 acres of land for this education city.

Ban foreign education franchises: DEC

The Government of India is likely to pass a law banning educational institutions in the country from opening franchises abroad for running distant education courses. The Distant Education Council (DEC) has advised the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) to stop such practices.

Several educational institutions, mainly private ones, are opening their franchises abroad. This is a bad practice and DEC is against it, Council Chairman V N Rajasekharran Pillai said. DEC is not against opening of new institutes by Indian institutions. But giving permissions to a local party (abroad) affects the quality of education, he said. The council has asked the MHRD to incorporate all these ‘points and concerns’ in a proposed Bill on Distance Education pending before it.

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