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THE MONTHLY PUBLICATION ON ICT AND EDUCATION

digitalLEARNING INDIA

VOLUME 6 ISSUE 2

ISSN 0973-4139

Rs. 75

FEBRUARY 2010 | www.digitalLEARNING.in

Smart B-Schools Survey 2010

Technology @ B-Schools

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Idiots in Vogue? Pg. 24-25 Principals’ Pick Pg. 28-29


VOLUME 6 ISSUE 2

digitalLEARNING

ISSN 0973-4139

RNI NO. UPENG/2008/25311

Contents 16

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COVER STORY

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TECHNOLOGY INTEGRATION AND MANAGEMENT EDUCATION TRENDS: TRACKING B-SCHOOLS IN INDIA

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MAPPING SMART B-SCHOOLS: CONSOLIDATING TECHNOLOGICALLY

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UNLEASHING TECH TRENDS

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MANAGEMENT EDUCATION TRENDS

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VIEWS ON THE LATEST BUZZ IN THE MANAGEMENT CIRCUIT

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LEADERS SPEAK

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REPORT

37 COMMENTARY

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IDIOTS IN VOGUE?

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A DROP IN THE BUCKET!

‘A CULTURE OF INCLUSION’ IS ROOTED IN A COMMITMENT TO EQUITY AND SOCIAL JUSTICE

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SECOND NATIONAL CONSULTATIVE MEET ON PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS IN EDUCATION

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CELEBRATIONS!!! DIGITAL LEARNING@50

RESEARCH PAPER

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E-LEARNING IN HIGHER EDUCATION – ISSUES, CHALLENGES, BENEFITS & FUTURE Prof. Malathi Sriram

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MARK YOUR CALENDAR

EVENT REPORT

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Dr. Jyrki Pulkkinen CEO, Global e-Schools and Communities Initiative (GeSCI)

REGULAR FEATURES

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News Asia

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News World

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News Corporate

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News India


EDITORIAL

Advisory Board

Integrating technology....e-nabling to stand out in the crowd!

Prof. Asha Kanwar, Vice President, Commonwealth of Learning

The digitalLEARNING Smart B-Schools Survey is our maiden attempt at establishing the patterns of technological integration into Management Education across India.

Dr. Jyrki Pulkkinen, CEO, Global eSchools & Communities Initiative (GeSCI)

The unique Technology in B-Schools Survey is an exercise aimed at understanding and grasping the importance and relevance of changing B-School dynamics in the globalised world, and the concomitant efforts being made by B-School functionaries in assimilating the ever changing technological innovations.

Shri Subhash C Khuntia, Joint Secretary, Department School Education and Literacy, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India Prof. V N Rajasekharan Pillai, Vice Chancellor, Indira GandhiI National Open University (IGNOU)

ICT programmes in business schools have helped enrich the curriculum with the tools on which modern business is based. The survey of ICT priorities, investments, support, and curriculum integration in business schools across India has indicated high interest in incorporating technology across domains. The study reveals several trends that are both positive and encouraging. The technology usage in Management Institutes are still in a nascent phase. It reflects a pattern where technology is being assimilated into an education system that is still overwhelmingly stuck with the chalk and talk method, but aspires to achieve great strides through integration of the latest in innovative technologies. Although several technological solutions are readily available in the global market, these are yet to be commonly used in the management education circle. Strong presence of private digital higher education service vendors, including - online course content providers, commercial University Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution providers and digital teaching tools providers - prove that the demand and awareness exist among the higher education fraternity. It will not be long for the management schools to catch up, and perhaps set a trend for other institutions to follow suit. Barring premier institutes, the milling number of management institutes are in essence trying to catch up to world standards. To catch up to the latest trends, there is a need for further awareness pointing out the corners for further awareness, expansion and the barriers that might come in the way of productive assimilation of technology into education. These are some of the essential parameters that need to be simultaneously addressed. The study has helped us understand the process of technological integration in the growing Indian economy. The B-Schools survey is a precursor to moving into the domain of further studying the technology trends in Higher Education Institutes across streams. Watch out for more in this space!

Dr. RAVI GUPTA Editor-in-Chief Ravi.Gupta@digitalLEARNING.in President: Dr. M P Narayanan | Editor-in-Chief: Dr. Ravi Gupta Product Manager: Dipanjan Banerjee (mob: +91-9968251626) Email: dipanjan@elets.in Editorial Team: Dr. Rajeshree Dutta Kumar, Divya Chawla, Sheena Joseph, Yukti Pahwa, Pratap Vikram Singh, Sangeeta Ghosh Dey, Saba Firdaus, Gyatri Maheswari Sales & Marketing Team: Debabrata Ray, Anaam Sharma, Arpan Dasgupta, Fahimul Haque (Mobile: +91-9873277808), Bharat Kumar Jaiswal, Ankur Agarwal, Priya, Saxena, Vishal Kumar, Gaurav (sales@elets.in) Subscription & Circulation: Lipika Dutta (Mobile: +91-9871481708, Manoj Kumar, Gunjan Singh (subscription@elets.in) Graphic Design Team: Bishwajeet Kumar Singh, Om Prakash Thakur, Shyam Kishore Web Development Team: Zia Salahuddin, Amit Pal, Sandhya Giri, Anil Kumar IT Team: Mukesh Sharma, Devendra Singh | Events: Vicky Kalra Editorial & Marketing Correspondence: digitalLearning - G-4 Sector 39, NOIDA 201301, India, Phone: +91 120 2502181-85, Fax: +91 120 2500060, Email: info@digitalLearning.in digitalLEARNING is published by Elets Technomedia Pvt. Ltd. in technical collaboration with Centre for Science, Development and Media Studies (CSDMS). Owner, Publisher, Printer - Ravi Gupta, Printed at Vinayak Print Media D-320, Sector 10, Noida, U.P. and published from 710, Vasto Mahagun Manor, F-30, Sector - 50, Noida, UP | Editor: Ravi Gupta

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COVER STORY

Tracking B-Schools in India The incredible growth of the Indian economy in the past few years have accentuated the need and the demand for highly competitive and well informed management graduates. The dominant and mandatory requirement of Management Education today is to match up to the industry standards. Technological innovations have had tremendous impact on all aspects of human life. Management education, with its vibrant dynamism, has not been far behind in adopting and assimilating technological developments to sharpen the business acumen of its management graduates. digitalLEARNING brings out the results of its unique ‘SMART B-Schools Survey’ and provides a compilation of opinions on contemporary management education trends in technology and other fields. As we examine the views of the current leadership on Trends in Management Education, we see that there is an increasing evidence of the growing and powerful influence of cutting edge technology in the curriculum. Course content have evolved to suit the changing world requirements. Digital libraries, and the vast resource base of online journals, ERP solutions for administrative functions, online content and curriculum availability, are gradually being accepted as a necessary requirement. Global financial trends including the economic downturn, and closer home, the fall of Satyam have turned the tide towards introspection and correctional steps in management education. The following study examines the leading trends of management education in India, as we increasingly move towards becoming a knowledge hub.

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COVER STORY

Smart B-Schools Survey 2010

Mapping SMART B-Schools: Consolidating Technologically A ďŹ rst in the series of ongoing efforts to track the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) usage patterns, we bring our readers a trend analysis of the extent of technological integration in B-Schools. The report compiles the results of the responses received and gives us an estimate of the overall patterns in technological integration. 17 B-Schools participate in the digital LEARNING sample survey exercise to map the technological integration trends. The survey was done by randomly selecting 17 B-Schools from across India who have responded to the SMART B-School Survey Questionnaire. Overall parameters used for the study have included technological integration patterns in the administrative functions, course content, IT investments and training programmes. Read on to ďŹ nd out more... More than 90% of the respondents have said that the admission forms of their respective institutes are available online and the admission and selection results, once declared, are also displayed on the website. This has proved to be a boon for out-of-station students do not have to travel to distant places to ascertain their admission status. Around 50% of the respondents have implemented the system of electronic evaluation of semester and entrance exams. It can be estimated from this that majority of the evaluation processes are done manually by the supervising authority. ICT USAGE IN CLASSROOM DISCOURSE

TECHNOLOGY IN ADMINISTRATION Administrative functioning has been observed to be well integrated with technology in the responding B-Schools. The use of biometric attendance system is on the rise and most of the Management Schools, who do not yet have the biometric attendance system in place, have expressed their interest

in implementing the system in the near future. According to the administrative functionaries, the use of biometric system/ smart cards have helped avoid a lot of manual and paper work and has eased the burden on the administrative staff. Digital tracking of attendance and ready availability of the attendance records to the relevant staff/faculty have helped in maintaining accountability and a transparent administrative process.

All responding institutes are using digital projectors on a regular basis, although many feel that it is already outdated! The trend now is move towards the use of Smart Boards and Interactive White Boards for classroom discourse. Even though the poll shows only 38% of the respondents using Interactive White Boards, the adoption of this technology by Management Institutes will be continuous and steady. digital LEARNING

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of learners and 38% of the respondents opted for this tool. However preference has been seen for usage of customised and tailor made software tools since they cater to specific teaching and learning requirements of the students and faculty, with 54% of the respondents opting for the same. Off-the-shelf training packages vary in quality as well as in the format and media used. However, 46% also prefer off-theshelf software tools. ICT TRAINING PROGRAMMES More than 90% of the responding institutes have training programmes to Complete digitalisation of course content and online availability of classroom lectures are related concepts and both have seen similar trends, with 30% of the institutes having adopted complete digitalisation. More than 60% of the respondents have stated that their course content is partially digitalised and that complete digitalisation will be the goal ahead. ICT INFRASTRUCTURE All the responding institutes have given affirmative responses to the use of PCs, laptops, and workstations for all students, faculty and the administrative staff; as also the provision of LAN and Wi-Fi enabled campus and hostel facilities. This reflects the dominant and pervasive use of the World Wide Web for research and study activities of the students and faculty. Most of the academic journals and research papers, relevant to the course content, are available online and graduates remain informed and updated about contemporary developments. More than 90% of respondents agreed to the use of Web server, FTP server, e-mail server and other high-

end servers/computers while around 70% agreed to the use of Document management server and database server for all departments. and divisions. SOFTWARE TOOLS Open source software tools have facilitated active and collaborative learning for a wide variety

equip the faculty and staff with necessary technological skills. Training courses have been found to be vital to keep the staff updated with the changing IT development. The faculty, although are seen to be well equipped with ICT skills, the training programmes act as a refresher course. It is also seen to be a positive trend in the Management Institutes where the administrative staff may show resistance towards adoption of new technologies. 10

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INVESTMENTS IN ICT Highest capital investment in ICT infrastructure is observed to be in hardware, while recurring investments have mostly taken place in the provision of internet facilities. It can be noted that Management Institutes in their initial

years find themselves investing in hardware capabilities, while gradually the expenditure shifts towards software and e-content. Maintenance and networking costs are the significant investments once the institute is well established. \\

Widening the Digital Horizons The study proves that the administrative and academic functions have well used the potential of technology to make activities efficient, user friendly and market driven, although significant more still needs to be incorporated. Online content provision of Management curriculum is on the rise. Classroom lectures being made available online for students is a trend which is catching up. Completely digitising the course content in Management Institutes will take time, although the demand for the same is strong. Commercially available University ERP solutions are still not in common use, although awareness of the same is observed to be high. Private vendors are increasingly pushing their products, which shows that there is a great deal of acceptance for ERP solutions. Barring certain immediate barriers preventing the institutes from adopting ERPs, most have expressed their desire to integrate the system in the near future. Majority of the faculty and students have been technologically savvy. Training requirements are mostly used for upgrading the user group with latest addition to the administrative/curriculum functions. Thus, the major driving factor that have propelled the process of technological integration in B-Schools have the been the extremely competitive market forces. Churning out management graduates who can match up to the global standards is a pre-requisite for all management institutes. Therefore, binding the rapidly advancing technological innovations into the management education domain is seen as a significant tool for advancing the skills and abilities of management graduates. Use of technology is seen to sharpen the business acumen of the management graduates. The capital used on ICT infrastructure are observed to be more of an investment rather than expenditure. This trend is very encouraging,and highlights the growing demand and desire to match up to global B-School standards. An analysis of the technology trends reflected in the study shows that the there has been a gradual and powerful shift towards integration and assimilation of technology in all aspects of management studies. The future will see technology at its best in B-Schools.

LIST OF PARTICIPATING INSTITUTES • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Birla Institute of Management Technology, Greater Noida Europe Asia Business School(EABS), Pune Faculty of Management Studies, New Delhi Fortune Institute of International Business, New Delhi IFIM, Bangalore Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT), New Delhi Indore Management Institute, Indore Inmantec, Ghaziabad Institute of Management Technology (IMT), Ghaziabad International Management Institute, New Delhi Jagan Institute of Management Studies, New Delhi Maharaja Agrasen Institute of Management & Technology, Haryana Management Development Institute (MDI), Gurgaon Novel Institute of Management Studies, Pune Sharda University, Greater Noida Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneshwar Xavier Labour Relations Institute, Jamshedpur

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COVER STORY

Management Institutes Speak

Unleashing Tech Trends FACULTY OF MANAGEMENT STUDIES (FMS), DELHI UNIVERSITY The FMS Information Technology Group seeks to keep the institute at the forefront of technology applications in management education. According to Prof Mamkootam, Dean, FMS, “Technology is an integral part of the management education at the Faculty of Management Studies. Right from the admission process, significant amount of technology is used to include the online registrations, and payment and evaluation processes during admissions. From this year we have invited applications in the OMR format, which is then digitally scanned to generate roll numbers and admit cards. In classrooms, diverse forms of technology are used for teaching and learning. Also every student has a laptop and lot of the course material is sent through electronic mail. Classrooms have transformed to a great www.fms.edu extent under the influence of technology. Most of the presentations are through LCD projectors and majority of the course content is available online. Online journals are used by students through various platforms. Videoconferencing is used not so much for teaching but for placements.” USP: The admission results of the students are processed technologically. During the second level of selection, i.e, through group discussions and interviews, the scores are tracked digitally and FMS brings out the results within two hours after the completion of the last interview. Within three hours the results are displayed on the website. No other management institute does this in India, adds Prof Mamkootam

MANAGEMENT DEVELOPMENT INSTITUTE (MDI), GURGAON “We have been using IT ever since the founding years of MDI. Technology has been integrated into all aspects of the course content to include quizzes, presentations, examination and evaluation systems and all administrative activities,” says Prof. B S Sahay, Director, MDI. For examination purposes, every teacher prepares a database of around 100 questions thereby ensuring that each student gets a unique set of question papers. The evaluation process is done immediately after the examination and the results are declared. Classroom lectures and presentations are uploaded by the teacher online, which is then accessible by students and supervising authorities. Accountability and transparency in teaching procedure is maintained through this process, and it also ensures that students have access to www.mdi.ac.in relevant course material. “We have a state of the art computer lab and server room, computers are from dell, the campus is completely wi-fi enabled, including the faculty houses and hostels, with 16 MBPS connectivity. Student feedback system has been put in place to ensure that students understand the course content. Online library portals, databases and magazines are being used. The library is also computerised with databases being available on the net,” adds Prof. Sahay. USP: For attendance records, a time clock is set for teachers and students, ensuring that all reach their classes on time. Attendance is not registered for those who are late, thereby maintaining punctuality and accountability. All administrative matters including leaves, attendance, salaries, PF accounts, transport bookings are done online. Every staff member can access their records online in these matters. The institute website is being updated with the latest in technology. Online Learning and Teaching (OLT) provides a means to students to access and view grades, online feedback, selection of electives and attendance.

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The rapid development of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and the move towards more knowledge-intensive, interdependent and internationalised societies have created new challenges and opportunities for the design and delivery of education in India.

XAVIER LABOUR RELATIONS INSTITUTE (XLRI), JAMSHEDPUR XLRI Jamshedpur has contributed in developing managerial competence among the pupils through acquisition of specialised knowledge and skills. The role that Information and Communication Technology (ICT)has played in supporting the delivery of relevant managerial skills to its students has been significant. Fr Abraham, Director, XLRI, states, “We have very good state of the art, high speed LAN with a high bandwidth for Internet access from two ISPs. Course material, course schedule, leave records, MDP scheduling, admission-related activity, accounts, etc. can be done using this LAN. We have developed an in-house application – Academic Information System (AIS) and Classroom Schedule Software www.xlri.ac.in (CSS) – that take care of our day-to-day needs. Now it is essential for a B-School to have a ICT implementation because it has become the life line of any institute.” USP: “XLRI is the first in the country (2001/2002) to deliver courses on line. We are using ICT aggressively to deliver courses like PGCBM, PGCHRM, PGCLSCM etc. By this time, 1,760 students have completed the course successfully, and the satellite courses we offer have added tremendous value in terms of competencies and managerial skills of the students. This, in turn, has been reflected by the growth of students in the parent organisation.”

XAVIER INSTITUTE OF MANAGEMENT, BHUBANESHWAR (XIMB) Xavier Institute of Management helps in developing competent leaders through management education, capacity building, technology enabled learning and organisational development. Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has played a role in supporting the delivery of relevant managerial skills to its students. According to Fr Joseph, Director, XIMB, “Each student at XIMB is provided with a laptop and various electronic databases such as EBSCO which further enhances the delivery of the managerial skills in the students. All the classrooms are wi-fi enabled with LAN delivery nodes at each student seating place supplemented by multimedia facilities including LCDs and Audio-Visual equipments. XIMB also has an Academic Information System (AIS) which is an application software www.ximb.ac.in and designed in-house by XIMB for supporting the entire academic activities of the institute. There has been tremendous progress in academic delivery and in building the process for greater synergy since Academic Information System is a one-stop solution for all online academic requirements that an institute could have from academic courseware to online attendance, online quizzes, schedules, student feedback, faculty forums, etc.

USP: XIMB is one of the first business schools to have provided computers to each student in their hostels as well as built a wi-fi enabled campus with a large IT backbone supplemented by 24 x7 MBPS broadband connectivity. Thus, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has been substantially leveraged to provide quality education to the students, states Fr Joseph.

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B-School campuses are increasingly being attracted by the promise and potential of technology for enhancing access and learning. Technology has been majorly integrated into most of the curriculum and administrative processes in B-Schools across India.

INSTITUTE OF MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGY (IMT), GHAZIABAD On-line Learning & Teaching (OLT) has provided a means for faculty and students to access and develop Online Resources to enhance learning and teaching at IMT. In the words of Dr Anwar Ali, Director, IMT, “We have a completely wi-fi enabled network campus, equipped with around 1200 nodes connected with a backbone of 10 Gbps fiber connectivity with campus wide network and 13 enterprise level servers to support domain service, security and storage service covering all academic centers, lecture theaters, classrooms, students hostel, executive guest houses and open area. Our library has 19 online databases including Blackwell Reference online and World Bank databases.”

www.imt.edu USP: IMT instills immense academic discipline and rigour, including constantly developing and updating Course Curriculum to reflect the international academic standards and global corporate trends and needs which is facilitated by On-line Learning & Teaching (OLT) system. It helps in maintaining and accessing records in a paper-less and user-friendly system.

BIRLA INSTITUTE OF MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGY (BIMTECH), GREATER NOIDA

www.bimtech.ac.in

The key technology applications for students and the faculty at BIMTECH have helped the institute keep pace with the changing times. “The BIMTECH library is enriched with digital facilities and computer system. Free access to them is made available to the students, ex-students, research workers, faculty, staff and visitors. Our Knowledge Centre subscribes to the full text on-line databases. The institute is also a member of DELNET which provides ready access to libraries of leading institutions of the national capital region. The information technology facility is the speed resource of the institute. Round the clock internet facility connects the participants with the world through lightening fast 12MBPS Internet speed,” elaborates Dr H. Chaturvedi, Director, BIMTECH.

“We want to bench mark ourselves with global management colleges. We have around 700 students and 60 faculty with Internet availability for all. We are fast moving towards digitalising our resources. The latest on line facilities being used by leading B-schools are being integrated into the system. Prowess, Emrald and other subscription facilities are being used by us.”, says Dr H. Chaturvedi. USP: BIMTECH is in the process of implementing University based ERP in the institute for which it has signed an MoU with TCS. With this, BIMTECH has become the first B-school in the country to sign an MoU with TCS to implement ERP created by them. This system has mostly been used by companies and corporates. BIMTECH is the first to tie up with TCS for University ERP. This has been one of our major initiatives of 2009. It will cover admissions, placements, library, and other administrative processes, adds Dr Chaturvedi.

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Management Education Trends What, according to you, are the emerging trends in Professional Management Education in India, as we move towards a knowledge economy? Have students been interested in pursuing research after completing their course? RESEARCH TRENDS IN MANAGEMENT EDUCATION: RENEWED EMPHASIS ON HOLISTIC APPROACH

Prof. Kuriakose Mamkoottam, Dean, FMS

Prof B S Sahay, Director, Management Development Institute (MDI) “Management education in India needs to consciously focus on maintaining excellence and quality. The mushrooming number of business schools with proper accreditation is a positive aspect, although teaching standards have to be maintained. However, one of the disturbing trends has been the decline in the ranking of management education. The World Economic Forum Report 2007, on management education in India, ranked it at 8th position. By 2008, it came down to 12th position. 2009 saw further decline in the ranking. This trend has to be arrested, and therefore, quality education in management is crucial. 16

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Prof Kuriakose Mamkootam, Dean, Faculty of Management Studies (FMS), Delhi University The research undertaken by the faculty at FMS is largely in their own primary background such as Sociology, Commerce, Finance and related areas. Management is an interdisciplinary subject and therefore research topics vary accordingly. Corporate governance, poverty alleviation, entrepreneurship, and various kinds of health care systems are some of the few areas of research.” The trend in management education is moving towards a holistic approach, which not just focuses on profit maximisation. The empahasis is to locate business in a larger societal context. Myriad stakeholder perspectives, and not just that of the investors, are to be taken into consideration. Therefore, issues like Corporate Social Responsibility, Corporate Governance, Work-life Balance are the emerging areas which business education has to adjust to sooner than later. From the curriculum perspective, changes occurring in the industry would also reflect in the course content. The attempt is to make the curriculum relevant and contemporary. We are in the process of revising the syllabus thereby incorporating these changes. With regard to students’ interest in research, very few pursue research immediately after completion of their course. The salary packages are quiet enticing, and it is difficult to retain students for the same. Usually, some of the students work for a few years, gather experience and come back to pursue academics and research.”

The younger management graduates should also be encouraged to pursue academics to meet the dearth in the number of teaching faculty.” Dr H. Chaturvedi, Director, Birla Institute of Management Technology (BIMTECH) “The recent developments in the world economy have had major influence on the trends in management education. There is a renewed emphasis on business ethics. The focus is now heavily on key areas including Business Ethics, Corporate Social Responsibility, Corporate Governance, and Sustainable Development. Some of the new areas that have emerged include: Management of business during recession or

slowdown; Management of risks arising out of national and international relations; Entrepreneurship; Micro-Enterprise and Micro-Finance; Micro-Insurance; and Social Entrepreneurship. Most of the students are interested in taking up lucrative jobs after they finish their course, and it is difficult to bring them towards academics. However, last year, owing to the economic slowdown and the dearth of campus placements, we had started the Research Fellowships programme. Seven students had enrolled in the programme and are pursuing PhD and also earning a stipend. Management is an inter-disciplinary field and the research areas vary according to the area and interest of students.”


The Management Development Programmes have been offering significant expertise in different functional and cross-functional areas of business management. Could you elaborate on these training programmes? DEVELOPING INDUSTRY ACADEMIA INTERFACE THROUGH MANAGEMENT DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMMES

Prof. B S Sahay, Director, MDI

Dr H. Chaturvedi, Director, Birla Institute of Management Technology (BIMTECH) “While continuously striving to raise our educational standards BIMTECH has been evolving and developing new skills and teaching & training methodology. Based on this strength, BIMTECH is offering these Management Development Programmes for the working executives. BIMTECH team has been designing and conducting custom designed training modules on industry specific requirements. Towards this, BIMTECH team undertakes a detailed training need assessment at the site of the requesting organisation. Based on the training needs as established by the assessment, appropriate training schedules are prepared. In addition to the in-house resources available at BIMTECH, we also associate industry experts in specified functional and operational areas to conduct the programmes, which meet the customer’s specific needs and requirements. BIMTECH has, in the recent past conducted more than 60 such in-house programmes for

Prof B S Sahay, Director, Management Development Institute (MDI) “MDI’s educational programmes attempt to help executives in broadening their understanding and improving their skills to prepare them to face the challenges at higher positions. More than 100 Management Development Programmes every year of varying duration are conducted. The structure focus is on the current areas of interest to executives at the senior, middle, or junior management levels. While the programmes provide inputs to fill knowledge gaps, the emphasis is also on broadening the horizons of participants through case studies, business games, role-plays and exercises. Interaction with experienced faculty and fellow participants provide new insights and help crystallize concepts to enhance the thinking process for better quality decisionmaking. The Advanced Management Programme (AMP) focuses on examining strategic issues - both functional as well as cross-functional - that leaders need to deal with in their quest for creating successful, globalised organisations. The Quality Improvement Programme is for the faculty members of AICTE recognised business management institutes. The Government of India launched the Quality Improvement Programme in the year 1970. One of the main objectives of the programme is to upgrade the expertise and capabilities of the faculty members of the degree level institutions in the country.”

organisations like State Trading Corporation (STC), Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF) and many others. There are specific training programmes we have been offering to the industry, which includes Green Business, attended by 21 countries. We have designed a unique programme for inclusive marketing in collaboration with MART, a leading consulting agency in rural marketing, with the objective of disseminating entrepreneurship skills among the rural and urban poor. We are trying to integrate technology with sustainable development, and we are the first B-school to launch an MBA for sustainable development.” Dr Anwar Ali, Director, Institute of Management Technology (IMT), Ghaziabad “IMT, Ghaziabad offers management development programmes in different areas of management focusing on the twin objectives of broadening the horizon of thinking and strengthening the skills of the practicing managers and developing industry academician interface. Our MDP’s are designed and

executed to broaden the horizon of thinking and strengthening skills of the practicing managers. Programmes are offered in diverse functional areas. Participants gain valuable insights on the subject through participation in classroom activities and interaction with other participants in the group. Looking at the ever-increasing need for such programmes, IMT decided to set up a separate MDC building dedicated to the MDP programmes. The institute has in-house experienced and learned training facilitators in the field of HRD Management, Financial Management, Operations Management, Marketing Management, Information Technology and Strategic Decision Making etc. MDP & Consultancy has remained a major focus area in the last year. The MDP & Research Centre has a dedicated facility of 3 ultra-modern, state-of-the-art class rooms for conducting programmes and a MDP hostel for offering residential programmes. Some of the list of companies for whom programmes have been conducted by IMT inlcude NTPC Ltd. , Alstom Power, Steel Authority of India, Planning Commission, Cyber Media etc.”


Collaborative and exchange programmes with various institutions in India and abroad have facilitated inter-cultural knowledge sharing and promoted greater regional understanding. Our readers would like to know more about the same. ACADEMIC COLLABORATIONS: ADVANTAGE STUDENTS AND FACULTY

Dr. Anwar Ali, Director, IMT, Ghaziabad

Prof Mamkootam, Dean, Faculty of Management Studies (FMS), Delhi University “We have had faculty exchange programmes for many years and our first lot of professors were trained in Harvard and Cornell. This scheme was revised in the eighties, when we started sending the faculty to universities in Europe. For the last two years we have again started sending our faculty to Harvard for short term training programmes. The world for which the MBA’s are preparing is multicultural and multinational. Keeping this in mind, the FMS has given its students an opening to develop and apply functional, management and crosscultural skills and concepts in global business contexts. FMS has a rich history of collaborations with institutions around the world. As far as students are concerned, we are exploring the possibility of developing the exchange programmes further. Through Universita 21, we have entered into an MoU with 21 universities across the world. We are exploring the possibility of sending our students to these Universitites for a semester.“ 20

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Dr Anwar Ali, Director, Institute of Management Technology (IMT), Ghaziabad “IMT Ghaziabad is one of the prestigious institutions to have signed the Erasmus Mundus 2009-2013 which aims at excellence in quality and international cooperation between European and other countries. The objective of the ERASMUS programme is to encourage and support academic mobility of higher education students and teachers within the European Union and other countries. The ERASMUS programme aims to improve the quality and increase the amount of multilateral cooperation between higher education institutions and enterprises and to spread innovation and new pedagogic practice and supports to developing closer links between universities. Thus, this programme would enable the students and faculty at IMT to avail scholarships and grants for their research and academic exchange programmes. Furthermore, it would open a window of opportunities due to the alliances with a number of prestigious institutes in Europe. We are working on the execution, implementation and research opportunities through this arrangement. This initiative further reiterates our commitment to strive to keep up the quality of our academic collaborations by ensuring quality partnerships that would help in value addition to the students and faculty at IMT. It would definitely add an international flavour in all our academic endeavors henceforth.”

Dr H. Chaturvedi, Director, Birla Institute of Management Technology (BIMTECH) “BIMTECH is one of the few business schools which started the student exchange progamme as an integral part of the education and exposure process for students. MINT BSchool 2008 methodology ranked BIMTECH in the top 10 in India and 4th in private business schools on international collaborations. The student and faculty exchange programmes are key to our success and growth. Few of our International Dr. H. Chaturvedi, Director, BIMTECH partnerships include Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (Australia), Erasmus Our National partnerships include University (Netherlands), Chartered TCS ( Delhi), Bombay Stock Exchange International Institute (UK), Philadelhia (Mumbai), Mysore University (Mysore), Reliance World (Mumbai).” \\ University (USA).


COVER STORY

Views on the Latest Buzz in the Management Circuit Recruiters estimate that the on-campus job offers in 2010 will be better than in 2009. Can you elaborate on the status of campus recruitments? Do you think the effects of global recession are over? RECRUITMENTS 2010: ITS THE SUNNY SIDE UP! Dr H. Chaturvedi, Director, Birla Institute of Management Technology (BIMTECH) “The campus placement situation definitely looks much better this year. More than 40% of our students have already been placed with reputed companies. We hope to complete the placement process by March, 2010.The

outcome looks positive and the Indian economy is coming out of the effects of recession.” Prof Mamkootam, Dean, Faculty of Management Studies, Delhi University “Recession at one stage is completely over. However, I do not foresee a situation where the pre-recession atmosphere can

be brought back any time in the near future. Recruiters, this time, are very cautious and companies are much more limited in their ambitions. Recruitment is a risky business and therefore, companies and students are careful. I can say, though, that the placements this year will be better than the last two years.”

The first online Common Admission Test (CAT) examination was disrupted due to technical glitches. What could have been done better to avoid the disappointment of the students and the community as a whole in these kind of efforts? GRADUAL TRANSFORMATION TOWARDS ONLINE CAT EXAMS A PRE-REQUISITE Dr Anwar Ali, Director, Institute of Management Technology “The first computer-based Common Admission Test (CAT) across the country became a contentious issue following the difficulties in executing the test. However, we at IMT are of the firm opinion that these initiatives are inevitable and that the institutes should approach such situations with a positive bent of

mind. The admission process will be a bit delayed this year and we are gearing up for the same with great vigour and enthusiasm.” Dr H. Chaturvedi, Director, Birla Institute of Management Technology “I think the CAT Online Examinations should have been taken up by an Indian company instead of being entrusted

to Prometric, an American company, as the case was. There should have been a mock online examination and transformation towards an online process had to be gradual. Many students, who appear for the exams, are also from backward and rural areas who do not have any experience in using computers. Mock tests would have helped address this issue.”

The Centre has recently decided to increase the number of seats for students seeking admission to engineering and management schools countrywide. What is your take on this, considering the wide disparity that exists between the Northern and Southern states in relation to management and engineering schools? CHURNING MANAGEMENT GRADUATES TO SUIT INDUSTRY REQUIREMENTS Prof B S Sahay, Director, Management Development Institute “According to the National Knowledge Commission report, presently there are about 90,000 management graduates. This, in 15 years, is going to increase three folds owing to the escalating demand from the industry. Therefore, initiatives have to be taken to cater to the demand and supply patterns. However, quality standards in dissemination of 22

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management education have to be rigorously maintained.” Dr H. Chaturvedi, Director, Birla Institute of Management “The earlier policy promoted by All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) was to restrict the student intake to 50 seats in B-Schools. This, however, was not financially viable for management institutes. But now they are allowing

120 students in the first year; 180 in the second year, 240 in the 3rd year; 300 in the 4th Year; and 350 in the 5th year. My suggestion is that opening of new institutes have to be based on rigorous and comprehensive manpower research. This is essential because in 2009, 75000 engineering seats remained vacant. Similar was the case in many management institutes. There should be no mismatch between demand and supply.” \\


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COMMENTARY

IDIOTs in vogue? We don’t need no education; we don’t need no thought control; no dark sarcasm in the classroom; teacher, leave those kids alone - The Wall by Pink Floyd

Just think if Lata Mangeshkar’s father had not permitted her to sing, or Sachin Tendulkar was restricted from playing cricket. What would they have been doing? It is said that one’s life is all about listening to the heart and chasing own dreams. 3 IDIOTS, the award winning and record breaking film by Rajkumar Hirani and Vidhu Vinod Chopra conveys the message of pursuing dream and education in one’s life. DEMYSTIFYING THE MYTHS 3 IDIOTS is about three engineering students who believe in ‘I’ll Do It On my Terms’ and that’s what the three characters achieve in life. The film begins with the entry of the three central characters in an elite engineering college where the ‘boys-will-have-fun’ myth is featured in disguise of humour and joke throughout the story telling where the glaring anomalies in our education system has been widely criticised. “It’s a very well-made film with a message and with a big star. It brings back memories of people’s experience of the education system in India,” says Taran Adarsh, eminent movie reviewer, on the film’s overseas success. The success of ‘3 Idiots’ is just the tip of the iceberg, criticise experts. Though 3 Idiots is thoroughly enjoyable and humorous, the core of the film has fetched criticism on what it says about the future of India’s youth and the “rat race” for joining centres of excellence to study or teach in them. Every child in our society is not as gifted as Mangeshkar or Tendulkar, and most of the them end up living his father’s dream at an engineering institution or a medical college. In the film, Aamir Khan’s critical argument runs across on our highly institutionalised education system with the underlying message of serious indictment in that. The film also shows a student committing suicide at the beginning raising a pertinent question: Was it suicide or murder? 24

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In the media reports, the director himself revealed that like in ‘3 Idiots’, he had tried hard to convince his father about his desire to pursue film-making. Therefore, according to him, pursuing one’s dreams is very essential, provided it is backed with proper education.

In the film, the three idiots, Rancchoddas Shyamaldas Chanchad (Aamir Khan), Raju Rastogi (Sharman Joshi) and Farhan Qureshi (R Madhavan), are perfect archetypes of the new age Indian who is essentially a non-conformist, questioning outmoded given premises, choosing to live life on his own terms and

as the Frostian hero (Robert Frost’s Road Not Taken) who made all the difference to his life, and the world, by taking the road less travelled. The campus here could be any Indian college. Usually a dreaded professor, referred to by his initials or acronym, walks around to dry you out of any interest in learning. Rancho points out India’s education system as competitive, high-pressure, rote-heavy, illogical and almost cruel and tutors the audiences through the messages guiding his friends that says one should follow his heart’s calling if they want to make a difference, having a choice to spend an entire life doing what he likes. The message is no less relevant for the metropolitan youth who are crippled by a despotic disregard

chartering new roads that consciously skirt the rat race due to societal or parental pressure - but refuse to become cogs in the wheel. Naturally, they end up

for their natural creativity and run after Engineering and medicine like Raju and Farhan who enter the elite engineering college, only to be taught through books

STORY AND CHARACTERS – THE THREE IDIOTS ON SCREEN


and classrooms and not the lessons of life. Not surprisingly, this rote-learning, even from India’s best institutions, produces more of a bureaucracy to serve the corporate and financial sector, rather than producing original thinkers. In the film Sharman Joshi’s character Raju represents the lonely hope for lower income group India, craving only for professional degrees, preferably engineering, to support his family. Madhavan as the third ‘idiot’, who wanted to be a wildlife photographer takes admission into Imperial College of Engineering, which for him and many others in this country is a ticket to “neighbour’s envy, parent’s pride” territory. Principal Viru Sahastrabuddhe known as Virus, venerating the cuckoo whose life begins with murder, denotes the high level of stress and competition, to reach the top. He praises students like Chatur (Omi) who end up as conformists for becoming successful, portraying the likes of the eventual winners. INDIAN EDUCATION TODAY – WHAT SAYS 3 IDIOTS 3 IDIOTS belongs to everyone. On the whole, the film has tremendous youth appeal and feel-good factor to work in a big way in delivering the underlying message to our social system. Idiot 1 - Education System: Which is mainly performance-oriented with its focus on scoring high marks and too much of emphasis on examinations forcing students to learn by rote rather than encouraging depth understanding. In the film Rancho (Aamir Khan) goes beyond the book to gain mastery. Idiot 2 - Teachers: Faculty-led fixed curriculum based pedagogy where the teacher gives no room to the students to convey originality. Boman Irani as Viru Sahastrabuddhe portrays it. Idiot 3 - Parents: They pressurise children to take up courses according to their own choice rather than their child’s. In the film the Quereshis and the poorer Rastogis portrays typical Indian parents. THE EFFECT In an elective course called ‘Learning What is Not Taught’ the faculty at the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIMA) decided to follow 3 Idiots, adopting the line of teaching students to learn about life from beyond the textbooks and curriculum. According to media reports, Executive Director of Tata Sons Ltd

“I am beginning “I eg nn n too suspect s sp c al all elaborate e ab r t and a d special s c a systems s s ems of education. They seem to me to be built up on the supposition that everyy child is a kind off idiot who must be taught g to think” - A Anne ne Sullivan S Sulli lv n R Gopalakrishnan, the lead faculty of LNWT says, “What the students learn in the classrooms is only the beginning of learning. The rest of the lessons are to be learnt from what life teaches them.” According to a report by Hindustan Times, 3 Idiots also triggers attention in some institutions in Punjab. Some of the dialogues of Rancho and their purpose have been rephrased as remarks on answer sheets of postgraduate students in a Ludhiana college. “Education is the ultimate objective,” and “learning to apply theoretical knowledge is essential” are some of those remarks. At a Government Primary School in Ludhiana, teacher Ravinder Kaur convinced her colleagues to contribute Rs 500 each to install audiovisual aids in the classroom. A.P. Singh, who teaches mathematics at Malwa Central College of Education in Ludhiana, has started giving good marks to students who had reproduced what they had excerpted from textbooks acknowledging the students’ effort. PERCEPTION AND REALITY The indifferent assembly-line approach of our current education is not enabling students to cope up in the world and that is what the 3 idiots’ message says. Because education is always developing one’s mind and soul and not just only learning by rote, conveys the film. But there are winds from opposite direction as well. According to Sagarika Ghose, eminent columnist and journalist, the film is perhaps a better reflection of the vast number of engineering colleges mushrooming across India, which are indeed soul-less factories where real education is substituted for cramming. According to her, the film establishes that unless one is a naturally gifted scientific genius like Ranchordas Chanchad, there’s no point wasting time with your books. Then one is better off singing songs or becoming a wildlife photographer. “If we continue to lose our minds over films like 3 Idiots, we will soon become a nation of idiots and will have to hire foreign brains to do our thinking for us because we will be wallowing in hatred of the system and escapist pleasure. Do we want to bring up children on the notion that the education system is idiotic and

deserves to be screwed?” argues Ghose in her column. Criticisms are there that ‘Three Idiots’ encourages to throw away books and whose central message is “the education system sucks”, “we learn nothing at our centres of excellence” and “teachers are unable to teach and only want to ruin students lives,” saying that the film is dangerously juvenile. Of course, there is a need for reform. Of course, there is a need to urgently relieve the pressure and strain - The pressure that comes from the huge number of students applying for too few IITs, too few medical colleges and too few quality universities and the diabolical teachers and emotionally blackmailing parents. Therefore, there is a need to relook at our education system, ensure that parents do not pressurise children. But in the pursuit of educational reform, the standards of excellence should neither be compromised upon nor should we engage in an escapist fantasy and convince ourselves that education does not matter. In the film as depicted, Rancho was a genius. But in reality every student is not genius, there is no short cuts for them in excellence for higher education. Everything said and done, there is no denying the fact that the Indian education system as it stands today does not adequately equip the students to ask “why – what – where – when?”. It teaches students how to answer well but in today’s complex world, asking the right questions is of paramount importance. Given a problem, we can solve it very well but when it comes to identifying a problem, even students from premier institutes lag behind. The education system needs to correct that. Also, in line with the fact “everyone is not a genius”, it is also equally true that “everyone does not need to get into an IIT”. There should be other rewarding avenues identified for the masses who are “non-genius”. Meaningful vocational training coupled with an acceptance by the society which could only stem from dignity of labour would go a long way in making the masses idolise idiots. This is particularly true for a country like India where the job market is unable to adequately reward even the highest degree in general education, a Ph.D. \\ digital LEARNING

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EVENT REPORT

IGNOU SILVER JUBILEE SPECIAL LECTURE BY IRINA BOKOVA

‘A Culture of Inclusion’ is Rooted in a Commitment to Equity and Social Justice As a continuation of the Silver Jubilee Year celebrations of the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) through the year of 2010, the IGNOU Silver Jubilee Special Lecture was organised on “Building Inclusive Knowledge Societies in a Globalised World: Opportunities and Risks” by Her Excellency Ms. Irina G. Bokova, Director General of UNESCO. The function was presided by Smt. D. Purandeswari, the Honourable Minister of State, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India on January 11, 2010 at the Convention Centre, IGNOU Campus, Maidan Garhi, New Delhi. Professor V. N. Rajasekharan Pillai, Vice Chancellor, IGNOU, while welcoming Ms Irina Bokova, elaborated on the role of IGNOU in providing seamless access to sustainable and learner centric quality education, skill up-gradation, training and capacity building across the country and abroad by making use of innovative technologies in distance education, open learning and online teaching learning methodologies. He summarised IGNOU’s ventures through the convergence of existing systems of teaching-learning for the massive human resources required for promoting integrated national development and global understanding. With EduSat, the University is poised to take giant steps towards Information and Communication Technology, Web and Satellite based education across the globe and pursue flexible and blended learning further. The IGNOU system can be an effective model for education communities all over the world. For a developing country like India, the Open and Distance Learning (ODL) system has to play a complementary skill development role to the conventional models. Although the primary aim of Open and Distance Education has been to improve the 26

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MS. IRINA G. BOKOVA, DIRECTOR, GENERAL, UNESCO

Gross Enrollment Ratio, this is not going to take place in isolation. The quality of teaching-learning processes needs to be improved. Technology capacitated distance education has enabled us to improve the quality of distance education in classrooms as well as to enhance the reach of education. By acknowledging the nature of the clientele, we have to modify and adapt to the nature and mode of education delivery. A single education strategy is not the solution for a country like India. The Open University system needs to look into strategies outside the formal university set up. We have to make use of the large number of academics and intellectuals available outside the education system, whose capabilities can also be integrated into the programmes, he added. Minister of State, Ministry of Human Resources Development, Government of India, Smt D. Purandeswari, in her inaugural speech spoke about the efforts of the government in promoting innovations and inclusive education in India. The Right to education has been

a landmark in promoting and facilitating education for all. India has a demographic advantage with over 70% of the population below 35 years. This population, she emphasized, can be tapped on through efficient and effective skills and vocational education. Education when combined with sound macro economic policies would yield good dividends and therefore, expansion, inclusion and quality are the key emphasis in the education sector. The GER in India is 12.4% while in the world over it is 23.4%. When compared, India’s GER is very low. The aim of the government of India is to increase the GER to 25% by 2011-12. The government is also in the process of reforming the education agenda for creating knowledge societies. Quality assurance is important. Legislations to penalize malpractices in higher education are underway. The government is also in the process of facilitating foreign education providers to set up colleges in India. In her address, Irina Bokava, while congratulating IGNOU for its initiatives


FACT FILE: Ms Irina Bokova who took office as the Director General of UNESCO in September, 2009, also became the first woman to assume the office. The former Bulgarian foreign minister is a successor of Koichiro Matsuura. She has reiterated UNESCO’s commitment towards building a just society, and has added a new focus on climate science and water crisis while rigorously defending freedom of expression. Her visit to India in January 2010 has been her first official visit to India, and her lecture at IGNOU a first in any Indian University.

in democratising education in India, reiterated that the Indira Gandhi National Open University is itself a living embodiment of the subject of her address: Building inclusive knowledge societies in a globalised world. She stated that UNESCO is proud to be associated with IGNOU in a number of fields, including journalism and media literacy, and hosting UNESCO chairs in different areas. With regard to India’s role in helping shape UNESCO’s vision, she stated that India has helped to build a structure capable of transforming elevated principles into concrete actions. With its huge cultural and linguistic diversity, and its spectacular economic advances, India is a leading example of how to reconcile tradition with modernity. India is at the forefront of efforts to ensure that UNESCO remains responsive and relevant in a fast changing world- by contributing to the formulation of UNESCO’s policies and strategies. MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS (MDGS): AN ABSOLUTE MINIMUM FOR ANY COUNTRY Bokova stated that today the world is multi-polar and interdependent, driven by formidable advances in technology that have an impact on every sphere of human activity. For many of us, these changes enrich our lives in ways previously unimaginable: our globalised world is a treasure-chest of possibilities! Globalisation has lifted millions out of poverty. It has witnessed the emergence of middle classes in countries where there were once just the elites and the poor. These middle classes have purchasing power and a whole new set of ambitions. However, “Poverty,” as the revered Mahatma Gandhi said, “is the worst form of violence.” In the age of the Internet, mobile phones and unprecedented scientific advances, some 1.4 billion people live on less than $1.25 dollar a day. The financial crisis has sent shock waves the world over, from corporate hubs to towns and to the most remote villages. The MDGs constitute one of the most ambitious roadmaps ever adopted with the goal to “End Poverty by 2015.”

BUILDING INCLUSIVE KNOWLEDGE SOCIETIES IN A GLOBALISED WORLD: OPPORTUNITIES AND RISKS - IRINA G. BOKOVA

MDGs reflect a global commitment to restoring human dignity through better livelihoods, health, nutrition, education, sanitation and women’s empowerment. They represent an absolute minimum for any country, the foundation for building more inclusive, more just societies. NEW HUMANISM: HARNESSING CHANGE FOR COMMON GOOD While emphasising the need for creating a just society, Bokova highlighted the role of humanitarian ethics that play a pivotal role in building an inclusive society. The vision is that of creating a philosophy of new humanism. Adaptation to the immense speed of change must go hand in hand with a re-iteration of enduring values. Without social inclusion, humanity will not ride the wave of change, it will be overwhelmed by it. Without an ethics of climate change, disastrous consequences of global warming cannot be averted. Without good governance, economic growth cannot deliver all its benefits. The need today is for clearly stated values that guide and drive policies, she stated. CULTURE OF INCLUSION: ADDRESSING ROOT CAUSES OF MARGINALISATION IN EDUCATION Bokova, while announcing the launch of the 2010 edition of the Education for All Global Monitoring Report at the United Nations in New York, stated that the report warns that education for all is at risk not only because of the economic downturn but because governments in many countries are not doing enough to address the root causes of marginalisation in education. Against this backdrop, the first priority in combating marginalisation is to guarantee equitable access to education to out of school children, female literacy and addressing issues

related to exclusion, including caste, language, disability, HIV and AIDS. Speaking about the launch of a National Mission on Education through ICT by the government of India, she emphasised that India is using ICT in truly original ways to empower marginalised communities and minority groups. UNESCO has worked hand in hand with the stakeholders in a number of these intiatives – giving ‘Voice’ to rural women and girls, opening new opportunities for the disabled, encouraging youth and civil society participation. ICT must not been seen in a narrow way as a high-tech ‘fix’ for development. The notion of inclusiveness in an inclusive knowledge society also concerns technology itself. Flexible and creative mixtures of old and new technologies, combining hi-tech and low-tech, innovative and traditional means of communicating and of sharing information, have been at the heart of many successful projects. CLIMATE CHANGE With regard to climate change, she said that this is an area in which we must not slacken our efforts to reach a global consensus on decisive action. She stated that in Copenhagen, a climate change initiative was launched that encompasses education, the preservation of biological and cultural diversity, climate ethics and cooperation in the field of climate science. Climate change can and must be tackled within the framework of efforts to build inclusive knowledge societies. The 2007 UNESCO conference on environmental education held in Ahmedabad with UNESCO marked a significant contribution to the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development that we are leading. Bokova concluded the lecture with a resounding quote by Mahatma Gandhi, ‘Be the change that you want to see in the world’. \\ digital LEARNING

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LEADERS SPEAK

Education Ministries Need to See the Possibilities of ICT Beyond Computer Education www.gesci.org

DR. JYRKI PULKKINEN CEO, GLOBAL E-SCHOOLS AND COMMUNITIES INITIATIVE (GESCI)

Initially use of computer was considered synonymous with use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in education, especially in schools and colleges. Do you think that the former notion justifies the latter? What do you opine about utilisation of ICT in current Scenario in India? No, I do not think computers are synonymous with ICTs. However, ICT in education is still a very vague concept because it can mean almost anything that is related to use of any digital or analog technologies at any level of the education system, from school to higher education, as well as in administration and even at home. On the other hand, it is also a good term because ICT seems to transform all aspects of education. When referring to ICT in Education, we just should specify 30

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which processes and/or institutional aspects are we currently referring to. From this point of view, the use of computers can be counted into ICT in education, but we should understand that it is only one aspect of the whole issue. If we look at it from a historical perspective, computers were not the first “ICTs” that the schools have been using. We have had many analog technologies, that currently are still counted in to the concept of ICT, like radio, TV and even over-head projectors, that have been shaping our understanding of the use of ICT in education. Those older technologies could still be used to support traditional education in a class room setting similar to computers. From this point of view, I do not see standalone computers would help transform education in India to a large extent. The new aspect that ICT can bring in to education is the use of digital communication technology that makes the big difference if compared to previous technologies, including standalone computers in education. In practice this means that the Internet and other communication services that can connect people and institutions have to work together. It can potentially transform the whole education sytem and therefore it should not be used as a synonym for computers in education. Also from technical point of view, ICT includes many other sophisticated technologies than computers, like mobile phones, PDAs, GPS, communication infrastructure like satellites and wireless networks, etc, that are very useful in learning, especially open and flexible learning but also other processes in education. Ministries across world are propagating ICT use in area of

education. Can you give us a brief comparison and a few success stories of the current scenario, with respect to application of ICT in Schools across various countries and India. Yes, many countries have prioritised ICTs in education, which is a positive trend. Even those that do not seem to have financial resources for traditional education are talking of ICTs. There may be very successful implementation models at school levels, but it is very difficult to pinpoint any specific country that have been more successful in their national models. In Finland, schools adopt those models which are best suited to their requirements. However, that requires highly skilled teachers and principals at the school level. At the general level my concern is that most of the ministries do not really see the possibilities of ICT beyond computer education. I fully agree that there is a huge need for ICT related skills in all the societies, especially poor ones, but it would be short sighted to utilise only that aspect of ICTs in education. There also seem to be only one or two models in ministries’ minds, on how ICTs can be integrated in education. Usually these models are, indeed, very classroom based and targeted either to bring new skills, like ICTs or “computyping” in the curriculum or raise the quality of learning in various subjects in classrooms. These are very relevant skills too. However, if we look at the biggest challenges in many of the developing countries’ education systems, too many children and young adults are still left out from the formal education system. ICT could really address this problem, if we only see the potential. For example, if there was one computer in each of the classroom which would be furnished with an IP video


GeSCI is seeking good practices and evidence for successful use of ICT in education together with the research communities, private sector and governments, and use this evidence in knowledge sharing and capacity building programmes offered to government staff and ministries. conferencing facility, then the teacher could use it for linking the class room to homes or small community centers in rural or poor environments where children could come together and join the classroom virtually. Therefore, the need today is to look at the challenges in our own education system and try to address those with ICT rather opt for blind adoption of ICT models from other countries. I think the computer lab model adopted by most of the schools in India and other countries is exactly one of those copied without a proper consideration. Interaction, Innovation and Quality are the major concerns of the schools where technology is being integrated. What are the opportunities and challenges that are being witnessed by the school sector today with respect to the former? As long as ICTs is seen only as computers in classrooms, we do not forsee too much interaction or innovation in learning. It only continues the tradition of memorising and rote learning in schools. Once ICT is understood as a communication tool connecting people to interact, it can usher in an aspect of innovation to learning. However, this seems to be very difficult for teachers to initiate and organise in their own classrooms, although good examples exist. The experience shows that it may take more time to change the teaching arrangements of a school and one cannot expect that the rest of the teachers will understand right away what you are doing. They may even resist in the beginning as one is changing the traditional setup of the school. However, all innovations are resisted in the beginning. Can you explain how ICT integration can link school eduction with higher education and also with the working life of an individual? What are the services and products offered by GeSCI to enhance ICT knowledge integration amongst pupils? I have already indicated above that ICT can change education at the institutional level, if only we see the

potential. And this is also what is needed if we want to link education to working life with ICT. It not only requires appropriate ICT technologies, but also appropriate new organisation for education delivery. We can call it open and flexible learning or open education, or blended learning. It is really important for us to change every aspect of the education institution, if we wanted to change the delivery mode of an education institution. ICTs can then be used for solving real educational problems. GeSCI does not offer any learning services for schools and institutions at the moment. What GeSCI can do in this regards is to carry out action research that could help professionals and institutions to understand the complexity of open learning and help institutions to reshape their delivery modes and to connect better to the learners outside of normal school set up. A long lasting developmental research could create “a living lab” for the government to create incentives and policies, encouraging institutions to connect better to working life. Kindly highlight GeSCI’s role in building strategic capacities on ICT in education in developing countries. What is the procedure/ guidelines your organisation follows for building such capacities? Do you endorse the

concept of Public Private Partnership as well? GeSCI is a knowledge creation and sharing organisation by nature, which means that GeSCI is seeking good practices and evidence for successful use of ICT in education together with the research communities, private sector and governments, and use this evidence in knowledge sharing and capacity building programmes offered to government staff and ministries. The capacity building programmes can be organised through “working together” arrangements in nation-wide ICT4E initiatives or through national or regional workshops. Also, virtual working and creation of “communities of practice” are emphasised. As GeSCI works always in partnership with governments and also gives strategic advice for the ministries related to different national ICT initiatives, it requires some level of neutrality and independence from private ICT sector and other stakeholders. Therefore, GeSCI has maintained good relationships to all ICT providers and industry, but not joined their marketing initiatives. Also the core funding of GeSCI is coming from the public sector. However, we believe in the real multi-stakeholder initiatives and are happy to work together with different stakeholders sharing common goals with us. \\ digital LEARNING

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COMMENTARY

A Drop in the Bucket! Government announces revised scheme of ICT in schools, at a cost of INR 7K crore 1.08 lakh government schools to go ‘Smart’, benefiting 1.5 crore students, during the 11th Five Year Plan.

At last it’s here! This development has long been awaited!! It’s an initiative that has always been debated on but had never been negated that the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) would improve the quality of the teaching and learning process. Additionally, it would also bridge the digital divide, empowering those who have hitherto remained untouched by the digital revolution and have not been able to join the mainstream of the knowledge economy. Taking cognizance of the benefits, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, Government of India approved a revised scheme on Information and Communication Technology in schools earlier this month as per the 11th Five Year Plan. “The revised scheme on ICT will cover about 1.08 lakh government, government-aided secondary and higher secondary schools and would help to bridge the digital divide, benefiting 1.5 crore students,” says Kapil Sibal, Minister, Human Resource Development, Government of India. According to Rajeev Katyal, Director-Education, Microsoft India, the project has dual objective of improving the quality of education as well as providing digital skills to students, thus making them more suitable for either employment or further studies in a knowledge economy. “We welcome it as a very positive step to meet the above mentioned objectives,” shares Katyal. This is also expected to be a major intervention in enhancing the Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) in higher education by five percent during the 11th Five Year Plan period and in ensuring access and equity in higher education, as recommended by the Oversight Committee and the National Knowledge Commission. According to Prof. Ashok K Bakhshi, Director, Institute of Lifelong Learning, University of Delhi, “The scheme is the need of the hour and is a step in right direction. We must change ourselves with the changing times, giving the best 32

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of the practices to the students.” “The project is far reaching and even if 50 per cent of objectives are met the complete outlook of education would change. It would also act as a catalyst for larger opportunities,” quotes Amit Gupta, CEO, S Chand Group. It would have a three-tier committee system to monitor and guide its functioning. Also, the Ministry of HRD, Department of Higher Education would enter into a MoU with State Governments for proper monitoring of the scheme in their State. “We believe, children are the best at technology. Therefore, the effort is to enable them in learning through technology at the very early stage of their lives,” quotes Shakila T. Shamsu, Joint Adviser (Education), Planning Commission, Government of India. “A great initiative, the Government clearly wants to improve the teaching learning process and prepare our students for the future by increasing its investment on ICT,” says Jayant Bhadauria, Head, Education Vertical for India & SAARC, Adobe Systems Incorporated. Whereas Prof. Utpal Mallik, Head,

Department of Computer Science, NCERT states that there must be room for debate on the policy from the very beginning. According to Lokesh Mehra, Regional Manager - Corporate Responsibility, Cisco Systems (India) Pvt Ltd, South Asia, In Asia, a project has already been implemented by UNESCO (the UNESCO ICT competency framework project) in the domain. Therefore, with corrective measures and customised approach this declaration can go a long way in reforming the education system, even at the grassroots level. Adding to that Anshul Sonak, Manager, South Asia Education, Intel, states that the project will go a long way in creating quality human capital of India in the long term. STRATEGY, TARGET AND THE IMPACT The existing centrally sponsored scheme of “ICT in Schools” is being implemented through the State Governments and United Territories since 2005-06. Under this scheme, nearly


53,000 schools have been included. The revised scheme envisages to cover an additional 58,000 schools as a need has been felt to expand the outreach of the scheme. According to Shri Sibal, priority would be given to educationally backward blocks with special attention on SC, ST, minority, weaker sections and the disabled. “This is probably the most significant step considering the size and reach of this programme reflecting the success and the positive impact the ICT programme has had so far in Government schools across India,” says Srikanth Iyer, COO, Manipal K-12 Education. Under this programme, each school will be provided with required ICT infrastructure, e-content, power supply and Internet connectivity, and a technology equipped classroom, with audio-visual aids for enhancing the learning method. Once the project is implemented, training individuals for the jobs of the future and enabling them to visualise what is possible today will not only make a difference in their lives but will enrich our communities now and for years to come, comments Mehra. According to him, if implemented correctly, India would be able to quadruple the number of teachers, professors, academicians and instructors that would help to achieve 20 per cent GER by 2015. Besides, the technology-enabled Teacher Professional Development programme can further facilitate the teachers in formative assessments to measure the understanding of the students’ progress thereby continuously maintaining a robust pool of talent through various initiatives and programmes. According to Kabir Khanna, CEO, Chalkpad Technologies, although the project is definitely a step in the right direction, the real impact can only be determined on the basis of how well they the project is implemented and executed on.

F di will Funding Fundin will l be b on 75:25 75 7 :25 5 sharing sh h ring between b w n the the Centre C Cen r and ndd States, S St t s and 90:10 90 10 for f r the t e North N r h Eastern Ea t rn states. sae. of INR 502 crores during the current financial year for the project. “All the states including the North Eastern States have prioritised the project and set aside resources for the implementation,” shares Shamsu at Planning Commission. According to Khanna at Chalkpad, “It is also important to see how this money is being spent and how it makes the process of ‘imparting and absorbing education’ more efficient and interesting, leading to better results.” THE NEED INDEED Earlier, the NASSCOM-McKinsey Report 2005 projections indicated that there will be a shortage by about 5,00,000 suitable professionals (representing an opportunity cost of USD 10 billion) by the end of the decade and in the absence of corrective action, this gap will continue to grow. However, if current trends are maintained, the IT-ITES sector will need an additional 1 million plus qualified people in the next 5 years and will generate exports of USD 86 billion in FY 2012. Analysing the dearth and apprehending the potential, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has termed the 11th Five Year Plan as “India’s educational plan.” It is through universal literacy, access to education and knowledge-based industrial development that India will believably march ahead to join the front ranks of the great nations.

Having said that, making available ICT solutions, shared management personnel, and management skills with the school committees will be crucial, explains the plan. ACHIEVING THE GOAL Though the scheme has been announced, there are critical phases in defining the goals, say experts. According to Sam Carlson, Lead Education Specialist, The World Bank, “There was not enough focus and genuine teacher professional development to help teachers skillfully integrate ICTs into their classrooms. I believe this may change with the revised centrally sponsored scheme ICT@Schools and the adoption of the new Policy for ICT and Education.” Further to that, Katyal at Microsoft adds that the process should be divided in phases of three, five and ten years time frames. In the first three years, every Secondary School must have an IT lab and at least one ICT- enabled classroom. In the second phase of five years, all government upper Primary Schools should be offered the same facilities of an ICT lab and an ICT-enabled classroom while the third phase of 10 years should see this entire programme spread to Primary Schools. Microsoft would like to support the government here in terms of its specialised teacher training techniques as well as advanced level technology courses, Katyal ensures.

EXPENDITURE INVOLVED The estimated expenditure of the scheme is INR 6,926.13 crores for the 11th Five Year Plan. The funding will be provided on a 75:25 sharing basis between the Centre and the States, except for North Eastern States including Sikkim, where the sharing pattern would be 90:10. Recurring cost will be provided for a period of 5 years from the year of sanction. There is a budget provision digital LEARNING

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According to experts, Public Private Partnership (PPP) would be the best route as no single agency can handle the same. “PPP would avoid duplication, bring best of both the sectors and would speed up the entire process,” Gupta adds. Further to that Khanna at Chalkpad clarifies that there should be an autonomous body set up by the government to oversee the process as a whole. Adopting best practices of the PPP model from across the world will be useful. “Standard guidelines will make the PPP model efficient. A lot of players are already implementing the BOOT model, however emphasis should be on creating the appropriate environment for ICT,” says Bhaduria at Adobe. There is also a need to recognise the fact that the Government alone cannot overcome the challenges. The education sector is also the obligation of the private sector to balance the lack of high-quality education, says experts. Through PPP, private sector can advise on steps going forward with respect to a comprehensive ICT framework that they would have implemented elsewhere globally. On that, Sonak at Intel says, “Given the diversity of India, we require multipronged approaches in implementing such large public-funded scheme in the most effective manner with more and more public private partnerships where local civil society, academia, government bodies and local business ecosystem come together and bring in their strengths to work complimentarily on project mode basis.” THE CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES There has been a significant impact of ICT in the delivery of educational services across the world. But in India, implementing the process is a little complicated than elsewhere. According to Shri Subhash C Khuntia, Joint Secretary, Department of School Education and Literacy, Ministry of Human Resource Development Government of India, “The project includes implementation in lakhs of schools, it tends to cover a wide range of areas across states in the country including the rural and suburban areas. Here lie the challenges.” Reaching out to those places and meeting the requirements is a critical job. Therefore, the mode of application has to be customised, he apprehends. “We are working on the the rules and tools of it. The applications do not only focus on deploying computer labs but also other 34

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RECENT REFORMS IN EDUCATION SECTOR Government welcomes Nris’ in Education Government assured to remove regulatory constraints to encourage nris in their participation in the education sector. This was necessary to achieve 10 per cent economic growth in the 12th five-year plan (2012-17).

Certificates to go online from 2011 The HRD Ministry declared of creating a national database of academic qualifications in electronic format which would authenticate and reissue certificates.

mode of technologies and specifically the customised content for the regions,” he focuses. According to Shamsu at Planning Commission, training the teachers is vital besides providing the infrastructural facilities and that is also a great challenge. After the training, upgrading the faculties regularly on the developments is also equally important. Besides, educating the non-teaching staff of the institutions to carry on the regular activities in the IT enabled process is also crucial. With regard to that Dr. Latha Pillai, Pro Vice Chancellor, Indira Gandhi National Open Unversity (IGNOU), says, “We have the resources but we have to concentrate on the process of implementation and the infrastructure. The priorities have to be chalked down properly.” According to Dr. Sitanshu S. Jena, Chairman, National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS), the parameters of quality have to be set in priority in the process implementation, developing the materials and generating the content including enlisting the facilities and the vendors. Also the project needs experts to judge the parameters. Until and unless these pointers are not met, the project would not get its desired outcome. Also it is not only a question of digital divide but also to bridge rural and urban divide and also provide equal opportunities, comments Gupta.

Thus according to Bhaduria, the Government needs to expedite the implementation by simplifying the process and by introducing a National Digital Curriculum for schools and higher education. And therefore, the institutes need to have a clear understanding of their role and evolve an ICT strategy to map the growth of students who will be enrolled under this programme, advises Mehra. But if a syllabus-based content can be ensured, then the impact of ICT interventions will increase significantly, further opines Iyer at Edurite. THE CURVE AHEAD The outcome is huge but hitherto to experience though, clarify experts. There should be an emphasis on those tools and technologies that the market uses. Similarly, ta study ought to be conducted to understand the skills required by the industry and how ICT can be used to impart and certify such skills. Content should be developed to ensure teaching skills and teachers be trained to deliver these skill sets. This would consolidate the industry and also bring economies of scale and affordability which are the desired outcome of ICT initiative, say experts. “In my perspective, self employment opportunities would also generate that would be backed up by a generation of technologically educated youth to bring the change,” says Gupta. The project will help reduce the dropout rate in schools. It would also further enable the creation of a better employable workforce, which will fuel our economy, says educationists. According to them, through the scheme, India can invest more leading to inclusive education, spanning tertiary and vocational education and will have curricula based on the needs of the industry. In the modern economy, socioeconomic impact of relevant education is more profound than ever and hence the success of the project is not just required from the industry standpoint but also from the nation’s standpoint, analyses Bhaduria. Summarising the impact of the implementation of the scheme, Carlson at World Bank concludes, “My vision of education in India by 2050 is one where all children complete Class 12 and develop the intellectual curiosity, skills, habits and knowledge needed to succeed in the global economy.” \\


NEWS

ASIA

CREATIVITY AND INNOVATION IN NEW SCHOOL CURRICULUM New methodologies of accountability and transparency are to be seen in the educational institutes in the year 2010 with the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) introducing sweeping reforms in the higher education sector. With these changes the recognised colleges would be expected to display online their institute’s fee details, faculty components and admission related details, respectively. The Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Kapil Sibal is expected to soon announce these reforms and the names of the colleges that are recognised by AICTE will have to declare their entire fees, its components, refundable portions on withdrawal of admission, number of seats per course, eligibility conditions, admission and selection process, details of teaching faculty, including their pay and qualifications, the institute’s physical and academic infrastructure and syllabus outline.

GOVERNMENT STUDYING FROG SYSTEM E-EDUCATION It was told by the Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, that the government was studying an eeducation method named ‘Frog System’. The system was already being practiced in several schools in the United Kingdom and was being studied with an objective of being implemented in Malaysia, if found suitable. According to Muhyiddin, the Education Minister, the method was quite effective and was expected to enhance learning and teaching. He added that government is putting all its effort to ensure that the quality level of education in schools could be enhanced, especially relating to technology developments in ICT and that this enhancement can support the country to ‘leap frog’ further ahead.

RANASINGHE, SRI LANKAN PIONEER IN IT EDUCATION AND TRAINING The pioneer of the leading Computer and Information Te c h n o l o g y T r a i n i n g Academies with over 50 branches island-wide covering all the provinces in the country, Dr. Bandusena Ranasinghe is another eminent personality from University of Peradeniya. He is the Chairman or in other words founder of the IDM Group of Companies. The academies under his guidance have donated almost 900 IT graduates to the country other than several thousands IT Diploma holders. IDM also provides and supports opportunities for direct employments of above five hundred people within the IDM group. 36

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Dr. Bandu Ranasinghe holds the degrees of B.Sc, MBA, Ph.D, FCS, MACS, FBCS and he is a visiting lecturer of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura. IDM Group of Companies Chairman Dr. Ranasinghe is also an adjunct Associate Professor for the Charles Sturt University, Australia. He was the founder Chairman of the British Computer Society – Sri Lanka, Ex General Secretary and Ex Chairman of Computer Society of Sri Lanka.

PHILIPPINES TO HOST 45TH SEAMEO CONFERENCE AND 5TH ASEAN MEETING OF MINSTERS OF EDUCATION Two annual conferences of the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization, the 45th SEAMEO Council Conference (SEAMEC) and the 5th ASEAN Meeting of Ministers of Education (ASED), are being hosted by the Philippines at the ShangriLa Hotel in Cebu on January 26-29. The aim of the back-to-back conferences is to foster stronger cooperation on education among Southeast Asian countries and beyond. The 10 collaborative projects of the SEAMEO member states that aim at providing education to the poorly-served communities in the region, have been given the top priority in the agenda. The Department of Education (DepEd) said President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will grace the opening ceremony as the guest of honor on January 27.

INDIVIDUALS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS TO ACQUIRE ICT EQUIPMENT General Priyantha Kariyapperuma, Director, Telecommunication Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka told that an opportunity to use technology should be given to those with special needs. Technology is essential to understand world trends and people who are differently-abled should not be discriminated against when it comes to accessing technology. LKR 8.5 million wroth of ICT equipment

was handed over to to schools, vocational training centres, Ranaviru Villages and Universities for persons with special needs under the International Telecommunication Union and Telecommunication Regulatory Commission Sri Lanka project program with the theme information communication technologies for dis-empowered and marginalized communities, in a ceremony. Computer tables and chairs, multimedia projections, Braille software, FM hearing equipment for hearing impaired children, photocopy machines were provided for 69 centers including two universities, 33 schools, 17 vocational training centres and 17 Ranaviru villages.

EDUCATIONAL TIES BETWEEN BRUNEI DARUSSALAM AND THAILAND A MoU was signed between Brunei Darussalam and Thailand as part of an effort to further boost the educational ties. The two countries will see an exchange of educational knowledge as well as human resources and students in the future. This would be one of the main agenda’s set during the flagship educational project visit to Thailand, which is to take place between January 24 and February 2. A delegation comprising three officers from Universiti Brunei Darussalam will be accompanying four local UBD students and four Muslim Thai students on a visit to Thailand’s different educational institutions in an effort to forge cooperation in the field of education.


REPORT

Celebrations!!!

digital LEARNING@50 The Launch Ceremony

BEGINNING OF A CELEBRATION In a befitting ceremony on January 20, 2010, digitalLEARNING saw launch of its 50th issue along with a Curtain Raiser of 6th eINDIA 2010 Conference and Exhibition. It was an evening that saw the presence of many eminent personalities at Claridges, New Delhi. It has been a mandate with digitalLEARNING Magazine to provide with a forum where the stakeholders’ perspectives and experiences are brought together to benefit all. Disseminating the best practices and suggesting perspectives of importance to policy makers has been on the digitalLEARNING agenda since its inception. The launch was a celebration to highlight the diverse areas that the magazine has catered to in the past years. The magazine has received contributions from more than 320 authors representing diverse spectrum of the ICT in education community, over the past 50 issues. These contributions were received not only from scholars of high stature but also from different backgrounds and geographical locations. DigitalLEARNING Magazine has received contributions from India, Malaysia, USA, UK, Philippines, China, Thailand, Indonesia, South Africa, Bangladesh, Singapore, China, Pakistan, Canada and Turkey. To add to the list, the magazine received additional contributions from Russia, Israel, Kenya, Ghana, New York and Australia. This showcased the expanding global reach of digitalLEARNING. Not to mention, the response of the diverse audience, who have been overwhelmingly supportive! FELICITATING CEREMONY Dr. Ravi Gupta, Executive Director, welcomed the esteemed dignitaries to the

Dr. Ravi Gupta (on dice); From Left to Right: Prof. V N Rajashekharan Pillai, Amit Gupta, Dr. A K Bakshi, Shri Subhash C Khuntia, Shakila Shamsu and Prof. Latha Pillai.

launch and the curtain-raiser event. He gave a brief presentation on the journey of digitalLEARNING Magazine so far and opened a round of discussion amongst the eminent panelists, who graced the occasion. Following the introduction and welcome speech, the 50th issue of digitalLEARNING Magazine was launched along with the formal launch of eINDIA 2010 brochures. The panelists consisted of M P Narayanan, President, Centre for Science Development and Media Studies; Dr. A K Bakshi, Director, Institute of Life Long Learning; Dr. S S Jena, Chairman, National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS); Shri Subhash C Khuntia, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Human Resource Development; Prof. V N Rajashekharan Pillai, Vice Chancellor, Indira Gandhi National Open University; Dr. Latha Pillai, Pro-Vice Chancellor, IGNOU; Shakila Shamsu, Advisor-Education, Planning Commission; Amit Gupta, CEO, S.Chand Group; and Dr. Nirmaljeet Singh Kalsi,

Shri Subhash C Khuntia being welcomed by Dr. Ravi Gupta

IAS, Joint Secretary, Government of India, Ministry of Home Affairs. THE MAGAZINE Dr. Ravi Gupta, to begin with, requested the panelists to speak about the highlights of digitalLEARNING magazine coverage. Dr. Latha Pillai opined that the digitalLEARNING magazine reaches out to a large number of people, with the digital LEARNING

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Prof. Latha Pillai and Dr. SS Jena (L to R)

issue covering themes across diverse domains related to education and ICT. Amit Gupta mentioned that the magazine and the conferences, i.e., eINDIA and eASiA, represent a fine Public Private Partnership model, which have help perpetuate awareness. “The reason why I say so is because they represent a diverse variety in an unbiased manner to create awareness,” he added. Dr. S S Jena stated that his opinion of ICT, earlier, was specifically restricted to Higher Education. With the magazine, he has realised that ICT can be effectively used in other fields including school education and Open Distance Learning (ODL). Shri Subhash C Khuntia congratulated the editorial team of the magazine for the 50th issue. He mentioned that initially, the magazine dealt with a niche area and that it had a jittery start. But with the efforts of the team, the magazine has been a success due to the diverse range of content which deals with contemporary issues. The team has persistently worked on the magazine to fill in the voids existing in the country about the ICT awareness, be it in terms of hardware or software. The magazine has two very important processes embedded in itself – coverage of pertinent issues and timely dispatch. It also is a good form of PPP model. With the coming change in paradigm and ICT integration, the magazine supports the hastening of the whole process. eINDIA AND eASiA CONFERENCES AND EXPO Dr. Ravi Gupta, threw another question at the panelists, regarding their opinion on the eINDIA and eASiA forums and exhibitions. Shri Subhash Khuntia reflected that there is a need for such forums, where stakeholders from diverse backgrounds are brought together. It is a creative forum where opportunities are showcased, which has helped in furthering the elearning process. Shakila Shamsu mentioned that these conferences have broken barriers between different domains and supports synergies technology and domains of academics 38

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and the government. These are truly the largest ICT events that bring together stakeholders with different backgrounds together. It is a learning experience to participate in these conferences and she wished the organisers “all the best” for the same. Dr. Latha Pillai added that the conferences are well organised. She mentioned that all the conferences that she witnessed had a high level of academic presentations and exceptionally good speakers. The session help in brining like-minded people together. Dr. S S Jena opined that the exposure gained through the conferences is indeed commendable. The exhibitions are eye-opening and the exposure through the material displayed is meant not only for professionals but also for students, teachers and parents. Dr. A K Bakshi mentioned that the conferences support the exchange of ideas and expertise. Amit Gupta mentioned that the conferences have set a benchmark in quality and perfection. Prof. V N Rajashekharan Pillai mentioned that through these forums it is possible to have cross sectional interaction and platform for exchanging ideas.

and service providers together for solving “real problems”. Dr. A K Bakshi mentioned that digitalLEARNING platform needs to address all the prevailing misconceptions about the use of ICT and elearning, as it is important to dispel misconceptions. Giving an exceptionally out-of-the-box idea, Dr. Latha Pillai opined that learning comes from failures also. So, one can refer to the already done research and question how it can be done again, if given a chance. This might lead to a spur of new ideas. Shakila Shamsu mentioned that other issues such as teacher education brought by DIETs, SCERT, transition from talk-chalk method to elearning, refersher courses, inclusive education and so on can be covered in the upcoming issues. SS Jena mentioned that content needs to be more contextualised and additionally, magazine can be brought out in different languages to break the language barrier. Dr. Nirmaljeet Singh Kalsi mentioned that he would like to compliment the magazine for its growing stature. The issue have been brought out well. However, it needs to be an academic journal which can be accepted as a journal of excellence. According to him more research studies will be of great value.

THE SCOPE THE DISCUSSION ROUND Under the final point of discussion over the improvement that can be included in the upcoming issues of digitalLEARNING magazine and conferences. Prof. V N Rajashekharan Pillai opined that there has been a lot of coverage with higher educations sector in the events and the magazine, though, that in itself is not sufficient. To expand horizons further, The school education system should also be brought into the ambit. Amit Gupta added, “elearning is critical across globe and the requirements are huge.” While increasing investments, tremendous shortage of content and faculty at all levels cannot be denied, one of the major challenges that magazine and conferences have to address is not only aiding in bridging the gap between technology and education but also bringing together policy makers

There was a round of interactive session between the panelists and the audience, at the end of the discussions. To highlight one example, of a point was raised by one of the audience from Bangalore, regarding the opinion of the panelist over the implementation of the ICT programme, to make it more interactive. Dr. Nirmaljeet Singh Kalsi in response to the above point, mentioned that ICT can only supplement and not replace the teacher. The two devices – interactive & non interactive are grounded with the teacher. Amit Gupta added that content has to be interactive as well. There are many initiatives like Kiosks for rural education. Therefore, the interactive content needs to be made available on wider scale. THE NEW BEGINNING

Dr. AK Bakshi and Dr. Nirmaljeet Singh Kalsi (L to R)

While breaking for cocktail and dinner, near the end of the evening, all the dignitaries reposed good faith & wished digitalLEARNING Magazine and upcoming eINDIA 2010 event, all the best! It was indeed a good ending to the launch & a wonderful beginning for many digitalLEARNING issues and eINDIA conferences to come. \\


NEWS

WORLD

SHRAWAN KUMAR GETS CANADA’S HIGHEST CIVILIAN AWARD A scientist of Indian origin has been given Canada’s highest civilian award - the Order of Canada. Recently, Shrawan Kumar was honoured for his three decades of pioneering research on workplace injury and the spine at the University of Alberta. Alumnus of Allahabad University, Kumar did his masters in zoology. After his higher studies in Britain, he worked from 1971 to 1973 at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences where he set up the first biomechanics laboratory. Before landing in Canada in 1974, he was an assistant director at the Central Labour Institute in Mumbai. Being one of the 57 prominent Canadians who have been bestowed with the nation’s highest civilian award for their excellence in various fields, Kumar has been honoured for contributions to the field of rehabilitation ergonomics, in Canada and abroad.

FREE LAPTOPS TO THE POORER STUDENTS In order to bridge the digital gap between the students from poor and the rich backgrounds, a scheme has been introduced in UK. This scheme aims to give free laptops to pupils from poor backgrounds is being rolled out to 270,000 families in England. The £300m Home Access scheme, first announced by Prime Minister Gordon Brown in 2008, has been piloted in two local areas. The scheme allows some of the most in need children, those in care and from the poorest homes, to apply for a grant for a free laptop and broadband connection. It was reported through a recent study from the Institute of Fiscal Studies that access to a laptop at home could lead to a two grade improvement in one subject at GCSE. This first scheme, which formed part of the Home Computing Initiative, involved firms leasing out free computers to their employees in return to tax breaks.

BETT 2010 TO HAVE STONE GROUP AS IT RESEARCH GROUP The results of the research completed by the education sector IT specialist Stone Group, will be launched on first day of BETT 2010. The technology provider Stone Group has recently completed a market research study into the use of IT within education. The results of the research by the education sector IT specialist will be presented as a white paper at BETT 2010, the world’s largest educational technology event which runs

from 13 - 16 January 2010 at Olympia, London. The research included sample of the opinions of IT decision-makers in UK schools, academies and colleges, and examines the education sector’s concerns surrounding issues such as IT budgeting and strategy, purchase decision influencers and the barriers to delivery of satisfactory levels of IT uptake within education. .

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY PARK TO BE BUILT AT APIREDE The government of Ghana will build a Science and Technology Park at Apirede to help in the development of Information, Communication and Technology(ICT) and to create jobs for the youth. The Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology has started to acquire land for the project. The Eastern Regional Minister, Mr Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, said this at a durbar to climax the Odwira Festival of the chiefs and people of Apirede and the 15th anniversary of the installation of Nana Saforo Okoampah III as the chief of Apirede. He said the Eastern Regional Co-ordinating Council had planned to develop facilities at Akaa and Akyeremanteng waterfalls to develop the tourism industry under a public/private sector development programme to help create employment in the area and to generate revenue for the Akuapem North District Assembly.

ONLINE PROGRAMMES TO BE SHARED BETWEEN OHIO, MINNESOTA HIGHER EDUCATION SYSTEMS Partnering to work together, Ohio and Minnesota Higher Education Systems have formally agreed to share tools, services, planning, and implementation strategies to boost their online student services. Consisting of a number of public campuses, the University System of Ohio and Minnesota State Colleges & Universities, have signed the memorandum of understanding to

speed-up the rollout of online and hybrid courses in their respective programs. The Ohio system will provide its E 4 ME course developed by the Ohio Learning Network, a month-long introduction to distance learning that can be adapted to another institution’s needs. Electronic portfolio and eFolio Minnesota are the tools of the Minnesota system that will be shared and which allows students to share their writing, academic, and career documents with teachers and others.

ORPHANED, VULNERABLE TO GET NEW HI TECH SCHOOL In form of a new hope, new hi-tech schools are to be provided for the orphaned and vulnerable children (OVC), with world class education and life skills is nearing completion at Ndlembeni area, near Sigombeni in the Manzini region. During the first phase of construction work, over E2 million in donor funds have been used in the construction work. The school, whose vision is to provide excellent education to learners with a bias to Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Mathematics, Science will also offer and promote Arts, Culture and Sport, as extra curricular activities. An effort will be made to ensure that the children will be equipped with agricultural skills at a tender age and engage in farming activities for their own food and sale of whatever surplus. The school is to open later in the month and is to see the first intake of about 350 learners. digital LEARNING

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RESEARCH PAPER

e-Learning in Higher Education – Issues, Challenges, Benefits & Future PROF. MALATHI SRIRAM CHAIRPERSON - PGDM, SDM INSTITUTE FOR MANAGEMENT DEVELOPMENT, MYSORE.

BRIEF OUTLINE: E-LEARNING IN CONTINUING LEARNING AND EDUCATION The first section of this article, looks into e-learning as the new alternative for the higher education sector as an almost ‘teacher-less’ delivery mode. The second section highlights the e-learning initiatives taken in India, in those areas where the infrastructure is poor. In certain areas despite the opportunities provided, the affordability to access those opportunities needs champions to take the cause further to fruitful conclusions. It also highlights how Institutions of higher education around the world – and especially some in India – have gradually taken to the path of e-learning. The third section examines the challenges that e-learning implementation could pose. It attempts to evaluate the significant assumptions that are made while adopting and advancing e-learning agenda. The fourth and final section addresses the future of e-learning and e-training. INTRODUCTION In any society, the imparters of education have a higher moral responsibility to positively influence the student generation. Educators are beginning to realize that to teach future leaders and citizens they need to be technologically better equipped themselves. At the same time, the demand for higher education is growing annually, globally. It is not uncommon in India, where institutions of higher education receive more than two to three times the number of applications as against number of seats it offers. According to the paper New 40

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This article will look into Higher Education Institutions with emphasis on Indian Institutions – especially at the Under Graduate and Post Graduate – adopting the use of e-Learning in their institutions. Developments in Technology Enabled Education presented by Professor Singaperumal these points were put A clear and documented need • for 450000 seats; the demand is increasing exponentially Even to maintain the current levels of • admissions a new major university is needed every week in India alone to meet the demand! Thus on a massive scale online • education is emerging as an important market and thereby also offering a business opportunity to some institutions opting for an education business model out of it. With these thoughts in mind, and the immense opportunity in terms of potential students in the higher education, the

scene has to change rapidly to shift the paradigm. THE NEED e-Learning is the learning experience that is delivered or enabled by electronic technology. The delivery of learning or content can be over the intra-net, extranet or over the Internet, via CD-ROM, interactive TV, or satellite broadcast. In terms of structure, student numbers have been exploding on university campuses. The universities have been reluctant to change their programs, both in content and delivery. They are facing challenges from alternative providers of education and training, with more focus on employability; the university professors


represent a breed of career academics who are quite isolated and insulated from the changes in the real world around them; distance learning is considered second best, even though universities are hard pressed to explain the superiority of the traditional classroom processes in effecting knowledge transfer. Although not a legally binding contract, on 19th July 2005, the AICTE (All India Council for Technical Education) and NASSCOM (National Association of Software and Services Companies) inked a MOU. According to the MOU, AICTE will serve as a link between Industry and Education for ensuring relevant and quality learning. This was to strengthen the Indian Technical Education through curricula, faculty, infrastructure, pedagogical improvements in line with the industry’s (specially IT) requirements of relevant skill-sets in various disciplines at different levels (graduate, post-graduate, doctoral). E-learning has always been considered useful for only distance learning programs. But not one can dispute the fact that the most innovative application of the Internet, e-learning, has made strides globally, and is now slowly catching up in the regular pedagogy of education too. INDIAN INITIATIVES Below, the author puts together some initiatives taken by the Indian Institutions towards e-learning. Some of them follow a business model, while some are offering it for free, while still some others have their e-learning initiatives on an experimental basis. In an ambitious agreement signed in July, 2005, between the US and India, six leading American Universities representing the US, ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization) and DST (Department of Science and Technology) along with Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham representing India, will participate in a project designed to enhance higher education and research in India through a satellite e-learning network. The beneficiary institutions are IITs, NITs IIIT, BIT Ranchi, and a few other prestigious Institutions across the country. Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS) offers i2L - internet – based interactive Learning for students to learn at their own pace. It offers a hybrid (blended) model of e-learning. On August 17, 2005 the NASSCOM President Mr. Kiran Karnik formally launched a new e-learning initiative, IC3 (Internet and Computing Core Certification) course on

Reliance WebWorld platform. WebWorld, in association with India Cyber Learning, will offer the globally acclaimed course across its 240 stores in 104 Indian cities. IC3 is the first globally validated, standards-based training and certification programme for measuring computing and Internet skills. The students of this course have the knowledge and the skills required for basic use of computer, hardware, software, networks and the Internet. More than 47,000 IC3 exams are administered each month through more than 9000 certified testing centres worldwide in 114 countries and 18 languages. Like the NetVarsity, this is based on a business model. INFLIBNET Centre is an autonomous Inter-University Centre of the University Grants Commission. It is the co-ordinating and monitoring agency in the UGCInfonet Project. It liaises between UGC, ERNET and universities. INFLIBNET is also responsible for providing training to university library professionals in the use of this network for providing variety of services to the users. Web Based Intelligent Interactive Tutor (WebIIT) is a website-based curriculum that offers online engineering courses, sponsored by Department of Information Technology (DIT), Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Government of India. The courses are designed to be interactive and user friendly. The web based courses are aimed to supplement class room teaching where the users will be able to learn at their own pace and level of understanding. CHALLENGES Some of the challenges that e-learning initiatives from the Institutions of Higher Education Management could be facing are For those Institutions offering a pure • online e-learning course, awarding a Recognized Degree for students might become imperative. Most students and their prospective employers are happy only when a certifying endorsement is given. A fall out of the above could be • mushrooming of a number of Online Institutions offering courses with spurious certificates, which may not have any value. Since the e-learning method is self• paced and self-learnt, the attention span of the student may not be enough for her to learn a concept. • Generally the duration of the course also matters in this mode of lesson

delivery. Last but not the least is the Legal implications of e-learning. One, again, should not forget that e-learning over internet is across geographical borders. This makes it all the more, tougher for the enforcing authorities to have a global legal framework for the net the offender. Measuring the level of success and the Return on Investment would be difficult.

FUTURE Compared to an almost 80 per cent literacy rate in urban India, that in rural areas is only 56 percent. Further, the average teacher:student ratio at primary level is 1:58 in rural regions. Improvement of connectivity is another area of concern. India needs to increase penetration in terms of PCs and communication lines for any e-Learning project to be successful. The high cost of ownership, which proves to be a barrier, needs to be lowered. Following steps could help in arresting the above problems: The Service providers, including the • Government need to reduce the tariff levels. As the field becomes more and more competitive, this is bound to happen. Inventions such as the Simputer can • reduce costs by providing affordable computing. At INR 10,000 a piece, the Simputer offers computing facilities at a drastically lower cost compared to INR 30,000 for a PC. Further, it has a local language interface. Use of open source software will • not only be cost effective but can also meet the localized demands of the enormous linguistic diversity of India. Further, open source software can also be used on old hardware. CONCLUSION A word of caution at this juncture would serve good. Though e-learning seems to be a solution for an absent teacher, deploying such an environment would be require much thought. The instructor and the learner both need to shift their method of teaching and learning respectively. Educational Institutions and Organizations need to have appropriate strategies in place for successful deployment of the e-learning process. But, call it Web-based Training or Border-less Education e-learning is here to stay. \\ digital LEARNING

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NEWS

CORPORATE

MICROSOFT KUWAIT PARTNERS WITH KUWAIT MINISTRY OF EDUCATION Recently, partnership took place between Kuwait Ministry of Education and Microsoft as part of the Partners in Learning Initiative under which, the Ministry of Education will receive technology training, tailored curriculum development, access to the latest technologies and the ability to empower schools to raise the levels of ICT literacy. The memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed by the Undersecretary of the Kuwait Ministry of Education, Tamather Al Sidirawi, and Country Manager, Microsoft Kuwait Ehab Mostafa. Also the initiative is to enable innovative teaching with the aim of bridging the digital divide.

WIPRO CONDUCTS ALL-INDIA ONLINE TEST SUCCESSFULLY WITH MERITTRAC Wipro, in collaboration with MeritTrac successfully conducted a national-level online common entrance test for admissions to Wipro Academy of Software Excellence (WASE). The test was conducted for admissions to their Master of Science program, WASE, which is an off-campus ‘earn while you learn’ program pioneered by Wipro in collaboration with BITS, Pilani. MeritTrac, India’s largest test & assessment company was the partner for this exam. The national level test was conducted between 13th and 20th December across 29 cities, in 44 testing centers, with 24,000 candidates being scheduled for the exam. The entire test delivery process achieved a success rate of 99.8%.

CISCO DEBUTS INDUSTRY ACCREDITED NETWORKING EVENT AT BAHRAIN Cisco’s industry-accredited networking forum with support from HRH, the Crown Prince of Bahrain, is to provide a pioneering innovation technology content for customers and partners across Europe, Middle East and Africa. Cisco Networkers Bahrain 2010 will take take place at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir, from 28 to 31 March 2010. For the first time Middle East is to see an industry-accredited networking forum. It has been developed in collaboration with the government of Bahrain and with the support of Crown Prince His Highness Shaikh Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa. Networkers Bahrain represents a key milestone for Cisco in terms of furthering its commitment and ongoing investment in the Middle East. Additionally, the forum will deliver pioneering innovation technology content for visiting customers and partners from South Africa.

OMAN MOE STAFF TO ATTEND MICROSOFT ICT TRAINING OF TRAINERS PROGRAMME To support teachers and ministry staff gain proficiency in a wide variety of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) skills, Microsoft Oman partnered with the Ministry of Education (MoE), and recently concluded a ‘Training of Trainers’ programme. The intensive technical training programs and workshops were attended by 25 teachers from different schools and 25 MoE personnel, thereby gaining proficiency in a wide variety of ICT skills from email and calendar support to group projects and communication tools. The training was a product of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between MoE and Microsoft Oman. The training was meant to implement the globally successful Partners in Learning program in Oman which is committed to empower students and teachers and transform education worldwide. The goal of the partnership was to enhance the the transformative power of software to create innovative educational experiences that bring students and teachers closer worldwide. 42

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ORACLE EDUCATION IN EGYPT HOSTS 100 TEACHERS AT PROJECT LEARNING INSTITUTE

The Project Learning Institute is a professional development program that trains teachers on how to integrate technology, project learning, and 21st century skills development into their classroom curricula. The Oracle Education Foundation (OEF), recently, reportedly, held a Project Learning Institute for more than 100 teachers from the First Lady Suzanne Mubarak’s ‘Developing Schools’ Initiative at the Mubarak City Training Development Centre in Cairo. OEF’s online learning platform, ThinkQuest, is being used by the course to showcase exceptional project-learning examples and help teachers produce projects as a part of their training experience.

INTEL SURVEY SAYS TEACHERS WANT MORE CLASSROOM LAPTOPS

A survey conducted by Intel and presented at the BETT education technology show in London indicated that 76% of teachers surveyed in Europe believe that their governments should be doing more to support computer access for students. In the survey, more than 2 700 teachers in 15 countries worldwide had expressed that while 70% of educators believe their students should have access to a laptop computer in class, only 3% of their students currently have such a computer. Just under a third of those questioned said that a lack of funding was preventing the required investment in computers.


NEWS

INDIA

2010 TO SEE REFORMS BY AICTE New methodologies of accountability and transparency are to be seen in the educational institutes in the year 2010 with the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) introducing sweeping reforms in the higher education sector. With these changes the recognised colleges would be expected to display online their institute’s fee details, faculty components and admission related details, respectively. The Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Kapil Sibal is expected to soon announce these reforms and the names of the colleges that are recognised by AICTE will have to declare their entire fees, its components, refundable portions on withdrawal of admission, number of seats per course, eligibility conditions, admission and selection process, details of teaching faculty, including their pay and qualifications, the institute’s physical and academic infrastructure and syllabus outline.

MBA TECHNOLOGY TO BE THE HIGHLIGHT AT NIT CALICUT

SPECIAL HUB, NEW INDUSTRIAL POLICY BY DELHI GOVT

The academic year 2010 – 2012 at The National Institute of Technology, Calicut (NIT-C) - School of Management Studies is to focus on technology management for its MBA programme, which will be open only to B.Tech/B.Arch/BE/B.Sc engineering degree holders. Admission to the course will be based on marks scored in the Indian Institutes of

Management (IIMs) Common Admission Test CAT) however, final admission will be based on the candidate’s performance in the Bachelor’s degree examination, group discussion and interview. Group discussion and interview will be held in Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Mumbai and NIT Calicut. The applications for the institute can be downloaded from the school website.

OVER 1LAC GOVERNMENT SCHOOLS TO GET COMPUTER EDUCATION On Saturday an approval was made for introduction of computer education at the secondary and senior secondary levels, in 108,000 government and governmentaided schools, up from the existing 53,000, in a bid to bridge the digital divide. Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal told that the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), approved a scheme of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in government and government-aided schools during the XIth plan period (2007-12) to cover a total of 1.08 lakh such schools, in a meeting presided by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. It is expected that around 1.5 crore students would benefit from the scheme, which would also help train 10 lakh teachers in computer literacy.

MARKETING PROFESSIONALS SHORT TERM COURSE AT IIM LUCKNOW

On Monday, the Delhi Cabinet approved the new industrial policy, the first one in last 27 years. With identification of education, fashion designing, financial services and IT as industries, the policy promises to revolutionise Delhi’s industrial scene. Additionally, separate hi-tech hubs for these service industries are being planned and the government’s role will include allotting land and providing infrastructure. It was reported that the current manufacturing-based industrial set-up in Delhi, encourages migration of labour, while skilled workers look for work in service industries in Noida and Gurgaon. The new industrial policy is to entail a fashion hub, education hub, IT hub, and Gems & Jewellery SEZ.

A collaboration has taken place between Hughes Communication India Limited and Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow (IIM-L) Noida campus, for the launch of its Advanced Program in Sales and Marketing, through Hughes Net Global Education. The major objective of this newly designed programme is to focus upon the consumer insights and to build understanding about marketing research in Indian context. Showcasing the linkage between marketing and sales to the students, the objective of the six month course is to provide an in-depth knowledge on contemporary issues in marketing like retail management, emarketing as well as prepare them how to select, evaluate and manage conflicts in distribution channels.

IIT KHARAGPUR TO LAUNCH BIO-ENERGY CENTRE Indian Institute of Technology-Kharagpur launched India’s first bio-energy centre on Tuesday for undertaking research, teaching and technological implementation of conventional and non-conventional energy. It was mentioned that the P.K. Sinha Centre for Bio-Energy aimed to create an industry consortium to engage in industrial research. It is with support of IIT alumnus Prabhakant Sinha, who pledged INR 10 crore for the centre, that the centre has come into existence. Sinha, Founder and Co-Chairman of ZS Associates, told that once the industry consortium came into being, the captains of the industry will pay regular fees and share knowledge through regular seminars and conferences. The centre is to support in reduction of the carbon footprint and enhancing the income of villagers and rural communities. The centre has already collaborated with University of California, Berkeley, for research partnership. 44

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EVENT REPORT

Second National Consultative Meet on Public-Private Partnerships in Education Organised by IL&FS Education and Technology Services Limited DR SHABNAM SINHA

The goals of Universalization of Secondary Education are to provide Quality Education and employability skills – this it is envisaged will meet the requirements of Industry and generate efficient human capital. The 11th Five Year Plan known as the Education Plan has allocated large budgets for the Education Sector and recommended that Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) should be adopted by the Education Sector to reach Quality Education to all sectors of society. IL&FS Education and Technology Services Limited organised the Second National Consultative Meet on PublicPrivate Partnerships in Education on November 21, 2009 in New Delhi at the Ashoka Hotel . The goals were to facilitate creation of viable PPP models and frameworks by the Government and to bring to the forefront the experiences of the State Governments in implementing Government schemes. The Consultative Meet focussed on education interventions like teacher training, creation of teachinglearning materials, and provision of quality physical infrastructure. The sessions provided a platform for deliberations on PPPs and presentation of varying points of view by educationists and policy makers on issues of profitability, trust, and transparency of contracts. In the Inaugural Address, Smt D Purandeswari, Minister of State for Human Resource Development presented the Government of India perspective on education reforms and the importance of providing Quality Secondary Education and employability skills to the students. She explained that in India, PPPs were already in use in education and that the MHRD was exploring efficient PPP Models in Education and that a Draft Policy Document had been put up on 46

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Shri R C M Reddy, Managing Director, IL&FS Cluster Development Initiatives Ltd and Dr Shabnam Sinha, CEO (Public-Private Partnership Initiatives) IL&FS Education and Technology Services Ltd

the World Wide Web by MHRD for public opinion and comment. During the Inaugural Session Shri N K Singh, Member of Parliament and Member Parliamentary Standing Committee and Prof Narendar Jadhav, Member Planning Commission highlighted the challenges posed by the Education Sector and the adoption of PPPs to meet Education Goals. The three sessions deliberated upon aspects like Quality Initiatives, the State Perspectives on PPP projects and Procurement processes. Participants to each session included Ministers, Education Secretaries, and representatives of international organisations. What emerged was that enactment of the Right to Education Act meant a commitment to provide Quality,

Equity and Access and most important employability skills. The human capital in India must meet the needs of industry – education needs to impart employability skills. A clear understanding of PPP contracts and processes is required across the States and at the Centre and procurement processes and contracts need to be clear, transparent, and implementable. What emerged from the deliberations was - in creation of Policies by the Government, the States must play a leading role as projects are to be rolled out at the State level. Quality initiatives in education need to encompass school infrastructure, capacity building, adoption of IT systems for administration and continuous comprehensive evaluation, vocational training, teaching-learning materials and soft skills. In procurement


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Prof Narendra Jadhav, Member, Planning Commission and Ms D Purandeswari, Minister of State for Human Resource Development

Shri Sudhir Mankad, Former Chief Secretary, Government of Gujarat; Shri A M Tiwari, IAS, Secretary, Social Justice and Empowerment Department, Government of Gujarat and Mr Sam Carlson, Lead Education Specialist, World Bank

processes, importance must be given to technical qualifications before choosing the lowest bidder based on financial bids. Two points put forth by many speakers were, adoption of continuous comprehensive evaluation systems in schools and accreditation of schools to ensure Quality Education. In the Valedictory Session, Shri Subash Khuntia, IAS, Joint Secretary, Secondary Education, MHRD and Ms Anshu Vaish, IAS, Secretary, School Education and Literacy MHRD presented aspects like Policy Readiness for PPP at the MHRD and the possible approaches that could be taken up for implementation of education schemes like the Model School Scheme, the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan and the National Skill 48

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Development Mission among others. Shri Khuntia shared that the 11th Five Year Plan had recommended the adoption of PPP in Education and that if the Government was to set up one Model School in each Educationally Backward Block of the country as centres of excellence within a time-frame, the Government would need to harness the expertise and financial strengths of the private sector. Adoption of PPP in Education would help lighten the financial burden and meet Universalization of Education goals. PPPs were to be used for setting up physical infrastructure as well as other quality initiatives like teaching-learning materials, ICT in education and capacity building. Ms Vaish highlighted that the Right to Education Act was to be implemented

PPP in Education should be informed by PPP mechanisms used by PPP in core sectors ( roads, bridges etc) and other global education reforms that have adopted PPP as a viable model. To evolve PPP models divergent views of various stakeholders must be considered and a clear vision for PPP needs to emerge All PPP contracts must link contractual incentives with educational outcomes. There must be accountability and transparency Education reform initiatives must ensure that children learn holistically and obtain employability skills—PPPs could be used extensively PPP contracts need to be context specific and not standardised Experience has shown that PPP projects are cost effective and efficient in Implementation.

within a few months and that Elementary Education in India had become a fundamental right. Since education was on the fast track PPP was being considered by the Minister Education, Shri Kapil Sibal and the MHRD as an avenue for expeditious implementation of education programs. While adopting PPP in Education it was important to take into consideration divergent views and ensure that fears about PPP that exist within Government departments are addressed. It was the enormous challenges before the Education Sector that necessitated looking beyond the Government centric models towards PPP, harnessing the capabilities and expertise of the private sector. IL&FS ETS has created a detailed Report of the Second National Consultative Meet as a useful reference point for the Government, educationists, policy makers and other stakeholders in the field of education. \\


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2010 International Conference on Economics and Finance Research (ICEFR 2010) 25 to 26 April 2010 Bangkok, Thailand http://www.icefr.org/index.htm

Mathematical education in a context of changes in primary school

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4 – 6 August 2010, Hyderabad, India

This three-day international conference and exhibition is a unique platform for knowledge sharing in different domains of ICT for development and facilitates multistakeholder partnerships and networking among governments, industry, academia and civil society organisations of different countries, including the host countryIndia. The objective is to bring together ICT experts, practitioners, business leaders and stakeholders of the region onto one platform, through keynote addresses, paper presentations, thematic workshops and exhibitions. In short, the event provides an excellent opportunity for participants to interact with a wide and diverse development community. eINDIA 2010, through its five seminal conferences, will focus on five emerging application domains of ICT for Development - e-Government, ICT in Education, ICT and Rural Development and ICT enabled Health services. The five conferences - namely: • egov India • digital learning India • Indian Telecentre Forum • eHealth India • eAgriculture India Digital Learning track covers ICT in Education conferences in India with following focus areas: • From Literacy to Digital literacy for all - from school pupils to university teaching staff • ICT Leadership: Competing on the Edge of Innovation • Digital competencies in the national education programmes & policies • Future Technology - Learning from the past • Cooperation and collaborationManaging multistakeholder partnerships • E-Learning & Pedagogy, and so on. eINDIA 2010 seeks abstracts/ proposal(s) for speakers who illustrate innovation in using information and communication technologies for development. For queries contact Anaam Sharma, anaam@eINDIA.net.in



Technology @ B-Schools : February 2010 Issue