Indian BPL People More Vulnerable With Globalisation

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New Delhi, Jan 9 (UNI) India's below poverty line people have got 'more vulnerable' with globalisation, Minister of State for Human Resource Development D Purandeswari said today.

''India... has a significant number of people who are below the minimal socio-economic benchmarks,'' she told a seminar at London being attended by Education Ministers from the world over.

They include ''rural and urban poor, women in rural areas, street children, people belonging to historically disadvantaged castes and people living in less developed areas,'' she told delegates.

''The vulnerability of these sections of society has increased with globalisation and this section is prone to become even more marginalised - economically and socially,'' she said. A text of her remarks was made available in New Delhi.

Although successive Indian governments had committed themselves to addressing those divides, she said, effective implementation of such economic development programmes ''has proved an elusive goal.'' But she said India was ''firmly committed'' to wiping out the ''wide'' disparity between the 'haves and have nots'-- a problem inherited ''as a result of exploitation and depravation for centuries.'' She said the conventional notion of land, labour, capital and entrepreneurship as the indispensable ingredients of the production process had outlived its relevance.

With the advent of information and communication technology and bio and nano technologies, education is no longer a mere transfer of knowledge but ''the most important facilitator of social and economic development.'' Application of information technology has driven the present day world to the need of a whole new set of skills, she said.

Combined with sound macroeconomic policies, education was basic to building globally competitive economies and democratic societies, she stressed, adding it augments skills as well as productivity and development.

ICT, for instance, is proving a catalyst to classroom retention, the MoS said, citing findings from a survey conducted in Karnataka.

''Education technology has been catalyst to classroom retention and in improvement of knowledge under the Mahithi Sindhu Project,'' Purandeswari said.

She said the challenge before India was to provide adequate infrastructure in every school irrespective of its location and backwardness, train teachers in ICT and make every school a community hub.

She said the Indian government planned to quadruple the programme allocation next fiscal from this year's budget provision of 62.50 million USD.

She said in the 21st Century, knowledge or brain shaped nations' competitiveness, advancement and human capabilities, which were functions ''of the well-being of a people and the investment we make in human capital formation.'' ''The ability of a nation to make best use of its knowledge or brain power will ultimately determine its place in the global development scenario in the present century,'' she asserted.

Purandeswari stressed making lifelong learning education ''a high priority for all.'' She called education the single largest factor that builds capacity for accumulation of knowledge, its understanding, application and dissemination in young minds. ''In the long term, it shapes the destiny of a nation.'' she said the strategy for implementing technology in education has four components: -- ICT infrastructure; -- Training of the teacher to use ICT for imparting education; -- Providing different learning resources, including education tools, course curriculum and learning material; -- Connectivity through internet/broadband.

This involved not one technology but a mix-- audio channels, video, computer code, date, graphics, text, broadcast radio and television, audio-and-videotapes, interactive audio and video teleconferencing and computer and Internet.

She described India's effort to catch-them-young to encourage IT learning through early school curriculum, saying that over 25,000 secondary schools have already been sanctioned computer laboratories.

''It will be our endeavour to cover all the remaining 75,000 government and government-aided secondary stage schools under the ICT programme by 2010.'' UNI MJ PK AS1959

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