Delhi to become Knowledge capital of South Asia: CM

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New Delhi, Jan 14 (UNI) Expressing confidence that Delhi has the potential to become the Knowledge Capital in South Asia, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit today said her government will do its best to implement the recommendations of the National Knowledge Commission (NKC) to achieve this goal.

Addressing a joint press conference with NKC chairman Sam Pitroda, Ms Dikshit said all higher education institutions in the city would be inter-linked and her Government would facilitate regular exchage programmes relating to curriculum and faculty.

She said an advisory group will be formed to chart out the action plan. ''All possible measures will be taken to ensure implementation of the recommendations,'' she said.

Mr Pitroda said the Commission has come out with a whole body of recommendations which addresses all sectors including primary and secondary education, professional education, vocational training, libraries, e-governance etc.

''The Eleventh Plan has envisaged a Rs three-trillion allocation for education, five times more than what was allotted in the Tenth Plan. This also shows the importance given to education by the Government. Not only the access should increase but also quality must improve,'' he said.

Speaking in the context of problems faced by the education sector in Delhi, Mr Deepak Nayyar, a member of the NKC, who was also present at the briefing, mooted the idea of setting up of a separate Board for Under-graduate Education on the onlines of those for secondary and higher secondary levels. It should be empowered to grant affiliation, frame curriculum and set examination papers, he added.

''Such a board could prove useful as Universities in India have become enormous in size, thanks to the huge number of affiliated colleges. The number may vary from an average of 100 colleges to almost 400. For example, Delhi University (DU) has no capacity to have more affiliated colleges,'' he said.

Every year, the DU takes about 50,000 students from across the country, but there are three times more the number that apply.

''There is a need to develop more colleges and institutions of learning, public, private and both,'' Mr Nayyar, who is a former Vice-Chancellor of DU, said.

Stressing the need for restructuring of the under-graduate education segment, he said while allowing its expansion, the principles of inclusion and excellence should be adhered to. ''More universities, smaller and nimbler, is the mantra,'' he quipped.

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