'Knowledge Commission moots 'National E-content Initiative'

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New Delhi, Jan 25 (UNI) Underlining that universal access to education was a must for India to become a knowledge economy, the National Knowledge Commission(NKC) has recommended to the Government to select key institutions and pick up experts to develop quality content to be available on broadband.

Services of experts representing diverse fields of knowledge like engineering, agriculture, medicine, arts, humanities, science and education should be taken for the purpose, the NKC, a high-level advisory body to the Prime Minister, said in its second annual report.

The NKC recommendation for development and dessemination of quality Open Access(OP) materials and Open Educational Resource (OER) were based on the input of a working group it had constituted drawing members from the government, academia and the private sector.

To speed up the creation, adoption and utilisation of OER, the NKC has called for launching a 'National E-content and Curriculum Initiative'.

It suggested that India could adapt quality educational content created internationally. The Commission found that there were already 200-300 free knowledge repositories available across the world.

''It was vital for India to leverage the emerging educational content initiatives as they were readily available.

The NKC has also called for developing a network-enabled delivery infrastructure.

''This would facilitate easy and widespread access to high quality educational resources and drastically improve the teaching paradigm for all our students,'' said the report.

For access to networks, high bandwidth connections across institutions and a national backbone that provides advanced networking capabilities are major requirements.

Additionally, connectivity to global networks was essential, it said.

The NKC recommendations also include faculty development and teacher training, which will also help in developing new OER and in contextualising existing educational resources.

For implementation and monitoring of the above recommendation, the Government should designate a suitable organisation or establish a new institution with necessary manadate to achieve the above objective, it said.

The NKC was constituted in 2005 for a term of three years to build excellence in the education system to meet the knowledge challenges of the 21st century and increase India's competitive advantage in the field of knowledge.

UNI NAZ RS1058

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