Centre to launch National Mission in Education through ICT

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New Delhi, Jul 29 (UNI) The Centre is to launch a 'National Mission in Education through Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)' to provide connectivity to learners so that they can link themselves to the knowledge world in cyberspace.

This would enhance their self learning skills and develop their capabilities for online problem solving.

Stating this while inaugurating India's largest ICT conference, 'e-India 2008' at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi today, Union Minister of State for HRD (Higher Education). D Purandeswari said the 'National Mission in Education through ICT' would also work for creation of knowledge modules with right contents to address the personalised needs of learners.

The Mission would focus attention on achieving technological breakthrough by developing a very low cost and low power consuming access device, making available free bandwidth for education purpose to every Indian, Ms Purandeswari said, adding that the Union Ministry of HRD would like to build knowledge network between institutions of higher education and also within these institutions.

''India's education market is on the verge of a boom and for realising the huge market potential, India needs to have a proactive demand-based policy towards private higher education including foreign institutions/universities desirous of setting up campuses in the country or entering into joint-ventures,'' she said.

''As our economy seeks to grow and become increasingly knowledge-based, the country's higher education sector is put to the severest test. This is because the quantity and quality of its educational sector directly impacts the quantity and quality of its economic output. An effective higher education sector provides the country with a globally competitive workforce, which, in turn, is a critical enabler and a facilitator of economic growth and development,'' the Minister added.

She said that investing in education, particularly higher education, through ICT also made business sense for the corporate sector as this would give immense benefit in the long run, adding that developed countries like the US, the UK and Australia had not only invested significantly in higher education but had also made this sector as one of their largest export earners.

Even the Asian economies such as Singapore and the UAE have experienced the competitive advantage provided by a world class higher education infrastructure, Ms Purandeswari added.

In this context, the Union Minister said an amount of Rs 85,000 crore had been provided for the expansion of higher education facilities during the 11th five-year-plan.

She said that in the coming years, the thrust would be on the use of ICT to strengthen the system in the mode of open and distance learning as well.

Ms Purandeswari also inaugurated an exhibition on e-Governance and Digital Learning. The three-day conference organised by the Centre for Science, Development and Media Studies (CSDMS) is spread over a number of sessions to be addressed by leading professionals and senior bureaucrats entrusted with the spread and implementation of e-Governance and e-Learning.

The highlight of the conference is that it would focus on the importance of ICT not only in the fields of governance and education, but also in the realms of health, environment, rural development and agriculture.

UNI NAZ SKB CS2005

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