Posts filed under ‘Upcoming University’

State universities of India need to have greater freedom: Kapil Sibal

Following is a report from http://economictimes.indiatimes.com:

How will innovation universities change higher education?

We have not adopted a top-down approach, ours is a bottom-up one. So far we have spoken of inclusive agenda of development, we are now thinking in terms of an inclusive education agenda. The idea is to empower institutions at the base of the pyramid. State universities are the foundation of higher education segment. State universities need to have greater freedom so confirm to realities of 21st century. The Centre is willing to give a helping hand.

Is that all required to improve institutions?

There is proposal to help state universities, which make up bulk of higher education segment. The Centre can help by giving more funds to strengthen these universities. This would help build infrastructure and quality. But state governments need to step up and provide policy framework. This framework will give universities more freedom. UGC can make grants beyond what it already does. But state governments must allow for more freedom so that state universities can transform themselves.

Are state only expected to provide for a more liberal policy framework?

Over the years, the Centre’s share of expenditure in public education has increased, while states’ share has come down. This mismatch should be corrected.

Many institutions suggest quality can be improved with freedom in admissions policy…

There should be democracy. An institution should have the right to decide on what basis it wants to admit students. At the same time there should not be unnecessary pressure on students. So some institutes can decide to admit on the basis of Class XII results — on the basis of merit. While other institutes could admit on the basis of the national aptitude test, or look at the aptitude test as an add on. There is also the option of add on subject tests. So the class XII results determine subject knowledge, aptitude tests will assess raw intelligence, and add on tests will assess special knowledge.

So each institute can determine the basis on which they admit, rather than doing so through individual entrance tests. The idea is to reduce tests, while still giving each institute the freedom to admit students that fit in with the specific focus of the institute. Let me give an example, what is the difference between Yale and Harvard law Schools. Yale is focused on research while Harvard is more business minded, so corporate law is a focus. So in their admissions policy they would show a preference for those who fit in to their respective focus areas.

Will this make the education system more inclusive?

Right now we have entrance exams to exclude students, to keep some people out. I want to reduce stress for students, but also exclude exclusion. If we were a more mature system, I would say that interviews would be the final basis of deciding who gets admitted and who doesn’t. But we are not mature enough. Allowing for discretion would not help. So I want to put in place a system that doesn’t give space for discretion.

July 27, 2010 at 5:31 pm Leave a comment

Why Orissa as a state can’t develop?; A report from merinews

Following report is taken from merinews:

The Government of India’s National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO) in a report has released the well-being index of India. The same tell about the quality of life in India. This report has mentioned that six districts of Orissa being in the list of worst twenty districts of India. Rayagada district ranks the worst in India followed by Kandhamal, Nuapada, Bolangir, Koraput and Bargarh, all in Western and Southern part of the state, are ranked at 4,9,10 & 19 from the bottom respectively.
It has been many years since the Government. of India has been pumping thousands of Crores as special budget for the welfare of these districts of Western and Southern Orissa through scheme like KBK. Then how is it that after so many years of huge money inflow into these districts there is no change in statistics? Who is accountable for this mishap? Is the Chief functionary of the state not responsible for this?”
Orissa, one of the poorest of states in the Indian union, is inhabited by more than 24% of tribal population concentrated mostly in North-Western, Western and Southern part of the state. Due to the negligence of all successive state governments, the development of these three patches are far behind the Coastal Orissa tract by any parameter even though these regions are full of minerals and natural resources.
In two occasions, during 1936 and 1948, these tribal dominated Western and Southern regions amalgamated into then Orissa division (precisely the present Coastal Orissa) from erstwhile Central and Madras presidency of British ruled India respectively to form Orissa state in the line of linguistic similarities. But, reality is, till now the native people residing in these regions don’t know how to speak the state official language Odiya, which is practiced in Coastal Orissa districts in particular. Vast region of Western Orissa communicate in variants of Sambalpuri language (also termed as Kosli by some) and with numerous tribal languages practiced by the indigenous tribal population. This leads to poor enrolment in school which encourages Odiya as the medium of education and thus a high school dropout rate is seen in these regions. Students are forced to learn Odiya language in school which is different than what they practice in day to day life.
The differentiation between the then Orissa Division (Coastal Orissa) and the newly added Western and Southern regions is well maintained by all successive state Governments, while allocating funds and in developmental works.
Inhabited by app.50% of the state population (17,899,735 as per 2001 Census) and spread in 28.73% of total land of the state (44,355.4 Sq Km), this Coastal Orissa tract is given utmost priority by all the successive state governments and have been enjoying all sorts of developmental works in the name of Orissa. Where as a vast land with more than 71.27% of the total land area of Orissa state (109,992 Sq Km), and with a population of little above half of the state population is depriving basic needs.
It is pity that present state government too, has done nothing to minimize the gap between the coastal and the rest of Orissa in its decade long rule; but increasing it by concentrating every developmental activity in and around the state capital Bhubaneswar. During this government’s tenure, all the national institutes for higher studies and research sanctioned by the central government are established or proposed to establish in and around Bhubaneswar. Due to this capital centric attitude, common masses refer the Chief Minister Nabin Pattnaik as the Mayor of Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation than the CM of the state.
In recent development except for the Central University, all the educational and research institutes of national repute, such as Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS), National Institute of Science Education and Research (NISER), Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIIT), etc awarded by Central Government for the entire state are located in and around Bhubaneswar. This has brought a distinction for Bhubaneswar as the only city in India to have an IIT, AIIMS and NISER at one location.
Central Government has also proposed to establish a National Innovative University (World Class), National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), ESI Medical College and Hospital, Railway Medical College in Bhubaneswar, and another IIIT in Berhampur in Coastl Orissa, neglecting the rest state.
Existing and proposed Central funded National Institutes and Universities in Orissa:
Rest Orissa Coastal Orissa
1. NIT, Rourkela, Dist. Sundargarh 1. IIT, Bhubaneswar
2. Central University, Koraput 2. IIT – Kharagpur, Bhubaneswar Branch
3. Indian Institute of Handloom Technology, (IIHT), Bargarh 3. National Institute of Science Education and Research (NISER), Bhubanneswar
4. Food Craft Institute, Balangir 4. AIIMS like Institute, Bhubaneswar
5. IIIT, Bhubaneswar
6. National University, Bhubaneswar (proposed)
7. IIIT, Berhampur (Work on progess)
8. Indian Institute of Tourism & Travel Management (IITTM), Bubaneswar
9. Institute of Minerals and Material Technology, Bhubaneswar
10. Indian Institute of Mass Communications,(IIMC), Dhenkanal
11. Central Rice Research Institute, Cuttack
12. Biju Pattanaik National Steel Institute (BPNSI), Puri
13. Central Institute of Plastics Engineering & Technology (CIPET), Bhubaneswar
14. Eastern Regional Language Centre for CILL, Bhubaneswar
15. Institute of Life Sciences, Bhubaneswar
16. Institute of Physics, Bhubaneswar
17. Regional Medical Research Centre, (RMRC), Bhubaneswar
18. Central Fisheries Institute, Kousalyaganga, Bhubaneswar
19. Regional Research Laboratory,Bhubaneswar
20. National Research Centre for Women in Agriculture (NRCWA), Bhubaneswar
21. Ocean Science and Technology Cell (OSTC), Berhampur
22. National Institute of Rehabilitation Training and Research (NIRTAR), Cuttack
23. National Institute of Design (NID), Bhubaneswar (Proposed)
24. NIFT, Bhubaneswar (Proposed)
If you consider the allotment of health facilities in the state the picture of disparities done towards the rest of the tribal regions of the state gets crystal clear. There is just one state run Medical College, viz, VSS Medical College & Hospital, Burla in Sambalpur for the entire Western Orissa, there are state run SCB Medical college in twin cities of Bhubaneswar – Cuttack , MKCG Medical College in Berhampur, a city just 179 Km from Bhubaneswar by Road and 165 Km by train.
Mahandi Coal Field Ltd. (MCL), a subsidiary of Coal India Ltd, a Central Government entity which has operation in Western as well as Central Orissa, is too establishing a Medical College Hospital in Talcher Town, 150 Km from state Capital Bhubaneswar, with state government’s active persuasion. The defense dept has proposed to set up a medical college in Baleswar, another town in Coastal Orissa with a distance of 198 Km by Road from Bhubaneswar.
State government has recently proposed to upgrade Capital Hospital in Bhubaneswar to a Medical College with a hoping budget of 32.5 Crores. It is also been proposed to set up Government. Medical College & Hospital in Baleswar where as the state government is trying to establish 3 Private Medical Colleges in backward tribal dominated Western Orissa in PPP mode since last 15 years through Western Orissa Development Council (WODC) with a financial grant of 5 Crores each. There is no progress seen in establishing these Medical colleges in these backward regions of Orissa.
So, a question instantly arises in mind, “Why private Medical College & Hospital for poor tribal region of Western Orissa, who can’t afford a full meal a day and central and state funded Government. Medical Colleges & Hospitals for Coastal Orissa?” Is this not pure discrimination?
Central and State sponsored Medical Institutions in Orissa
Rest Orissa Coastal Orissa
1. VSS Medical College, Burla, Sambalpur 1. SCB Medical college, Cuttack
2. Medical College under Central University, Koraput 2. SCB Dental College, Cuttack
3. MKCG Medical College, Berhampur
4. Capital Medical College, Bhubaneswar
5. AIIMS, Bhubaneswar (Proposed)
6.ESI Medical College and Hospital, Bhubaneswar (Proposed)
7. Medical College under National Innovative University, Bhubaneswar (Proposed)
8. ECO Railway Medical College, Bhubaneswar (Proposed)
9. Medical College by MCL, Talcher, a subsidiary of Coal India Ltd
10. Medical College, Balasore (Proposed by State Government.)
11. Medical College, Balasore (proposed by Defence dept)
Points to notice that Balangir, Kalahandi, in this back ward Western Orissa, many times have created news in national media for starvation deaths. Low-income people in these backward districts can hardly afford the cost of good health care even for their children who suffer from early death, under nutrition and anemia. As against the State figure of 65 infant deaths per 1000 life births, district like Kalahandi in the Western Orissa had 119 infant deaths.
Prevalence of undernourishment among children is also high in these tribal dominating districts. The health situation is really gloomy if we look at maternal death rates. Women in these households work hard at home, in the fields, bear children and do not get the medical attention while giving birth to children.
Occurrence of malaria remains a threat to the people in the tribal areas. As many as 158 blocks in tribal districts, which contribute 70 per cent of the malarial cases, suffer the worst. Sometimes outbreak of mysterious diseases in these regions takes a heavy toll of life. Poverty and deprivation leave very little money with people to spend on the treatment of diseases and illness.
The state government is earning maximum revenue from these under developed tribal belts through mining and industries. When the industries are exploiting and polluting the region, are opening health care units and educational facilities in Coastal Orissa with state government’s active persuasion. The recent Vedanta group promoted World Class University in Puri- Konark Road with a budget of 15,000 Cr and in an area of 6,000 Acre sets the perfect example. Vedanta Industries Ltd has established two Aluminum plants in Western Orissa, the refinery unit and captive power plant at Lanjigarh in Kalahandi District and smelter plant with captive power plant at Jharsuguda, where as it is opening its 100 bed capacity burn and trauma care unit in Bhubaneswar, which i
s at a distance of 400 Km from Jharsuguda and more than 450 Km from Lanjigarh.

Hundreds of crores rupees received from central government in the name of KBK has become a source of exploitation for the state government. The head quarter of the KBK scheme is at the state capital Bhubaneswar, far away from the problems people are facing in their every day life. This century of exploitation by all successive state government since the formation of the state in 1936, towards these tribal pockets has forced them to shout for a separate state of Kosal comprising 11 districts and a sub-division of Western Orissa. Also, the Maoist guerillas are spreading in rest tribal districts in rapid speed taking advantage of this.

These entire exploitation stories remind the colonial era and raise some fundamental questions about democratic rights in India.

July 15, 2010 at 2:36 pm 2 comments

IT consortium’s proposal to set up a skill university in Orissa

Following is a report from expressbuzz.com:

BHUBANESWAR: A Consortium of information technology (IT) companies has proposed to launch a training programme for plus-two students of the State to increase their employability. 

The consortium members, led by Ganesh Natarajan, chairman of the CII’s national committee on IT, discussed the proposal with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik here on Friday. The consortium companies include IT companies, GTT, Merytrack, Genpack, Corporate Gurukul and Cisco Tech Limited.  

Orissa will be the ninth State where the consortium has launched the programme. The consortium plans to train 12,000 plus-two students in the State in three phases. In the first phase, 2,000 students will train followed by 5,000 each in the next two phases. The programme includes talent assessment, counselling of the students, training, examination, certification, internship and placement.

 The training will be for a period of six months. Official sources said that communication skills and computer knowledge of the students will be increased through the programme. The consortium also submitted a proposal for setting up a skills university in Orissa. The university, land for which is yet to be located, will start functioning from 2012.  

The university will help formalise the training programme on a permanent basis. Besides the Chief Minister, senior officials from the Chief Minister’s secretariat and IT department were present. 

July 3, 2010 at 3:44 pm Leave a comment

Orissa Chief Minister disfavor Kalahandi for central Government institution;conflicting report about Indira Gandhi National Tribal University

Following write-up is taken from http://kalahandia.blogspot.com:

Note: As per the information provided to Prof. Gopa Bandhu Behera there was a meeting towards the end of April (probably April 22, 2010) in Amarkantak/Bhopal favoring for a campus of IGNTU Amarkantak in Kalahandi, however, following news report says for similar campus in Phulbani. It seems as usual Orissa Chief Minister is not in favor of Kalahandi for any central Government institution.

Naveen demands special tag for KBK
Tathya.in, May 11, 2010

Naveen Patnaik has renewed his demand for a Special Category Status for the state in a different way.

Odisha Chief Minister asked Kapil Sibal to accord ‘Special Category Status’ for 11 districts included in the KBK region and Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected Areas for the Schemes of Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD).

Mr.Patnaik and Union Minister for HRD held one-to-one discussion here on 11 May on various developmental issue on HRD Sector.

It came to light that the Union Government has favored for the establishment of a Regional Centre of Indira Gandhi National Tribal University (IGNTU) in Odisha.

This was also revealed by Mr.Sibal that Centre has recommended the proposal of the State Government to IGNTU for a Regional Centre at Phulbani.

Mr.Patnaik reminded Union Minister HRD that Odisha is yet to get World Class University declared by MHRD in 2008, after lapse of 2 years.

Mr.Sibal said that now World Class University is rephrased as “Innovation University” and is under active consideration of the Union Government.

In the meeting Mr.Patnaik, discussed various issues of concern for the development of ‘Human Resource’ in the State, particularly in the context of Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RCFCE) Act 2009, Vocational Training and Higher Education.

Chief Minister informed the Union Minister that Orissa, during recent years, has made concerted efforts for improving the educational infrastructure at all levels and for enhancing the technical skills and capabilities of its human resource, with the objective to sustain the development and industrialization process in the State.

He appreciated the support extended by the Union Ministry and emphasized that the magnitude of the task faced by the State has suddenly increased manifold primarily on account of RCFCE Act and the additional requirement of trained and technically qualified manpower necessitated by the on-going industrialization process.

Chief Minister impressed upon the Union Minister that about half of the State is covered by KBK Region and Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected areas, which have extremely high concentration of the vulnerable population including SCs & STs and the problem is accentuated by the fact that this vulnerable population is dispersed in scattered remote villages.

He emphasized that vulnerable population in these areas require some serious special efforts and there is therefore a strong and justified need to treat KBK/LWE area in the State at par with North Eastern States and other Hill States, for the purpose of all Schemes of MHRD.

Chief Minister requested the Union Minister to consider and approve following specific requests of the State, on priority:

Approve Central-State share in the ratio of 90:10 to implement the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RCFCE) Act 2009 at least for two plan periods

Sanction all ‘school buildings’ and ‘additional class rooms’ as per the requirement of RCFCE Act during 2010-11.

Consider allotting 1/3rd Central share as envisaged under the Scheme for new colleges for up-gradation of existing colleges in 18 low Gross Enrolment Ratio(GER) districts as part of the Model College Scheme

Provide assistance for upgrading Model Degree Colleges in Districts having low Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) in higher education

Sanction new Vocational Junior Colleges and strengthen existing Vocational Colleges

Union Minister appreciated the efforts being made by the State to develop its human resource and for efficiently utilizing the Central Government funds.

Mr.Sibal informed that the Union Government was in the process to finalize the arrangement of sharing of funds required to enforce Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RCFCE) Act 2009.

He assured that efforts will be made to minimize the burden on the State.

He advised that the State should take advantage of the Central Scheme for setting up new Degree Colleges in 18 Low Gross Enrolment Ratio Districts.

For developing playgrounds, Union Minister appreciated the suggestion of the State and assured to take up the matter with Ministry of Rural Development to include these under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA).

May 11, 2010 at 8:29 pm Leave a comment

Indian environment ministry puts on hold Vedanta varsity in Orissa:IANS

Following is a report by IANS published in http://www.thaindian.com:

New Delhi, May 11 (IANS) The environment ministry Tuesday put on hold construction of the Rs.150 billion Vedanta University in Orissa by the Anil Agarwal Foundation following complaints of irregularities.
The ministry said it had received information alleging irregularities and “illegal, unethical and unlawful deeds” by the foundation.

It said serious objections raised during the Orissa Coastal Zone Management Authority meeting were not appropriately considered while granting coastal regulation zone (CRZ) and environmental clearances.

“The above issues are relevant and important and predict a detailed examination. I have been directed to inform you that the environmental and CRZ clearances issued on April 16, 2010 shall be kept in abeyance till a final decision in the matter is taken by the ministry,” said Bharat Bhushan, director in the ministry, in a letter to the foundation.

The ministry asked the company not to proceed with any construction or development works till a detailed examination of all the issues raised are examined by its Expert Appraisal Committee.

The Anil Agarwal foundation is promoted by NRI billionaire and chairman of Vedanta Resources, Anil Agarwal.

It has proposed to set up the multi-disciplinary Vedanta University over 6,000 acres of land near the Konark-Puri marine drive, some 60 km from the state capital Bhubaneswar.

This not-for-profit university has been envisaged as one-of-its-kind institution for quality higher education and cutting-edge research in 95 disciplines for 100,000 students.

May 11, 2010 at 5:54 pm Leave a comment

Vedanta University: Lanjigarh versus Puri

Following letter was sent to westernodisha@googlegroups.com:

Dear All,

When an incredible and elegant solution stares you in your face, you have to be completely dysfunctional and utterly intellectually challenged not to take it. Yet this is the current situation about location of Vedanta University. Locating the university in the vicinity of Lanjigarh solves several problems at one stroke, yet sixty milers want to locate it near Puri. Incredible.

It will be good,very good, for the entire KBK region,particularly for the large number of Adivashis will sacrifice not only their home and hearth, but their way of life. They being largely illiterate and possessing no marketable skills, they will be disoriented and will have insurmountable difficulties to carve out a new life with the  few rupees they will get in exchange for their habitat. With an institution of the size proposed, there will be good job opportunities. Hopefully the institution will spawn a variety of ancillary industries, and other institutions which can  give them good chance of a good alternate livelihood.

KBK has been a sink hole where various large scale attempts that have been made to rehabilitate into a healthy society have just been failures and the vast amount of money simply disappears. Vedant University will be strong and reliable anchor  in the community which will automatically attract various infrastructures which the entire region so desperately needs. A critical mass of literate and sophisticated population will develop because of adjacent Central University in Koraput, and thus a new nucleus of educational excellence will be generated. And some day, the kids of those displaced Adivashis may be managers of Vedanta and other institutions. And civil servants who find all kinds of excuses not to be located,they  will eagerly compete to be there.

Vedanta will benefit tremendously because its image of a ruthless destroyer of habitat of disadvantaged populace and mindless destroyer of environment; that image will change into a benevolent philanthropist and builder of healthy society. Mind you, it still has to be a good caretaker of the environment and has to actively engage to protect the sensitive ecology of the region. My feeling is that the local populace will actively cooperate with Vedanta to see that Vedanta becomes a successful profitable venture at the same time jointly engage in protecting the ecology.

The unnecessary confrontation between Vedanta on one side and environmentalists and displaced Adivashis can be avoided. Vedanta will emerge as a hero, and can serve as a role model for other mining enterprises. At the same time it will avoid confrontation with Puri-ites regarding land accumulation for building the university. 

It will also be great for Orissa government. Many from Koshala or Western Orissa including me are very critical of Orissa government for over concentrating practically most human resource development activities in the vicinity of Bhubaneswar leaving rest of Orissa largely untouched. Location of Vedanta University in Kalahandi will be first good step to address the inequity, and hopefully this will be followed by similar gestures throughout Orissa away from the sixty mile strip. Location of Vedanta University will cost the government nothing. Cash strapped Orissa government has not been able to manage adequately the institutions of higher learning. Now it can focus in strengthening the existing ones. And the long neglected huge population of Adivashis,who are literally dying because the government has put their horrendous problems under the carpet, will have some ray of hope of good future.

Some argue that the decision of location of Vedanta university in Puri was the decision of Vedanta not Orissa government. But is the Orissa government is so weak that major educational development is surrendered to a industrial house ? With such a majority in the Orissa assembly, one would think that the government is full control of what happens in the state.

Therefore only conclusion one can derive from such decision is that Navin’s government is simply a regionalistic one dominated by self-centered   “academics” and “intelligentsia” with no vision of overall development of Orissa; and this really the way they want. These self centered folks are not interested in reduction of inter-regional disparity, or are interested in rational solutions of the problems. They are simply engaged in rationalisation of the decisions which irrational in essence.

So do you think that wisdom will prevail, and Vedanta University will be located in Kalahandi after all  ? Do not hold your breath. The change of status of dysfunctional to functional is not in the cards.

Regards

Professor Arjun Purohit,Kingston, Ontario, Canada

E-mail:apurohit1934@gmail.com

May 4, 2010 at 11:19 pm 2 comments

Vedanta University project gets environmental clearance from union ministry of environment and forests (MOEF)

Following is a report by IANS published in http://in.news.yahoo.com:

Bhubaneswar, April 17 (IANS) The Rs.150 billion Vedanta University project in Orissa by the Anil Agarwal foundation has got environmental and coastal regulation zone (CRZ) clearances from the central government, a project spokesman said Saturday.

‘The union ministry of environment and forests (MOEF) has granted the environment and CRZ clearances to the Vedanta University project,’ Sasanka Patnaik told IANS.

‘We received the letter from the ministry today (Saturday),’ he said.

The Anil Agarwal foundation is promoted by NRI billionaire and chairman of Britain’s Vedanta Resources Anil Agarwal.

It has proposed to set up a multi-disciplinary Vedanta University over 6,000 acres of land near the Konark-Puri marine drive, some 60 km from here.

This not-for-profit university, being built on a global scale, has been envisaged as one-of-its-kind institution for quality higher education and cutting-edge research facility in 95 academic disciplines for 100,000 students.

April 17, 2010 at 4:57 pm Leave a comment

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