Published On: Fri, Feb 3rd, 2012

Kapil Sibal: Internet and technology to drive Education

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Kapil Sibal

Kapil Sibal

Internet and new forms of education technologies will bring a paradigm shift in terms of generating knowledge pool and creating global knowledge sharing platforms in years to come, said Kapil Sibal, Union Minister of Human Resources Development, in New Delhi today.

The minister was speaking at ‘One Globe 2012: Uniting Knowledge Communities’ conference organized by Salwan Media in partnership with International Herald Tribune – the global edition of The New York Times, US India Business Council (USIBC), India Knowledge@Wharton, UK India Business Council, The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce, YES Bank, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), and The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE).

The Minister said that “Social media platforms like Facebook and internet are huge platforms for information sharing” and such global platforms in cyberspace can be created by universities and colleges also for knowledge sharing and “uniting knowledge communities”.

He called on different universities and colleges to join hands and come together in the cyberspace to increase the knowledge reach and make it available to hundreds of thousands of youths who can’t afford the increasing cost of education. He said that the move will save the infrastructure cost on part of universities and also lessen the travel time of students and faculties.

“Universities should forge alliances in cyberspace and it does not necessarily involve any brick and mortar collaboration. This will help save cost and time both,” he said, adding “This will involve the collaboration of institutions in the minds and there would be no territorial boundaries for sharing knowledge.”

The minister said that he envisions a system where different universities come together on a common platform to teach students together on the specific courses that a student would like to pick.

“These kind of open platforms are going to be the future of the world. It would dramatically reduce the travel time and faculty from different universities and sphere can be made available on this platform. It would encourage interaction between the faculty and the student community,” he said.

The HRD Minister said that he is perusing for a Meta-University in cyberspace to bring this concept into reality.  “We had a serious thought in the ministry recently on the concept of a Meta-University which we will soon be putting in place,” he said.

Explaining the concept further, he said, “The Meta-University involves a Facebook kind of institution where 20 to 30 universities join hands and become one classroom. In the system, students can opt for a mix of courses and they will be awarded degree from all the universities together,” he said, adding “This can be done easily by creating cyber platforms. University can communicate with each other and through the process they can advance their knowledge too.”

“Through the knowledge platform in the meta-university, hundreds of thousands of students can share knowledge, and actually come on common platform. The kind of progress we can make through this global interaction is unimaginable today,” he said, adding, “The global community has yet to realize the potential of internet and cyberspace in terms of knowledge sharing.”

The minister also emphasized the need to think in that direction and creating an environment of knowledge sharing.

He said that his ministry is making substantial progress on that front by bringing a bill in the parliament on foreign universities. He also asked foreign universities to think holistically and think more in terms of knowledge sharing opportunities in India rather than looking the India opportunity from a business perspective.

The Minister said that Indian government is working on connecting the centers of higher education.  “We are also creating a national knowledge network, which in the next six months is going to connect 31 thousand colleges and over 600 universities. “It will help students sitting in one corner of the country to take quality classes form professors and lectures of premier institutes in the country,” he said.