May 10, 2012
In India today, there are 634 universities and 33,023 colleges that have a total of 16,97,500 students enrolled.
Given the acute shortage of qualified faculty, the Union Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD) launched the National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology (NME-ICT) in February 2009.
Amrita played a key role in enabling the NME-ICT. It developed the e-learning platform A-View, which was adopted as the system of choice for deployment across all Indian universities and colleges.
In addition, Amrita became part of a multi-university consortium to develop virtual labs, enabling online access for thousands of students who may not have access to the instruments and technology in their own colleges.
Several IITs are participating in this effort; Amrita is leading the development of biotechnology-related labs.
Amrita development efforts to enable e-learning together with the strides that the nation has made in this arena were showcased in the first-ever International Conference on Technology Enhanced Education that was hosted at the Amritapuri campus in January 2012.
India is not alone in setting up an extensive e-learning network. Recently Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US announced a joint initiative wherein they will offer online classes to any interested student located anywhere in the world.
In 2005, Marconi University of Italy founded GUIDE (Global Universities in Distance Education) to develop and support international cooperation in open and distance learning.
GUIDE conducts research studies in collaboration with its members and publishes books and original papers in order to disseminate information to a wide audience.
Amrita University was recently invited to become an honorary member of GUIDE.
“As a GUIDE honorary member, our university will receive support for implementation of projects and networking activities that can help showcase research outcomes. Members can discuss key issues, educational policies and sustainable development on a common platform,” shared Dr. Shyam Diwakar, Assistant Professor, School of Biotechnology.
“We may be collaborating with Università degli Studi Guglielmo Marconi, the main patron of GUIDE for an international research project,” he added.
“This possible partnership will help strengthen the role of institutions of higher education as drivers of innovation and development and unearth insights and best practices to meet the needs of stakeholders,” he summed up.