Saturday, February 24, 2007


Mohali to be new knowledge centre for north India

Mohali to be new knowledge centre for north India

Chetan Chauhan

New Delhi, February 23, 2007

What Bangalore is for south India, Mohali would soon be for northern India - a hub for multi-level knowledge base with five educational institutes and a biotechnology park.

An ambitious plan prepared by the government to be implemented in the next five years have HRD ministry, Science and Technology ministry and Punjab government as collaborators. "Entire proposal is in the final stages of approval as the Punjab government has been asked to provide adequate land for the national knowledge project," a senior government official told HT.

The approval process started on Thursday with the Union Cabinet approving setting up of Rs 100 crore Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) in Mohali. By doing this, the government has fulfilled Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s commitment of an IISER in the town.

The PM’s plan has got further boost with ministry of Science and Technology deciding to open National Institute of Nano-Technology and National Institute of Bio-Technology in Mohali. "The proposals in this regard would be forwarded for Cabinet consideration soon," a senior government official said.

The Punjab government has been asked by the Centre to open a management school through public-private partnership model in Mohali. They have also been asked to provide land for developing national biotechnology park. The existing National Institute for Pharmaceutical Education and Research will be part of the new ‘knowledge campus’.

According to a senior government official, all the five institutes will come up in one huge campus with common residential, library, sports, broadband and hostel facilities. To make it a true learning centre and attract best talent, the government has recommended residential facilities, with Internet facilities, for all students and teachers.

A sub-group headed by former education secretary BS Baswan has recommended a flexible recruitment policy for the campus and complete employment opportunities for students.

The report submitted in December 2006 entails that teachers would get salary higher than the government pay scales, extra honorarium for research projects and opportunities for visiting foreign universities, in a bid to attract best teaching talent. The group has also recommended that the new knowledge centre should have tie-ups with foreign universities to hire faculty of Indian origin on semesters basis.

For students, the group had recommended better interaction with industry with emphasis on future employment avenues.

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MoF against cess hike to fund higher education

MoF against cess hike to fund higher education

NEW DELHI: The possibilities of a 1% cess on higher education appears to be losing support as the finance ministry is more in favour of using revenue buoyancy to meet additional demand.

Sources say the allocation for higher education in the forthcoming Budget is expected to be in the region of over Rs 6,500 crore. Of this, nearly 50% is expected to be allocated for the expansion of Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT), National Institutes of Technology (NIT), Indian Institutes of Management (IIM), central universities and IT institutes.

At the heart of the speculation is how the finance ministry would provide for that extra Rs 2,400 crore that it has now allocated for higher education. Sources say a 1% higher education cess, either on all central taxes or on high-income groups, could have been the answer. If it is levied on all taxes, on the lines of the 2% education cess, it could yield as much as Rs 5,000 crore.

The question is whether in a year that has seen record tax collection and the Centre is flush with funds is a new cess on the tax-paying populace desirable? Experts say a dedicated cess for higher education may be the only way the sector would get the requisite funding, as was the case with Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and mid-day meal programme. On the other hand, finance ministry sources indicate that a dedicated cess may not be the preferred way to finance the sector.

There is speculation that some of the money collected under the Prarambhik Shiksha Kosh — elementary education fund, into which the 2% education cess flows — could be diverted to higher education, given the high tax collection. However, diversion of funds could face roadblocks as taking funds away from elementary education may be viewed as a violation of the promises made in the common minimum programme.

The HRD ministry would have liked an even higher allocation given that it has plans for new IITs and IIITs in every state, and new Indian Institutions of Science Education & Research (IISER). However, for the expansion programme mandated by the Moily Committee, the Rs 3,000-odd crore that has been allocated will suffice. It would seem that the absorptive capacity of the institutions will not permit utilisation of more funds in the first year.

Thursday, February 15, 2007


Six schools of drama in five years: NSD Director

Six schools of drama in five years: NSD Director

Pioneer News Service | Bhubaneswar

As many as six schools of drama would come up in various parts of the country in next five years similar to the National School of Drama (NSD), Director of NSD Devendra Raj Ankur said on Wednesday. He was attending the ongoing State-level drama festival being held here at Rabindra Mandap here.

The NSD has been able to provide education to only 20 students per year in the country and there is a huge demand for making its academic programme available for the aspiring artistes, he said, adding that the new schools would be a major achievement in that direction.

The NSD has been running an extension programme for the benefit of theatre enthusiasts across regions and languages by conducting theatre workshops of various kinds, he said. Subjects like acting, movement, light, makeup, theatre history and literature would be taught at these workshops, he added.

The new schools would have a comprehensive three-year diploma course in dramatic arts with specialisation available in direction, acting and stagecraft as being offered by the premier institute of the country.

It may be noted that the diploma in dramatic arts was recognised by the Government for recruitment to services under the Central Government where specialisation in the field was required while the diploma in dramatics from NSD was equivalent to any post-graduate degree and makes one eligible for PhD programmes.

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