In a move that would enable students to get the best of Indian Higher Education, the Union government has agreed to set up a Meta-varsity or a Meta University in Delhi. In other words as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said, “the university would enable a student of astrophysics in the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, to take up a course in comparative literature at the Jadavpur University. “
“Such creative reconfigurations are expected to create “new minds” conducive to the growth of innovation,” he added, while releasing a report on “Meta – University” while adressing National Innovation Council headed by Sam Pitroda.
The council’s proposal to set up world’s first Meta University, has got Human Resource Development ministry’s approval will start operating from academic year 2012-13 beginning July 2012.
“The basic idea of a Meta University as a collaborative platform where a network of universities offer a customized learning experience in eminently applicable in the Indian context,” the report said.
Initially to enable this innovative education delivery, Delhi University, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Jamia Millia Islamia and IIT-Delhi are working together on set up the meta-university to allow students to pursue courses available across these institutions.
“We are doing it in our own Delhi. A student may not have to do semesters in quick succession. They can sit at any university and pursue the options they want. That’s the fun of a meta-university,” said DU vice-chancellor Dinesh Singh while delivering a lecture on ‘Education in 21st Century’ at Vasant Valley School.
Professor Singh said that creating a hybrid model of education was essential in this age of global change and that the meta university will be launched in July 2012. He said that India needed to take a leaf out of its own history to innovate and improve on imparting and seeking education. “To me, education is a journey to look deep within and discovering yourself. It’s only when you find your inner calling that you can make a positive contribution to society. And this journey never ends,” said Dinesh Singh, as he narrated examples of Ramakrishna Paramhansa, Mahatma Gandhi, Ghalib and Kabir.
The Meta University will be powered by the National Knowledge Network, a high speed (multi gigabit) fibre based broadband network connecting a large number of Central and state universities and higher education institutions.
“They (students) would be tested for their competencies before enrolling into a particular programme in another university and will be awarded degrees,” Pitroda said.
The Meta University is an attempt of the UPA government of inclusive innovation with prime minister pointing out that advancement in technology and innovations has helped rich without adequately solving problems of the poor.
Another initiative in this regard was setting up of Rs 100 crore Indian Inclusive Innovation Fund. Pitroda said the fund would increase to Rs 5,000 crore in few years with private partnership. The government believes that philanthropic contributions for innovation will help the fund to grow.
“The fund will finance such companies with the capital they need to take their ideas to the market,” the report said, adding that social sectors such as health, education and agriculture would be the target areas for innovation.
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