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500 institutes link up to Delhi University for National Knowledge Network take-off

Source: Express India, 24-Jan-2013

Connecting Delhi University to 500 institutions across the country, the National Knowledge Network lecture series was launched in Delhi University on Wednesday. The National Knowledge Network is said to be the largest e-network in the country in the education sector.

The first NKN lecture saw Sam Pitroda, Advisor to the Prime Minister, and Michael Sandel, Professor at Harvard University, talking on “democratising information, justice, equality and the rule of law” followed by an interaction with students at various centres.

The lecture series has been launched by the National Innovation Council where students across the country will be able to listen to eminent experts through the NKN.

Applauding the efforts of NKN, Sandel added, “It offers a possibility for a new kind of public discourse.”

The audience in a hall in North Campus in Delhi was linked to around 11 institutions across the country in a two-way interactive mode. The NKN also enabled another 500 institutions to witness the event through a one-way link, an official statement by DU Registrar Alka Sharma said.

The institutions which participated in the event include IIT-Mumbai, IIT-Guwahati, IIM-Calcutta, IISc-Bangalore, Shivaji University at Kolhapur, University of Pune and Gujarat Vidyapeeth.

According to Delhi University Vice-Chancellor Dinesh Singh, the National Knowledge Network provides a huge potential for sharing knowledge and learning resources and it can help knit the education system in the country together.

Pitroda talked about how the network can be a platform for public discourse by being used as a mechanism for gathering information and opinions from various parts of the society.

Michael Sandel, on the other hand, posed queries relating to issues like public safety, gender and social change and illustrated the potential of the network as a public platform. Talking about the promise of new technology, Sandel added, “Not just connectivity but community, not just networking but deliberating...”

Questions posed by students also concerned the need for changing the mindset of people, especially politicians. One student said, “As an engineer, we go through grilling exams. But what kind of rigour do our politicians go through? Can anyone be thrust on the citizens as a minister? Is it fair to to so this to citizens?”

A pan India network, NKN has been built by the Central government to connect all education and research institutions in the country. It is being implemented by the National Informatics Centre. Currently, NKN has connected over 900 nodes in the country.

The National Innovation Council, constituted by the Prime Minister, under the Chairmanship of Sam Pitroda, has been constituted to outline policy recommendations and interventions to boost innovation performance in the country, with a focus on inclusive growth.

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