DU logs on to open new chapter

University connects with 500 other institutes through e-network

In Delhi University’s first lecture series through e-network on Wednesday, the varsity was linked to 500 universities across the country, of which 11 were connected in a two-way mode.

The National Knowledge Network had devised the concept, and was constituted by the Prime Minister in 2005 to build ‘knowledge economy’ and use technology as a facilitator in higher education. The project was under the National Innovation Council via National Knowledge Commission.

DU vice chancellor Dinesh Singh said the initiative is an attempt to establish the power of communication through information technology. “This has a huge potential for sharing knowledge and learning resources. It can knit the country together,” he said.

The plan is to use the network to start academic discussions by using technology to share content and expertise, he added.

Questions were asked by students from various universities. During the session, students were asked to question Sam Pitroda, advisor to the Prime Minister, through his Twitter handle. Singh said at least three lakh from universities and colleges were connected via NKN live.

Harvard University professor Michael Sandel spoke on ‘Democratising Information, Justice, Equality and the Rule of Law’, which stressed on using technology to bring changes in society. “Education, social movements and an active civil society are the primary elements through which modern societal ills can be resolved, with technology being the medium for a better dialogue,” said Sandel.

Technology can help in creating awareness on issues pertaining to women, public safety and social change, he added.

Referring to the recent gang rape and murder of a 23 year-old girl in Delhi, which was followed by protests, Sandel said discussions through NKN can be a better way of deliberating on issues the country is facing.

Pitroda agreed to Sandel’s observation, and said such initiatives are constructive, unlike “frenzy protests that can be frightening at times.”

A majority of questions asked by students were on rising crime against women. There were discourses on reasons behind rise in such crime, creating awareness and toughening the law.

Institutions linked to the network include IITs, IIMs, Bangalore-based Indian Institute of Science, branches of the National Institute of Technology and the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Gujarat Vidyapeeth, Pune University and Aligarh Muslim University, among others.

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