Virtual varsity with IIIT-B planned

Acknowledging the “deterioration in distance education”, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Friday announced the setting up of Karnataka Virtual University in coordination with the International Institute of Information Technology, Bangalore. 

Elaborating on the new initiative, Rajneesh Goel, Principal Secretary, Higher Education, told Deccan Herald that similar facilities exist at various institutions like the Stanford University. “This is something that has been tried and tested. There is a need for minimum infrastructure and great flexibility. With video lectures students can attend classes from anywhere,” said Goel.

Meanwhile, the allocation for education sector has been increased to Rs 21,305 crore from last year’s Rs 18,666 crore. Setting up new institutions of higher learning and research, especially in science and new technology, has got priority. The number of new projects to upgrade and create infrastructure in primary and secondary education sector has been announced. 

For higher education, as much as Rs 3,880 crore has been allocated. To promote greater participation of girls in higher education, the government has decided to waive the tuition and lab fees in all aided colleges. 

Under central scheme of Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA), two Advanced Research Centres to promote science, technology, engineering, mathematics have been proposed in Bangalore (with funds from VTU) and Udupi (under Mangalore University). Besides, a Central University has been proposed at Karwar in Uttara Kannada.

Upgrading 30 science colleges as Model Science Colleges at Rs two crore each is also on the cards. Rs one crore will be allocated for setting up of a Karnataka Science and Innovation Centre to encourage research and concepts in technologies and in universities and colleges. 

The allocation of funds to primary education increased by Rs 1,826 crore this year. As much as Rs 3.27 crore has been set aside for providing basic infrastructure to “needy government PU colleges” and constructing 178 new government high schools in “needy places” under the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan. 

Other proposals

One government medical college to come up in each district. Six such colleges to come up in Tumkur, Chitradurga, Chikkaballapur, Bagalkot, Haveri and Yadgir districts this year.Free laptops for postgraduate SC and ST students pursuing engineering, medical and journalism course and benefits of the Vidya Siri under the Social Welfare Department. Rs 75 crore to be provided to extend Vidya Siri to 50,000 students in post matric hostels and PhD students who are not able to get admission to hostels. 

Meritorious post- matric students will get their fees reimbursed; talking laptops for visually challenged students; in Hyderabad- Karnataka Region, 100 existing government primary schools to be upgraded to model schools and Gnana Kendras to be constructed in 250 gram panchayats; maths teaching kits to be provided to government school students of class 4 and class 5; documents such as caste and income certificates can be issued in schools using data from Nada Kacheries to avoid frequent visits to taluk offices during school admissions.

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