Pursuing more than one course at a time from different universities will now be a possibility with the government agreeing for setting up a Meta University.
It will mean that an Indian Institute of Technology student will be able to enroll for ancient history course in Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi. Or, 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,” Singh said, while releasing report to the people of the National Innovation Council headed by Sam Pitroda.
The council’s proposal to set up world’s first Meta University, which has got HRD ministry’s approval, will roll out in academic year 2012-13. “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.
The proposed Meta University will use the National Knowledge Network, where a large number of Central and state universities and higher education institutions have been connected through a high speed (multi gigabit) fibre based broadband network.
Not only the students who are already enrolled the ones outside the higher education system would get a chance for education if they are able to meet the prescribed standards.
“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 report said that although internet and technology are fundamental to Meta University but the new pedagogy is more in turn with the knowledge requirement of the 21th century.
The Meta University is an attempt of the UPA government of inclusive innovation with Singh 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.