IIT-Delhi starts distance education for Ethiopia

Aug 8th, 2009 | By editor | Category: Education, In News, Specials, The Delhi Beat

Parul Sharma

NEW DELHI: In a first, the Indian Institute of Technology at Delhi has started an international outreach programme with students in Ethiopia.

As an initiative in distance education, IIT-Delhi faculty members have been teaching post-graduate courses to students at Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia.

“The project began on the request of the Ambassador of Ethiopia to India who approached us to increase the university’s level of expertise. We found it an interesting experiment. We upgraded our studio. Our team also visited that university to set up facilities there,” said IIT-Delhi director Surendra Prasad at a press conference here on Friday on the eve of the 40th annual Convocation.

The IIT-Delhi teachers have designed the curricula of four courses taught at Addis Ababa University: construction technology and management; chemical engineering; electronics and computer engineering; and manufacturing engineering.

These courses are being delivered using a two-way video/audio link. “Since it is a two-way process, students also get to participate in the process and ask questions whenever needed. Our teachers are involved in the instruction and evaluation of the courses,” said M. Balakrishnan, Dean of Post-Graduate Studies and Research.

As many as 46 faculty members are involved in the project that started last October. They have to offer up to 70 hours per week of instructions to students

Prof. Prasad informed about other activities held on the IIT-Delhi campus this past year.

“The new School of Biological Sciences has started functioning. Five faculty members from other departments have opted to move to this school. Some Ph.D. students have also been admitted giving a head-start to research in this area,” he informed.

To attract and retain new teachers, IIT-Delhi has established 56 outstanding young faculty fellowships.

About 25 new faculty members have joined the institution this year, taking the total strength to 456.

The year 2008-09 also witnessed a major growth in the number as well as total value of the sponsored research projects and consultancies. The institution undertook 138 new sponsored research activities with a funding of over Rs.74 crore.

A new girls’ hostel has been inaugurated, while the faculty guest house has been renovated.

The construction of a new boys’ hostel that can accommodate over 900 students and 96 flats for faculty members is in progress.

The total enrolment of girl students in IIT-Delhi now stands at 16.6 per cent; 980 out of 5,920 students are women.

This weekend’s Convocation would see a record number of 181 Ph.D. degrees being awarded, a significant 23 per cent increase over 147 last year.

Over 1,419 students would be graduating at the Convocation.

The first batch of 22 students in the diploma programme titled “Metro Rail Transport: Technology and Management” sponsored by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation would also be graduating this year.

IIT-Delhi is also coordinating a major project sponsored by the Union Human Resource Development Ministry, involving nine other institutions across the country, which will aim at creating “virtual laboratories” for the benefit of students from technical institutions with limited resources.

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