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From Delhi, Indians to teach students in Africa

Saturday, May 15, 2010 10:41:08 AM, Azera Rahman, IANS

New Delhi: Just like a typical classroom scene, a professor will deliver a lecture and students will raise their hands to ask questions. Only here, the teacher will be at the Delhi University (DU) campus while the students will be in Africa.

As part of the Pan-African e-network project between India and Africa that was launched last year, DU will start conducting these unique tele-education classes for students of the African Union from July this year.

A.K. Bakshi of the Institute of Lifelong Learning (ILLL) said: “Initially, the subjects that will be taught through this medium will be two - accountancy and English - but gradually more subjects will be brought into the loop.”

“As part of the project, the teacher will sit in the studio in the DU campus and interact with students in Africa. They will see each other through a plasma TV - it will be a virtual classroom just like they show in ads these days!” Bakshi told IANS in an interview.

The syllabus has been drawn through mutual agreement, he added.

While the African Union has 53 countries and the project aims to connect India to all of them, the DU has until now entered into agreement with just six of them.

“DU will initially assist students in six African countries which includes countries like Gambia, Niger and Somalia,” said an official of the Telecommunications Consultants India Limited (TCIL), which is assisting in the technical aspects of implementing the project.

However, it’s not just DU which is involved in the process.

“Besides DU, similar tele-education services will also be offered by Madras University from July this year. Similar programmes are also going on in the Amity University and the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU),” Bakshi said.

The other universities and institutes associated with the project are the Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS), Pilani; the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur; and Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore.

In all, 10,000 African students are expected to benefit from this project.

Besides tele-education, tele-medicine, e-governance, e-commerce and resource mapping, meteorological services and infotainment are the other sectors in which India and Africa have agreed to foster a relationship.

Just like in tele-education, 12 prominent medical institutes in India like the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Apollo Hospitals and Escorts Heart Institute are involved in offering tele-medicine facilities to people in Africa.

The project is for a period of five years.

(Azera Rahman can be contacted at




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