Meta University Plan will change the face of Higher learning in India

Noted scientist and Academician, professor Yashpal, defines a University as:

University is a “Universe of Knowledge” – A place where every academic and non-academic disciplines exist under one roof, and interacting with each other all the time.
A true university thus allows learners to take courses in disciplines not related to his/her; so that the true meaning of “universe of Knowledge” is fulfilled.

[Famous universities are working on the same definition for years now. I have heard Professor Yashpal speak on “100 years of Science”. Let I tell you, he’s one of the most astute thinkers the country  has at present.]

The Good news is: the long held belief of Professor Yashpal is soon going to take tangible shape.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh yesterday said the government will set up a so-called meta university that will allow students flexibility in designing their curriculum and pursuing subjects and combinations of their choice in an effort to make higher education more liberal and accessible to the masses.

The meta university will allow flexibility in the curriculum, let students pursue subjects of their choice.

Calling the Meta University concept an Innovative learning too, The PM says such creative reconfigurations are expected to create new minds conducive to innovation.

Salient points about Meta university Plan:

1)Inter university programme: The meta university will be a flagship programme of the National Innovation Council (NIC) working in close collaboration with HRD (human resource development) ministry, and would enable a student of astrophysics at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, for instance, to take up a course in comparative literature at Jadavpur University (famous for social subjects).

2) Meta university will offer degrees and is expected to start sessions in the academic year 2012-13.

3) In the initial rounds, the proposed Meta University will begin discussions with Delhi-based institutions such as Jawaharlal Nehru University, the University of Delhi and Indira Gandhi National Open University to allow their registered students to take courses within these institutes. Later, the courses will cover other universities in the country.

4) Notably, the existing rules prohibit students registered at one university from attending classes or courses offered at another, unless there are exchange arrangements.

The meta university concept, which is a concept similar to the Academy of Scientific and Innovative Research, a recent “virtual” university started by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). The CSIR’s Virtual University allows CSIR, a publicly funded industrial research consultancy, to offer courses, degrees and diplomas to graduates without requiring them to register with brick-and-mortar universities.

5) Keeping in mind the availability of huge unskilled population and a shortage of talent in the country, the Meta University Plan is one of the steps taken by the Union Government in this direction in recent times. On 1 November 2011, the Union cabinet approved a Rs. 1,200 crore National Knowledge Network. The network will electronically connect India’s 572 universities, 25,000 colleges and at least 2,000 polytechnics.

Two years ago, in 2009, the government had approved connecting 18,000 colleges and 419 universities. So far, however, 11,600 colleges have got Internet connectivity. 47 percent universities have now internet connectivity.