and funding support; network development and development of distributed classrooms; tools and techniques development; promotional role through lead universities; training of all categories of staff; maintenance of standards and monitoring and R&D activities. 
In order to undertake the activities six task groups have been identified for (i) standards and specifications, including instructional design, learning objects metadata, object packaging and digital rights management, (ii) hardware, software systems and their deployment and professional development of staff, (iii) connectivity options such as landline, microwave, cellular, radio and satellite communication with possibilities of continuous upgrading, (iv) user studies to consider mechanisms of continuous analysis of client needs and suggest appropriate designs for making the system client-centred, (v) private-public partnership to consider all forms of partnerships and collaborations and suggest productive ways of maximizing the opportunities to all the stakeholders and (v) content development and related issues. 
The role of COL will be to assist in : sharing of international experience and expertise; development of international partnerships and linkages; development of content platforms, tools and techniques for development, delivery and management of e-learning; development of quality assessment standards and external evaluation of e-learning programmes.

Modern Technologies - the only 
alternative for Expansion of Higher
 Education : Prof. MM Joshi

          r.   Murli    Manohar     Joshi, 
          Union   Minister  of  HRD and
S&T, while addressing the Parliamentary Consultative Committee addressed to his Ministry, on 9th December, 2003, stated that the use of modern technologies such as satellite communication, internet and electronics is the only alternative available to expand higher education and improve the quality of teaching. He informed that a number of initiatives have been taken towards this and 124 universities have already been connected with the UGC's Information Network and the rest would be connected by March, 2004. All over-15000 colleges will eventually become part of this network. From 1st January, this year, 120 journals in science and technology disciplines and 250 in humanities and other disciplines have been made electronically available to the universities. A satellite, devoted exclusively to education is proposed to be launched within the next few months to make quality study material available through television and other communication channels.
Dr. Joshi also informed the members about the steps initiated by the UGC for improving the relevance and quality of teaching and research, such as introduction of utility-oriented programmes along with 

the traditional degree; identifying the universities with potential for excellence; to establish four National Institutes of Sciences at Bhubaneshwar, Chennai, Pune and Allahabad; monitoring the universities using parameters for academic performance, research performance and governance and providing incentives to universities and colleges scoring high on these parameters.

Dr. Joshi also called upon the UGC to rejuvenate the students' interest in basic sciences. He informed that the Government has decided to observe 2004 as the year of scientific awareness. Members were further informed about the recently issued regulations for establishment and maintenance of private universities. Dr. Joshi also emphasized the need for promotion of sports in universities.
The following members were present from Lok Sabha: S/Shri/Ms. Sharad Pawar, Savshibhai Makwana, Dr. Beatrix D'Souza, Vinay Kumar Sorake Ananta Nayak and Ramseth Thakur. The members present from Rajya Sabha were: S/Shri/Ms. Savita Sharda, Chandra Kala Pandey, Dr. A.K. Patel, Dr. Kumkum Rai, Dr. Faguni Ram,  K.    Rahman  Khan,
Jayantilal        S.     Barot        and
Dr. Bimal Jalan.























      12       UGC News,  January,  2004
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