Thursday, September 6, 2007

Lakhs of aspirants who don’t make it to the Indian Institutes of Technology

Shot in the arm for Sanskrit research


The academy could, in the coming years, become an independent university

After upgradation as a Centre of Excellence, the Academy of Sanskrit Research will promote research in yoga, Indian systems of medicine and archaeology

The centre will offer a three-year under-graduate course in Sanskrit and Vedas

Research in the ancient Indian language, Sanskrit, is set to get a big boost The Academy of Sanskrit Research (ASR), Melkote, in Mandya district, will be upgraded to a ‘Centre of Excellence’. In the coming years, the centre could also become an independent university in Sanskrit and Vedic Sciences.

As of now, ASR will function under the University of Mysore The decision to upgrade the centre was taken at a recent meeting chaired by governor’s adviser P P Prabhu. The idea is to promote research in yoga, Indian systems of medicine and archaeology.

Kaushik Mukherjee, principal secretary, higher education told , as most manuscripts available in these fields are in Sanskrit, researchers will benefit from the move “If researchers learn the Vedas and Sanskrit, they can understand the manuscripts on their own,’’he said, adding that at a later stage, the centre could become a university if necessary.

Former ASR director M A Lakshmi Thathachar said although original manuscripts on ayurveda and Indian systems of medicine are in Sanskrit, they are available in other languages as well “Learning Sanskrit alone is not sufficient.
The challenge is that most manuscripts are handwritten। There are no spaces between alphabets, making it difficult to read

This should also be addressed,’’ he said He added that technology should come to the rescue of Sanskrit। Deciphering manuscripts is now a time-consuming task, because of which most of them don’t see the light of day।The centre will offer a three-year undergraduate course in Sanskrit and the Vedas as part of the initiative The syllabus will be decided by the Board of Studies (BOS)

“To begin with, we are looking at attracting students with popular courses. Core subjects will be introduced later,” he said, adding that the intake will be decided by the BOS The course will be introduced in the second half of this academic year or the beginning of the next one.

Senior scholars and Sanskrit pundits will teach students at the centre. “We are looking at relaxing rules for faculty. For instance, a candidate may not have a doctorate but he may have enough knowledge of the subject,” he said.
He said the degree will be awarded by the University of Mysore. Since the well-known Oriental Research Institute is a part of the varsity, it will be asked to coordinate with ASR.

Class of 1982 gives Rs 4 crore to IIT-B

The batch of ’82 from the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay had something to gift their alma mater for the New Year. On Sunday, the alumni handed over a cheque of Rs 4 crore to the premier engineering institute—the money will be used to bring in more talent in the faculty.
With the interest earned on the corpus, every year 25 incoming faculty members at IIT-B will be offered a bonus of Rs 1 lakh for three years.
The batch, having decided to raise Rs 6 crore in all, plans to mobilise the remaining Rs 2 crore and give it to IIT-B for its ‘Legacy Project’ in 2008. Each year, the Legacy Project sees alumni celebrating its silver jubilee reunion by pledging to take up a project for the institute.
This initiative was announced earlier this year at a New York alumni meet when director Ashok Misra and senior faculty members including Deepak Phatak, professor at IIT’s Kanwal Rekhi School of Information Technology, visited the US to whip up enthusiasm among NRI ex-students for the ongoing IIT-B golden jubilee celebrations.
According to the director, of late, the institute has been coming up with various measures to retain and attract faculty. The idea behind offering Rs 3 lakh to faculty members is to make their life a little more comfortable when they join the institute, said a member of the alumni. “This money can be utilised to buy some furniture or a car. The money is given to make them feel comfortable till they settle down and then start getting consultancy projects,’’ said Misra. Currently, remuneration for the faculty members at IITs ranges between Rs 25,000 and Rs 50,000 a month, to a peak of Rs 6 lakh annually.
“This institute is one of the finest in the world but currently there is tremendous competition for human talent. We want IIT-B to attract the best and the brightest,’’ said Dinkar Natraj, a student of the 1982 batch and now the founder di
rector of E-force, a software consulting company in the Silicon Valley.
Another Rs 25 lakh was also gifted by the ’81 batch for IIT-B’s Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship on Sunday to encourage the entrepreneurial spirit.
Milind Gokhale, officiating CEO of IITB Alumni Association, said there are companies incubated on campus that find it difficult to get venture capital. “This money will help companies take off,’’ Gokhale added.
As part of the Legacy Project, some alumni who are faculty members with several other international universities will also come to IIT-B as visiting professors. These include faculty members from University of California, Purdue University, Harvard Business School and Florida International University.

IIT-B to beam classes live nationwide

For lakhs of aspirants who don’t make it to the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), here’s something to cheer about. After earlier putting the IIT open courseware online, IIT-Bombay is going one step further and opening its classrooms to the world. Starting January 2008 it will broadcast its lectures live through EDUSAT, the satellite which caters exclusively to the educational sector.

Students of any engineering institute will now not only have real-time access to IIT-B tutoring, but can also interact with resident faculty at Powai.

IIT-B and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) have signed a memorandum of understanding to transmit the lectures to any of the 1,500 engineering colleges across India which are keen to avail of the service. In fact, even institutions in Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal and parts of Pakistan which are covered by the Edusat footprint can view the lectures by tuning in to the same frequency.

The concept of long-distance technical education has been in the making for a while. Under a special HRD ministry programme, the seven IITs and the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, have already prepared open courseware and uploaded it online. Globally, too, developing and maintaining free open courseware is a popular concept among universities and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology OpenCourseware offers 1,800 courses to reach out to students beyond the campus classrooms.

However, the IIT-B and ISRO programme offers live lectures and will be the first in the field involving an elite technical institution.

If you ever dreamt of studying in MIT but could not fulfill your desire here's good news.

You can now join this elite institution and that too for free as the university is making the contents of all 1,800 courses available online by the end of this year. Learners won't have to register for the classes, and everyone is accepted from anywhere in the world.

The OpenCourseWare movement, begun at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2002 and now spread to some 120 other universities worlwide, aims to disperse knowledge far beyond the ivy-clad walls of elite campuses to anyone who has an Internet connection and a desire to learn.

Intended as an act of "intellectual philanthropy," OpenCourseWare (OCW) provides free access to course materials such as syllabi, video or audio lectures, notes, homework assignments, illustrations, and so on.

So far, by giving away their content, the universities aren't discouraging students from enrolling as students. Instead, the online materials appear to be only whetting appetites for more.

"We believe strongly that education can be best advanced when knowledge is shared openly and freely," says Anne Margulies, executive director of the OCW programme at MIT.

The MIT site (, along with companion sites that translate the material into other languages, now average about 1.4 million visits per month from learners.

NIIT signs up 129 Chinese varsities

A whole new generation of software engineers are being trained in 129 Chinese universities using curriculum and teaching methods provided by the Bangalore based NIIT. The company is in a frenzy signing up local universities and expects to bring 80 more of them in its fold in the next one year.

NIIT's latest feat involves grabbing a deal with a municipal government in southwest China that will give it access to 20 more universities in and around the city of ChongQing. The company will help this fast-growing city to develop a "skilled manpower pool for the IT industry" by providing training in the areas of software engineering & application, network administration & management, and game design & development.

"We will be taking the training to a higher level on the value chain in ChongQing as compared to our training in other Chinese universities. The focus will be on service excellence. This is somewhat different because the training in other Chinese universities is tuned to the needs of the manufacturing sector," Prakash Menon, president, NIIT, China told TOI on Wednesday.

NIIT's training across 129 Chinese universities covers at least 50,000 students. The addition of 20-odd universities of ChongQing to the NIIT would bring in at least 5,000 more students. The Indian company will also train the teachers besides providing curriculum that will be embedded into the course material of the universities.

The latest deal aimed at building the city's "human capital infrastructure for the emerging knowledge economy" was signed in Bangalore on Tuesday between NIIT's chief executive officer Vijay K Thadani and Wang Yang, secretary general of the Communist Party of ChongQing on behalf of the ChongQing information industry bureau.

"Leading Asian economies, India and China can come together and use their strengths innovatively in the area of developing talent for the global knowledge economy," the company quoted Thadani as saying.
The NIIT curriculam has made a lot of difference to IT and software training in Chinese universities, Menon said.
"A lot of what the Chinese universities teach on their own is outdated. Much of it is of no use to the industry. Even their teaching methods are different. The focus is on learning for the sake of passing examinations," he said. "We tend to change the learning environment and ensure that the training is useful for the industry," he said.

You need to nurture your relationships with colleagues and business associates to succeed. (The author is a corporate trainer)


A networked, inter-dependent world thrives on good relationships. High stress levels, deadlines, and pressure to perform cause considerable damage to the very foundations of these relationships. Here are some surefire ways to keep you connected, in a world that could disconnect you faster than you can say 'let's work it out'. Since most of us are familiar with the stock market, let's compare relationships to an investment in the stock market,and let's see how we can benefit from this.
Value your relationships. A relationship is an investment.We protect things that are valuable, and relationships are like blue chip stocks. Constantly check how you are faring,and the current value of your relationships.

Relationships grow stronger over time, and one small downward spike should not set off any alarm bells. Be practical, and do not look for a picture-perfect relationship - those exist only in the poems or romantic movies. Take the ups and downs of relationships as a part of the process and hold on with faith.

Grow your relationships, through constant topping up. A phone call, SMS or email is a great way to say 'I am staying in touch, because I feel good to do so'.

Listen more, and speak less. We have two ears and one mouth, so that we can listen at least twice as much as we speak. At the first sign of instability,we should prop up the investment through sensitive listening and appropriate responses.

Use effective damage control. Knowing how to say a genuine sorry is one of the best insurance policies that you can have. Do not throw away a long-standing relationship over one small aberration. Adverse situations create a temporary drop in the stock value, but we should know that this is only temporary.

Check on the depth and stability of your relationships. Taking things for granted is not the best way to manage your portfolio.

At the work place

Look at the issue, and not the person. People are unique, and they will have different points of view. Everyone cannot be treated
the same. Do not take things personally. It is easier to understand this approach if we use a simple formula - 'agree to disagree, agreeably'.

Try to get the other person's opinion. Learn to take feedback, and do not try to argue, or to justify your point of view.Treat colleagues like your auditors, and take their views seriously. Remember, when we speak we only amplify what we know. But, when we listen, we learn something new.

Treat colleagues with respect. People may not even mind taking the flak on your behalf, if they find that you care for them. Be sensitive to other people's emotions.This is a great way of showing them how much you value them.Reciprocity then kicks in,and your share value will be enhanced by the bonus shares that will accrue to you.

Understand threshold limits. Each person has his own level of pain tolerance. Stronger people bounce back comfortably after a set-back. The weak, get weaker.The principle of continuous improvement will add a lot of credibility to you and your relationships. Do not look for reasons to pull out of a relationship for frivolous reasons.

Treat your relationships like they are the only investment you have,and they will reward you richly. Ignore them, and you will lose.

Listen, be patient, and transparent to get your point across

Good listeners make effective communicators

The globalised world we experience today is quintessentially driven by communication. Our age is therefore fundamentally an age of communication. As business expands across cultures, the need to align the global to the local and the local to the global becomes a challenging task.For example, is it necessary to think local and act global or should we think global and act local?

The question is not academic. On the contrary, it is of immense practical value. In the early years of liberalisation,multinational companies who entered the Indian market and chose to take the former route had to pay a heavy price. This is because they expected the Indian consumer to behave and respond to global prices by banking on the quality of their products. But consumers do not perceive value in universal terms. They are strongly influenced in their perception of value by the local context. The local context nudges them to compare and contrast.

Indian companies are today purchasing companies abroad at a rapid pace and will soon have to grapple with complexities of operating in a global environment. Blindly imitating Western practices is not the answer.Effective communication is, because communication helps to create a nuanced understanding of the local as a prelude to integrating it against a larger global context. Indian writers have done much to enrich the English language, not by imitating English writers before them, but by writing English through the lens of local context.

The essence of effective communication lies in respecting the location where the other comes from. The ability to listen by putting oneself in the shoes of the other is vital. Respecting multiple ways of being holds the key to becoming effective. Such respect helps both sides appreciate and understand that each has something valuable to offer to the other. A level playing field is a necessary prerequisite for this exchange to take place. It is wisely said: "The basic building block of good communications is the feeling that every human being is unique and of value."

Focus upon the subject of communication and its purpose is crucial to the success of the exercise. Speech becomes effective when knowledge of what is to be communicated is clear and precise. "Wise men talk," Plato once said, "because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something."

Here's what makes communication effective:

Openness and transparency. Both these factors contribute to building conditions of confidence and trust that are so critical to effective communication Patience and willingness to understand where the other is coming from A genuine commitment to learn from mistakes

Here’s what makes communication ineffective:

Succumbing to the temptation to outsmart the other Inability to treat the other as equal Low tolerance for ambiguity and negotiation (The author is a Senior Professor at IIM,Bangalore.His interests are in social sciences and organisational behavior)

नीला आस्मान खो गया ...... take off to the Skies like an Eagle
Give wings to your dreams,

How do you become a hobby pilot?

Zero in on a good flying club/school Acquire the basic and essential Student Pilot Licence (SPL), the first licence that will allow you to fly.

What to do to get a SPL?

Appear for a written theory examination in air regulations, aviation meteorology and navigation; approach flying school for subjects Pass oral exam and aptitude test Produce medical certificate of fitness from doctors designated by the Director General of Civil Aviation. The Air Force Central Medical Establishment, New Delhi and Institute of Aviation Medicine, Bangalore are authorised to issue such a certificate Get security clearance from Airports Authority of India If medical clearance is through and you clear the exams, you will be granted the SPL Flying lessons start with SPL in hand Instructor will accompany you on flights You need to fly a minimum of 10 hours to continue flying with instructor It takes anywhere between 10 to 30 hours to learn flying solo Only instructor will decide when you can fly solo.

How much will it cost you to fly?

Joy ride — Rs 2,500 for 30 mins; Rs 5,000 for one hour Training with instructor — Rs 5,000 for every hour Continue with SPL after training or if you want to hire and fly occasionally — Rs 5,000 an hour.

Where can you fly?

Jakkur Aerodrome — Contact Mysore Aerosports; listed on the web as Bangalore aerosports.

What is a microlight aircraft?

A two-seater hobby aircraft that weighs less then
450 kgs at take-off Can fly up to 14,000 ft depending on conditions, but flies at an average height of 3000 ft Costs Rs 25 to Rs 30 lakh.

How many firms produce microlight aircrafts?

Bangalore has two firms — Agni Aviation and Rajahamsa. But they don’t offer flying training. Agni Aviation offers only ground training. It prepares you theoretically to fly an aircraft.

How will a SPL help you?

Not only flying as a hobby, but eventually it will prepare you to become a commercial pilot who can fly commercial jet aircraft.

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