Union minister for human resource development Smriti Zubin Irani on Monday formally launched `The Global Initiative of Academic Networks' (GIAN) programme at the IIT Gandhi Nagar, an initiative that will deepen the interface of India's institutions of higher learning and globally recognised institutions of academic eminence.
Speaking at launch of GIAN, the HRD minister said that early implementation of GIAN will facilitate the needs of institutions, faculty and students to embrace new knowledge frontiers, and bring into practice the belief of 'Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam'.
The fact that this vision of the prime minister has translated into action within a time span of just one year is a reflection of the team work between the HRD ministry and the institutions of higher learning, she said.
The Global Initiative of Academic Networks (GIAN) is a new and catalytic programme of the HRD ministry, one with potentially far reaching impact. It is intended to enlarge and deepen the interface of India's institutions of higher learning and globally recognised institutions of academic eminence.
Over the next year or so, faculty from highly rated institutions abroad will visit India, interact and partner with their counterparts and with students, and deliver specialised courses.
The two courses - one at IIT Gandhinagar and the other at IIT Kharagpur – launched on Monday would be the first in setting the trend and tenor of the programme.
Two eminent academicians began their courses - 3D Digitization for Cultural Heritage, delivered by Professor Marco Callieri, Visual Computing Lab, ISTI-CNR, Italy at the IIT Gandhi Nagar, and another course at IIT Kharagpur by Professor Nico Verdonschot, faculty of the Radboud University Medical Center Nijmege, University of Twente, Netherlands on Orthopaedic Biomechanics: Implants and Biomaterials.
In the weeks and months to come, the academic interface will enlarge, and increasingly enable international academic collaboration. Most importantly, the GIAN programme offers a basis and a platform for a long-term cooperation.
Faculty from 38 countries are presently scheduled to deliver courses, including 46 academics from the USA, 9 from the UK, 6 each from Germany and Australia, and 2 from Israel. The list of countries includes Russia, Japan, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, Portrugal, Netherlands, Malaysia and South Korea. This remarkable array of academicians will span 13 disciplines and 352 courses to be taught in 68 national institutions.
The courses vary in duration from one week to three weeks depending on the subject and are free for students from the host institution, at nominal charges for others and webcast live as well. Webcasting will allow students across the country to benefit, in real time, providing access to high quality educational content. To encourage and make possible continued access to course content and delivery, it would be placed on the website of the concerned institution.
These lectures would be made available later to the students across the country through the SWAYAM, the MOOCs platform and the National Digital Library. A web portal (gian.iitkgp.ac.in) has been designed by IIT Kharagpur to allow electronic registration and online assessment.