Union Minister of Education Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ today chaired a meeting with Directors of IISc/IITs/IIITs/IISERs and NITs through Video Conferencing. Minister of State for Education Sanjay Dhotre also attended the meeting. During the meeting, Amit Khare, Secretary, Higher Education Ministry of Education and Directors of IITs, IISc, IISERs, NITs, IIITs were also present.
Union Minister exhorted that there is a need to maintain the quality education in these Institutes of National Importance besides taking adequate safety measures for managing COVID-19 situation. The status of imparting online education, virtual laboratory courses by these Institutes was also reviewed by the Minister. Directors of the institutes mentioned that they have already started online teaching since the commencement of initial lockdown in March’20. Some of the institutions have also developed their own app for online teaching and evaluation. They also informed that for students facing connectivity issue, the lecture contents were made available even for later use which they can download from anywhere and study. Teachers have interacted through online classes with their students and guided them.
The status of COVID cases in the campus of these institutions and handling of situation arising thereon by these Institutes was also discussed. The Minister impressed that the positive thinking and positive reactions to the current situation could avoid unnecessary anxiety among the students and teaching community. An effort by the Institutes would be helpful in creating positive atmosphere in the Society.
Dhotre appreciated all the institutions for ensuring continuation of academic sessions during the COVID period. He urged them to focus on science and technology and work on new innovations to tackle the unprecedented challenges caused due to COVID. He spoke about the importance of emphasizing on hybrid learning to cater to the education needs of the students. He also stressed upon the need of implementing the National Education Policy to provide world class education to students.
The Institutes detailed their COVID-19 management strategy and also voluntary service extended to local administration for awareness and supply of necessary support for management of the situation in the respective State. The Institutes also briefed about the vaccination drive undertaken for the campus residents in consultation with local administration and as per the guidelines.
The main discussion was on the Research undertaken by these institutions of National importance in tackling COVID situation. Union Education Minister commended the institutes in developing low cost RT-PCR machines, kits, ventilators, mathematical modelling of predicting the trend of COVID-19 and successfully placing them at the disposal of State Health Departments. Many of the research products have been commercialised through the Incubation Cells and Start ups set up by these Institutes.
Few of the notable research work done by these institutions includes development of Corona testing kit ‘Corosure’, research for development of vaccine which can be stored at room temperature, Genome sequencing to identify the variants of Corona Virus, ‘COVIRAP’ device for rapid diagnostic of pathogenic infection, methods to optimize use of Oxygen in ventilators, development of Oxygen concentrators, low cost portable ventilators, etc.
With regard to National Education Policy, 2020, it is noted that many of the institutions have already started new department/ multi- disciplinary programs. IISc Bangalore and IIT Kharagpur are soon to start courses in Medical sciences. Emphasis has been put by the institutions on teachers training/ mentorship and Internationalisation as well as academia- industry interaction.