Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi on Thursday launched the training programme for teachers in professional colleges. The ICT (Information and Communication Technology) Academy will be offering the training to the teachers. The Chief Minister spoke to the Madurai Kamaraj University Vice-Chancellor R. Karpaga Kumaravel over video conference marking the launch of the activities of ICT Academy.

An initiative of the Confederation of Indian Industry, the State and Central governments and Information Technology majors, the programme is expected to improve the skills of teachers across the State. The Chief Minister also unveiled a learners kit, which will aid the students (the faculty from polytechnics, ITIs and engineering colleges).

Noting that software exports from the State had gone up despite the downturn, Mr. Karunanidhi said the exports for 2008-09 stood at Rs. 36,680 crores. Over the next three years, 5000 teachers will be trained. The move to train teachers with the help of technology will help over 2.5 lakh students. The Central government had agreed to make available Rs. 6 crore for the project, he said and added that so far the Centre had allotted Rs.4 crore.

Experts in each field will handle classes with the help of the video conferencing facility. This will help the faculty and ultimately the students, said Information Technology Minister Poongothai Aladi Aruna.

CII Tamil Nadu chairman C.K. Ranganathan, Cognizant Technology Solutions vice-chairman and ICTACT chairman Lakshmi Narayanan, and TCS vice-president Jayaramakrishnan were among those who participated in the function.

Empowering students

R. Karpaga Kumaravel, Vice-Chancellor, Madurai Kamaraj University, who delivered his speech in the varsity, said the university was focusing on empowering students by offering employment-oriented courses.

There are only nine universities in the country recognised as 'University with Potential for Excellence' by the University Grants Commission. In southern Tamil Nadu, MKU is doing a stupendous work in higher education, particularly by reaching out to rural students and girls, the Vice-Chancellor said.

According to him, 60 per cent of MKU students came from rural areas and nearly 50 per cent of the students are girls.

Lakshmi Narayanan described the launch of training programme as a great moment for industry-academia collaboration to develop the capabilities of teachers in higher education. The industry is committed to help educational institutions and hold continuing education programmes for teachers, he said.

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