Stressing on zero tolerance on indecent behaviour towards women in colleges, Human Resources Development Minister Pallam Raju today said that issues like gender sensitisation should made a part of the syllabus in schools.
"Inclusion of gender sensitisation in the syllabus for students is important as it will help our younger generation to have a more holistic view of women and their place in the society," Raju told reporters on the sidelines of a function here.
Emphasising on the need for adopting a 'zero tolerance' view on inappropriate behaviour towards women, the minister added that he has spoken with the University Grants Commission (UGC) Chairman and asked him to enforce this step in colleges and universities.
"We will take all measures to ensure that our educational institutions are safe for women," Raju said.
In the backdrop of the Delhi gang-rape incident, UGC has directed all institutions of higher learning to review and strengthen security measures for women and girls in their campuses.
On the issues of setting up an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Kerala, he said that it is a long standing demand and the Centre is looking in the matter.
"It is a long standing demand. We are already in various stages of progress with other IITs. We want to first consolidate the past institutions and then go ahead with establishing more such institutions," he added.
The government will set up 8 new IITs in Bhubaneshwar, Gandhinagar, Hyderabad, Indore, Jodhpur, Mandi, Patna and Ropar.
"Our focus is to develop institutions of excellence, which stresses on cutting edge vocational education," he added.
On mandatory accreditation for higher education institutes, Raju said that the ministry expects the National Accreditation Regulatory Authority for Higher Educational Institutions Bill, 2010 to come up in the budget session.
The bill seeks to make it mandatory for every higher education institution and every programme to get accredited by an accreditation agency in order to certify their academic quality.
Raju was in the port-city to inaugurate the drive launched by Food Minister K V Thomas to award mobile tablet computers to 300 outstanding class 11th students in his Lok Sabha constituency Ernakulam.
While gifting the tablets to these meritorious students, the minister said "Technology plays an enabling role in education, but, one should not become a slave to it, instead, it should be used to achieve efficiency."
In the second-part of the drive, Thomas will distribute tablets to about 400 students in his native village, Kumbalangi, which India's first model tourist village.
In an interactive session with the Malabar Chamber of Commerce at Kozhikode, Union Minister of State for HRD, Shashi Tharoor noted there are certain challenges in realising the demand for an IIT in Kozhikode.
"The first is Planning Commission has not been sympathetic in terms of giving money for an IIT in Kerala," he said.
"Because we have a centralised planning system we are very much dependent on the Planning Commission," he said.
"As of now there is actually no provision for an IIT for Kerala in the 12th Five Year plan. It is not looking particularly easy right now."
"They (Planning Commission) have taken the position that Kerala already has an IIM and an NIT. Therefore one more institution under the plan was not fair," he said, adding that "we have been trying to battle that."
Tharoor said he already had a meeting with Union HRD Minister Pallam Raju. "I am not going to give up, but I am not going to pretend that this is going to be easy to do."
"We need more educational institutions in our state, but if we are looking for Central funding the challenge faced is the Centre has to allocate these funds across 28 states and in that process we may have to wait," he said.
Tharoor said "there is a proposal to upgrade Cochin University of Science and Technology not to an IIT, but to upgrade it to Indian Institute of Engineering Sciences Technology (IIEST). Even that is going to cost over Rs 600 crore".
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