Tuesday October 17, 2017

‘Africa should take tips from India on higher education’

Africa needs a pragmatic approach to scientific and technical education

Image: Wikimedia Commons

African countries should take tips from India – by establishing regional institutes of excellence for science and technology, for instance – to provide guaranteed access to higher education to those from poorer backgrounds, a new report has said, adding much was also to be learnt from the manner in which India had leveraged its diaspora.

“Good publicly-funded colleges and universities for higher and technical education are essential, with the state guaranteeing access for poorer sections of society, as in India”, says the report on Innovation, Competitiveness and Regional Integration jointly prepared by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (Uneca), the Africa Union (AU) and the African Development Bank (AfDB).

The report comes at a time when the number of private institutions of higher education are growing across the African continent.

It said the Indian Institutes of Technology, Indian Institute of Science and other similar institutes funded by the union government were the best examples of India‘s public education system, adding that, given the “drawbacks of large-scale privatization of higher education, as the India experience shows, must be taken into account in formulating holistic policies for higher education”.

“Tertiary education should produce people with skills needed for conducting location-specific research, especially in agriculture. A vocational education and training system should be set up that interacts with industry,” the report said adding: “These systems need to be aligned with market needs via private participation, curriculum development, upgraded infrastructure and performance incentives.”

Related article: Indian education: How India made Britain more literate

It said India had no consistent policy framework on innovation until it introduced its comprehensive science, technology and innovation policy in 2013. The need for innovation and a make-do orientation helped India embark on its “frugal innovations”, crafted by a few pioneering individuals rather than by the government at large, the report said.

Accordingly, the report suggested the establishment of regional institutes of excellence for higher education in science and technology to attract the best talent from across Africa with affordable fees. “Institutes of vocational education and training must be established at intra-regional and regional levels”.

“Africa’s approach to science, technology and innovation should be pragmatic. The departure point is to recognize science and technology as the centerpiece throughout, as it develops readiness for technological diffusion (critical in the earlier phases of development, when a country’s innovative capacities are still restricted),” the report added.

It also echoed the need for African countries to tap into their diaspora, stating that India has put in place frameworks to leverage the contribution of its diaspora. “An Africa-wide initiative should tap its diaspora,a adding that, the AU has has designated the African diaspora the continent’s sixth region.

On integration, the report said, regional blocs across the continent can learn from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) which, it said, provides “a model of country implementation of policies and action plans rather than regional frameworks, with realistic goals reflecting country characteristics”.

“Over the years, the association has reinforced its economic community through trade, cooperation agreements and foreign partnerships. Regionally, it encourages innovation through collaboration in such diverse areas as capital mobility, trade, education and labour mobility.”

The agreements between Asean and its external partners, the reportsaid, rarely go beyond internationally established norms or obligations for intellectual property protection as provided by the global intellectual property regime. These countries “have not established strong joint intellectual property frameworks or harmonized intellectual property institutions, but the bloc has proven that an approach based on dialogue and consensus-building works well for innovation”.

It was envisioned that intellectual property will promote efficient adoption and adaptation of more advanced technologies and continuous learning to meet ever-rising performance thresholds, the report said.

“Since the policies of different African countries have tended to look quite similar in content, there is no strong evidence to suggest that they are properly synchronized with country particularities. Indeed, to be successful, such policies should take into account the particular environment in which the interventions are undertaken, usually different from country to country,” the report said. (IANS)


  1. There was a time when Booker T. Washington promoted manual labour and practical studies in Africa but now there is less of practical work

  2. As India and Africa are one of the oldest civilizations on Earth, there should be more of such initiatives taken to enhance the educational system and educate the poor. These issues were discussed in the India-Africa Forum Summit 2015 which happened in Delhi and as much as 54 African state heads were present.


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India Demands Data on UN Staff Misconduct, Use of Immunity

United nations
India has demanded the secretariat disclose information about misconduct by UN staff. Flickr

United Nations, Oct 7: In an attempt to break the wall of silence around the crimes and UN staff misconduct and those on its assignments, India has demanded the secretariat disclose information about such cases and the immunity invoked against prosecutions.

Yedla Umasankar, the legal advisor in India’s UN Mission, touched a raw nerve here by criticising the UN on Friday for not vigorously following up allegations of serious wrongdoing by its employees who enjoy the equivalent of diplomatic immunity, a prized possession of its staff.

“It appears that the UN system itself may be reluctant to waive immunity even for serious misconduct carried out by its personnel while serving on its missions, so that such cases can be prosecuted by the host governments,” he told the General Assembly’s committee on legal affairs.

“Even a few of such instances or allegations of crimes committed by UN personnel is highly damaging for the image and credibility of the United Nations system and its work around the world,” he added.

His statement also touched on the practice of some countries that protect their wrongdoers at the UN.

Umasankar demanded that secretariat disclose how many cases of serious misconduct by UN personnel were registered and the number of cases where the UN refused to waive immunity to allow their prosecution.

He also wanted to know in how many cases the host country wanted the immunity waived so it can prosecute those accused; the number of times the UN asked the host country or the country that sent them to prosecute them; how many times it consulted countries before waiver of the immunity of their personnel and how many of them refused UN’s request to waive their citizens’ immunity.

The information he wanted does not cover the diplomats sent by member countries to represent them at UN bodies and enjoy diplomatic immunity with the nations hosting the UN facilities.

After scores of serious allegations of sexual misconduct by peacekeepers, especially exploitation of children, the UN vowed to uphold a policy of zero tolerance and began publishing data on such cases in peacekeeping operations including how they were dealt with.

Starting with the year 2015, it began identifying the nationalities of those accused.

However, it has not made public a roster detailing all the allegations and proven cases of serious misconduct across the entire UN.

While the focus has been on sexual exploitation and abuse reported on peacekeeping operations, Umasankar said that “at a broader level, the issue of accountability has remained elusive in some cases”.

He attributed it to “the complexities of legal aspects relating to sovereignty and jurisdiction”, the immunity or privileges that may be necessary for UN operations, and the capability or willingness of countries to investigate and prosecute the accused.

He noted that the UN itself cannot make criminal prosecutions.

While Indian laws has provisions for dealing with crimes committed abroad by its citizens, not all countries have them, he said.

Those countries should be encouraged and helped to implement such measures, he added. (IANS)

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Indo-Pak Peace Talks Futile Unless Islamabad Sheds Links with Terrorism, says Study

A Study by a U.S. think tank calls India and Pakistan talks futile, until Pakistan changes its approach.

India and Pakistan
India and Pakistan. Wikimedia.

A Top United States of America (U.S.) think tank, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace called the relations between India and Pakistan futile, unless Islamabad changes its approach and sheds its links with Jihadi terrorism.

A report “Are India and Pakistan Peace Talks Worth a Damn”, authored by Ashley J Tellis stated that such a move supported by foreign countries would be counterproductive and misguided.

The report suggests that International community’s call for the India and Pakistan talks don’t recognize that the tension between the two countries is not actually due to the sharp differences between them, but due to the long rooted ideological, territorial and power-political hatred. The report states that these antagonisms are fueled by Pakistani army’s desire to subvert India’s powerful global position.

Tellis writes that Pakistan’s hatred is driven by its aim to be considered and treated equal to India, despite the vast differences in their achievements and capabilities.

Also ReadMilitant Groups in Pakistan Emerge as Political Parties : Can Violent Extremism and Politics Co-exist? 

New Delhi, however, has kept their stance clear and mentioned that India and Pakistan talks cannot be conducted, until, the latter stops supporting terrorism, and the people conducting destructive activities in India.

The report further suggests that Pakistan sees India as a genuine threat and continuously uses Jihadi terrorism as a source to weaken India. The report extends its support to India’s position and asks other international powers, including the U.S., to extend their support to New Delhi.

Earlier in September, Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) slammed Pakistan for its continuous terror activities. She attacked the country by saying that India has produced engineers, doctors, and scholars; Pakistan has produced terrorists.

Sushma Swaraj further said that when India is being recognised in the world for its IT and achievements in the space, Pakistan is producing Terrorist Organisations like Lashkar-e-Taiba. She said that Pakistan is the world’s greatest exporter of havoc, death and inhumanity.

-by Megha Acharya  of NewsGram. Megha can be reached at @ImMeghaacharya. 

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Delhi University Students Win the Enactus World Cup 2017

India wins the Enactus World Cup 2017

Delhi University
India wins Enactus World Cup 2017. Twitter.

New Delhi, Sep 30: After an extremely tough competition between different students across the world in the Enactus World Cup 2017, Team India, represented by Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies (SSCBS), Delhi University emerged as the winner. The winning projects were project UDAAN and Mission RAAHAT.

Supporting the Government of India’s Digital India and Swachh Bharat Abhiyan mission, RAAHAT strives to effectively eliminate open defecation and provide safe sanitation in the urban slums; whereas, UDAAN aims at narrowing the digital divide between rural and urban India by setting up computer centres.

The Delhi University college team was led by the college’s faculty advisor, Anuja Mathur and student president of SSCBS Student President Aditya Sharma. The winning projects included 34 more members. The Enactus India and Enactus SSCBS were presented the Ford Better World Award of USD 50,000.

Also Read: Three Indian Women on Fortune’s Most Powerful Business Women

President and Global CEO, Enactus, Rachael A. Jarosh congratulated the Indian for winning the world cup and called the projects- RAAHAT and UDAAN, inspirational success stories of Enactus students, who are sowing businesses. She said that the projects address the real world challenges efficiently and innovatively. Enactus India President Farhan Pettiwala said that the two projects created by Delhi University students contribute to the country’s betterment, as they support the Government’s civil and social agenda.

Enactus is an international nonprofit organisation, with 72,000 students from 1,700 universities in 36 countries, which held its annual global event in London from September 26 to 28. A selected group of 3,500 students, business, government leaders and academicians across the globe were present at the event. Participants for the final competition round are qualified from over 72,000 university students. Each team has about 17 minutes to present their projects of entrepreneurial action.

Enactus works to nurture the entrepreneurial skills of students, and to address fundamental, social and economic challenges by developing innovative and experiential learning opportunities for students.

-by Megha Acharya of NewsGram. Megha can be reached at @ImMeghaacharya.