Thursday, April 08, 2010

Indian education agreement with Australia to boost e-learning?

The Australian Minister for Education, Julia Gillard, has signed a Joint Ministerial Statement on education with the Indian Minister for Human Resource Development, Kapil Sibal. The agreement covers schools, vocational education and training (VET) and higher education, technical and professional education. Australia will help provide with Indian teacher training and exchange for teaching, research and curriculum development. Work is also under way in the vocational education sector.

The obvious implication is Australian university and TAFE setting up in India. What might be more interesting is cooperative arrangements for e-learning online between India and Australia. Current educational practices in Australia are not efficient enough for the scale of the Indian market, being the equivalent of the "horse and buggy" era before the invention of the car production line. As an example of what is needed, last October, Indira Gandhi Open University (IGNOU) announced 3G mobile education for its 2.5 million of students.

ANU is hosting a forum for educators Monday and I will be talking about how I have done online vocational postgraduate education (with much of the class being Indian IT and engineering students).

The India-Australia agreement covers:
  1. qualification and quality frameworks
  2. skills demand and emerging needs areas
  3. credit transfer arrangements
  4. supporting the Bureau for Vocational Education and Training Collaboration (BVET) and similar
  5. education, training and research
  6. exchange of officials and educators for professional development
  7. developing and monitoring standards and regulations for education agents
  8. An India-Australia Education Council
Available are:
  1. Australia Consolidates Educational Links with India, Media release, The Joint Ministerial Statement, Hon Julia Gillard MP, issued 8 April 2010 (pre-dated 9 April, 2010)
  2. Joint Ministerial Statement, Between the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations of the Government of Australia and the Ministry of Human Resource Development of the Government of India, 8 April 2010 (56Kbytes PDF)

Australian Government logo

Indian Government logo



Minister for Education

Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations

Minister for Social Inclusion


Minister of Human Resource Development


Between the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations of the Government of Australia and the Ministry of Human Resource Development of the Government of India

8 April 2010

We, the Education Ministers of the Commonwealth of Australia and the Republic of India, reaffirm our commitment to continue to expand collaboration in education, training and research between Australia and India.

We acknowledge our ongoing bilateral cooperation in education and training through the Education Exchange Program Between the Government of Australia and the Government of the Republic of India on Cooperation in the Fields of Education and Training, signed on 23‚ October 2003. This Joint Ministerial Statement supplements this Exchange Program.

We reaffirm our agreement at our meeting in New Delhi in August 2009 to meet annually.

Through this Joint Ministerial Statement, we mutually consent to expand the existing exchange program agreement to include greater cooperation across all education sectors - schools, vocational education and training (VET) and higher education including technical and professional education through:

  1. Sharing expertise in qualification and quality frameworks and standards for education, research and training;
  2. Providing mutual assistance in fields of agreed benefit, with a particular focus on skills demand and emerging needs areas;
  3. Working together to evolve credit transfer arrangements between Australia and India;
  4. Actively initiating and supporting formal working groups, such as the Bureau for Vocational Education and Training Collaboration (BVETC), to improve understanding of our respective education and training systems and to discuss and periodically review progress on mutually agreed activities;
  5. Strengthening lines of communication for exchange of information on new policy initiatives and opportunities for development of education, training and research activities of both countries;
  6. Supporting the exchange of government officials and educationists for continuous professional development;
  7. Agreeing to establish a Memorandum of Cooperation to progress common interests in developing and monitoring standards and regulations applicable to the operations and activities of education agents and the movement and wellbeing of Indian students to Australia;
  8. Enabling the participation of a third party on joint activities upon mutual agreement;
  9. Mutual agreement on funding arrangements to cover expenses for cooperation activities, subject to availability of funds; and
  10. Exploration of the possible agreement to set-up an India-Australia Education Council as a bi-national body with representation from academia, policy makers and industry to interact on issues related to education and to further collaboration between both sides.

This Joint Ministerial Statement supplements the Education Exchange Program between the Government of Australia and the Government of the Republic of India on Cooperation in the Fields of Education and Training and should be read in conjunction with it.


India and Australia are at an exciting time in their relationship. As envisaged in the Joint Statement of both Prime Ministers in 2009, India and Australia are building a broad knowledge partnership, including developing collaborative projects in education. The higher education institutions (universities and vocational training institutions) in both nations have an important role to play in such partnership including cooperation in science and technology. We recognize that education is central to sustained, inclusive and equitable growth.

People-to-people contacts are at the heart of the bilateral relationship. Students studying in both countries play an important role in building bridges of friendship and understanding and are a significant resource for future development of the relationship. Both countries attach high priority to the safety and wellbeing of students as they play an important part in the knowledge partnership envisaged between the two countries.


India and Australia are both embarking on significant education reforms focussed on developing curriculum to meet the needs of 21st century learners in a rapidly globalising world.

Implementing significant reforms requires capacity building of school leaders including the exploration of relevant research and exchanging best practices. Both sides recognise the importance of Australia-India Principals/Teachers Exchange Program organised through the Asia Education Foundation (AEF) with support from Australian Education International (AEI) India. The program focuses on school leadership, school management and innovation, curriculum and assessment. Australia and India agree to examine expanding the existing program to provide more scholarships and a greater degree of exchange of principals, teachers and administrators dealing with school education.

Melbourne City Council, with the assistance of AEF and AEI India, will support eight scholarships for School Principals from Delhi (government and non-government schools) to visit Melbourne schools for two weeks in 2010 to further their professional development and links between Australia and India.

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), India and the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate in programs and initiatives which will apply international best practices in educational research and assessment to support educational development.

Vocational Education and Training

India and Australia recognise the valuable contribution that vocational education and training plays in improving skills to enhance employability, increase productivity, strengthen national competitiveness and support sustainable development to adapt to climate change.

The Australia - India VET Mission (31 January - 5 February 2010) was the first high level delegation of Indian government officials and industry representatives focusing on vocational education and training to visit Australia. The mission achieved its aim to increase understanding about vocational education and training in both countries and to assist in long-term engagement in vocational education and training.

Both countries are keen to build on the success of the mission and achieve progress in the identified areas of cooperation and opportunities for collaboration. The Bureau of Vocational Education and Training Collaboration (BVETC), established out of the Australia-India Joint Working Group in October 2009, will direct and facilitate continuing collaboration in vocational education and training between the two countries, including the following activities:

  1. Government to government

    Both Governments will work towards supporting quality vocational education and training systems in India and Australia. Australia will collaborate with India in the systemic development of National Quality Assurance arrangements. These may include developing a national qualifications framework and training quality standards.

    The Australian National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) and the National Council of Educational, Research and Training (NCERT) and the Central Staff Training and Research Institute (CSTARI) will collaborate on vocational training and research. Both sides will engage in joint activities to work towards developing a sound and evidence based system for providing information, data and policy inputs for policy makers in India and Australia in the areas of vocational education and training.

  2. Industry to industry - Industry Skills Councils

    Both sides are planning to better engage industry in their vocational education and training systems.

    In the short term, Australian industry skills councils are keen to build mutually beneficial relationships with Indian industry as follows:

    • Business Forums in India, with support from the Government of India, will link with Service Skills Australia, in the retail sector, to customise qualifications and competencies to meet the needs of the Indian industry.
    • Service Skills Australia seeks to partner with Indian industry and government in the hospitality and tourism sectors,
    • The Construction and Property Industry Skills Council will continue to link with the Confederation of Indian Industry and/or the National Academy of Construction, Hyderabad to further their already established relationship. The aim is to promote cooperation in areas such as setting up quality processes and staff training in the Indian building and construction industry.

    The experience gained in these collaborations will form the basis for long term partnership between the Australian Government, Australian industry skills councils and the Indian Government and Indian industry to develop sector skills councils in India.

  3. Institution to institution

    Australian institutions are keen to work with comparable institutions in India to complement existing expertise, support innovation and implement projects. The training of teachers, organisational governance, recognition of prior learning and engaging youth through innovative models of training delivery are examples of areas of mutual focus. The intention is also to better integrate learning between vocational training sectors and higher education institutions.

    The Bureau of Vocational Education and Training Collaboration (BVETC) will continue to bring together Australian and Indian institutes and identify suitable partner institutes for further development of collaboration at the institutional level.

Higher Education

The Governments of Australia and India recognise that the relationship between our higher education systems is a mature and productive one and is based on a long standing history of cooperation and exchange to the benefit of both countries.

We are pleased to be able to announce a range of collaborative activities to help build on this strong foundation and note that beyond those activities announced today, new institution to institution links will continue to develop and grow. We aim to ensure that our students, academics and institutions continue to reap the benefits of cultural and knowledge exchange and collaboration. Cooperation in quality assurance, dialogue between sector representatives, research collaboration and institutional partnerships will all help to progress this aim.

The Governments of Australia and India will work with UGC and other relevant bodies, including the Association of Indian Universities (AIU) and Universities Australia (UA), in developing methods for facilitating mutual recognition of qualifications and credit transfer arrangements between Australia and India.

To encourage academic exchange, both sides agree to hold joint seminars on mutually agreed themes to be inaugurated in India in 2010 and coordinated by DEEWR and the University Grants Commission (UGC).

The UGC will provide necessary financial support on a reciprocal and sharing basis for the agreed schemes and programs for collaboration between India and Australia.

We agree to facilitate the organisation of an Australia-India Inter-University Convention of Vice-Chancellors and Academia to interact on issues of mutual concern among academics.

We are also pleased to note the commitment by Universities Australia to co-sponsor a national education forum in New Delhi in late 2010 with its partner organisation, the Association of Indian Universities and interested others to discuss a number of topics including regulation and governance, transnational education issues and collaborative research.‚

Australia and India also agree to continue to expand cultural and academic ties through the Australia India Institute (AII) and the Australia India Council (AIC) and the University Grants Commission (UGC) of India.

Australia's Group of Eight (Go8) universities have opened a dialogue with Indian Institutes of Technology about establishing a staff exchange program between the two groups of leading higher education institutions.

The Go8-IIT staff exchange program will underpin longer-term relationships, such as in research collaboration. It will also improve understanding between Australian and Indian universities and increase the level of student, staff and research exchange between our two countries.

In addition, we agree to facilitate the initiation of a Joint Faculty Development Program through regular exchange of faculty for mutual learning in areas of teaching, research and curriculum development.

Both sides acknowledge and support the increasing partnerships between our education institutions in research, such as:

  • activities under the Australia-India Strategic Research Fund (AISRF) - a joint undertaking of both governments which the Prime Ministers of Australia and India agreed in November 2009 to extend and expand with an Australian contribution of A$50 million (Rs‚ 200‚ crore) over the next five years, matched by the Government of India; and
  • Australia and India agree to explore suitable partnerships with one or more of India's proposed 14 Innovation Universities and the proposed Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development to be set up in Delhi.

We are pleased to note that the Australian Universities Quality Agency (AUQA) and the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) will undertake joint research workshops, seminars and exchange of personnel for mutual learning and benefit on quality assurance in higher education. This builds on the strong relationship between AUQA and NAAC, as expressed through successive Memoranda of Cooperation.

Signed in Melbourne on 8 April 2010 in two original copies


Joint Ministerial Statement, Between the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations of the Government of Australia and the Ministry of Human Resource Development of the Government of India, 8 April 2010 (56Kbytes PDF)

The Hon Julia Gillard MP

Minister for Education. Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations

Minister for Social Inclusion

Deputy Prime Minister

9 April, 2010

Media release

Australia Consolidates Educational Links with India

Minister for Education, Julia Gillard, and India’s Minister for Human Resource Development, Kapil Sibal, today signed a Joint Ministerial Statement to build on the cooperative ties between the two nations in the education sector.

The Joint Ministerial Statement confirms Australia and India’s commitment to expand the current education exchange program to achieve greater cooperation between the two countries’ schools, higher education, vocational education and training sectors.

The aim of the Ministerial Statement is to strengthen what is already a solid partnership with the Indian Government and open up more avenues to share expertise in the education arena.

Today’s meeting was the result of a commitment made in New Delhi last August to start an annual dialogue between the two Ministers.

Leading education providers and businesses both in Australia and India will also participate in the discussions, providing an opportunity for all levels of the industry to consider ideas and share expertise.

The Ministers also agreed to investigate the establishment of an India-Australia Education Council to improve collaboration on education-related issues.

The Council would consist of academics, policy-makers and industry representatives and will be tasked to explore new partnership opportunities in key fields such as skills demand and education resources.

Ms Gillard took today’s meeting as an opportunity to officially congratulate Minister Sibal and his Government on their Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act 2009 which came into affect in India on April 1.

The Act makes education a fundamental right for all Indian children between the ages of six and 14.

One of the key challenges Minister Sibal and his Government now face is the recruitment of up to 800,000 new teachers to fulfil the aims of the act.

The Australian Government today confirmed our commitment to help provide assistance to Indian institutions with teacher training initiatives. Australian providers are also looking forward to the opportunity for increase involvement once the Indian Government had passed their Foreign Education Institutional Bill.

Building on the 135 institutional partnerships already in place between the two countries, there was agreement today to initiate a Joint Faculty Development program. This will allow for regular exchanges in mutual areas of teaching, research and curriculum development.

Australian representatives from the VET industry are also working with their Indian counterparts on the establishment of an Australia/ India Bureau designed to assist with the development of the Indian VET system.

The Joint Ministerial Statement is available at

The Statement supplements the Education Exchange Program between the Government of Australia and the Government of the Republic of India on Cooperation in the Fields of Education and Training, which is available at ...

From: Australia Consolidates Educational Links with India, Media release, The Joint Ministerial Statement, Hon Julia Gillard MP, issued 8 April 2010 (pre-dated 9 April, 2010)

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Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Baird Report on International Students

The Minister for Education, Julia Gillard, welcomed today's release of "Stronger, simpler, smarter ESOS: supporting international students" by Bruce Baird. This recommends improved regulation of Australia’s international education sector, support for international students, improved information improved support for for students and consumer protection mechanisms.

The report is a 108 page 1.2Mbyte PDF document (Executive Summary and Contents appended).

The Government supports recommendations to amend the ESOS Act to increase the standard for education providers and restricting unethical student recruitment practices. Other changes will require state legislation.

It occurs to me that many of the proposed recommendations, such as improving information to students and consumer protection, would also benefit Australian students. The legislation could be drafted to apply to all students and institutions, not just international ones. Also the government could bring forward its proposed "My University" website, to supply better information on universities to all students and expand it to include the vocational sector for information on TAFEs and commercial training organisations. Rather than setting up complex and expensive state based services for international students, the Commonwealth could fund services avialable online for all students.

Executive summary
Australia’s international education sector provides life-changing opportunities for international students, strengthens Australia’s diplomatic relations, brings considerable benefits to our education institutions and builds on our already unique and successful multicultural society. In addition,
international education is Australia’s fourth largest export industry generating substantial income and jobs. ...

This report proposes a number of recommendations that aim to strengthen, simplify and streamline ESOS, which would in turn provide greater support for international students in Australia and protect Australia’s reputation for quality education. Changes are also required beyond ESOS around student safety, access to transport concessions, accommodation and community engagement—key factors that contribute to a student’s overall experience in Australia.

Supporting students
Adequately and appropriately supporting students in Australia is at the heart of the sustainability of the sector.

Recommendations to better support students include requirements for improved information prior to students coming to Australia and during their stay, an enhanced process to address the role of education agents, more support to study and live in Australia, including having somewhere to go when problems arise, and stronger consumer protection mechanisms.

When students are making decisions about moving to Australia to study they require clear, accurate information. They need to be able to choose which city they would like to live in, what type of provider they wish to enrol with, and what courses they would like to study. Students need to be able to compare consistent information to make the most accurate choices. Students also need to be aware of what it is like living in Australia: culture and customs, services and resources as well as protections, rights and responsibilities.

Currently some providers and overseas education agents are issuing incomplete, irrelevant, old and/or misleading information to students. There is a need for strengthened requirements for information provision about learning and living in Australia by both providers and governments and increased emphasis on providers taking responsibility for their agents’ actions. Once in Australia, international students need ongoing access to comprehensive, informative and relevant orientation programs and ongoing access to orientation information.

Students need somewhere to go for support and advice, referral services, information on how to engage with the community and an avenue to have their voice heard. This review supports the International Student Roundtable recommendation and the suggestion from many students throughout the ESOS review consultation process to create international student hubs in all capital cities.

Even with improved information and support, there will still be times when international students have a complaint. Providers are already required to have suitable dispute resolution processes but the review considers the final step in this process—an independent, robust external complaints handling process—would be improved by mandating all providers use the relevant Ombudsman.

The recent dramatic growth in students coming to Australia, alongside the increase in vocational education and training (VET) providers offering a narrow range of courses linked to migration outcomes and sourcing students from a limited number of countries, has increased the risk of closures. This has put considerable pressure on the current tuition protection framework, with fears it is unsustainable. Consultation with key stakeholders and independent actuarial advice has informed the recommendation to replace the current arrangements with a single tuition protection service.

This service would be fully funded by industry and could either be run by a Commonwealth body or outsourced and independently operated.

Protecting Australia’s reputation for quality education Whilst recognising the primacy of domestic education quality frameworks, recommendations have also been made to rebuild and assure Australia’s reputation for quality education. This includes improved regulation of providers, enforcement of clear minimum standards and support for better integrated and automated systems for information sharing.

Education is important for domestic and international students alike and there is no need to duplicate education quality assurance frameworks already in place. However, more needs to be done to improve the link between ESOS and education quality assurance frameworks.

The entry requirements need to be strengthened for providers wanting to enter the sector.

Changes need to be made to ensure providers have the financial resources to operate and a sustainable business model. They need to have the right capacity, capability and intent to operate successfully.

Risk needs to be better identified at entry into the sector and a range of indicators need to be used that go to the heart of whether the provider will be able to operate successfully now and in the future.

This assessment of risk should guide whether the provider gains entry to the sector, and it should be used to test and scrutinise providers already through the gateway.

There needs to be a much stronger regulatory presence and the move to national regulators is a step in the right direction. However, there also needs to be greater transparency of regulatory activity so that both providers and students can monitor the level of regulatory activity and be informed by its outcomes.

Beyond ESOS
Migration-skewed demand has undoubtedly impacted on the reputation of our international education sector but the recent changes to general skilled migration will go some way to address this. Where possible, future changes should be grandfathered to soften the impact for students.

Beyond ESOS, Australia’s international education reputation depends on how well we provide for the wellbeing of international students and their whole experience of studying and living in Australia.

We need to ensure they are safe, have appropriate health insurance, have access to adequate and appropriate accommodation and are not being exploited by landlords or in the workplace.

The development of COAG’s strategy for international students is an important step in this regard.

The inequitable treatment of transport concessions for international students by some state governments is strongly felt by affected students.

The recommendations and findings in this report acknowledge the challenging environment in which the sector is operating and are designed to build on what is working and improve those areas that are not.

Immediate implementation of the recommendations in this report will position Australia’s international education sector for a sustainable future. All stakeholders—governments, providers, peak bodies, students, agents and the wider Australian community—need to play their part in delivering these much needed changes.

Recommendations and findings

Chapter 2—Enhancing Australia’s reputation for quality education

1. That ESOS be amended to require providers to demonstrate that the:
a. delivery arrangements for each course do not undermine the integrity of the student visa program
b. English language entry levels and support are appropriate for the course and, where relevant, the expected professional outcomes.

Chapter 3—Building a stronger gateway

2. That ESOS registration be amended to only allow providers to be registered and maintain registration if they have:
a. access to the financial resources to meet the objects of ESOS
b. a sustainable business model
c. the capacity, capability, governance structures and management to uphold Australia’s reputation for quality education and training to international students.
3. That ESOS regulators adopt a consistent, comprehensive risk management approach developed
and maintained in consultation with stakeholders and experts to:
a. profile providers at entry to determine the level of scrutiny, evidence, tests and costs that apply at registration and through the period of registration
b. update every provider’s profile on a regular basis to reassess the level of scrutiny and tests that should apply.
4. That ESOS be amended to support better risk management by:
a. allowing conditions on initial registration and throughout the registration period so a provider can be subject to additional scrutiny and tests as their risk profile demands
b. limiting the period of registration for each provider.

Chapter 4—Stronger, simpler, smarter regulation

5. That ESOS be made stronger by:
a. introducing financial penalties for a broader range of non-compliant behaviour
b. establishing clear, objective and enforceable standards that providers must meet
c. ensuring resourcing levels for regulatory activities are adequate
d. publishing targets and regularly reporting on all regulatory activities undertaken.

6. That ESOS be made simpler by:
a. allowing national registration of providers with assessment of the suitability and capacity of individual courses at each location
b. supporting the principle that wherever possible each provider should have only one regulator
c. developing shared regulatory philosophies and business practices to ensure a consistent and effective approach to regulation.

7. That ESOS be made smarter by:

a. giving the Australian Government Minister for Education the discretion to exercise otherwise delegated powers where necessary, and authority to issue directions as to the consistent application of ESOS
b. ensuring the level of prescription in the standards is only that which is required to achieve the intent.
8. That ESOS be amended to specify that all providers must utilise a statutorily independent complaints body as their external complaints and appeals process, and amend the Ombudsman Act 1976 to extend the Commonwealth Ombudsman’s jurisdiction to include those providers without access to such a body.
9. That the Migration Act 1958 be amended to enable a more flexible approach to the current visa cancellation requirements for students who are reported for failing to maintain satisfactory course progress or attendance.

Chapter 5—Ensuring accurate information and ethical recruitment
10. That ESOS be amended to ensure students can accurately compare potential study choices by requiring information from all providers relating to the:
a. history, scope, location and type of provider
b. student cohort
c. course, including entrance standards, costs, award and anticipated professional outcomes
d. academic and student support services offered
e. local employment opportunities, the accommodation situation in the locality and safety risks.
11. That the Australian Government expands the Study in Australia website to include a comprehensive international student manual, available in the languages of major source countries.
12. That ESOS be amended to restrict unethical recruitment practices by:
a. introducing financial penalties for providers whose offshore agents act unethically
b. implementing a unique identifier for each student
c. requiring all provider payments to agents to be contingent upon disclosure of the recruiting agent and their commission structure to both students and regulators
d. expanding the requirements of student written agreements to more completely describe the course, course costs, refund provisions and transfer limitations
e. prohibiting the payment of any commission or inducement to anyone for securing the transfer of any currently studying onshore international students
f. prohibiting a provider from enrolling a student who is currently studying with another provider and who has yet to complete the first study period of their initial course.
13. That the Australian Government should work with industry stakeholders and foreign governments to strengthen students’ consumer protection rights in their home country; and continue to support the professional development of education agents.

Chapter 6—Supporting students in Australia

14. That ESOS be amended to require providers to demonstrate that they deliver a comprehensive induction program and access to information on a continuing basis that:
a. is reasonably adapted to the needs of their students
b. allows students to easily access the information on an ongoing basis
c. includes information on safety, student rights, and where to seek support in making complaints.
15. That the Australian Government, working in conjunction with states and territories, establish international student hubs in each capital city as a place for international students to seek information, access referral and advocacy services, build ties with the Australian community and strengthen the voice of international students to providers and government.

Chapter 7—Safeguarding students’ interests: stronger tuition protection

16. That ESOS be amended to establish a single Tuition Protection Service that:
a. provides a single mechanism to place students when a provider cannot meet its refund obligations and as a last resort provide refunds
b. allows placement with any appropriate provider
c. makes the cost of being a member of a tuition protection scheme risk based
d. requires providers to regularly maintain student contact details in PRISMS and other information on a risk basis
e. removes providers having ministerial exemptions from membership of a tuition protection scheme.
17. That ESOS be amended to:
a. only refund the portion of the course not delivered or assessed when the provider fails to meet their obligation
b. establish that where a provider does not meet their refund obligations, this would be an issue in the fit and proper test for any future registration application.
18. That ESOS regulators impose conditions on higher risk providers that only allow the collection of ‘course monies’ as defined in ESOS.
19. That the Australian Government explores harmonising tuition protection arrangements for domestic and international students.


Chapter 2—Enhancing Australia’s reputation for quality education

i. Education Ministers should:
a. ensure the vulnerabilities exposed in the education quality assurance frameworks by unscrupulous international education providers are addressed
b. consider whether the current education quality assurance frameworks appropriately assure Australian education and training delivered offshore
c. ensure regulators and policy makers actively take into consideration student outcomes and industry benchmarks, where available, when considering the adequacy of a provider’s resources, facilities, teachers and support services.

ii. The Australian Government should:

a. consider changing the skilled migration program settings to remove the bias towards particular courses and instead focus on higher skilled qualifications in the VET and higher education sectors
b. ‘grandfather’ future changes to skilled migration policy, where possible and appropriate, for international students and recent graduates.
iii. The Australian Government should work with the sector to adapt the Good Practice Principles for English Language Proficiency for International Students in Australian Universities to each education sector and encourage implementation.

Chapter 6—Supporting students in Australia

iv. Further research should be undertaken to better understand the causes and frequency of violence against international students.
v. The state and territory police forces should work with providers, student representative bodies and the international student hubs to deliver better safety information to international students.
vi. International students should have access to equitable travel concessions.
vii. Providers should play a more active role in securing accommodation for international students.
viii. The Fair Work Ombudsman should continue to deliver outreach programs that work with providers, unions, students and peak bodies to promote and enforce the safeguards of the Australian industrial relations system.
ix. The Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA), in consultation with international students, should work with health insurance providers to make a wider range of health insurance policies available to international students. ...

From: Stronger, simpler, smarter ESOS: supporting international students, Review of the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act 2000, Bruce Baird, Australian Education International, ISBN 978-0-642-32945-5, March 2010.

Government response to recommendations:



1, 2, 3, 4, 5(a,b,d), 12(c,d,f)

Support in principle and begin action to implement.

5(c), 10, 11, 14, 15

Begin immediate consultation with States and Territories through the Ministerial Council process and COAG.

13, 14, 16, 17 ,18

Begin immediate consultation with the International Education industry.

6, 7, 12(b), 19

Issues to be considered via TEQSA and the National VET regulator.

8, 9

For consultation with the Attorney General and the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship.

From: Baird review into International Students final report, Media release, Julia Gillard, Minister for Education, 9 March, 2010

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Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Tata Magic Iris

Indian vehicle maker Tata have announced the Magic Iris, which is essentially a minivan version of the Tata Nano micro-car. Just as the Nano is intended to replace scooters for personal transport, the Magic Iris is to replace three wheel auto-rickshaws:
"The Tata Magic Iris, to be launched this year, is for public transportation, offering safer and more comfortable mobility for those who depend on three-wheelers. Its spacious car-like cabin can comfortably seat four passengers – three at the back and one in the front beside the driver. With its car-like on-road stability and sheet metal roof it provides car-like safety.

The 611-cc water cooled diesel engine, backed by a 10-litre fuel tank, is capable of running larger distances with a top speed of about 55 kmph and yet higher engine life. With its bouquet of features, the Tata Magic Iris will be the ideal small passenger carrier which will upgrade both the quality of public transportation and also the income of their owners. ...

From: Tata Motors Group displays the widest range of products and environment-friendly technologies at Auto Expo 2010, 5th January, 2010

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

New Indian Electric Cars

Reva NXG Electric CarIndia's Reva electric car company, has announced two new models of their small battery powered city car: the Reva NXG and the Reva NXR. Both are two door cars with more modern styling that Reva's previous model and meeting European NCAP safety standards. The NXR is a four seat due to release in the second quarter of 2010, whereas the NXG is a sportier two seat with more advanced battery and electronics (but a less certain release some time in 2011). Reva also announced a partnership with General Motors India to develop electric vehicles for the Indian market.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Indian university to deliver via 3G to millions of students

Indira Gandhi Open University (IGNOU) have announced an MoU with Ericson 3G mobile education delivery. Students of IGNOU will get 3G Mobile access for about Rs 25 (52 US Cents) more than a normal course cost. SMS is already used for course management. 3G will provide web pages, assignments and video clips. This will also be used for students with hearing and speech impairments.

The ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2009 identified cost as a factor holding back the use of 3G Internet applications for education. But it is not clear if the low charge mentioned by IGNOU covers all the communication costs.

The students will most likely use a laptop (or netbook) with a 3G modem in it, rather than a smart phone for education. This might be used with devices similar to the Lanyu LY-EB01 $US98 netbook.

I met Professor Uma Kanjilal, Director of the School of Social Sciences, Indira Gandhi Open University (IGNOU) when she visited ANU earlier in the year. What was impressive was the scale of IGNOU's operations.

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Thursday, July 09, 2009

Registration of Education Agents in India and Australia

The Indian government is reported to be drawing up laws for registering education agents sending Indian students abroad. Australian universities work through authorised education agents (such as agents for ANU), but currently education agents are not licensed in Australia. Perhaps Australian and India should draw up complementary legislation and have a common registration system for agents. It is not clear how regulations would cover students doing courses over the web. As an example students in India and China can do COMP7310: Green ICT Strategies at ANU without leaving home.

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Monday, May 11, 2009

Distance education for millions of unviersity students

Greetings from the famous room N101 at the Australian National University in Canberra, where Professor Uma Kanjilal, Director of the School of Social Sciences, Indira Gandhi Open University (IGNOU) is speaking on "Standards and distance education". The talk is being recorded and I will provide a link here, when available. The Professor is visiting Australia and will speak to federal government agencies later in the day and at University of Canberra, later in the week. The visit is funded by the Australia-India Council, University of Canberra and Flinders University and the purpose is for knowledge exchange around ICT in education. I will post some comments here as the talk goes along.

Initial distance education in India was printed material by post. Integrated multimedia is being added, with TV and radio. It needs to be kept in mind that infrastructure is needed, including libraries and A/V facilities, computers, and Internet.

India has a Distance Education Council to oversee provision of courses. This sets standards for materials, registration processes, support services for learners, ICT infrastructure and assessment. Before creating a course, the institution has to do need assessment to show there is a requirement for a course and who the target group are.

The Indian Distance Education Guidelines are available online:
  1. Norms and Standards for Management Programmes
  2. Norms and Standards for IT Education
  3. DEC-GUIDELINES, for regulating the Establishment and Operation of Open and Distance Learning (ODL) Institutions in India
  4. Norms for ODL
  5. Norms for Online Programmes
The India PM has set up a National Knowledge Commission as a high-level advisory body. There will be an advisory group on Pedological Content and a Technical Advisory Group.

India uses its own satellites for broadcasting educational material. More interactive and feedback techniques as resources permit. Few Indian students have Internet access at home, so some methods being used are cyber cafes. Mobile phone SMS is being used for student support and 3G smart phone support will be offered when these phones are more widely available.

ps: For my own experiences of Indian cyber cafes and wireless networking, see: Living in an Indian Village in Goa for Three Weeks

pps: Unfortunately the battery went flat in my MP3 recorder, so only the first 10 minutes of the talk were recorded: Uma Kanjilal ANU 2009 05 11 (MP3 4.48Mbytes)

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Monday, May 04, 2009

Research-intensive distance education

Uma Kanjilal Professor Uma Kanjilal, Director of the School of Social Sciences, Indira Gandhi Open University (IGNOU) is visiting Australia and will speak at the ANU in Canberra on "Standards and distance education", 11 May 2009:

The Australian National University

Education Innovation Event

Standards and distance education: are graduates of a distance education university ever going to be as good as graduates of a research-intensive face-to-face institution?

Professor Uma Kanjilal
Director of the School of Social Sciences
Indira Gandhi Open University (IGNOU)

Monday, 11 May, 10.30-11.30am

The Australian National University, Room N101, Computer Science and Information Technology Building 108, North Road, Canberra (how to get there)

RSVP Deborah Veness


Professor Uma Kanjilal is the Director of the School of Social Sciences at the Indira Gandhi Open University (IGNOU). The Indira Gandhi Open University provides education services to 1.8 million students in India and 32 other countries and uses ICT and satellite technology to support its teaching programs.

The university is part of a consortium involved in a number of strategic initiatives related to ICT in education including:

The visit is funded by the Australia-India Council, University of Canberra and Flinders University and the purpose is for knowledge exchange around ICT in education.

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Friday, January 23, 2009

Global Non-Flat World of ICT

Geoff WalshamProfessor Geoff Walsham, from University of Cambridge, gave an entertaining and informative seminar on "ICTs and Global Working in a Non-Flat World" at the ANU in Canberra, 22 January 2009. Professor Walsham rejected Thomas Friedman's hypothesis that ICT has removed barriers to doing business globally. He argues that cultural issues create barriers to a seamless global workforce and this provides opportunities for research. Professor Walsham referred to his paper ‘ICTs and global working in a non-flat world’. Perhaps going against his hypothesis, it happens that the paper is part of the IFIP Digital Library, provided by the ANU and is part of a volume edited by Catherine Middleton,who talked about broadband at the ANU last November.
This paper rejects the hypothesis of Thomas Friedman that ICT-enabled globalization is driving us toward a flat world. Instead, it is argued that the world remains uneven, full of seams, culturally heterogeneous, locally specific, inequitable, not well-integrated and constantly changing. This argument is supported by an analysis of three areas of ICT-enabled global working, namely global software outsourcing, global IS roll-out, and global virtual teams. The paper then builds on these analyses to put forward an agenda for future IS research on ICTs and global working based on three research themes: identity and cross-cultural working; globalization, localization and standardization; and power, knowledge, and control. The paper concludes that the area of ICTs and global working offers the IS field a major research opportunity to make a significant contribution to our understanding of a set of crucial issues in our more globalized world.

Keywords Flat world - globalization - global software outsourcing - global IS roll-out - global virtual teams - IS research agenda - identity - cross-cultural working - standardization - power - knowledge - control

From: ‘ICTs and global working in a non-flat world’, Walsham, G., 2008, in IFIP International Federation for Information Processing, Volume 267, Information Technology in the Service Economy: Challenges and Possibilities for the 21st Century, eds. Barrett, M., Davidson, E., Middleton, C., and DeGross, J. (Boston: Springer), pp. 13-25.

Cover art for Outsourced DVDProfessor Walsham talked about his extensive experience looking at India. For those who have no experience of this, perhaps the film Outsourced would be a painless introduction to some of the issues. This is a romantic comedy about an American sent to India to train staff in the outsourced call center.

It occurred to me that Professor Walsham's analysis could be usefully applied to carbon trading systems now being set up. This is a complex arrangement of state, national and international ICT systems, involving technical, cultural and legal issues. The Australian Department of Climate Change alone is reported to have 20 new IT projects, with tenders for the CPRS auction platform, architecture, systems integration, financial management, identity/access, business intelligence systems, web portal design and hosting services to be announced a few weeks.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Greening Indian Datacenters, Canberra, 19 November 2009

Professor Anand Sivasubramaniam, Vice-President R&D, Tata Consultancy Services India, will be speaking on Greening of Datacenters: Opportunities and Research Challenges, at the ANU in Canberra, 19 November 2009:
Greening of Datacenters: Opportunities and Research Challenges
Professor Anand Sivasubramaniam (Vice-President R&D, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), India)

DATE: 2008-11-19
TIME: 11:00:00 - 12:00:00
LOCATION: CSIT Seminar Room, N101

The power consumption of datacenters, together with the growing concerns on climate change, have created a buzz around Green IT. Hardware vendors, software developers, vertical integrators, service providers, and IT administrators are talking about their green offerings, capabilities and transformations. Green IT spells cost savings and efficiency for organizations of all sizes, and is also critical for environmental compliance with the growing number of environmental policies across diverse geographies.

While there are many current products and technologies to address 'point' solutions for reducing power consumption in the datacenter, a whole range of challenges arise in real world settings which offer a rich set of research problems that we need to be address. Apart from discussing these problems, we will also discuss the need for looking at Green IT from a wholistic perspective mandating cross-disciplinary expertise and a rethinking of how we build and manage IT infrastructures.

Professor Anand Sivasubramaniam is a Vice-President of R&D in the Corporate Technology Office at TCS (Tata Consultancy Services). He received his BTech in Computer Science from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, in 1989, and the MS and PhD in 1991 and 1995 respectively from Georgia Tech, USA. He has been a Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at Penn State between 1995 and 2007, where he spearheaded several research projects in large-scale infrastructure management and power-aware computing.

Professor Sivasubramaniam's research interests are in computer architecture, operating systems and high performance computing, and he has made several contributions in resource management techniques for data centers, computer architectural mechanisms for high performance, low power, and high assurance, and in tools for evaluating computer systems.

He has published over 150 research papers in reputed journals and conferences, and has served on several editorial boards of journals and conference program committees. At TCS, he heads the Innovation Lab in Chennai, leading research projects on IT infrastructure management and Green IT initiatives. [TCS is the largest IT services company in India and among the top ten in the world. It is also the largest private sector employer in India. It has an active operation in Australia headquartered in Melbourne.]
Make IT Green- The TCS Way
Table of Contents
1. What is Green IT? …………………………………………. 3
2. Green Business Drivers…………………………………… 4
3. Mitigating Environmental Impact of IT Growth….………. 5
4. Enhancing the Environment with IT………………............... 7
5. Holistic View of Green IT………………................................... 11
6. Summary……………………………....................................... 12
7. References………………………………………………... 12
What is Green IT? …………………………………………. 3


What is Green IT?

Information Technology (IT) has, without doubt, substantially improved business productivity and enhanced the overall quality of our lives. Consequently, there has been a proliferation in the number and size of IT facilities, the equipment and people working in these facilities. This growth is placing a tremendous burden on our environment, both in the consumption of natural resources such as fuel, water and other raw materials as well as in greenhouse gas emissions and the waste that is generated. This phenomenon is raising several red flags in the minds of corporate executives, governmental organisations, environmentalists and the broader public, thus leading to green IT initiatives. At TCS, we classify these initiatives into two broad categories, which together capture our view of Green IT:

How can we mitigate the environmental impact caused by the growth in IT? Solutions for reducing the power consumption of IT equipment, e-cycling, environmentally friendly buildings and other related elements fall in this category.

How can we use IT to enhance the environment and to mitigate the environmental impact of other industrial, logistical and business processes? Technological solutions for telepresence/telecommuting, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for environmental studies, engineering design of industrial processes with computational models for energy efficiency and waste reduction fall in this category.

TCS has many internal initiatives as well as customer engagements in both these categories. There are several corporate social responsibility and cost efficient green initiatives, which are not necessarily pertaining to IT. Many such efforts are in progress at TCS, and some of these are explained below. Please refer our Corporate Sustainability Report [1] for more details.

From: Make IT Green- The TCS Way, Anand Sivasubramaniam, TCS Innovation White paper, Tata, 2008

TCS Corporate Sustainability

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Environmentalism and Equity

Ms Sunita Narain, Director of the Centre for Science & Environment, just finished the 2008 K R Narayanan Oration at the ANU in Canbera on "Why Environmentalism Needs Equity: Learning from the environmentalism of the poor to build our common future". She nominated fuel cost, climate change and food security as era for our age. One issue, biofuels, wraps up many of these issues and the ones of equity.

It was an honour to be present at this oration. Last year the oration was by Dr Rajendra K Pachauri, who shortly after won the Noble prize for his work as the head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Unfortunately the world does not necessarily listen to such eminent persons, as we should.

Ms Narain suggests what is needed is environmentalism of the poor. The industrialised world industrialised first and then responded to the waste generated. Most of the world will demand a new approach where progress will not cause environmental degradation. India's minerals are located where the forests, water catchments and poverty are located.

Ms Narain argued that India's democracy would not tolerate degradation of the environment. She used as an example grass roots action in Goa to block access for mining companies (I saw some of the mining industry on a visit to Goa in 2005).

Another example given was approaches to cleaning up air pollution in cities. She argued that India's use of LPG for vehicles had made a significant improvement in air quality. One problem is that in Delhi most of the road space is taken up by private cars, while most people are transported in buses. The introduction of bus lanes had been opposed by car drivers.Ms Narain did not mention the Delhi Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS, Delhi Metro or दिल्ली मेट्रो), which is an example of the problems with high technology solutions. Perhaps Indian experts could help Sydney's transport problems).

Ms Narain argued that a change in the framework, with equity, so that the global South can implement CO2 reduction, before becoming rich, rather than after, as happend in the North. The system suggested was a per-captia emissions allowance. In this way countries such as India could trade some of their allowance with countries such as Australia. This might be a good way to use carbon trading mechanisms to include the world.

At question time I asked if market mechanisms would be sufficient or was a philosophical change to issues such as climate change needed. The answer was that this is a political issue and the community needs to assert that public goods need regulation and other mechanism to see correct use. The matter is urgent and imporant and can't be left to good will and good intentions.

ps: One point I disagreed with in the talk was the assertion that CO2 emissions were the first environmental issue which required a global agreement to fix. This is not the case as there was previously a global pollution problem with Ozone destroying emissions. A global agreement was reached and has largely worked. CO2 emissions are a much more difficult problem, but the Montreal Protocol shows such problems are not insoluble.

See also:

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Thursday, July 03, 2008


Cover art for Outsourced DVDAfter reviewing the e-learning system in the seat of a long Malaysian Airlines flight I decided to watch a movie. Outsourced is a romantic comedy about an American call center manager who is sent to India to train staff in the outsourced call center. He tells the staff to claim to be from "Chic-a-go". In the end he comes to terms with India after some lessons in life and the world beyond the USA.

This is not a documentary and you would learn as much about call center operations from this as you would about e-mail from watching "You've Got Mail". The Indian streets shown looked too clean and almost deserted. The female romantic lead was just a bit too clever and willing to explain the world outside the USA to the American. But it was good fun and might be useful education for those who have not been outside North America.

This is a good airplane movie (that is one step down from a rental movie: one that is worth watching when you are stuck on an eight hour flight). ;-)

See also:

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Friday, March 21, 2008

Consortium of Indian Universities in Adelaide

A consortium of Indian universities is to establish a campus in Adelaide. Students will spend a year at the new institution in Adelaide and then move to a South Australian University:
The Icfai University has entered a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the state of South Australia to set up its campus at Adelaide.

Initially, the university is planning to launch postgraduate management programmes in a leased space in Adelaide this year before setting up a full-fledged campus with other courses over a period.

The MoU was signed by the visiting South Australia premier Mike Rann and Icfai University chairman Subhash Sarnikar here on Saturday. ...

.... The students would spend a year in the Icfai campus in Adelaide and the second year at an existing university.

In the process, they get degrees or diplomas from both the universities ...

From: Icfai to set up campus in South Australia, BS Reporter, Business Standard Ltd, Hyderabad, March 17, 2008
According to its web site, ICFAI University is made up of separate universities sponsored by the Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts of India. These are located in Uttarakhand, Tripura, Sikkim, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Jharkhand and each is a separate university under Indian law. This could make the administration of students in Adelaide quite complex.

ICFAI University offer Flexible Learning Programs, up to the Masters level, inlcuding in new areas, such as Cyber Law. Flexible Learning could offer an interesting challenge to Australian universities with traditional modes of teaching and traditional course content.

The web sites for the Nagaland and Jharkhand universities do not appear to have been established yet.

According to the Wikipedia there is a legal dispute in India and USA involving ICFAI over the use the term Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA).

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Monday, March 10, 2008

Doing Business in India

Cover of Doing Business in India For DummiesCame across the book with the wonderful title of "Doing Business in India For Dummies" by Ranjini Manian. This combines business and cultural advice which would be useful for those doing business with, as well as in, India. Some of the advice on language, laws and customs will be familiar to those in the UK and Australia, but it is still worthwhile.

One aspect that I had not realized is that India adopted for its Indian Arbitration and Conciliation Act 1996, the model of the UN Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration (UNCITRAL). The result of this is that, as the book suggests, you can write arbitration into your contracts and more than likely avoid a long and expensive court case in the event of a business dispute.

For my own report on India, see: "Living in an Indian Village in Goa for Three Weeks".

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Gas fired home Tandoor on the BBQ

Having enjoyed tandoori cooking, I thought I might build my own tandoor. This is a vertical beehive shaped clay oven used in the Middle East and Indian sub continent for BBQ food. Unlike a pizza oven, it is accessed via the top, with the fuel and the food added from above (with a small opening at the front to remove ash). Common dishes are tandoori chicken and roti or naan bread.

There a numerous web pages and books on how to build a Tandoor. One is Piers Thompson's " The Tandoor Site". He uses a pre-made clay liner, 700 mm tall, 550 mm wide, tapering to 300 mm, apparently made from unfired clay reinforced with fiber. This is placed on a base made of concrete with firebricks on top and the outside insulated with vermiculite, surrounded with a brick wall.

That sounds too large and complex for my apartment balcony. Traditional tandoors, such as Thompson's, use charcoal (placed in the middle of the floor of the oven). Modern ones in restaurants may be gas powered, with a gas ring in the bottom.

As I have a small gas BBQ, I thought the easiest approach was to build the tandoor as a pot to sit on top of the gas burner. Holes in the bottom would let the gas in and a hole in the top would let it out (and allow the food to be added).

My BBQ is designed to hold a 300 mm griddle. So a reasonable size for the Tandoor would 250 mm in diameter (about the size of a dinner plate or frying pan) and 300 mm high (long enough for short skewers to be hung). This would be big enough to cook in but small enough that the Tandoor can be put away in a kitchen cupboard.

As this will be a portable unit, the use of vermiculite insulation and brick support is not feasible. However, there is a material called Paper clay (or fiberclay), made from clay with paper fiber added. Bill Chalmers suggests this for making Tandoors. He suggests covering the outside with kaowool or vermiculite. But the paper clay should provide some insulation (the paper creating voids in the clay).

Perhaps an extra layer of shredded paper soaked in slip (watery clay), will do as insulation. Paper clay is not normally made from more than 50% paper as the strength of the clay is reduced. But if covered with a thin layer of high strength clay, the paper should be protected.

The construction process would then be to:
  1. Build the inner lining of the oven, as for a hand built clay pot. Allow to dry.
  2. Cover the outside of the pot with shredded paper soaked in slip. Allow to dry.
  3. Cover the paper with a layer of clay. Allow to dry.
  4. Test the oven empty. This should be hot enough to sterilize the clay, without necessarily firing it (over 138 °C rather than 1000 °C).
  5. Use it.
See also:

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Friday, January 11, 2008

Tata Nano Indian Small Car

Tata Nano CarTata Motors of India announced the Tata Nano on 10 January, 2008 and intended for volume production in 2008. The Nano has a 160kW 624 cc 2-cylinder rear mounted petrol engine with claimed 4.55 l/100 km meeting Euro-IV emission standards.

The Nano is similar in layout and size to the Mitsubishi i, a Japanese Kei class car. The basic model is intended to cost Rs 100,000 (about US$2500). The car is 3,100 mm long, 1,500 mm wide and 1,600 mm high.

Electric or Hybrid?

The Nano is targeted at Indian families who currently use a motor scooter for transport. This has been criticized for leading to more fuel consumption and pollution in Indian cities. As a lightweight small car, the Nano has potential for conversion to pure electric battery operation like the Indian Reva Electric Car. Tata has not announced any plans to make one. However, third party after market conversion is possible, as has been done with the Toyota Yaris/Echo.

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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

More Indian Electric Cars

Bavina  yc 1021 Electric Car
Bavina Enterprises, of Chennai, India announced 17 December 2007, battery operated cars to be assembled in India. There are two and four door models. The two door model is similar in appearance to the Mercedes Fortwo Smart Car. These cars appear to have conventional steel bodies, unlike the plastic panels of the Indian made Reva electric car. Parts will be initially imported from China.

It is unlikely that these vehicles would meet European or Australian safety regulations (Reva was approved in the UK not as a car, but a quadricycle).


Length x Width x Height
yc 1021Two door?
yc 1021 2Four door2608 x 1515 x 1526mm
yc e carFour door3020 x 1515 x 1520mm
yc 1021 3Four door3020 x 1515 x 1520mm


Bavina  yc e car Electric Car

Bavina Enterprises have only supplied specifications for the four door models, not the two door yc 1021.

All the four door models, except the yc 1021 2, have a 48V DC 3 kw drive system (12 V axillary electrics), with a 25A charger and six conventional 12V/200AH lead acid batteries weighing 384kg, with a claimed life of 500 charges. The yc 1021 2 has a more powerful 72V DC 4.5 kw motor, but the same batteries.

Bavina  yc 1021 2 Electric Car

Claimed range is 130km. All are rear wheel drive and claimed to be able to climb a 30 degree slope. Maximum speed is 55km/h, but can be limited to 40km/h. Minimum ground clearance is 110 mm, and wheelbase 2560 mm. Turning diameter is 4.6m with rack-and-pinion steering and 155-80R1277T tires. Net weight is given as 790kg for all vehicles, despite their different sizes. There is a hand operated parking brake for the rear-wheels.

Bavina yc 1021 3 Electric Car

See also:
  1. Bavina Enterprises web page
  2. My web page Electric Cars from Bavina Enterprises of India
  3. Reva Electric Car
  4. Indian Electric Cars
  5. Books on Electric Cars
  6. DVDs on Electric Cars
  7. Other Transport

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Monday, December 31, 2007

Bollywood History of Modern India

Cover of the book Bollywood: A History By Mihir BoseLooking for something to read for the holidays, I came across "Bollywood - A History" by Mihir Bose. This is really a history of the Indian film industry, which, as the Wikipedia points out, is more than Bollywood. In part it is also a history of modern India, its suffering under British rule and US cultural influence.

Bose points out that a film was shown in India only seven months after the first one was shown in Paris by the Lumiere brothers in Paris on 28 December 1895. He relates how Maurice Sestier, on his way from Paris to Australia to promote cinema, stopped over at Bombay and put on a showing at 6 pm 7 July 1896. Another Australian connection is the actress Mary Ann Evans from Perth, Western Australia made films in India in the 1930s, under the name "Fearless Nadia".

I had my own Bollywood experience when, shorty after arriving in Goa I sat down on the dais next to the mother superior of the local convent school on prize day. One of the students doing the MCing announced "... and now a traditional dance from the people of ..." and several hundred students broke out into a Bollywood dance routine. On the same trip I a ttended the Goa Documentary Film Festival, where the guest of honor was "Gulzar", noted India film maker, who is mentioned several times by Bose.

Also the reliance of traditional Indian performance to Bollywood film was explained by Bose. The films derive their format from live performances which combine acting, music, drama and comedy. At the village level and at the state cultural center I attended live performances of this type.

Bollywood (Hindi: बॉलीवुड, Urdu: بالی وڈ) is the informal term popularly used for Mumbai-based Hindi-language film industry in India. Bollywood is often incorrectly used to refer to the whole of Indian cinema; it is only a part of the Indian film industry. Bollywood is one of the largest film producers in the world, producing more than 1,000 films a year,[1] with ticket sales of 3.6 billion.[2]

The name is a portmanteau of Bombay (the former name for Mumbai) and Hollywood, the center of the American film industry. However, unlike Hollywood, Bollywood does not exist as a real physical place. Though some deplore the name, arguing that it makes the industry look like a poor cousin to Hollywood, it seems likely to persist and now has its own entry in the Oxford English Dictionary. ...

From: Bollywood, Wikipedia
ps: Check your copy of the book to make sure all the pages are there. The copy I read was missing pages 17 and 24.

See also:

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Goa first wired state in Inida

A recent news report suggests that now Goa will shortly be the most "wired" state in India. In 2005 I visited India and stayed in a village in Goa for three weeks. One thing which impressed me were the tech savvy locals, with the nuns at the convent being on the Internet, cyber cafes used by locals (which not in use by the tourists) and wireless broadband available. The Goa initiative is very similar to those for connecting Australian rural areas, with fibre optic cable to towns (and local government), then wireless for remote users:
Goa is set to become the first state in India to be fully connected through a high-bandwidth broadband network. By March, the network will be rolled out together by the state government and Bangalore-based tech solutions company United Telecom Ltd in a so-called public-private partnership model.

Optic fibre cables and wireless technologies will be used across the state and will also link some 200 computer kiosks that deliver government services to the state’s residents.

United Telecom is also providing connectivity for 450 common service centres in Jharkhand.

The first phase of the Goa broadband network, connecting every taluka and district with 10gbps (gigabits per second, a measure of speed of the network) bandwidth is already complete, while the second phase, connecting panchayats in 403 villages with 1gbps connectivity, will be complete by December. Every household will get bandwidth of 2-10mbps (megabits per second) by March. ...

From: Broadband for all: Goa to be first fully wired state by March, by Regina Anthony, Mon, Aug 20 2007. 12:40 AM IST,, HT Media

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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Development in India is Sustainable

Dr Rajendra K Pachauri, head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2002 and now head of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), presented "Coping with Climate Change: Is Development in India and the World Sustainable?" at the ANU Australia South Asia Research Center in Canberra on 8 August 2007:
Dr Rajendra K Pachauri
"Recent high rates of economic growth in India and other parts of the developing world, while reducing poverty and raising global economic growth, have put considerable stress on the environment even as it is already saddled with high emissions from the developed world. The 2007 K R Narayanan Oration by Dr Rajendra K. Pachauri will enquire into whether such growth patterns can be sustained into the future and what options are available for ensuring that the adverse impact of economic growth on the environment is manageable. ..."
The ANU VC introduced the talk, commenting it was the most crowded he had attended. The topic of development, India and climate change is timely. The talk was organized with the Australia-India Council (AIC).

Dr Pachauri said we had been paying lip service to sustainable development for 20 years, but the scientific evidence of the last few years had been a wake-up call. He said we needed to deal with externalities and vested interests in the euphoria of escalating consumptions in neglect of natural resource implications. 2007 is the centenary of the birth of Rachel Carson, environmental campaigner. The Club of Rome study "Limits to Growth" in 1972 was rightly criticized, for its static Malthusian view. Prudent societies would look for substitutes for limited resources. But the poorest will be worst hit in the process. Income inequality is increasing. Sustainable development relates to social conditions as well as environmental ones. We cause environmental damage at our peril as the earth is a closed system.

The Club of Rome produced an update in 2004. This made an adjustment for the difficulty of extraction of resources as they run out. This made the outlook even bleaker.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has produced three reports. These have had an unprecedented impact. This partly because people have starting attributing extreme climate events to global warming. Al "Borne again" Gore has had a major effect; although he did not do so with such vigor when running for President. The IPCC report is unequivocal: most temperature increase in the second half of the 20th century is most likely due to human activity [sounds slightly equivocal to me]. The likely increase by the end of the century is 1.8 to 8 degrees.

The impacts of warming are detailed in the fourth IPCC report. South Asia is particularly vulnerable. Even when there is an average decrease in rainfall there are likely to be more floods. The mega deltas of Asia are particularly vulnerable to cyclones and storm surges. Melting glaciers in the Asian high mountains are the source of water in much of south asia and some of China. This will effect direct runoff and groundwater recharge. Australia's method of charging for water could help in India by applying economics to a scare resource.

Vector borne diseases will increase, due to an increase in water borne disease vectors. Yields of some crops, such as wheat, decrease with a temperature increase. Aquaculture will also be effected. Efforts are needed for drought tolerant crops for the poor, which could be an areas for cooperation between India and Australia. Two thirds of Indian agriculture is rain fed.

Rising prosperity in areas such as China can cause a decrease in global food stocks, due to more affluent eating meat fed on grain. Temperate regions will gain water while the tropics get less.

There is time available to stabilize the situation and it would be irrational not to act.

Gandhi said "
It took Britain half the resources of the planet to achieve this prosperity. How many planets will a country like India require? "

The report "Green India 2047" showed an alarming picture. In a democracy you need perseverance to achieve changes. The poor will be disproportionately effected by a degraded environment as they use it more directly. We do not need to return to a preindustrial society to combat climate change and measures such as more efficient cars can be used, not give them up.

"Be the change you want to see in the world" Gandhi.

I asked Dr Pachauri if he saw India contributing sustainable high tech to the world, such as the Reva electric car (which unfortunately Australian governments do not permit). He replied that smart companies in all countries can contribute. He singled out
General Electric and its CEO, Jeffrey R. Immelt, for positive comment, with its investments in environmental technology.

During Dr Pachauri's talk I thought about how IT professionals could help. Looking around the talk was held in a typical lecture theater. There were about 24 lights on, air conditioning, video projector and computer equipment. Also, like many in the room, I drove my car to the talk. So there are some savings to be made here and now. The room was reasonably efficient with florescent lights (more focused LED lights might be better). What might also help are multipurpose rooms which can be used more intensively. The typical lecture theater has fixed, tiered seating which makes it unsuitable for other purposes. A flat floor would make the room more flexible.

ps: I noticed the ANU's ace podcaster in attendance with his equipment. So there should be a podcast available shortly, as well as a web text. These will also help sustainability by allowing thousands of people to hear the talk without traveling and read it without paper.

Available from the 2007 K R Narayanan Oration by Dr Rajendra Pachauri, Director-General of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), India:
Books available of the topic:

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