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Pitroda pill for Mexico

New Delhi, Feb. 5: The National Knowledge Commission and its chief, Sam Pitroda, may be struggling to convince India’s bureaucracy to revamp the education system but they have found takers for their ideas in faraway Mexico.

Pitroda is set to assist Mexico City emerge as the knowledge capital of Latin America, and has already begun work on some projects for the populous Mexican capital, the chairman of the commission told The Telegraph.

“Mexico City wants to be the knowledge capital for Latin America and they want my assistance. I have already visited Mexico for the project,” Pitroda said.

An official at the Mexican embassy here said his country had been “closely monitoring the education scene in India for years”.

India and Mexico share similar economic conditions coupled with high population densities, bringing common challenges in education, the official said.

“In countries like Mexico, plans for change invariably meet with cynicism — people say the challenge is too big. But the NKC, and Mr Pitroda, have experience of trying to bring change in India, where the challenge is bigger than anywhere else.

“Their experience will be invaluable to our country.”

Pitroda said he planned to build five separate blocks — each dedicated to a specific sector — in Mexico City. For example, he said, one entire block will be dedicated to medicine, another to technology, a third to law and so on.

“Each block will have living quarters for all those working in that sector — researchers, teachers, students, managers of companies and workers — apart from offices, schools and labs,” he said.

According to Pitroda, this will reduce time spent on travelling in the crowded city.

“The Mexico City mayor has already accepted the proposal of separate blocks for separate sectors. Work will start soon,” he said.

A team of officials from Mexico City first visited the knowledge commission headquarters in New Delhi in late 2007, sources said.

“They appeared surprised that India had a dedicated body to develop a roadmap for the future of knowledge in the country,” a source said.

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