Minutes of the Second Meeting of the Steering Committee, 12th-13th December 2002

Conference Dhaka, Bangladesh - 12th December 2002

Seated from left to right: Kamal Hossain, Chairperson of SAF-Bangladesh; Amartya Sen, Nobel Prize laureate; Madanjeet Singh, SAF Founder; and Jamilur Reza Choudhury, Vice-Chancellor of BRAC University, Bangladesh.
Vice-chancellors of South Asia (unless otherwise indicated) standing from left to right: Ershadul Bari, Bangladesh Open University; Hom Nath Bhattarai (Member Secretary) UGS Kathmandu; Ahmed Ali Maniku (Vice-Rector) Maldives College of Higher Education; Jagar Dorji (Director) National Institute of Education (Bhutan); Suresh Raj Sharma, Kathmandu University; Altaf Hussain, Alama Iqbal Open University (Pakistan); Uma Coomaraswamy, Open University of Sri Lanka; Suresh Garg (Pro-Vice- Chancellor) Indira Gandhi Open University (India); Zaheer Alam Kidvai (SAFLI IT coordinator Pakistan); Naveed Malik (Rector) Virtual University of Pakistan; and Khalid Aftab, Government College University (Pakistan).

Minutes of the Second meeting of the Steering Committee, SAFLI held on 12th-13th December 2002, at BRAC University (Dhaka, Bangladesh).

Nobel Laureate Prof. Amartya Sen, Master of Trinity College, Cambridge University, U.K..
Dr. Kamal Hossain, Chairperson, SAF Bangladesh.
Prof. Jamilur Reza Choudhry, VC, BRAC University, Bangladesh.
Prof. Ershadul Bari, VC, Bangladesh Open University, Dhaka.
Dr. Jagar Dorji, Director, National Institute of Education, Bhutan.
Prof. Suresh Garg, Pro-VC, Indira Gandhi Open University, New Delhi.
Mr. Ahmed Ali Maniku, Vice-Rector, Maldives College, Malé.
Prof. Hom Nath Bhattarai, Member Secretary, U.G.S. Kathmandu.
Prof. Altaf Hussain, VC, Alama Iqbal Open University, Pakistan.
Prof. Naveed Malik, Rector, University of Pakistan.
Prof. Uma Coomaraswamy, VC, Open University of Sri Lanka.

The meeting began with a welcome address by Prof. J R Choudhury, Vice-Chancellor of BRAC University. This was followed by a stimulating address by Prof. Kamal Hossain, Chairperson of the Bangladesh Chapter of the SAF and Ambassador Madanjeet Singh, founder of the South Asia Foundation. They highlighted the role of regional cooperation for peace and development.

While inaugurating the conference, Nobel Laureate Prof. Amartya Sen emphasised the need for twin commitments on reach and quality. He highlighted that creating quality consciousness and addressing issues of heritage in authentic perspective was absolutely necessary and fell within the domains of those who care for records.

Prof. J R Choudhury then asked Prof. Garg to appraise members on the development since the first Steering Committee meeting at Beaulieu-sur-Mer (France).

Prof. Garg informed the members that a meeting of all the Vice Chancellors of Indian Open Universities was held in New Delhi on 24th - 25th November 2002 at the SAF India Office.

The members were informed that all the Vice Chancellors had agreed to the SAFLI proposal for launching a Post-Graduate Diploma in South Asian Studies with the provision that the multipurpose modules be developed with the flexibility of coupling them with the existing programmes at different universities.

He also informed the members about the need for teacher training, special education for the differently-abled, pre-primary education and extended education programmes.

After detailed deliberations, it was agreed that:


PGD-ESD would be developed and launched on 13th December 2003 as a part of SAFLI programme in partnership with open and distance learning and conventional institutions.

The programme would entail 960 hours of student work spread over four core, two elective and one compulsory project courses.

All the Vice-Chancellors/Heads of Institutions would communicate the names of the courses to the content coordinator as well as other members by 26th December 2002. The names of the courses would be finalised through electronic consultations by 5th January 2003. The members would work out the broad outline of the courses by 30th January 2003 and the content coordinator would ensure coherence and continuity in various courses and place the draft before the Academic Board for its consideration and approval at the Colombo meeting.

Each university/institution would communicate the names of three courses in order of preference, which it would like to develop by 30th January 2003.

The Academic Board (AB) would comprise Ambassador Mandanjeet Singh, the Vice-Chancellors/Heads of the Institutions and the programme coordinators from each institution developing the programme, in addition to one member each from other institutions associated with SAFLI. The Content and IT Coordinators of SAFLI (Prof. Garg and Mr. Kidvai) would also be the members of the Academic Board.

The Executive Board (EB) would comprise Ambassador Mandanjeet Singh, the Vice Chancellor of one Open University from each country in addition to SAF nominee, the nominee of Director-General, UNESCO, SAFLI Content and IT Coordinators. There would be one nominee of the Chairperson of the SAF Chapter for each country having no open and distance learning institute.

Each university would identify a Programme Coordinator and an IT Coordinator. As a special case, the SAF would provide funds for developing PGD-ESD at each institution.

The programme would initially be launched in the print mode with due A/V support. Each university would be able to convert these materials onto CD-ROMs.

The work on online interactivity would be taken up in the second phase as far as PGD-ESD was concerned. All electronic communication would be facilitated through the SAF portal. It was resolved that these proposals be placed before the SAF Chairpersons for their consideration and approval at the Colombo meeting in February 2003.