Gujarat: Education Dept To Co-organise Hackathons With African Nations
Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between the Maasai Mara University and the Gujarat University (GU), with the focus of research being the biodiversity of the African Savanna ecosystem. (Representational Image)
The state Education department is set to organise international hackathons — events that involve collaborative computer programming — in collaboration with African countries. An offshoot of the recently launched ‘Study in Gujarat’ campaign to project the state as an education hub for students from abroad and other states, the first edition of the hackathons is aimed at sourcing solutions through technology development and will be organised within six months.
Sources closely associated with the Study in Gujarat campaign’s roadshows held in African countries between February 13 and 24, revealed that the Maasai Mara University in Kenya is being touted as a possible area to expand the innovation ecosystem.
“The international hackathon expected within six months with one of the African countries will provide a larger catchment area to students. It will open a large pool of research and innovation opportunities, as well as employment generation. We have planned to organise these hackathons on a need basis,” said Principal Secretary (Education) Anju Sharma.
The university has sought collaboration with students and fellows in Gujarat to identify and develop the extensive ecosystems in the region. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between the Maasai Mara University and the Gujarat University (GU), with the focus of research being the biodiversity of the African Savanna ecosystem.
Gujarat University Vice-Chancellor Himanshu Pandya said, “Considering the biological importance of preserving true to type (seed) plants, the region lacks a formal structure. They are also keen on developing their pharmaceutical sector using medicinal herbs. So, GU will have an extension centre at Maasai Mara University where the exchange of faculties and students, special research and PhD programmes, training and capacity building, specially-designed collaboration and extension activities, will be undertaken to understand their issues better and come up with effective solutions.”
Another area of interest for the MoUs is tech-based applications. “Since Africa is not much developed technologically, their universities are very keen to work on technology development,”a senior education official said. A total of 13 MoUs have been signed between African universities and i-Hub; the innovation hub to facilitate these hackathons under Gujarat’s Student Startup and Innovation Policy (SSIP).
“...Problems will be thrown open to students from both countries...This will help in internationalisation of ideas...Encouraged through friendly state-level policies, like Student Startup and Innovation Policy, and organising hackathons...The state accounts for 46 per cent of the emerging startups in India,” the Principal Secretary of Education added.
During recent roadshows in Kenya, Uganda, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, a total of 69 MoUs were signed by universities of the four countries and the 16 partner universities that had accompanied the Gujarat delegation. While 13 MoUs were signed in Kenya, 24 MoUs were signed in Uganda and 16 MoUs each were signed in Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
Participating universities that signed the MoUs include Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University in Gandhinagar; Indian Institute of infrastructure Technology Research and Management in Ahmedabad; RK University in Rajkot; Gujarat Technological University; Gujarat University; Charusat University in Anand and Veer Narmad South Gujarat University in Surat.