Workshop for women researchers - run up to NCAR 2010
2010-11-27 18:34:56 GMT
Swecha organized a workshop for women researchers and academicians on the theme 'Women in Research - the FOSS paradigm' on Friday 26th November. The workshop was attended by around 165 women working as lecturers, professors and researchers in various engineering and MCA colleges. It was inaugurated by the Vice-Chancellor of JNTU Hyderabad Dr. D. N. Reddy who encouraged women to participate in research and also appreciated the efforts by Swecha in propagating the use of FOSS and wished it success in further endeavors like NCAR 2010.
The keynote address was given by Prof. Jayanthi Sivaswamy from IIIT Hyderabad, who is the All India coordinator of the Virtual Labs project of MHRD and heads the Center for IT in Education. She put forward two reasons to consider use of FOSS. One, from the social justice point of view as proprietary software cuts access to lakhs of people who cannot afford the high cost of that software. Two, use of FOSS also makes economic sense as it encourages and involves many more people in the process and thus would be good for the economy of the country. As for concrete application of FOSS in research, she gave the example of how FOSS was much superior in usage for her while developing virtual labs for science. The idea of virtual labs for science was prompted by the lack of proper labs and infrastructure in most of the schools and colleges in Hyderabad. The IIIT is involved in developing these labs and now the union ministry of HRD is asking for similar virtual labs to be developed for engineering colleges also. She pointed out that the use of FOSS in such research projects is growing not only in India but across the world.
Prof. K S Rajan of IIIT said that knowledge can grow only when it is shared with others and free software provides the platform for such sharing and enriching of knowledge. In this context he emphasised the importance of peer learning and how it is important to do so at every level of education. He felt that FOSS platform enables the academics and researchers to be updated in their knowledge about their spheres.
The workshop had presentations on 'Computing freedom with free software – the Experience of Swecha' by Dr L Pratap Reddy of JNTU Hyd who is also the working chairman of Swecha; a presentation on 'How to use FOSS for research and development' by Ms. Sirisha of Wipro Technologies. There were also testimonials by women from various institutes who used FOSS in their research work and how it helped them to accomplish their goals.
The participants set forward an action plan which included setting up FOSS labs in their colleges, creation of Lab Manuals for FOSS tools, conducting workshops for other faculty and students, participating in localization of free software etc.
More info & photos at http://ncar2010.fsmi.in/women-researchers-workshop
Sarath M S
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