Kapil Khandelwal : Medical education reform
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Kapil Khandelwal : Medical education reform

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My fortnightly column - A Dose of IT

My fortnightly column - A Dose of IT

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Kapil Khandelwal : Medical education reform Kapil Khandelwal : Medical education reform Document Transcript

  • c m y k c m y k 11New Delhi ●● Monday ●● 25 July 2011 Department of Tele- com bans popular filesharing sites like RapidShare and Megaupload. Technomics Simmtronics Semiconductors launches the first solar-powered desktop. Facebook wins a dismissal of a sec- ond lawsuit by twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss. San Francisco, July 24:Sil- icon Valley’s old guard is waking up to the fact that the era of consumer PC may be in its twilight, accelerat- ing the need to invest and adapt to rapidly changing tastes. This week’s earnings from the giants of technology had one thing in common: they underscored yet again how consumers are increasingly shunning desktop PCs and going mobile. Intel, which had argued that pessimistic expectations about the mar- ket were out of whack, reduced its 2011 PC fore- cast. Microsoft Windows sales, that reliable indicator of PC market strength, fell short of expectations for the third straight quarter. And Apple Inc, which sin- gle-handedly showed with its iPad that many con- sumers are more than happy with an unladen, light and mobile computer, obliterat- ed all estimates by selling a whopping nine million tablets. “The desktop, at least for consumers, proba- bly doesn’t have a great future, and the iPad and sim- ilar tablets can deliver a lot of the functionality of a lap- top,” said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer of Solaris Asset Management. Worldwide shipments of smartphones are already overtaking PCs, and by 2015, more than 300 million tablets will ship — not far behind 479 million PCs expected to be made, according to IHS iSuppli. To be sure, there’s time left for PCs. Adoption and sale continue to grow rapidly in emerging markets and among corporate users. But even there, increasingly powerful smartphones are entrenched and tablets are creeping in. Research in Motion’s Playbook — despite poor reviews as the minnow of the tablet market — became the first to win US govern- ment certification. In January, the board of Advanced Micro Devices, frustrated about the compa- ny’s lack of progress in mobile computing, forced out then-Chief executive Dirk Meyer. It is still search- ing for a candidate to spear- head a major push into mobile. “It’s important for us to keep our eyes and ears wide open. This compute space is evolving and our technology is evolving so that we can take it beyond the traditional segments we serve today,” AMD Chief Financial Officer Thomas Seifert, standing in as CEO, said. Graphic showing tech product global shipment forecasts Amid economic uncertain- ty and boding poorly for the rest of the year, PC sales edged up just 2.3 percent in the second quarter, accord- ing to tech research firm Gartner, well below earlier projections. Top executives argued that personal computers still shine. But they also say they’re hurrying to adapt to changing consumer prefer- ences, with Microsoft step- ping up its mobile strategy by creating future versions of Windows just for tablets. ARM Holdings’ energy- efficient technology now all but dominates mobile com- puting, but Intel and AMD are increasing their focus on processors suited for smaller devices. They’re pushing manufacturers to use their chips to build laptops that are in many ways touch- screen tablets. The market for processors used in smartphones and tablets is about $6.7 billion this year, MKM Partners analyst Daniel Berenbaum esti- mates. That’s just 12 percent of Intel’s expected 2011 rev- enue, but that proportion is growing. Intel is speeding up plans to use its most cutting-edge technology to manufacture chips aimed a mobile devices, and Chief Execu- tive Paul Otellini said this week the company would be “hyper-competitive” in get- ting its silicon into tablets running Microsoft’s upcom- ing version of Windows. “In the next generation it’s going be hard to tell the dif- ference between a tablet and a netbook,” said Stifel Nico- laus analyst Kevin Cassidy. “To me a tablet is just a net- book that has a solid-state drive and a touchscreen.” For now, PC-reliant com- panies can take comfort in under-saturated markets like oft-mentioned China — the world’s second-largest PC market and one where mil- lions remain unfamiliar with computing in general. In the second quarter, PC shipments in the United States fell 5.6 percent, year over year, while China’s PC market grew 10.9 percent, according to research firm Gartner. Despite reducing its 2011 PC sales outlook, Intel’s revenue forecast for the Sep- tember quarter came in higher than expected. For a second quarter, analysts underestimated the demand for PCs in China and other emerging markets. Con- sumers in the US and Europe often have at least one PC at home and increas- ingly choose to buy gadgets like tablets over a new lap- top. But millions of families in developing countries are increasing their incomes and are reaching the point of being able to buy a comput- er. And despite falling Win- dows sales, Microsoft’s Office sold well in the sec- ond quarter, underscoring the importance of PCs to corporations, something unlikely to change radically soon. For now, investors should heed Intel’s consis- tently estimate-beating quarterly results and not sell the company’s stock based on worries about what the PC market and mobile mar- kets will look like in a decade, Berenbaum argued. “What’s going to happen in 10 years? I have no idea, but the market doesn’t know either and the market isn’t going to be able to discount what’s going to happen in 10 years. This market can barely discount 10 minutes,” Berenbaum said. — Reuters Open-access advocate is arrested for huge download San Francisco, July 10: A respected Harvard researcher who also is an Internet folk hero has been arrested in Boston on charges related to computer hacking, which are based on allegations that he downloaded articles that he was entitled to get free. A federal indictment unsealed in Boston on charges that the researcher, Aaron Swartz, broke into the computer networks at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to gain access to JSTOR, a nonprofit online service for distributing schol- arly articles online, and downloaded 4.8 million arti- cles and other documents — nearly the entire library. Mr Swartz, 24, made his name as a member of the Internet elite as a teenager when he helped create RSS, a bit of computer code that allows people to receive automatic feeds of online notices and news. Since then, he has emerged as a civil lib- erties activist who crusades for open access to data. In 2008, Mr Swartz released a “Guerrilla Open Access Manifesto,” calling for activists to “fight back” against the sequestering of scholarly papers and infor- mation behind pay walls. “It’s time to come into the light and, in the grand tradi- tion of civil disobedience, declare our opposition to this private theft of public cul- ture,” he wrote. One goal: “We need to download scien- tific journals and upload them to file-sharing net- works.” He also earned renown for downloading nearly 20 mil- lion pages of court docu- ments for a project that put them free online. That brought Mr Swartz under federal investigation. He was not indicted but later pub- lished the resulting FBI file online. He faces up to 35 years in prison and $1 million in fines for charges related to wire fraud, computer fraud and unlawfully obtaining infor- mation from a protected computer. He surrendered to the authorities last week and was arraigned in Federal Dis- trict Court and pleaded not guilty to all counts. He was released on $100,000 unse- cured bond. Institutions like colleges and libraries pay for access to JSTOR, which is then available free to their users. Supporters were quick to defend Mr Swartz. David Segal, executive director of Demand Progress, an activist group that Mr Swartz found- ed, said in a statement that the arrest “makes no sense,” comparing the indictment to “trying to put someone in jail for allegedly checking too many books out of the library.” An online petition gathered 15,000 signatures in just a few hours. In an interview, Mr Segal said that his comments went to the principle, not to any- thing Mr Swartz might have done in obtaining the docu- ments. “I know him as a per- son who cares deeply about matters of ethics and govern- ment,” Mr Segal said. “I don’t know about the matter of what has been alleged.” Beginning in September of last year, according to the indictment, Mr Swartz used several methods to grab arti- cles, even breaking into a computer-wiring closet on the MIT campus and setting up a laptop with a false iden- tity on the school network for free JSTOR access under the name Gary Host — or when shortened for the e-mail address, “ghost.” When retrieving the computer, he hid his face behind a bicycle helmet, peeking out through the ventilation holes. The flood of downloads was so great that it crashed some JSTOR servers, the indictment stated, and JSTOR blocked access to the network from MIT and its users for several days. Ulti- mately Mr Swartz returned the hard drives containing the articles to JSTOR and prom- ised that the material would not be disseminated. “We are not pursuing further action,” the organisation’s general counsel, Nancy Kopans, said; the organization said in a statement that the criminal case “has been directed by the United States Attorney’s Office.” As for the comments from Mr Swartz’s supporters that he had done nothing wrong, however, Ms Kopans said, “It’s an unfortunate sit- uation, but I think the facts speak for themselves.” Mr Swartz recently com- pleted a 10-month fellowship at the Edmond J Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard. “Aaron has never done anything in this context for personal gain — this isn’t a hacking case, in the sense of someone try- ing to steal credit cards,” said Lawrence Lessig, the cen- ter’s director. “That’s some- thing JSTOR saw, and the government obviously did- n’t.” In a statement announc- ing the charges, US attorney, Carmen M Ortiz, said: “Stealing is stealing, whether you use a computer com- mand or a crowbar, and whether you take documents, data or dollars. It is equally harmful to the victim whether you sell what you have stolen or give it away.” Carl Malamud, an online activist who worked with Mr. Swartz on the court-docu- ments project, called Mr Swartz “one of the Internet’s most talented programmers,” but said that “the JSTOR sit- uation is very disturbing.” In an e-mail exchange with a reporter, Mr Malamud, who is engaged in a project intend- ed to put all laws and govern- ment documents online, said: “My style, when I see a gate barring entry and that gate is sanctioned by the law, is to go up to that gate and pound on it hard and force them to open up. Others sometimes look for a back door.” He added, “I’m not convinced that style is always effective, and it is certainly often dangerous.” — NYT TECH CRIME Hulu, billed as tomorrow’s TV, looks boxed inBRIAN STELTER THE NEW YORK TIMES PICTURE THIS: TV any- way, anywhere. Every sitcom. Every drama, documentary, reality show. All of it — everything — Right Here Now. This is the radical potential of the Internet. And this is the implicit promise of Hulu, the innovative website that drew the original bor- ders of online television — the TV of tomorrow. Hulu’s stated mission: “Help people find and enjoy the world’s premium video content when, where and how they want it.” In the space of just four years, Hulu has done just that — to a point. Only now, with its industry in flux and the company up for sale, the divide between what is and what might be seems as daunting as ever. This is the future of TV? Really? Today you can watch some shows on Hulu in their entirety. But others you can’t watch at all. Most fall somewhere in between — bound by contractual handcuffs that hamper prospective viewers. Mak- ing it even more baffling, some episodes are free while others require an $8- a-month subscription. “It makes catching up on a show or starting a new show very difficult,” complains Marta Garczarczyk, a fund- raiser for a science museum in Minnesota who tried to watch the ABC’s Cougar Town and Fox’s Glee through the site last season. Hulu executives largely have their hands tied. View- ers want more shows on more screens. But Hulu’s partners — the big networks — want steady profits. And, for the moment, the networks seem to have the upper hand. Hulu is a joint venture of NBC Universal, part of Comcast; Fox Entertain- ment, part of the News Cor- poration; and ABC, part of Disney. An investment firm, Providence Equity Partners, owns about 10 per cent. Partnerships of rivals rarely last. And so Hulu finds itself on the block this summer. Representatives of Google,Yahoo, Amazon and others have kicked the tires, although no clear buyer has yet emerged and Hulu has steadfastly declined to com- ment. But no matter who ends up spending billions to buy Hulu, the trick will be satisfying viewers. As Jason Kilar, Hulu’s visionary chief executive, put it in a blog post last February, “History has shown that incumbents tend to fight trends that chal- lenge established ways and, in the process, lose focus on what matters most: cus- tomers.” But — through no fault of Mr Kilar — further limita- tions on the site’s bounty of free video may be on the horizon. For all the innova- tion that Hulu represents, the site also lays bare the gulf between what online viewers want and what TV compa- nies are willing to give them. “Customers always win,” Mr Kilar has been known to tell his staff. Maybe. But not always without a fight. Even critics of Hulu con- cede that this company has accomplished something astonishing. It has helped to free television from the tyranny of the TV set. For decades, people watched television one way: through a boxy contraption, tied to a schedule set by broadcasters. It was all sup- ported by advertisers and beamed free over the air- waves. As cable and satellite choices proliferated in the 1980s and 1990s, the busi- ness model changed: shows and channels were financed both by advertisers and sub- scribers. But the TV set and its TV Guide-era schedules still reigned. bITs Mysore, July 24: IT bell- wether Infosys said it expected this year to be a normal year for the IT industry but was concerned about when the IT budgets would be spent. On the macro environ- ment, Infosys CEO and Managing Director S Gopalakrishnan said, “We have given our guidance 18-20 per cent for the full year which we have not revised. From a calibration perpsective, the budget are same, no reduction in budgets.” From a spending perspec- tive, there may be some volatility or delays based on the environment which means they needed to be cautious. “If you look at this quarter 4.3 per cent revenue growth, 4 per cent volume growth and onsite growth of 6.8 per cent. It’s better than what we guided. We continue to believe that this is a normal year”, he said. They are not seeing a reduction in IT budgets of clients. “The concern or issue that we have is when IT budgets will be spent, that’s where uncertainity is having an impact. So there may be delays in decision making,” he added. — PTI Ageing PC giants near end of era Infosys expects a normal year Microsoft 4Q profit climbs San Francisco, July 24: Microsoft Corp. reported record fourth-quarter rev- enue Thursday, helped by strong sales of its Office software suite. Investors still seem concerned about the world’s largest software maker’s growth prospects, however, as consumers buy fewer computers that run its Windows software. While all of the company’s other business units posted growth in the April-June period, revenue from the division that includes Microsoft’s Windows oper- ating system fell 1 percent from the same time last year — its third-straight quarter of decline. Besides indicating that consumers are buying fewer computers that use Windows, it may signify that more consumers are moving to tablet computers instead of upgrading their existing laptop and desktop computers. Microsoft’s stock slipped in extended trading. Total revenue for the fiscal fourth quarter rose 8 per- cent from last year to $17.4 billion, higher than the $17.2 billion that analysts polled by FactSet expected. Growing Office sales helped revenue from the company’s largest division climb nearly 8 percent to $5.78 billion. —Reuters Aaron Swartz, who downloaded 4.8 millions files from JSTOR, has fought against keeping scholarly material behind pay walls. KAPIL KHANDELWAL T he recently conclud- ed World Education Summit 2011, dis- cussed at length the urgency of reforms in med- ical education in India. India needs over 250,000 trained and qualified med- ical professionals per year and we do not produce half of it. There are only 30,000 doctors passing out every year. While several educa- tional institutions such as IGNOU, Gulbarga and other Open Universities have initiated distance and outreach post graduate program formats in health sciences, the reforms in medical education needs to be ICT systems based to improve the overall per- formance of health sys- tems by adapting core pro- fessional competencies to specific contexts, while drawing on global knowl- edge into a sustainable learner centric environ- ment across all segments of medical education. Some of the voices and speakers echoed key reform agenda for medical education in India that it will have to deal with 12 key issues. First, adoption of compe- tency-based open medical education curriculum that caters to rapidly changing needs rather than being dominated by static coursework at medical schools and colleges across the country using ICT. Sec- ond, promotion of new age medical education courses that breaks down tradition- al silos of courses. Third, leverage ICT to create capacity, data collection and analysis, simulation and testing, distance learn- ing, collaborative connec- tivity, and management of medical education. Fourth, act local/rural to draw resources in a way to create capacity to flexibly address local challenges while using global knowledge, experience, including fac- ulty, curriculum, study materials, and students linked internationally through exchange pro- grammes. Fifth, develop- ment of faculty with spe- cial attention through increased investments in ICT for educators and con- structive assessment linked to incentives for good per- formance. Sixth, promote a new breed of doctors, nurs- es, paramedics and trans- forming present conven- tional silos based educa- tion. Seventh, establishment of joint planning from the Planning Commission to engage key stakeholders, to overcome fragmentation by assessing various coun- cils, setting priorities, shaping policies, tracking change, and harmonising the supply of and demand for medical professionals to meet the health needs of Indian population. Eighth, expanding India’s academ- ic centres network to aca- demic systems to leverage ICT based medical educa- tion, by extending the tra- ditional research and healthcare education con- tinuum to schools and hos- pitals across India. Nineth, creating academia-indus- try partnerships by linking together ICT networks, alliances, and consortia between educational insti- tutions worldwide. Tenth, critical inquiry of a central function of universities and other institutions of higher learning, which is crucial to mobilise scientific knowledge, ethical deliber- ation, and public reasoning to generate medical educa- tion reform in India. Eleventh, leverage the value of public private partnerships in medical education. Lastly, generate sustain- able funding to meet both the short-term and long- term needs of India. Leaving aside the issues and restructuring that have been proposed to various Medical Councils operat- ing in India by proposing various regulatory authori- ties for higher education, commissions, committees and panels, let me focus on what is possible in the short run leveraging ICT and financing this. I believe that the National Knowledge Commission (NKC) should be broad- ened to include a National Medical Education plat- form, connecting all the medical colleges. This will ensure that there is 24-hour access to global informa- tion to teachers and stu- dents, so that they are no longer tied to a physical space. Infrastructure for library, reading rooms, etc may no longer be neces- sary.As regards to funding, we would need to increase the spend from present, less than one percent of GDP, to over three percent of GDP to account for the capacity creation leverag- ing ICT in medical educa- tion. A Dose of IT Medical study needs reform Kapil Khandelwal is Director, EquNev Capital, a niche invest- ments banking and advisory services firm and an independent advisory board member with leading healthcare and information communication technology (ICT) companies. Hans-Henrik Duessel from Svendborg, Denmark, displays his old Apple Macin- tosh Classic computer from 1990 beside his newly purchased Apple iPad in Hamburg May 28, 2010. Hulu’s mission is to help people find great video “when, where and how they want it”. But that goal is now more complicated, and Hulu is up for sale. AGE THE