New Delhi: In a significant development that will have great impact on higher education for promotion of digital technology, three new projects have been launched by the government of India: SWAYAM, 32 SWAYAM Prabha DTH Channels and National Academic Depository. The President of India, Mr Pranab Mukherjee attended the launch of SWAYAM, 32 SWAYAM Prabha DTH Channels and National Academic Depository at the National Convention on Digital Initiatives organized by Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India yesterday (09 July 2017) in New Delhi.
The President said that he was happy that the SWAYAM portal has become fully functional which enables one to take courses offered by the best teachers, remaining where they are. SWAYAM should be a call to the pioneers amongst teachers to put new courses in the upcoming areas on this platform in the MOOCs format. It is also a call to the other teachers to use this material and improve their own teaching capacity. Ultimately, it should lead to better attainment levels in the students.
The President said that the use of satellite technology to reach the unreached is time-tested. He was happy to note that the scale and reach of this technology has been raised manifold through the 32 SWAYAM Prabha DTH channels. These channels will help students in the rural areas and in the remote areas where IT infrastructure have not penetrated so well. There is no monthly charge for viewing these channels. These channels include the IIT-PAL channels which were intended to help students taking the prestigious JEE examination, taught by the IIT faculty.
The President said that the National Academic Depository would help in easy authentication of the credentials issued by the institutions. This would also help in increasing transparency and ease of operation. The several other digital initiatives taken up under the National Mission on Education through ICT (NMEICT) being showcased today should help all in going the digital way in order to improve the quality of teaching.
The President said that during the last five years, he had been emphasizing on improving the quality of education whenever he met Vice Chancellors of central universities, Directors of IITs, NITs and IISc/ IISERs. The conferences at Rashtrapati Bhavan have also acted as platforms for nurturing ideas. Many initiatives and ideas like the GIAN, IMPRINT and GRIN have taken root here. He called upon participants present there to ensure that these initiatives are taken to their logical conclusion for the benefit of the nation.
Mr Mukherjee said that the spread of technology, telecom penetration and internet has offered an opportunity to quell the divide in terms of access and quality. Digital technology enables good teachers to directly teach large number of students who are not physically present in classes. ICT solutions offer an interactive learning experience through which students in remote parts of the country can benefit from lectures of the top teachers. The digital modes are cheaper, more easily accessible, interactive, and offer flexibility for people to learn at their own pace. We need to work together to ensure that they are widely adopted for teaching.
Among the dignitaries present on the occasion were Mr Prakash Javadekar, Union Minister of Human Resource Development and Dr. Mahendra Nath Pandey, MoS for Human Resource Development (Higher Education).