Online courses see huge Budget boost

Online courses see huge Budget boost

In a bid to encourage online education, and help students in accessing high quality resources, the government is planning to launch the SWAYAM platform with at least 350 online courses.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced in the Budget that this would enable students to virtually attend the courses taught by the best faculty, access high-quality reading resources, participate in discussion forums, and take tests and earn academic grades.

He also added that access to SWAYAM will be widened by linkage with DTH channels that are dedicated to education.

HelloClass CEO and co-founder Prakash Rengarajan lauded the launch of the new platform. “Using DTH channels to link online courses will provide access to high-quality education resources for students, and will be beneficial to students in the rural areas of the country,” Rengarajan said.

HelloClass is into online tutoring and curriculum-based assessments, among others.
Commenting on this new platform, Coursera Chief Business Officer Nikhil Sinha said, “Online education is an important component of the country’s ability to expand higher education and SWAYAM alone won’t be the answer to making high-quality education widely available. The government also needs to reduce the regulatory hurdles for good quality private online education providers, both domestic and international.”

The finance minister also announced extending Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendras (PMKK) to more than 600 districts across the country, and about 100 India International Skills Centres will be established. These centres would offer advanced training and also courses in foreign languages.

Jaitley also announced the launch of the Skill Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness for Livelihood Promotion Programme (SANKALP) at a cost of Rs 4,000 crore. SANKALP will provide market relevant training to 3.5 crore youth. Founder and CEO Ajay Kolla said the focus on developing a skill-ready workforce will be key to generating more job opportunities in the future. He said skill centres will ensure that talent is tapped from tier II, III and IV cities as well.

“With the SANKALP and STRIVE programmes, the government continues its emphasis on skill development. However, skill development needs to go hand-in-hand with job creation and the government needs to focus on increasing employment in the formal sector,” said Sinha.

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