Govt launches edu channels to help medical, engg aspirants

Govt launches edu channels to help medical, engg aspirants
Thousands of engineering and medical aspirants may now prepare for their entrance examinations from home as President Pranab Mukherjee launched four satellite television channels on Sunday to offer tutorials by subject experts in Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and Biology.

He also aired 28 more direct-to-home (DTH) satellite channels for the students of the school and higher educational institutions. A national academic depository (NAD) for safe storage, retrieval and digital verification of the degrees, diploma, and other academic records was made functional at the event.

The President also operationalised India's own massive open online courses (MOOCs) platform—'Swayam'—to cater to the educational needs of the masses.

While all 32 educational channels will be aired 24x7 on Dish TV under the brand name of 'Swayam Prabha,' channels dedicated to helping students to prepare for the entrance tests for engineering and medical courses will be aired under the IIT-Pal. All channels will air four hours of fresh content which will be repeated five times in a day.

The IIT-Pal channels will be managed by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi and subject teachers from various IITs and other reputed institutions of higher education will conduct the live and interactive classes. Students can attend the classes watching television from their home or on their mobile phones and even ask questions if any they have.

The Swayam will hold virtual classes for 29 subjects taught at secondary and senior secondary school levels, 210 undergraduate courses and 192 postgraduate courses in various streams including Engineering and Management.

It will also offer 14 certificate courses and three diploma programmes online in a classroom environment. Anyone can undertake the online courses from anywhere in India free of cost. However, those willing to get certificates, diploma or a degree through Swayam will have to get registered on its portal and pay “a little fee” for pursuing the courses.

At the end of each course, there will be an assessment of the students through proctored examination and the marks/grades secured in this examination will be transferred to the academic record of the students. In the case of the students enrolled in universities and colleges, the marks and grades will be transferred to their parent institution for the award of degree, diploma or other certificates.

Addressing the function, the President called upon the University vice-chancellors and heads of other institutions to adopt all these digital initiatives taken by the Centre for the benefit of students. He also asked them to use the both Swayam Prabha and Swayam for improving the teaching capacity of their institutions.

President also made a strong pitch for the introduction of teaching-learning in higher educational institutions in “vernacular language.” He noted that higher education was “mostly” offered in “foreign language” in India. “Efforts should be made to bring the textbooks in vernacular,” he added.

Vice-chancellor of over 700 Universities attended the event.

“With these technological initiatives, we will reach each student. The MOOCs will be open to foreign students also. Indian and foreign employees, as well as institutions, can verify academic records of a candidate just at a click of the mouse,” HRD Minister said.

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