Technology, internet can bridge gap in education: Pranab Mukherjee

Minister of Human Resource Development Prakash Javadekar (right) with President Pranab Mukherjee during the National Convention on Digital Initiatives for Higher Education in New Delhi on Sunday (Photo: PTI)
The spread of technology, telecom penetration and Internet has offered an opportunity to bridge the divide in education in terms of access and quality which must be seized, President Pranab Mukherjee said on Sunday.

Mukherjee was speaking at the inauguration of three digital initiatives in the education sector - 'Swayam', 'Swayam Prabha' and National Academic Depository by ministry of human resource development.

"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," he said.

Swayam and Swayam Prabha are digital classrooms the contents of which can be accessed either through Internet or direct-to-home service respectively.

National Academic Depository will have education certificates of every student in digital form which will ease the process of verification and also do away with the chances of forgery.

Through Swayam, courses will be offered through digital classrooms with study material available online in videos. It will be available free of cost, however students wanting certifications shall be registered, shall be offered a certificate on successful completion of the course, with a small fee, the Swayam website states.

The student will have opportunity to ask questions which will be answered in real time. Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian has also prepared a series of lectures on the Indian economy for Swayam and Swayam Prabha.

The students will be assessed through proctored examination and the marks and grades secured in this exam could be transferred to the academic record of the students, according to the website.

Swayam Prabha will tap into the potential of Direct- to-Home Service wherein a person can install the dish antenna for about Rs 1,500 and have access to 32 digital educational channels run by the HRD ministry.

Everyday, there will be new content for at least four hours which would be repeated five more times in a day, allowing the students to choose the time of their convenience, Additional Secretary in UGC Pankaj Mittal said.

The course content will cover almost every aspect of education in various fields from class nine onwards and preparatory courses for institutes like IITs.

"The quality of teaching and learning process is the heart of higher education. We have seen huge difference in the quality of attainment levels in higher education between the urban and rural areas, between the states and between institutions within a state," he said.

Mukherjee said there are large numbers of students who study in vernacular languages whereas most of the knowledge is still in English.

"I call upon you all - being the leaders of the higher education system - to make concerted efforts to bridge this gap," he said.

Dear Reader,


Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.

We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel