India connecting 400 Universities and 20,000 Colleges through ICT highways

In a run up to General Elections 2014, UPA ministers are throwing up grandiose numbers. The HRD Minister Dr. M.M. Pallam Raju inaugurated the Conference on ICT for School Education in New Delhi today, claims that India is connecting 400 Universities and 20,000 Colleges through Information and Communications Technology (ICT) highways.

The Secretary for School Education and Literacy Rajarshi Bhattacharya claimed that ICT which is developed by NCERT will improve teaching quality at school level.

A one day conference of Vice Chancellors (VCs) of Central Universities which was conducted on Feb 5, 2013, had recommended creating greater awareness of ICT programmes of the Ministry of Human Resource Development and the National Knowledge Network (NKN). They recommended establishing education technology cells in each Central University to devise programmes for the maximum use of the education technology tools and to focus on content development. It included utilization of video conferencing facilities; set up e-class rooms; hold workshops on the use of ICT; use e-content in regular curriculum transactions; and host class room teaching videos on the university website for access by other institutions.

The National Mission on Education through ICT was approved in 2009. It mission intends to provide high quality personalized and interactive knowledge modules over the internet/intranet for all the learners in Higher Education Institutions in any time any where mode.

“This is expected to be a major intervention in enhancing the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in Higher Education by 5 percentage points during the XI Five year Plan period and in ensuring access and equity in Higher Education, as also recommended by the Oversight Committee and the National Knowledge Commission. The Mission has two major components viz., (a) content generation and (b) connectivity along with provision for access devices for institutions and learners. It seeks to bridge the digital divide, i.e. the gap in the skills to use computing devices for the purpose of teaching and learning among urban and rural teachers/learners in Higher Education domain and empower those, who have hitherto remained untouched by the digital revolution and have not been able to joint the mainstream of the knowledge economy. It plans to focus on appropriate pedagogy for e-learning, providing facility of performing experiments through virtual laboratories, on-line testing and certification, on-line availability of teachers to guide and mentor learners, utilization of available Education Satellite (EduSAT) and Direct to Home (DTH) platform, training and empowerment of teachers to effectively use the new method of teaching learning etc,” said the approval note.