IITs, IIMs and Central Universities soon will have free online courses in line with Massive Online Open Course System (MOOCs).
India’s long awaited engagement with online education will be established on September 25, 2014, on the eve of birth anniversary of Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay.
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According to Smriti Irani, Union Minister for Human Resource Development, the online programs would be an enabler for any person in India with any background to have the best education. The program ‘Study Webs Of Active-Learning For Young Aspiring Minds’ (SWAYAM) shall be of free of cost. However, candidates desiring a certificate shall have to pay a nominal fee.
During the initial phase of the operation, seven institutes which include three IITs and four central universities, will be offering courses in engineering, social sciences, agriculture, energy, management, and basic sciences. This program intends to become a full-fledged massive online program, gradually, as more institutes and courses will be added to the platform.
As part of the project called National Program on Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL), IITs and IISc have come up together to provide MOOCs. It is being funded by the ministry of HRD and is being used to increase quality of engineering education in India.
Originally NPTEL was proposed with 100 web based courses with forty hours duration per course. And, NPTEL objective is to focus on higher education, professional education, distance education and continuous and open learning.
Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) also runs Open Course Ware (OCW) called ‘Flexilearn’ whose sole purpose is to increase online enrolment of students, despite the lurking technological hurdles. The government’s motive is to create a brand out of those institutes which could boost the knowledge economy.
NPTEL has launched NPTEL Online Certification, supported by Google and National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM), under which two new courses have been introduced. ‘Introduction to Programming in C’ is being run by IIT Kanpur and intends to teach the students the basic programming using C. The IIT Madras conducts the ‘Basic Electrical Circuits’ course which is meant for second year students of Electrical, Electronics, and Instrumental Engineering students. All these courses are free of cost. Again, certificates can be obtained for a nominal fee.
The government is also launching a national academic depository for central digitization of awards and degrees and mark sheets.