Government’s E-Learning Initiatives: A Step towards ‘Digital India’
Issue 11 | August 30, 2020
Nowadays, the range of the internet is not limited to the urban landscape alone but has reached the rural areas too. This outreach, among other factors, has created a vast market for e-Learning in India. With a steady growth rate of 25% year-on-year, the e-Learning industry is on a growth trajectory. Higher education in India, though being at a nascent stage, is witnessing wide recognition, especially in Post-graduation courses like MBA.
Apart from the private players seeking to enter the digital market, the Indian Government is adamant to push for several reforms for the growth of the ‘digital learning’ industry. The Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology points out that “E-Learning is one of the thrust areas identified by the Ministry for imparting education using educational tools and communication media.”
SWAYAM - Study Webs of Active–Learning for Young Aspiring Minds
An initiative by the Government of India, designed and developed by the Ministry of Education and AICTE with the help of Microsoft, aims to make online learning comfortable and effective through a locally developed IT platform that facilitates hosting of all courses. This Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) portal was launched in 2017 to offer free online courses for school, as well as higher education. The platform offers various courses in subjects including Science, Humanities, Engineering, Mathematics, etc. in the form of video lectures, discussion groups, and reading materials.
Swayam Prabha is a collection of 32 DTH channels which is devoted to telecasting high-quality educational programs 24x7. The contents, provided by institutes such as NPTEL, IITs, UGC, CEC, IGNOU, NCERT, and NIOS run for at least 4 hours every day. To allow the students to choose a time of their convenience, the content is also repeated 5 times in a day. The DTH channels cover varied curriculums, ranging from higher education contents for post-graduate and undergraduate level to school education.
The e-Pathshala web-portal focuses on disseminating and showcasing all electronic educational resources including textbooks, audio, video, periodicals, not only for students but also for teachers, parents and researchers. This joint initiative of the Ministry of Education and National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) provides access to digital textbooks for classes 1st to 12th. Such digital repository has been made available by NCERT to ensure that students do not miss out on important concepts.
DIKSHA E-LEARNING PORTAL
‘DIKSHA’ serves as a National Digital Infrastructure for teachers, to equip them with advanced digital technology. The portal aids teachers and enables them to train themselves for which assessment sources are also available. By recording complete work and accomplishments of the teachers from start to endpoint till their retirement, it assists them to boost their skills and knowledge with the use of technology. Although the portal has been established by the Central Government, it is open for participation to private institutes as well as NGOs.
NATIONAL REPOSITORY OF OPEN EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES (NROER)
Launched in 2013, the repository hosts a large number of educational resources for Mathematics, Science, Social Science, Languages and Art Education. Apart from the traditional reading material, the resources are also made available in video, audio, and interactive forms.
While several platforms for digital learning have existed for a long time, the nationwide lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic has given a huge push to the e-learning initiatives. Other platforms like the National Digital Library and Virtual Labs will certainly prove to be a game-changer in the coming years, bridging the gap between teaching and learning.