Quality Improvement in Indian Education System through ICT
Indian higher education sector is suffering from lack of qualified faculties even in premier institutes like IITs and NITs. Therefore, Indian ministries and premier education institutions have taken many ICT (Information and Communication Technology) based initiatives to improve access to quality education by every individual of India sitting anywhere between Kashmir to Kanyakumari. Article highlights major ICT based programs started recently in India.
Quality Improvement Through National Mission on Education through ICT (NME-ICT)
In order to improve GER in higher education by 5 percentage during 11th five-year plan, Indian Government commenced the NME-ICT project and allotted a budget of INR 5 billion. The major focus of this scheme was to fulfill three key cardinal principles of education policy viz., access, equity, and quality. Therefore, the project targeted to provide high bandwidth availability with low-cost computing devices (Aakash tablet) to most of the institutes in a phase wise manner. Another major goal of the project was to generate good quality study material and relevant contents. Some of the key objectives of the mission are as follows:
- Effective utilization of intellectual resources and anytime availability of desired knowledge at appropriate levels to self-paced learners.
- Platform for sharing ideas, techniques, and knowledge resources to support learner and scholars.
- Utilize the full potential of developments in the field of ICT to take the resources at the door step of the learner.
- Emphasis on e-learning, content generation, evaluation, and mentoring.
- Develop a repository of e-books, e-generals and provide easy access to the learners.
- Encourage teachers to participate in the digital era of learning and be available on the internet to guide learners.
- Foster multi-lingual content generation for the diversified Indian population and motivate indigenous Open Source Software development.
- Utilization of satellites to broadcast study channels via Direct to Home (DTH) service.
- Online certification based courses for self-paced learners by reputed institutes of India.
Under the banner of NME-ICT, a project called National Program on Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL) like Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Open Courseware is started to provide video lectures of well-known professors of Indian Institute of Technologies (IITs) and Indian Institute of Science (IISs) in almost all the engineering courses. Presently NPTEL provides India’s largest repository of free video lectures for engineering students with certification facility after course completion.
IIT Kharagpur and IIT Bombay together working on a project called T10K10 (Train 10 Thousand Teachers). It is a major initiative under the NME-ICT to improve the teaching skill of engineering college teachers of the country in core Engineering and Science subjects. IIT Madras started Quality Enhancement in Engineering Education (QEEE) that offers live classes and virtual lab environment as a supplement material to the colleges lacking basic pedagogical resources viz. qualified teachers, well-equipped labs, and quality content. Under NME-ICT project, IIT Bombay started spoken tutorial program that provides audio-video tutorial of only open source software in various Indian regional languages. IIT Bombay also executed the project of India’s first low-cost tablet named ‘Aakash’ and distributed it to around 1,00,000 students at its remote centers. In the future, it is planned to distribute every institute at least a single Aakash tablet.
Quality Improvement Through Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs)
World’s eminent universities are offering open access to their courses online to the students spread across the globe. Coursera, edX, and Udacity are popular MOOC course providers. Most of these courses are free, nevertheless, one has to pay, if requires a statement of accomplishment of the course. MOOCs help an instructor to reach at many geographically dispersed students at a time. In fact, Nature journal reveals Indian students ranked second in accessing MOOC programs after USA. Indian government found significant potential in MOOCs courses and announces its first debut MOOC platform named ‘SWAYAM’ (Study Webs of Active-Learning for Young Aspiring Minds) started in 2015. SWAYAM will provide free courses in varied Indian languages to the learners.
Other Quality Improvement Initiatives
University Grants Commission of India set up the Consortium for Educational Communication (CEC) as one of the Inter University Centers to cater the needs of Higher Education through the use of Television along with the ICT. Many other initiatives in this connection to use ICT to deliver free, easily accessible and good quality education are also been taken viz. e-PG Pathshala for Post Graduate students, Shiksha for students of Central Board of Secondary Education, E-Gyankosh: a digital content repository, VidyaVahini for school kids, National Digital Library containing 6 million books ranging from primary to PG level, etc.
It is certain that realization of most of the ICT based project is dependent upon good Internet and Wi-Fi connectivity, therefore, Indian HRD ministry recently announced to launch a Campus-Connect programme to make 21,000 colleges and 4,20,000 classrooms Wi-Fi enabled. Under the programme, all the buildings of 600 universities having 1 Gbps bandwidth will be made Wi-Fi enabled.
Following list covers sample video of various E-learning materials available online:
- NPTEL (INDIA):http://nptel.ac.in/
- Khan Academy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JvBHwVpBCwM
- MIT Open Course ware:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k6U-i4gXkLM (Old approach)
- MIT OCW: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ZG2U_lfc1Q (New Technique of Video Lecture)
- IGNOU: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LOqTusxNMN8&list=PLETu_o8x0hX-JuwFsAyz0Lh7p43eTXHkQ
- The Consortium for Educational Communication:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1bImdIfQxN8
- E-PG Pathshala: http://epgp.inflibnet.ac.in/
Detailed research paper on “Resurgence of Indian Technical Education: ICT as an Enabler” written by Anurag Jagetiya is published in Journal of Engineering & Technology Education, National Institute of Technical Teacher’s Training & Research, Chandigarh, Vol. 11, No. 1, January – June, 2017 (ISSN: 2229-631X) is available for interested readers.
Assistant Professor and Coordinator T&P,
MLV Textile & Engineering College, Bhilwara