President Pranab Mukherjee on 9 July said spread of technology, telecom penetration and internet offered an opportunity to bridge the divide in terms of access and quality of education. He said digital technology enabled good teachers to directly teach a large number of students who are not physically present in classrooms, and that “we should seize this opportunity with both our hands”.

“The digital modes are cheaper, more easily accessible, interactive, and offer flexibility for people to learn at their own pace. We need to work together to ensure that they are widely adopted for teaching,” he said.

Mukherjee launched, at the Vigyan Bhavan here, the SWAYAM portal offering online courses and SWAYAM Prabha comprising 32 direct-to-home channels to deliver course material, and the National Academic Depository (NAD) which will facilitate online verification of certificates.

SWAYAM proposes to take the best teaching-learning resources to the masses and bridge the digital divide for students who have so far remained untouched.

Speaking on the occasion, the President said ICT (information and communication technology) solutions offer an interactive learning experience through which students in remote parts of the country can benefit from lectures from top teachers. While launching the SWAYAM portal, Mukherjee said he was happy that the portal has become fully functional to enable one to take courses offered by the best teachers, while remaining where they are.

“Ultimately, it should lead to better attainment levels in the students. The scale and reach of this technology has been raised manifold through the 32 SWAYAM Prabha DTH channels which will help students in rural areas and remote areas where information technology infrastructure has not penetrated so well,” he added.

The President said the NAD would help in easy authentication of credentials issued by institutions and also help in increasing transparency and ease of operation. He called upon the participants to ensure that these initiatives are taken to their logical conclusion for the benefit of the nation.

“I have always emphasised on improving the quality of teaching and learning process in higher education institutions. Mere physical expansion may provide access but without adequate infrastructure and quality faculty, the talent hidden in young minds cannot get an opportunity to blossom,” the President added.

Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar said: “Education is the biggest power to strengthen the nation. We should take benefit of the digital revolution (by launching such programmes). There are 438 online courses registered on SWAYAM portal while SWAYAM Prabha offers 32 free DTH channels for education.”

Publish date: July 10, 2017 7:06 am| Modified date: July 10, 2017 8:04 am

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