Realising the importance of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) the Ministry of Human Resource Development as per the Mission Document, ICT is the tool in education available to enhance the current enrolment rate in Higher Education, at present 15 percent to 30 percent by the end of the 11th Plan period.
The Ministry also launched a web portal named “SAKSHAT” a ‘One Stop Education Portal’. The high quality e-content once developed will be uploaded on SAKSHAT in all disciplines and subjects. Several projects are in the completion stage and are expected to change the way teaching and learning is done in India.
The case in point is the project, “Developing suitable pedagogical methods for various classes, intellectual calibres and research in e-learning,” anchored by IIT Kharagpur. Faculties from all the IITs and several NITs are participating in this curriculum development project.
The National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has, under its aegis, created Virtual Labs, Open Source and Access Tools, Virtual Conference Tools, Talk to Teacher programs, a Non-Invasive Blood Glucometer and also for simulated lab experiments, a Di. Electric frequency shift application development of resonator for low cost oscillators.
The National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has been envisaged as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme to leverage the potential of ICT, in providing 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.
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 bR&Dge 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 join 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) platforms, training and empowerment of teachers to effectively use the new method of teaching learning etc.
On the one hand, the Mission would create high quality e-content for the target groups and on the other, it would simultaneously seek to extend computer infrastructure and connectivity to over 18000 colleges in the country including each of the departments of nearly 400 universities/deemed universities and institutions of national importance. The peer group assisted content development would utilise the Wikipedia type of collaborative platform under the supervision of a content advisory committee responsible for vetting the content. Interactivity and problem solving approach would be addressed through “Talk to a Teacher” segment.
The Mission would also have a component of Teacher Empowerment through proper training and digital literacy of teachers to be able to use the e-contents. Renowned institutions would anchor various activities in their areas of excellence. The Mission would seek to enhance the standards of education, in Government as well as in private colleges. Enlistment of support and cooperation of States/Union Territories, Institutions and individual experts would be an integral part of the Mission. National Programme of Technology enhanced Learning (NPTEL) Phase II and III will be part of the content generation activity.
An amount of Rs. 4612 crore is to be incurred during the 11th Five Year Plan for the National Mission on Education through ICT.
This Mission is an opportunity as well as a challenge for the bright faculty members of our Universities and Institutions of Excellence to invest their intellectual capital for the knowledge empowerment of all the learners of our Country. We need to synergise our individual efforts in this direction.