The most striking development in the world of Indian education in recent times came forward in the form of news of the launch of “Pradhan Mantri eVidya Programme”. Finance Minister of India, Nirmala Sitharaman, announced the launch of the initiative on Sunday. The initiative comes at a very crucial time to avoid any negative impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak on the education sector.
According to the Finance Minister, the primary focus of the PM eVidya Programme will be on technology-driven education. She also added that the top 100 universities, including IITs, IIMs, national institutes, top private universities, and institutes of eminence could start online classes automatically by May 30.
The new initiative by the Government of India presents promising opportunities for education startups to discover new methods for creation, distribution, and monetization of ideal digital content for various sections of the society. As a result, the optimal use of digital technologies in the field of education would help in going a long way to achieving the goals of education established by the government. Let us find out more about the eVidya Programme and how it could present considerable improvements in the Indian education sector.
A Promising Solution in Troubled Times
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought forward the need to consider solutions for maintaining continuity for almost every sector. Disruptions such as financial recession and a global pandemic would also continue to emerge in the future. Therefore, the need for digital channels is becoming clearly evident for preventing downtime of various sectors, especially education. The PM eVidya programme is a promising initiative to help students continue with regular studies in school, universities and colleges.
The Programme was announced by the Finance Minister in the 20 lakh crore package in AtmNirbhar Bharat. The Finance Minister did not disclose any detailed information regarding the program. However, we can expect that the Government would launch an official portal for the eVidya Programme. In addition, a mobile app could also be available for enabling students to study easily through their mobile phones.
Using the Television to Advantage
One of the foremost noticeable highlights about the new e-Vidya Programme is the introduction of 12 DTH channels. The 12 DTH channels would target different classes starting from 1 to 12 for supporting students without access to the internet. The Finance Minister also stated that the benefits of eVidya Programme for digital education would extend beyond the easy accessibility of education. The proposal for the launch of the ‘Manodarpan’ initiative with immediate effect is clear proof of this fact. ‘Manodarpan’ would focus on providing psycho-social support for students, families and teachers to ensure improved emotional well-being and mental health.
Taking DIKSHA to Schools in All States and Union Territories
Another prominent highlight in the eVidya Programme is the extension of DIKSHA, to all states and union territories. In a welcome move, the Government of India has decided to extend DIKHSA, the learning platform of CBSE, to all schools. The ‘One Nation, One Digital Platform’ initiative for education would emphasize the provision of e-content and QR coded textbooks for all grades.
The benefits of this initiative would provide better access to education for almost 25 crore school going children nationwide. The content of DIKSHA is available in 14 languages such as Assamese, English, Bengali, Malayalam, Odia, Telugu, Urdu, Marathi, Tamil, Sindhi, Chhattisgarhi, Kannada, Hindi and Gujarati. In the period of the next three months, many high-quality online resources for teaching and learning will be available on DIKSHA.
The VidyaDaan Programme would support this growth in the implementation of digital education with the DIKSHA platform. VidyaDaan would serve as a common national program that would aim at drawing contributions of e-learning resources. As a result, it can ensure continuity of learning with high quality for promoting the efficiency of the eVidya Programme.
Integration of Digital Learning Platforms
The PM e-Vidya Programme is a spearhead in the digital revolution sprouting up in the Indian education sector. The program also aims at the integration of various existing digital platforms for strengthening the reach of digital education. The eVidya program presently aims at integrating the following platforms.
- DIKSHA, CBSE’s learning platform for the facility of quality school education content.
- Swayam, the platform for providing online courses in MOOCS format.
- Radio and community radio podcasts.
- Shiksha Vani, the podcast of CBSE.
- IITPAL, for IIT/JEE NEET preparation.
- Specially curated e-learning resources for visually and hearing-impaired students.
Therefore, we can clearly notice the inclusion of students in all age groups, grades and categories in the eVidya Programme. The various details available about the program showcase its potential for revising Indian education in the aftermath of COVID-19 pandemic. However, the major point of concern for the government should now focus on collaborating with competent digital partners.
Introduction of new technology at such a scale within a short period of time would definitely be challenging. So, the most basic solution would be to start with innovation. For example, ideas on introducing better ways for collaboration and engagement in the learning resources could be a good start.