HRD Ministry To Start 50 Free Educational Live DTH Channels, Raise it later to 1000!
Way back in the 1920s Thomas Alva Edison had predicted that one day, motion pictures would replace newspapers and books. Seems our Government woke to this prediction just now!
After being given a red signal for the HRD Ministry’s ambitious plan of launching a thousand educational television channels by the Information & Broadcasting Ministry (though on a dumb reason that an applicant seeking permission for a TV channel should be a company registered in India under the Companies Act, 1956. The HRD ministry is not a company and consequently does not meet this criterion) earlier, it had seemingly got a go-ahead from the sensible Law Ministry. Now the news is official!
As per a press release, the Human Resource Development Ministry will soon launch Direct-To-Home educational channels, fifty in total initially, which will be increased to a mind-boggling 1000 later on.
The Department of Space had agreed to lease two transponders from INTELSAT or NSS satellite providers to set up 50 educational channels through DTH. The USP would be these would be live programs and not pre-recorded.
Certainly this initiative would be amongst the largest in the world. It was revealed that the Ministry has spent more than a billion dollars for Information and Communication Technology, to link more than 400 Universities and 20,000 colleges with bandwidth. The aim is to convert the entire nation into a virtual classroom, thus raising the bar of institutes which are in the far-flung areas.
There are plans to approach the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) to make on-line education mandatory and integral part of education system. With this virtual lab in place, classes being conducted in premier institutes like IITs can be shared with every other institute, thus ensuring quality in education provided.
Since 2009, the National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology (NMEICT) stresses the use of ICT to spread education and empower the youth. The emphasis on ICT is a crying need as it acts as a multiplier for capacity building efforts of educational institutions without compromising the quality. One of the objectives of the mission is: “Content delivery through EduSAT and narrowcasting of TV signals. Providing 1000 DTH (Direct to Home) channels on 40 transponders [to be availed through the Department. of Space] so that a separate DTH channel is available for every subject for every class in various languages to the extent possible.”
The mission is with a aim to ensure connectivity to all institutions of higher learning with a speed of 1 Giga bits per second for 100 Central Educational Institutions of excellence, 10 Mbps for 10 departments of each of the 360 Universities of the Country and 10 Mbps for 18000 colleges in the country using all possible means such as EDUSAT, Broadband satellites amongst others. This is the backbone of the entire operation and dream.
Right now, IGNOU offers Gyan Darshan which is a boon to those who have access to the TV but not to quality educational institutes. Around 47.2% of our population has a television at home, with 33.4% of them being rural and 76.7% being urban residents.
With the ICT infrastructure as promised, this move would ensure every kid in every corner of the country would be getting education AT PAR with what the best of our colleges offer. Urban India already has the best of the world through internet, now rural India would also get an opportunity to redeem them.
Nowhere in the world is any Government thinking of using the idiot-box for such benevolent purposes or had ever implemented this on such a large scale – they have jumped from the radio-age to the internet-age but it has given us an opportunity to have been stuck in between and thus to make the best use of technology.
Better education is directly proportional to progress, growth and success – both for the families as well as for the country as a whole. Whether the timing is an election gimmick or is done in full sincerity, the effect would be felt for generations to come.
Keeping fingers crossed that amongst various projects which pass their lives as mere files on bureaucrat’s tables; at least this should see the light of day!