Students may see an increased presence of online courses at institutes of higher learning with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday proposing to harness information technology for learning purposes. Presenting the Union Budget 2017-18 in the Lok Sabha, Jaitley charted out schemes aimed at enriching youths, and expressed his design to “leverage information technology through the ‘Swayam’ platform with at least 350 online courses”.
The access to these Massive Open Online Courses (Moocs) will be widened through Direct-to-Home (DTH) channels dedicated to education, Jaitley said. The University Grants Commission (UGC) is already in the process of asking colleges to submit the list of all such online courses being offered at their institutes.
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With an aim to unburden educational boards and bodies of some of their loads, Jaitley proposed to establish a ‘National Testing Agency’ which would conduct all entrance exams for higher education on their behalf. “This will free CBSE and AICTE (Central Board of Secondary Edcucation and All India Council for Technical Education) from administrative burden and enable them to focus on academics more,” he said.
He also announced to increase the number of Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendra (PMKK) to 600 districts, from the currently operational 60 districts. A total of 100 Indian International Skill Centres will be established across the country to impart advance professional training and training in foreign languages. “This will help them (youths) get jobs abroad,” Jaitley said.