Digital India, What Are Government’s Plans and Policies for Education in India
The landscape of Digital India
Currently, 35% of the Indian population has access to the internet.
The internet penetration rate is expected to reach above 55% by the end of 2025.
With a population of more than 1.3 billion, India provides a lot of opportunities to expand the digital landscape. Our digital market is expected to grow rapidly in coming years. Expansion of telecommunications in the country, the internet penetration rate is expected to grow further beyond the current rate of 35%.
The mobile revolution has led to the growing access of internet usage in the country which is expected to become more widespread in the coming years. According to an article published on forbes.com, “by 2030, a billion Indians will have access to the Internet, and over 500 million will access it in regional languages”.
In ‘India’s Digital Future 2019’, KPMG has reported that in the next decade, not only will the number of internet users double, but there will also be greater upward mobility.
The report segments the country’s digital user as Digital Sophisticates, Digital Enthusiasts, Digital Mainstream category etc.
Current Government Policies and Initiatives to Foster Digital Education
Education policy consists of the principles and government policies in the educational sphere as well as the collection of laws and rules that govern the operation of education systems.
The government’s thrust on digital education continues in the budget. With an increased focus towards a digital economy, the government has come up with loads of hopes and opportunities. It is aiming to increase digital intensity in education.
Government plans to use technology to upgrade the skills of teachers through the online portal DIKSHA. The Union Ministry of Human Resource and Development (HRD) has launched Diksha Portal (diksha.gov.in) for providing digital platform to teacher to make their lifestyle more digital. Through this portal, all teachers across nation will be equipped with advanced digital technology
Capitalising on digital influence for providing quality education is a considered to be welcome move by common masses. No doubt, technology has a very important role to play in education and the government has started aligning its resources accordingly. Digital education is crucial for the country’s future if India has to become a trillion dollar economy.
This project has been created as part of the Government’s Digital India initiative to make school books accessible in digital form as e-books. The web-based application can be installed on tablets for navigating the framework.
Developed by NCERT, ePathshala for showcasing and disseminating all educational e-resources including textbooks, audio, video, periodicals and a variety of other print and non-print materials through website and mobile app. The platform intends to bridge the digital divide in the country – geographical, socio-cultural and linguistic.
Under ePathshala, students, teachers, educators and parents can access e-books through mobile phones, and tablets (as e-pub) and on web through laptops and desktops.
Knowledge Management System (KMS)
Knowledge Management Portal has been created by the Government to bring a culture of knowledge sharing by capturing, sharing, and creating.
Learning Management System (LMS)
Learning Management System (LMS) is an application for fostering e-learning.
As a capacity building tool, LMS facilitates efficient administration of e-learning and training for various government officials both at centre and states/union territories.
National Careers Service Portal
A national ICT based portal has been developed, primarily to connect opportunities with the aspirations of the youth. This portal facilitates registration of job seekers, job providers, skill providers, career counsellors, etc. Additionally, it provides job matching services in a highly transparent and user-friendly manner. These facilities along with career counselling will be delivered by the portal through multiple channels like career centers, mobile devices, CSCs, etc.
National Knowledge Network
National Knowledge Network (NKN) project in India, aims to connect all universities, research institutions, libraries, laboratories, healthcare and agricultural institutions across the country to address multidisciplinary and collaborative paradigm for frontier research and innovation.
National Mission on Education Using ICT
The National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology (NMEICT) has been envisaged as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme to leverage the potential of ICT, in teaching and learning process for the benefit of all the learners in Higher Education Institutions in any time anywhere mode. It is a landmark initiative of the Ministry of Human Resource Development to address all the education and learning related needs of students, teachers and lifelong learners.
National Scholarship Portal
NSP is a one-stop solution for end-to-end scholarship process right from the submission of student application, verification, sanction and disbursal to end beneficiary for all the scholarships provided by the Government of India. This initiative aims at providing a Simplified, Mission-oriented, Accountable, Responsive & Transparent ‘SMART’ System for faster & effective disposal of Scholarships applications and delivery of funds directly into beneficiaries account without any leakages.
“Sugamaya Pustakalaya” is an online platform that makes accessible content available to print-disabled people. The library houses publications across diverse subjects and languages and multiple accessible formats. It has been created by Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan), Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in collaboration with member organizations of Daisy Forum of India and powered by TCS Access.
One of the key goals of the Visvesvaraya PhD Scheme is to encourage working professionals and non-PhD faculty members to pursue PhD in the ESDM & IT/ITES sectors as part-time candidates. It is envisioned that having part-time PhD students is likely to encourage the Industry-Academia interaction, help in the alignment of the R&D efforts between them and bring value to the country.
Digital India – Governments Way Forward to Digital Education
Higher education in India is still a distant dream for many students due to high cost. But with an initiative like digital India, the Human Resource Development Ministry is promoting online education to make higher education access to the common masses in the country.
Top institutes in the country both in the public and private sector are joining hands with the HRD Ministry to develop a comprehensive structure and policy for implementing a robust online education system.
Contrary to the United States, regulators in Indian education sector still hesitate to accept an online higher education qualification. But now the Human Resource Development Ministry is thinking to expand the current online education scenario post rapid digitalization in every sector of the economy. The Ministry is rigorously pushing the agenda for expansion of MOOCs platform with the help of premier institutions of the country such as the IITs and IIMs.
Educational institutes are also currently encouraged to showcase their best skills by developing suitable apps, platforms, education model for the massive open online course in harmony with the Digital India initiative.
Besides the above, government also plans of linking Adhaar card or unique identification number with the online education policy for student verification and later connecting it with the national academic depository.
National Academic Depository (NAD) is a National System set-up by Ministry of Human Resources. Development and University Grants Commission to facilitate Academic Institutions to digitally, securely and quickly issue Online Academic Awards to the students directly in their online NAD Account. The student can access certificate at any time and. authorise employers, banks to view and verify the certificates. No more need to carry originals, submit attested photocopies, wait for verification of documents, NAD makes it online now.
Digital Education is proving to be beneficial as the nation progresses forward. It can be taken by both full-time students and also by working professionals at their own time and pace. As more and more students will pursuing higher education online courses, the ecosystem for digital education will further develop and broaden. Growing demand in this area will eventually generate more revenue.
Growth of digital education in the country will also help working professionals in upskilling. This will aid the industry with the right skilled professionals required to perform its functions.