As the New Educational Policy is set to complete its 2 years tomorrow, July 29 which is aimed at transforming India's educational system and making it more egalitarian, progressive, and modern. In this regard, UGC and MeitY are collaborating to launch a new portal, UGC e-resources portal that will deliver UG and PG digital course content to millions of students in rural areas. In conversation with UGC Chairman, Prof. M. Jagadesh Kumar about the new portal which provides higher education to reach every corner of the country.
What is the working of UGC's new educational portal?
As part of its efforts in making higher education accessible to all, UGC has been constantly working on making digital resources available to students in English as well as regional languages. Recently, UGC and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) collaborated to integrate UGC e-resources with their Common Service Centers (CSC) and Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) Centers, enabling last-mile connectivity."
Why should students access this new portal and how is it beneficial for them?
These resources can be used to supplement their studies in regular programmes. They can also be used, together with the Academic Bank of Credits, for earning credits in online mode which UGC has already permitted. CSCs strive to give every citizen access to the internet and make e-government services available at their doorstep, especially for those who reside in rural India. The number of CSCs/SPVs centres functioning in Gram Panchayats is close to 2.5 lakh, while there are more than 5 lakh CSCs/SPVs centres working throughout the entire nation.
How is the new portal different from the earlier portals like SWAYAM?
The idea of this new portal is that different kinds of e-resources will now be available on one single portal and students can just walk into any CSC in the country to access these courses. Even though, the evaluation and certification processes are similar to that of the SWAYAM portal.
Who operates these CSCs/SPVs?
The CSCs/SPVs are run and managed by Village Level Entrepreneurs (VLEs), who are local entrepreneurs who are part of the neighbourhood. The centres are run by VLEs who earn their living by providing online services. Computers and internet connectivity are available in these centres.
How will CSCs/SPVs help students access digital content provided by UGC?
UGC is integrating its e-content, which includes 23,000 PG courses, 137 SWAYAM MOOC courses in emerging fields, and 25 Non-Engineering SWAYAM Courses in eight Indian languages, to provide last-mile accessibility (ensuring that no learner is left behind).
Which courses are available in Indian languages and in which Indian languages?
In addition to English, the following courses are also offered in 8 other Indian languages: Hindi, Marathi, Bangla, Gujarati, Telugu, Malayalam, Tamil, and Kannada.
Biomolecules: Structure Function in Health and Disease
Biostatistics and Mathematical Biology
City and Metropolitan Planning
Communication Technologies in Education
Corporate Tax Planning
Direct Tax-Laws and Practice
Early Childhood Care and Education
Food Microbiology and Food Safety
Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals
Human Rights In India
Intellectual Property Law
Organic Chemistry I
Partial Differential Equations
Solid and Hazardous Waste Management
Supply Chain Management
Are there any charges for accessing these courses?
The courses on the UGC portal can be accessed for free. Every course is free. To compensate the VLE for their efforts and the expense of their infrastructure, a user must pay a fee of Rs 20 per day or Rs 500 per month to access the CSC/SVP infrastructure. Ayushman Bharat Yojana, PM Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana, e-Shram, Pan Card, Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maandhan Yojana (PMSYM), and numerous other government initiatives are similar to this.
Can students use their own devices to access it?
All the above courses will be available on a single portal to be launched by UGC on 29 July as part of the second anniversary of NEP 2020 and students can immediately access all of these courses through CSC/SVPs run all around the nation or their own devices with internet connectivity."⁵