IT and ICT are important areas in the science and technology syllabus for the UPSC exam. In this article, you can read about the Indian government’s mission and schemes on information technology and communications in the education sector. Government schemes are important for the IAS exam as every year many questions are asked about them in both the prelims and the mains.
National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology (NMEICT) The National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology have been envisaged as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme to leverage the potential of ICT, in the teaching and learning process for the benefit of all the learners in higher education institutions in any time anywhere mode. The Mission was launched by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India in February 2009 with an outlay of Rs 4612.00 crore. The objective is to make the best use of ICT with the purpose of identification and nurturing of talent and life-long learning as well as to extend the educational facility to a larger section of people. The NMEICT scheme comprises 48 different components structured broadly around building e-content, enabling access, and developing low-cost access-cum computing devices.
Sakshat: One-Stop education portal
One-stop education portal launched on 30.10.2006 by his Excellency, the then President of India Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, to facilitate lifelong learning of the students, teachers, and those in employment or pursuit of knowledge, free of cost to them. The portal would become the main delivery portal for the contents developed under the National Mission on Education through ICT. The portal also provides Mission related information and facilitates public scrutiny, feedback, and transparency for the projects undertaken by the Mission. To fulfill this goal, ‘Sakshat’ has been assimilated in NMEICT.
Building Connectivity and Knowledge Network
The Mission aims to extend computer infrastructure and connectivity of up to 10 Mbps to over 25000 + colleges and 2000 polytechnics in the country and 1 Gbps each to 419 universities/deemed universities and institutions of national importance as a part of its motto to provide connectivity up to to the last mile. NMEICT encompasses all three elements. Connectivity to universities and colleges is in progress and as on 31.1.2012, 391 universities and more than 14578 colleges in the country have been connected.
National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL)
NPTEL provides e-learning through online Web and Video courses in engineering, science, and humanities streams. The Mission of NPTEL is to enhance the quality of engineering education in the country by providing free online courseware. NPTEL is a joint initiative of IITs and IIsc funded by the Mission. Over 250 courses are complete and made available in NPTEL phase-I and another 996 courses in various disciplines in engineering and science are getting generated in phase-II of NPTEL.
A strong laboratory component is at the heart of all the engineering disciplines. It is a challenging job to provide an effective lab experience to engineering students under several constraints. MHRD stated Virtual Labs Project in 2009 under the National Mission on Education through ICT. The Virtual Labs project aims to address the above-stated issues and remote access to laboratories in various disciplines of Science and Engineering through the Internet. These Labs are designed to cater to students at the undergraduate level, postgraduate level as well as research scholars of engineering and science. About 150 Virtual Labs are under development in various disciplines of these, 89 labs (with nearly 750 experiments) have been launched on 23-02-2012 by Hon’ble Minister of Human Resource Development.
Educational Resource Planning (ERP)
ERP mission has been funded by MHRD. Its objective is to develop and then deploy the software services for academic institutes of India. Currently, the operational services offered include-Brihaspati-3 learning management system, Library management system, Election Management system for students and other bodies within institutes. Some of the systems – online admission, grant management system, etc. have been built and the online examination system is integrated as part of Brihaspati-3 and thus deployed as a National service. Currently, seventy-one institutes are having an active account on the Brihaspati-3 system.
National Library and Information Services Infrastructure for Scholarly Content (NLIST)
The ‘National Library and Information Services Infrastructure for Scholarly Content (NLIST)’, funded by the National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology (NMEICT), provides for access to scholarly content to colleges, universities as well as centrally funded technical institutions through its four distinct components, i.e. (i) Subscription to UGC-INFONET e-resources for centrally funded technical institutions (IITs, IISc, IISERs, NITs, etc.); (ii) Subscription to INDEST resources for universities; (iii) Access to e-resources for Govt.-aided and non aided colleges; and (iv) National Monitoring Agency at the INFLIBNET Centre to manage access, monitor, promote and impart training to promote optimal usage of e-resources, etc.
Education Satellite (EduSAT) and Direct to Home (DTH) Platforms
The NMEICT is envisaging the delivery of educational content to the students not only at their institutions but also at their homes. For this, the MHRD is setting up a large number of Direct to Home (DTH) educational channels in the country, 50-60 channels shortly, and 1000 channels in Phase II, one DTH channel for every subject for every class and many of the regional Languages. Department of Space Has allotted two Ku-band Satellite transponders in INSAT/GSAT-8 to MHRD for the NME-ICT programme.