Government Plans for Students to receive $37 computers

If everything goes according to the plan and the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry has its way, students at the UGC-recognised colleges and universities across the country may soon get low-cost computers to aid learning in anytime-anywhere' mode. The move forms part of the National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology (NMEICT) that envisages, among other things, computer infrastructure and connectivity to over 18,000 colleges and each department of the 419 universities through the department of telecommunication. The idea is to leverage the potential of ICT in providing personalised and interactive knowledge modules over the internet to learners in higher education.

At the heart of the mission is the effort to enhance the gross enrolment ratio (i.e., the percentage of Std XII-passouts making it to higher studies) from the existing 10 pc to 15 pc by the end of the 11th Five Year Plan (2007-12). The NMEICT also aims at bridging the digital divide the gap between those who can use computing devices for teaching and learning and those who have remained untouched by the digital revolution in urban and rural areas. In a letter to the vice-chancellors of all universities, HRD ministry's joint secretary (distance learning) N K Sinha has called for acceleration of the NMEICT initiatives to ensure better instruction and reach of the educational delivery system. This is to be achieved through generation of high-quality e-content and connectivity for delivering it.