The Backbone for Empowerment in Education

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The objective of new developments in digital space is to make education available to every section of the society 

By Prof Zahid H Khan, FTK—Centre for Information Technology, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi |

The National Knowledge Network (NKN) is a state-of-the-art multi-gigabit network for providing high speed connectivity to the institutions in the country. Presently NKN connects 510 educational institutions across India. The purpose of such knowledge network goes to the core of the country’s quest for building quality institutions with requisite research facilities and creating a pool of highly trained professionals. The NKN will enable scientists, researchers and students from different backgrounds and diverse geographies to work closely for advancing human development in critical and emerging areas.

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Under NKN, approximately, 22000 colleges and 600 Indian universities are to be connected. While the universities will be connected with 1 Gbps capacity, the colleges will have 10 Mbps connectivity. The various applications under NKN are Countrywide Classroom; Collaborative Research; Grid Computing; Virtual Library; Sharing of Computing Resources, and e-Governance.

ICT initiatives in education
National Mission on Education through ICT (NMEICT) is an initiative of the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Government of India that proposes to spend ` 4,600 crore on building the ICT infrastructure for higher education institutions. Out of the total budget, Rs. 2,000 crore is to be spent on e-Content development based on the syllabi designed by University Grants Commission (UGC).

There is a provision introduced by the ministry that any college and university can start or submit a project. The Ministry gives ` 7 lacs for a course of 40 hours that can be floated by any university and college. The beauty of this initiative is that none of the projects get rejected. The projects are accepted with few modifications. All the content is made available at the official portal – Sakshat. The contents are available free of cost in the wiki model. The university and college teachers have been assigned to create content.

National Programme of Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL) has been started by the Indian Institute of Technology (IITs) to make the content (audio, video, etc) available to the students in the higher education space. The objective has been to make education accessible to everyone one.

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