Last year, 4 lakh Students Filled Admission Forms from Home”

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Dr Abhay Wagh, Deputy Secretary, Department of Higher and Technical  Education, Government of Maharashtra, shares his views on how technology is becoming the vital component of the state’s educational roadmap

Dr Abhay WaghWhat initiatives have been taken by your department to make optimal usage of technology?
We recognise the fact that technology is an important tool for achieving good  governance and improving the quality of services. In the department, there  are numerous outstanding examples of e-Governance solutions running  successfully. We have online admission system for technical education,  through which the admission process has become fully automated. Last year,  about 4 lakh students and their parents could sit at home and fill the  admissionform instead of waiting in long queues. It not only saved their  ravel   ost and time, it also reduced errors associated with manual processing. Then there is the e – Library:, through which selected institutes have invested in and developed of e-learning resources, e-books, online journals and other e-content from national / international sources. These facilities are provided online and can be availed by students and faculty anytime.
Other technological solutions that we use include – Online Feedback &  Students Grievance Redressal system , Online approval for educational  institutions, Video conferencing systems for greater participation in  administration, Online Management Information system for Technical  Institutes in Maharashtra.

Are any step being taken for connecting higher education institutes to enable knowledge sharing?
Great progress has been made for connecting Institutes of Higher Learning for  developing a knowledge network to share, disseminate, collaborate and  generate information. High Capacity Internet Bandwidth is being provided at  subsidised rates to universities and Institutes of Higher Learning and about  1400 Institutes (including Universities) of Higher Learning in Maharashtra have availed such connections under National Mission on Education through  Information and communication Technology (NMEICT) till date. Further,  National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL) has been  launched to provide e-learning through online web and video courses in  engineering, science and humanities. Through Technical Education Quality  Improvement Programme (TEQIP), selected institutes have been provided  funds for Campus Wide Networking, Networking between institutions for  enhancing access to and sharing of Learning Resources available in a cluster  and of course provision of Internet. Further, Information Exchange Network  has been established in Non – Agricultural Universities for Information  Exchange between these Universities, Colleges and State Government.

Do you think technology can be used to enhance access in higher education?
Technology can be used to increase accessibility to higher education, especially to the vulnerable and disadvantaged sections of society who  couldn’t join regular education. In Maharashtra, Yashwantrao Chavan  Maharashtra Open University (YCMOU) has launched EduSat-based  education, supported by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). The  university has established several Virtual Learning Centres (VLCs) in the State, each having two-way audio and video communication facilities. The  students registered for programmes at the VLC attend lectures there. The  experts deliver their lectures from the main hub at the university headquarters or from the substudio at Pune.

What are the future plans of the department?

One of the most important initiatives being planned by the department is  integration with Aadhaar project. The financial disbursements like salaries of  teachers, scholarships of students. shall be linked to Aadhaar, ensuring  guaranteed and targeted delivery of services to unique and genuine  beneficiaries. It shall greatly help in weeding out duplicate and fake  beneficiaries from the system.


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