A number of initiatives aimed at not only promoting an environment of innovations, employability and entrepreneurship but also for employing ICT for accelerating Skill-based endeavours are being implemented across the State of Rajasthan, says Ashutosh A T Pednekar, Secretary, Higher Education & Commissioner, College Education, Government of Rajasthan, in conversation with Elets News Network (ENN).
Please share with us your vision for enhancing the higher education space of Rajasthan.
During the last five years, a number of initiatives for bolstering the higher education space of Rajasthan have been undertaken by the Department of College Education. This year itself, more than 17,000 students have been enrolled in various institutions of higher learning in Rajasthan. Further, to create synergy among students, corporate, government researchers and various other educational stakeholders, a number of initiatives are being implemented. Various best practices, at par with global standards, are also being followed upon at institutions across the length and breadth of the State. These new measures would certainly help students on the path of excellence.
At present, the Rajasthan Government’s educational mobile Dishari App that contains a rich collection of educational videos, ranks and leader board, online live tests news and updates is being downloaded by more than 1,000 people on a daily basis.
This is a testimony of our efforts in this direction. Further, bottlenecks concerning faculty, infrastructure and human resources are also now being proactively taken care of.
Please tell us a bit about Bhamashah Sahyog Yojna envisaged by the Department of Higher Education.
Rajasthan has a glorious tradition of philanthropic assistance in the field of education leading to the growth and development of the State. To harness this generosity and benevolence for development of State’s higher education space, Bhamashah Sahyog Yojna has now been launched with a view to curb deficiencies in infrastructure and other facilities in government colleges, thereby overcoming the pitfalls in the field of higher education.
This scheme is a platform to meet educational, vocational, social, infrastructure and welfare needs of government colleges of the State. The scheme envisages soliciting philanthropic assistance of Bhamashah (Donors), support of corporate houses, industries under CSR, Individual contributors, NGO, NRIs, alumni of the institutions and anyone who is willing to contribute to remove the shortcomings of the infrastructure facilities in government colleges and to fulfill other requirements for imparting quality higher education leading to increase in Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER).
As part of the initiative, institutions will register and upload their requirement of essential needs along with the tentative cost. On the other hand, the donors, interested to extend financial support, will get themselves registered on the portal, from any part of the globe, duly mentioning quantum of support, geographical area of their preference and type of support they wish to extend. This provision will provide a common platform creating a link between philanthropists and institutions, thus helping to develop essential facilities required without any additional burden on the state exchequer. Further, no cash support will be taken. However, donors will help by providing the required facilities to the institutions of their choice.
What is the vision in terms of formulating new-age ICT interventions and approaches?
A number of ICT-led initiatives and measures are currently being introduced for the benefit of student fraternity in the State. Some of the major initiatives that I wish to share, include:
Higher and Technical Education Portal: Through the web portal i.e. www.hte.rajasthan. gov.in, in addition to useful information for the student fraternity, currently, the hassle-free, userfriendly online procedure for admission process has successfully been implemented in all Government Colleges for UG and PG classes. This is aimed at creating a single database of students. Automation of academic processes for college and university is being made in it along with integration of NOC application of Private colleges with affiliation management process of Universities.
Smart Class/E-Class Programme: Under this initiative, we have so far established classrooms in 35 Government Colleges in the first phase. Going forward, plans are to establish 41 Government Colleges in the second phase. Online ELectures on Higher Education Portal for e-learning repository will now be made available under this ambitious project.
Smart Science Labs at Seven Division Headquarters Colleges: In seven selected Government Colleges at Divisional HQ, smart science lab will soon be established, which shall serve as centres of educational excellence that will showcase the Virtual reality, Augmented Reality experiments to help students visualise the scientific content.
Crowdsourced Social Platform for Education: To expand the horizon of sharing knowledge with students and teachers on the same online education platform, use of Artificial Intelligence for the resource of knowledge sharing as a virtual repository is also being enhanced. This will also serve as Quick Response System (QRS) for students.
Bolstering the Idea of WI-FI Campuses: To increase the access of digital content among students of all government colleges, free Wi-fi facility is being provided to students. This will not only enhance the e-learning habits in the students but will also give a boost to Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) to be given to students.
BSNL Internet Lease Line Facility to Colleges: To provide high-speed Internet facility in Government colleges, four Mbps dedicated lease-line is being provided by BSNL in about 115 government colleges.
Library Automation: In selected 40 Govt colleges, initially, the library is being computerised using web-based library computerisation software and through it, integration of all the libraries will be carried out in a phased manner.
Aadhar-enabled Biometric Attendance System: The attendance of all teaching and non-teaching employees of the Government Colleges is now being made on Aadhar-Enabled Biometric Attendance System which is integrated with “Raj Upasthiti” online module. This will bring in increased transparency in the overall attendance system.
Digital Classroom by CISCO under CSR: A number of Digital Classrooms are being established in all 44 Govt Girls colleges by CISCO under CSR to share online lectures among each other.
Spoken Tutorials for Free or Open Source Software (FOSS) Courses: An initiative (available at http://spoken-tutorial.org), powered by MHRD Part of NMEICT through Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay as a partner to about 104 Government colleges was identified to encourage students to use free of cost audio-video e-learning resource to learn FOSS software – useful for UG/PG classes.