University Grant Commission’s new portal to launch more than 23,000 higher education courses for free

University Grants Commission (UGC)

The University Grants Commission (UGC) on 28 July announced that over 23,000 higher education courses, including programmes on Artificial Intelligence, Cyber Security, and Early childhood care, will now be available free of cost on a new web portal.

The portal strives at bridging the digital divide and enriching the accessibility of higher education in remote parts of the country. It will be launched today as a part of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 second anniversary.

The UGC has linked up with the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) to incorporate the e-resources with their over 7.5 lakh Common Service Centres (CSC) and Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) Centres.

“As part of its efforts in making higher education accessible to all, the UGC has been constantly working in making digital resources available to students in English as well as regional languages,” stated UGC Chairman M Jagadesh Kumar.

The CSC’s purpose is to deliver digital access and make e-governance services unrestricted to the citizens at their doorstep, particularly to those who live in rural areas.

“The CSCs and SPVs are being managed and operated by entrepreneurs who belong to the local community and are referred to as village-level entrepreneurs (VLEs). VLEs operate the centres to earn their living by delivering online services. These centres have computers and internet connectivity,” said Kumar.

The courses comprise 23,000 postgraduate courses, 137 SWAYAM Massive Online Open Courses (MOOC) in emerging areas, and 25 non-engineering SWAYAM courses. It can be accessed on the UGC portal for free.

M Jagdesh Kumar said, “All courses are free. However, for availing of the services and infrastructure of CSC/ SPV, a user has to pay a fee of Rs 20 per day or Rs 500 per month to reimburse the Village Level Entrepreneurs (VLE’s) efforts and cost of their infrastructure.”

“This is similar to other government projects like Ayushman Bharat Yojana, PM Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana, e-Shram, Pan Card, Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maandhan Yojana (PMSYM), and many others,” Kumar added.