Jan 29, 2008 02:50
Taking a cue from MIT's Open Courseware initiative, India's most reputed education institutions--the Indian Institutes of Technology--are planning to offer their course material online.
Over 20 video courses in science and engineering of the IITs have been on free trial runs on YouTube since last month. As per this report, 110 video courses, spanning 40 hours, will be ready for online viewing in March this year.
This initiative is part of the National Project on Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL), a joint venture between the seven IITs and IISc, funded by the Ministry of Human Resource Development.
Phase I of the project is complete, costing about US$5 million (Rs20.5 crore) to develop 240 courses in five streams of engineering viz-a-viz civil, computer science, electronics and communication, electrical and mechanical engineering.
NPTEL will also allow colleges to use the course material for in-house students, to help students without Internet access.
While it will be free for government-aided institutions, private institutions will be charged a one-time fee of Rs1 lakh.
Initiatives like this are a way of countering a shortage of faculties and providing a standard for academic content. The main objective of this program is to enhance the quality of engineering education in the country by developing curriculum-based video and Web courses, and making it available to everyone.
India's booming service and manufacturing economy is being challenged by a growing skills gap. Private-sector companies are finding it increasingly difficult to recruit quality talent due to a lack of high-quality college education in India. An estimated 1,500 engineering colleges produced nearly 400,000 engineers last year. But a study commissioned by the National Association of Software and Service Companies (Nasscom) found only one in four engineering graduates to be employable.
The NPTEL program is a step in the right direction and it will hopefully help to alleviate the quality education problem.