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President Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday launched two programmes to take education to the remotest corners of the country with the help of technology.
Mukherjee also launched a 'National Academic Depository' where verified educational records would be digitally stored by universities or a board to counter forgery.
The programmes Swayam and Swayam Prabha -- for making education more accessible -- and the depository were conceived and executed by the Ministry of Human Resource Development.
Under Swayam, courses would be offered through digital classrooms with online study material available free of cost in videos.
Students who want certification will have to be registered and then offered a certificate on the completion of the course for a nominal fee, the Swayam website states.
They would have the opportunity to raise queries which would be answered in real-time, Minister of Human Resource Development Prakash Javadekar said.
Students would be assessed through proctored examination and the marks/grades secured in this exam would be transferred to their academic record, according to the website.
Swayam Prabha would tap into the potential of Direct to Home Service wherein a person can install a dish antenna for about Rs 1,500 and have access to 32 digital educational channels run by the HRD Ministry.
Every day, there would be new content for at least four hours which would be repeated five times in a day, allowing students to choose the time of their convenience, Additional Secretary in UGC Pankaj Mittal said.
The course content would cover almost every aspect of education in various fields from class nine and will include preparatory courses for institutes such as the IITs.
Speaking on the occasion, Mukherjee said he had always emphasised on the "quality" of teaching and learning process in higher educational institutions.
He said mere physical expansion might provide access but without physical infrastructure and quality teachers, "the talent which is hidden in the young minds would not get the opportunity to blossom".
The president also said there were huge differences in the quality of education in urban and rural areas, between the states and in educational institutions within a state.
Underlining the need for making quality study material available in regional languages, he said pupils studying in regional mediums in schools found it difficult when the material for higher education was in an alien language.
In his address, Javadekar highlighted the importance of teachers as the function was organised on "Guru Purnima".
Thanking the President for gracing the occasion, Javadekar said Mukherjee, who started his career as a teacher, had an unblemished public life for the last 48 years.
As a mark of respect on 'Guru Purnima' he presented Mukherjee with a gift, which included a "slate" -- a traditional writing tablet.
Javdekar said that speeches made by the president during convocations of various universities would be compiled in various languages and distributed in the varsities.
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