VidyaDaan and SWAYAM initiative
VidyaDaan is yet another initiative by the Government of India under the DIKSHA platform. It was launched in April 2020. VidyaDaan is a national content contribution program, allowing donations or contributions by private bodies, educationists, and subject experts as well as by government and non-government organisations towards the e-learning resources for school education.
SWAYAM stands for Study Webs of Active Learning for Young Aspiring Minds and is a program under the Ministry of Human Resource Development. Swayam Prabha has 34 direct-to-home (DTH) channels for telecasting educational content. These channels are provided free of cost. It has different channels for high-quality higher education and school education. The Department of School Education and Literacy has partnered with private DTH operators to telecast the educational video content to increase the reach of these educational channels.
ePathshala and Shiksha Vani initiative
ePathshala is a mobile portal/app to access e-textbooks. It was introduced jointly by the MHRD, CIET, and NCERT and launched in November 2015. ePathshala is a storage house of educational resources that can be accessed by students, teachers, parents, and researchers. Available in different languages, English, Sanskrit, Urdu, and Hindi, the platform offers a large number of NCERT textbooks for students in grades 1-12, audio-visual resources by NCERT, and periodicals, supplements, teacher training modules and various other print and non-print materials. The user can download these materials from the platform for offline use and unlimited downloads. One DTH channel with sign languages is available for hearing impaired students. Broadcasting through radio focuses on students living in remote areas.
Shiksha Vani, a Podcast of the Central Board for Secondary Education (CBSE), is available to children in grades 9-12.
Advantages of Digital Education in India
• Students gain practical and technical knowledge.
• Digital learning brought a user-friendly interface at the convenience and flexibility of the students.
• The study materials were made easily available to students.
• The innovative audio-video feature in digital education will enhance the students’ cognitive level.
• With digital learning, a student can access online classes anywhere, at any time.
Disadvantages of Digital Education in India
• Less face-to-face communication with fellow students and teachers
• Lack of discipline, motivation and self-confidence among students
• Increased screen time resulting in poor eyesight and less physical activity
• Unavailability of technically trained teachers to teach the students
• Poor internet connections in the remote areas of the country
• Lack of electronic gadgets and technology for weaker sections of the society
Going Forward: Digital Education
Digital education must address India’s vast culture and language diversity. It should leverage the usage of mobile phones to enable anytime, anywhere access and to increase penetration. Digital agility in digital education is very important, especially during these difficult times of the COVID-19 pandemic. Digital classrooms can be developed by integrating new technology with education. It should ensure quick and multi-mode access to students through Mobile apps, web portals, TV channels and radio. For digital education to be successful, the teachers should be given efficient training, and the infrastructure should be well-equipped.