Plans to launch 500 courses in 10 languages, says Irani

The government today said there are plans to introduce as many as 500 free courses in ten languages through open and distance learning mode this year.
The government along with the University Grants Commission (UGC) are also examining the regulations pertaining to Open and Distance Learning (ODL), HRD Minister Smriti Irani said during Question Hour in the Lok Sabha.
The major streams offered in ODL education include humanities, social sciences and general science.
The Human Resource Development Minister said there are plans to introduce 500 courses in 10 languages in open and distance learning mode this year. These are proposed to be provided through online and mobile applications and would be offered free of cost, she noted.
“The regulations for Open Distance Learning need introspection… In conjunction with the University Grants Commission (UGC), we are introspecting,” Irani said.
Currently, there is one central university — Indira Gandhi National Open University — and 14 public-funded State Open Universities offering programmes in the ODL field.
Besides, Distance Education Institutions (DEIs) of conventional universities and deemed universities provide such programmes.
As part of efforts to improve the overall curriculum, Irani said discussions are on with various global entities.
Irani said the government is discussing with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) on improving the curriculum offered at National Institute of Technology (NITs). Besides, talks are also going on with Stanford University aimed at increasing the educational output at engineering colleges, she added.
To another question, Irani said the government plans to open Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas (JNVs) in 62 districts, which do not have one, this year.
On whether the quota for parliamentarians in Kendriya Vidyalayas would be increased, Irani said it was this government which had raised it to ten from six seats.
“At this time, it will not be proper to increase it (further),” the Minister said.
When asked whether similar system would be introduced for Navodaya Vidyalayas, she said in these schools, the admissions are based on entrance test and merits.
“Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan has received 163 proposals for establishment of new Kendriya Vidyalayas at various places the country,” she said.
Irani said the proposals for opening Kendriya Vidyalayas are considered only after their feasibility is established and subject to availability of resources and sanction of competent authority.
“Similarly, JNVs are opened in districts not having the same after land and temporary accommodation are arranged by the state government/union territory administration and subject to availability of resources and sanction of competent authority,” she added.

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