NROER

The Human Resource Development ministry has launched a new initiative called National Repository of Open Educational Resources (NROER), reports Times of India.

As per the NROER website, this is an initiative by Department of School Education and Literacy, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India and the Central Institute of Educational Technology (CIET), National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) in a bid to provide free educational resources to school students under the Creative Common license.

The website says that the repository includes concept maps, videos, audio clips, talking books, multimedia, learning objects, photographs, diagrams, charts, articles, wikipages and textbooks for all grades in multiple languages. However, we couldn’t find any information on the number of languages in which theses resources will be available.

Users can access the repository to use the resources, comment on them and also contribute to the repository. It appears that NROER is trying to create an open bank of education resources for all grades.

The launch of NROER seems to be in line with the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE)‘s recent partnership with five international and national publishers to provide students with online resources for English, science, social sciences and mathematics including over 4500 animated content, 80 hours of live lectures and six hours of digitized simulation material starting August 2013. The material will be available for free to government schools affiliated to the board while public schools can access the content for Rs 2 per month for classes I to VIII and Rs 10 per month for secondary classes.

It is worth noting that the government has also initiated Sakshat, a platform to initiate Information Communication Technology (ICT) in education, although the current status of this project is unknown. In November 2012, it was also indicated that government had reportedly selected 244 engineering colleges across India to set up remote centres for a new initiative called ‘Aakash in Education’ as an online learning platform which will offer live interactive classes from IIT professors to Engineering students. However, there are no further updates on this initiative yet.

Competition to private online education sector? We believe this initiative could help government and public schools who cannot afford existing education resources, since the cost will no longer be a barrier for them to access supplementary digital education resources.

We also wonder how this free availability of digital education resources will affect existing online education companies like MeritNation and Edewcate which provide paid digital education resources to schools. Although these companies have an advantage of quality content over NROER, where there is no guarantee of the quality of the content available, since it is an open platform.