Update (September 25): The Union Cabinet has approved the signing of a Joint Declaration of Intent between the HRD ministry and US Department of State to cooperate on the SWAYAM programme for online education. As part of this initiative, the SWAYAM platform server will be based in India and US universities will be invited to offer post-graduate academic programs with certification on the platform. More on that here. Earlier: The Union HRD Ministry has initiated the SWAYAM Programme, a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) platform that is expected to go live within this year. On this platform professors of centrally funded institutions like, IITs, IIMs, Central Universities, etc will offer online courses that will be accessible by all Indians free of cost. The learner will also be able to request for a verified certificate, though a small fee will be charged for that. During the first phase IIT Bombay, IIT Chennai, IIT Kanpur, IIT Guwahati, University of Delhi, Jawahar Lal Nehru University, IGNOU, IIM Bangalore, IIM Calcutta, and Banaras Hindu University have been brought onboard. Courses in areas such as engineering, social science, energy, management, and basic sciences, among others will be made available to learners. It’s worth noting that during the budget presentation, earlier this year, Finance Minster Arun Jaitley had proposed the setting up of virtual classrooms and online courses for school education. He had also allocated Rs 100 for this initiative. Setting up MOOCs and virtual classrooms was one of the objectives of BJP’s 2014 election manifesto as well. National Programme…
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