SHILLONG, Aug 05: Moving with the times and in keeping with the ‘Digital Programme’ of the Centre, the Indira Gandhi Open University (IGNOU) has decided to digitalize the study material it provides to its students, leaving behind an age of printed material which it had earlier provided.
The move will also address the financial liability of about Rs 200 crore that is spent in the printing of this study material.
“We have decided to digitize all our learning material which will be made available to all the learners in addition to the print materials that we give them,” IGNOU Vice Chancellor (VC) Dr Ravindra Kumar informed here.
Dr Kumar arrived in Shillong on Saturday to address the meeting of the North East Council (NEC) which was constituted earlier last year comprising of all regional directors from the region.
Stating that IGNOU is working on the Digital India initiative call by the PM, Narendra Modi, he said that creating all the study material in the digital format for learners to become familiar with is the first step towards this direction.
Citing the advantage of the digital learning, Dr Kumar said learning material in digital format is very easy to carry and moreover it can easily be transported on smart phones unlike the print format which is fairly bulky for the learners.
“Smart phones can become device for multiple-access device, it serves the purpose as a phone and a small computer and in addition it will give all the digital materials on it,” he said.
Dr. Kumar said the digitalization of study material will reduce the expenditure of Rs 200 crore which is incurred from the time of creating the print material till this is distributed to the learners.
“In the first instance some input will go in creating the digital material, but once this is created, recurring cost will be far less. Our estimate is that the money spend to the tune of 200 crore every year will come down to about 75-100 crore through this digital initiative,” he said.
Moreover, he said that the Government of India has created a communication network in which the PM’s target is to provide broadband facilities to 10 lakh villages.
Stating that this will be a passage for the university, Dr Kumar said, “All digital material will run on this broadband connectivity and our learners located in remote areas will also get access.”
For this purpose, he informed that a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the IGNOU and the National e-Governance Division of the Ministry of Information Technology.
“It provides the entire e-Governance material prepared by the Digital India and nation-wide internet network free of cost,” he said.
Dr Kumar also said that since internet connectivity is a problem in the region, the Gyandarshan and additional facility of Swayam Prabha have been reviewed to address the problem.
Swayam prabha is a group of 32 DTH channels that telecast high-quality educational programmes 24X7 using the GSAT-15 satellite, allowing students to access to classroom lectures on TV sets. The telecast on different subjects from different institutions is provided on 32 DTH channels.
Apart from digitization of learning materials, IGNOU has also decided to create around 5,000 Digital Learning Centres (DLCs) which are under the control of regional directors.
Dr Kumar said that they want to create at least one DLC in every block of the state. “We would like to keep a seating capacity of 50 to begin with in each DLC which will work round the clock,” he said while adding that electricity is a major issue but wherever it is available a DLC will be there.
At present, there are only 200 study centres in the North East and in this regard, Dr Kumar said that IGNOU plans to add more study centres and is waiting for initiatives from the local people.