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Eduvoice’s Exclusive Interview with Former AICTE Director Dr. Manpreet Singh Manna over SWAYAM

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Dr. Manpreet singh Manna

When i asked him what is SWAYAM he said “Khud se” i.e. anyone can learn themselves without any constraints of time, location, money, language and many more.

Dr. Manpreet singh manna

Dr. Manpreet Singh Manna

Former Director, All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE)

I get a profound opportunity to talk with one of the minds behind this – Dr. Manpreet Singh Manna (Former AICTE Director) who nurtured and nourished this idea to one of the largest MOOC’s platform in the world.

SWAYAM or Study Webs of Active –Learning for Young Aspiring Minds is an instrument for self-actualization providing opportunities for life-long learning.

Here are some excerpts from Eduvoice’s Exclusive Interview with Dr. Manpreet Singh Manna talking about SWAYAM.

Sujata Mehta: I want to know everything about SWAYAM, as I don’t know anything about it. Also, why the Government of India has taken this initiative?

MOOCs

Dr. Manpreet Singh Manna : The Government of India has taken this initiative we all know as SWAYAM, which is one of the biggest platforms that we have in this world. There are many similar platforms in the list by the name of JMOOCs i.e. Japan Massive Open Online Courses, KMOOCs Korean MOOC’s , Coursera MIT, ADEX, and many more MOOCs all around the world.

The Government of India also started a massive open online course and the name has been given as Studying Webs of Active Learning for Young and Aspiring Minds (SWAYAM).

SWAYAM is the only online platform in the world which caters to the needs of the student from ninth standard to post-graduation. The reason for creating this holistic one of the largest platform globally is because students felt that they are not receiving the content which they desire and the market desires the reasons could be many including teachers incompetence, language barrier and maybe students interest. Family constraints are there too that can’t be ignored.

India is the second most populated country in the world. If we go through the data then we are creating every 6th graduate in the world and in spite of these figures are gross enrolment ratio(GER) is 25.2%. While China and America have GER at 43% and 83% respectively.

After such figures, the Government of India started funding Indian Institutes like IITs to create Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) but these MOOCs were in isolated form.

The best example of such MOOCs is NPTEL which was led by IIT Chennai for creating some engineering and technical courses but still, there was some gap. That was these lessons were classroom recordings and were not structured MOOCs.

MOOCs have a certain structure, there are four quadrants in a MOOCs,

four quadrants in a MOOCs

1.E-Content

2. E-Tutorial

3. Assessment

4. Discussion Forum

The first is E-content which is the video content, the second quadrant is E-Tutorial in which the teacher or the professor gives the notes to the students in the form of books or PDF.

The third is quadrant is Assessment. I’m giving a quiz, I’m not sitting along with the student who is appearing for the course or tutorial or word assignments. He’s having a full space to think of it. If we observe today’s learner their usage of computer data in India is far more than any other country.

All learners are always active in the night, hours from 9 to 12 or even 1:00 am. They are very much active on their internet and surfing. Their energy level is so high at this time but in morning hours when I asked them to come to the classrooms at 8:30 am I think 50% they do not reach to the first class or even second class.

So, why the teacher has to wait for the students in the class rather wherever the student wants to get learn teacher is available. That is a MOOCs. They open, their laptop teacher is very in front of them.

The fourth quadrant is very specific quadrant. It is called as Discussion Forum.

If you go and ask students 90 % of them will say I was in class, I was very curious to ask some questions, even I raised my hand. The irony is then teacher replied to them that I have no time for this and I will complete my curriculum and many other such excuses we all know about.

Many Edison’s raise hands in my country and many Edison’s bring down on the same day because their capacity level goes to zero when the teacher does not respect their queries.

This thing has been overcome by SWAYAM platform in the form of our Discussion Forum.

Do you have any doubts? 24 X 7 you can go to that chat box, go to the discussion forum platform. As soon as you got enrolled for any course on SWAYAM, a chat box immediately pops up and you can ask questions there and discuss all your queries. By this Discussion forum, both teacher and students have the privilege to use this forum at any point of time from anywhere in the world.

Sujata Mehta: Won’t you think it will be a difficult task for a teacher to attend each and every question of all students? It might be tedious at a time also annoying if there were repetitive questions. How SWAYAM is combating with this?

Dr. Manpreet Singh Manna: So for this, we have another thing that is an archive. This enables students to go to a past blog and search if the same question has been asked by someone else. They can explore archived blog via a search tool, so by typing any word they will be seeing all past posts related to that.

Any Time Learning

So basically it is anywhere, anytime education, that is the motive. So it is Any Time Learning ATL like ATM.

SM: You stated very interesting term ATL – Any Time Learning similar to ATM for SWAYAM. Why so?

Dr. Manna: You know, in our country India, 70% of engineering colleges do not have the sufficient hostel facility to accompany all students inside the campus. Although it should be engineering starts by evening, morning, it’s a teaching, but at the time they sit on the yellow bus and they go to the home or maybe their PGs. The daily spend more than two hours in transportation during that period. What they’re doing? Few of them listening to music or chatting on your Facebook or maybe chatting with their classmates.

So if they have an App on mobile and it is one course they can do at that time by listening and watching videos. That’s why we brought Mobile for SWAYAM in all the three variants of IOS, Windows, and Android. Log in or you can create your own id just in two minutes. No document needs to be submitted when signing up.

SM: How students will be authenticated at the time of examination?

Dr. Manna: It’s when anyone going to appear for the examination before that, you have to have a hall ticket. We take the postal address and Adhaar card details just to make the sure person giving examination is the same who have enrolled for the course.

People will sometimes start misusing it. So, the Government of India made a very secure form and in the future, we are coming with our online proctor examination on SWAYAM through which we will be capturing the biometrics. Also like the mouse you’re using, you must be having your biometrics on fingers, the screen you’re sitting that you’re identity and eye scanned by the camera.

If you’re moving your eyes from here to there, it was you or start looking at some books or notes or somebody is helping you, you will be automatically disqualified. So all this kind of AI programs running in different countries. We are bringing the same model. But as one today we made flexibility either pen and paper or online examination.

SM: Do we have designated SWAYAM centers in our country who takes the online examination? And what’s the count?

Dr. Manna: Yes we have designated centers, more than 3000 centers in India and as per their subject choice code.

SM: As students who have opted for SWAYAM courses also enrolled in regular university degree programmes. So in that case, might the date overlapped for both the examination will be there. How it is been managed by SWAYAM?

Dr. Manna: We had realized this and the government of India, UGC and AICTE put a notification that specific week of December and June of every year no any other examination to take place in any university or any college. Let this be SWAYAM exam period. So for that reason, we have made this a very much a foolproof system that students should not face any difficulties for evaluation system or a conduction system.

SM: SWAYAM platform has multiple languages for various courses so how this idea came into the picture also what problem you have faced while developing multilingual content for the platform?

Dr. Manna: As it was noticed from the existing MOOCs still many students could not get benefit out of that as in spite of selecting the amazing IIT courses, the courses did not suffice the needs of all kind of students.

For example, a student from a rural area in Rajasthan cannot make the complete use the available resources. As they lack the tool and understanding of the language in which the lectures are being imparted.

So keeping the language barrier in mind SWAYAM is the first MOOCs platform with multiple language translation including languages like Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, and Assamese, etc.

Even though we haven’t found success in all the language yet but the work is going on. Though the tools like the Google translation are available these are the not most reliable source of translating a language when the education scene comes into the picture, they would suffice the needs of a tourist but are not the most reliable source for translating lectures.

We are looking CDAC and such other agencies for their help in a translation Machine tool. There are some machine learning engine tools we have developed where the translation is going to be done, because Google translation, we can’t say it’s the authentic one, although it’s good to be for that a tourist for purchase or for this kind of communication, but when you are talking about some content it needs to be exact. I know that somebody has to get the credits out of it, so that is the one thing.

SM: You just mentioned somebody has to get credits out of it. What kind of credits are these?

Dr. Manna: The other thing government of India has done, I must appreciate the government of India for this step. They brought this Choice Based Credit System in the country. It is a game changer.

Choice Based Credit System

The first time I realized that if my parents wanted me to become an engineer, but I was very much good in music, but I couldn’t choose music reason being that my father’s said that, it can’t be your bread and butter the whole life, but you go and join your nonmedical.

I did my Btech Mtech and Ph.D. Today. I’m a successful engineer no doubt, as an administrative, but where is my music in my 16 pages of worth biodata, you will not find a single line how I could perform something in classical music or music of my taste. It happened many times.

I’ve appeared for SSB. They said, what are your hobbies? I said, music, it is not written in your biodata, but how I m going to get that. As there is no such process to evaluate my music skills. 64 subjects of my engineering only I have studied and have been evaluated during my B Tech.

Now 20% Choice Based Credits(CBC) means they can take from SWAYAM even drama, journalism or music, although they are doing, B tech or maybe studying humanities or even commerce. That is what I call is change, that’s happening for the first time in this world.

If you see the MOOCs success rate is too low. I say 5% to 7% because we take content, we feel, okay, I learned it but it won’t be evaluated. Whenever we go for the certification, maybe because of their cost or maybe your timings or your interests get faded away after some time.

If you have taken one course for four credit which is linked with your degree, your credentials, so you have to go for the examination level too.

There is no escape. Otherwise, your degree is going to be put on hold as you have left one course of your regular curriculum and have taken from SWAYAM. The Government of India has given this freedom to opt for Choice Based Credit system.

SM: Is it everyone student in our country can opt for this Choice Based Credit system irrespective of its stream or course perusing?

Dr. Manna: Yes, All Indian students after 12th whether who are doing BA, BSc, B. Com, B.tech, etc. Except for MBBS because IMC have not given this gazette notification.

UGC and AICTE have given this gazette notification in 2016 and it is available on the portal (swayam.gov.in). You will find the notification for the all-university vice chancellors and Directors of Autonomous Institutes that you have to put the courses which you can offer from SWAYAM on your notice board two months prior to the session.

The students should know this out of this basket. I can take two courses rather, I’m going to listen from my teacher who’s teaching from last 10 years, but he’s using that all faded notes and forced you to study from that only.

SM: How many courses students can swap their subjects in degree course with SWAYAM?

Dr. Manna: Yes, 20% maximum in your whole curriculum. Suppose you have to behave 160

redits for engineering out of that 160 they can opt for 32 credits of 20% very precisely. You can take SWAYAM.

You know last semester 26 University students appeared for SWAYAM. I was an observer in one of the university in Patiala many second-year students there had opted for environmental science subject through SWAYAM. It was not in their curriculum and no teacher is available for this.

I believe it’s a big change in our country. If tomorrow’s lawmaker and law protector is understanding the environment our environment is going to be in safe hands.

It was the end of the first part of the interview with Mr. Manpreet Manna (Former and Founder Director SWAYAM-AICTE) but not end of the knowledge and discussion.

We absorbed many things about SWAYAM in this part of the interview from him, but many more hidden facts and details of SWAYAM yet to come in the Part-2.

You will get to know what other challenges SWAYAM faced while execution, amazing stats of reality of the Indian education system, how you can launch your own courses here and many more. Stay tuned for next part.

Also if you have any queries and suggestion regarding let us know in the comment section for sure it will be answered.

inspiration

Groom The Young To Take Interest In Astronomy: ISRO Chief,Kasturirangan

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Kasturirangan

Indian students can reach for the skies if an interest in astronomy is instilled in them right from their school days, former Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chief K Kasturirangan has said. India would be one of the leaders in the field of astronomy in the future, he stated so speaking to PTI.

For India to be “right in the forefront” of astronomy, it was important to draw the interest of the youth, he told PTI. Predicting that planetary explorations would further grow in the coming years, the scientist said there was a great scope for youngsters in this field. To generate interest in astronomy among the youth, the government should promote activities right from the schools, in colleges as well as universities and other research areas, he said.

We need a large number of youngsters from the university system, institutions, observational institutes,” he stressed. Asked if India was capable of taking up space expeditions and research works on its own, K Kasturirangan said ISRO would need to partner other nations after a certain point.

He, however, advised the government not to go in for loans to facilitate space research programmes. “We should not take loans because investments are very large and the resources can be very demanding. And I don’t think there is any reason why we should when the international community also looks to collaboration with India because Indians are easy to collaborate with, are capable and can contribute substantially to major programmes. We have demonstrated that in the past,” the space scientist said.

Underlining India’s strong presence in international space programmes, the Padma Vibhushan awardee of 2000 predicted tremendous opportunities for the country in this field.

News Source :PTI COURTESY

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