Lakhs of students may not be able to watch educational channels as DTH service providers have asked the government for money to air these channels.
HRD ministry had launched 32 educational channels for providing high quality instruction for higher education, including three that will help students prepare for IIT entrance examination. According to sources, these channels will only be available through Doordarshan set top box and Dish TV.
Sources said that Human Resource Development (HRD) minister held a meeting with all Direct to Home (DTH) service providers and cable operators, during which there was a good response from them. However, subsequently, they have asked for charges to telecast these channels. The content of these channels has been prepared by IIT professors and other experts.
“The channels are being provided on Doordarshan and Dish and we are still trying to negotiate with the other providers. They are asking for `5 crore per year for every channel which is not feasible,” said a senior HRD official.
In August the union HRD ministry gave its clearance to a scheme called Swayam Prabha, allowing 32 direct-to-home (DTH) television channels to broadcast programs for school and university students.
After watching the content, students can clear their doubts through a toll-free helpline number.
The ministry will appoint subject experts to provide good quality content who will be paid on an hourly basis. The content will have pictures, videos and diagrams to make studies more interactive and to help students understand the concept well.
The ministry is planning to broadcast live classroom lectures from IIT Mumbai, Delhi, Kharagpur and Kanpur. Sources said that the ministry is likely to launch a social media campaign to create more awareness about these channels so that more students are able to benefit from it.
“Although more than three crore youth are pursuing higher education, the standard of education is not uniform, raising the issue of quality access to knowledge. Youth in the backward pockets of India need a fair deal in accessing high-quality knowledge to confidently enter the job market,” a senior ministry official said.
“This scheme will help them to learn and understand key concepts while sitting at home,” the official added.