One class, One channel: HRD plans 12 DTH channels to meet needs of all school students
School students who are confined to homes and finding it difficult to keep up with their studies have a ray of hope as the HRD ministry is planning to beam 12 Direct to Home (DTH) channels on televisions, with each dedicated to one class each.
“The ministry is pursuing a one class, one channel plan. The department of school education and literacy may anchor these 12 channels with appropriate content for every class. The expertise of agencies like the NCERT and the CBSE may be used to develop content and run these channels,” said a senior government official.
While a lot of schools have started taking online classes, this has been accompanied by the constant question of not everyone having proper access to the digital world. Even those, who are lucky to be connected, have expressed concerns over the effects that long hours children spending online may have.
“Internet cannot reach everyone. Therefore, the HRD ministry is exploring radio and television as well. One of the major initiatives is to start 12 DTH channels, each dedicated to one class from standard one to twelve. Appropriate content, in different languages will be beamed to homes which own TVs. These channels will be free,” said the official.
Some of the educational institutions have been using the DTH mode to disseminate education and it is these existing channels which will be repackaged to meet one of the sore needs of the young population. Some of the existing DTH channels have been allocated to the school education segment to run these proposed channels, the official added.
Another official said that a DTH channel catering to higher education sector is also on the cards. It is likely that the All India Council for Higher Education (AICTE) may work in this regard.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had reviewed the education sector and the focus was on leveraging technology to ensure that even those in the remotest parts are reached.
Last month, in an interview to HT, HRD minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank had said that to address the digital divide, his ministry had tied up with Information & Broadcasting ministry to air Swayam Prabha channels on their DTH platform, Tata Sky, and Airtel DTH. Earlier, Swayam channels were be available on DD-DTH, Dish TV and Jio TV App.
“Now a student anywhere in India can request the DTH service provider for these channels without any extra cost as these are free-to-air channels. Swayam Prabha is a group of 32 DTH channels providing high quality educational curriculum based course contents covering diverse disciplines,” the minister had said.
We are also trying to explore the option of All India Radio to transact the curriculum to students so that we can reach the last person in the queue, the HRD minister had said. The ministry is also exploring the idea of using community radio centres to reach the unreached