SCOPE OF EDUSAT Dr. R. SIVAKUMAR INTRODUCTION The pivotal role of education as an instrument of social change by altering the human perspective and transforming the traditional mindset of society is well recognized. The universalisation of education has become the top priority, especially for the developing countries. But the extension of quality education to remote and rural regions becomes a Himalaya task for a large country like India with multi-lingual and multi-cultural population separated by vast geographical distances and in many instances, inaccessible terrain.
Since independence, India has seen substantial increase in the number of educational institutions at primary, secondary and higher levels as well as the student enrolment. But the lack of adequate rural educational infrastructure and non-availability of good teachers in sufficient numbers adversely affect the efforts made in education. EDUSAT is the first Indian satellite built exclusively for serving the educational sector and it was launched successfully by GSLV-F01 on 20-9-2004.
It is mainly intended to meet the demand for an interactive satellite based distance education system for the country. It strongly reflects India’s commitment to use space technology for national development, especially for the development of the population in remote and rural locations. EVOLUTION OF EDUSAT The concept of beaming educational programmes through satellites was effectively demonstrated for the first time in India in 1975-76 through the Satellite Instructional Television Experiment (SITE) conducted using the American Application Technology Satellite (ATS-6).
During this unique experiment, which is hailed as the largest sociological experiment conducted anywhere in the world, programmes pertaining to health, hygiene and family planning were telecast directly to about 2400 Indian villages spread over six states. Later, with the commissioning of INSAT system in 1983, a variety of educational programmes are being telecast. With the success of the INSAT based educational services, a need was felt to launch a satellite dedicated for educational service and ISRO conceived the EDUSAT Project in October 2002.
EDUSAT is to be launched on board ISRO’s Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle, GSLV, in September 2004. EDUSAT was developed by ISRO Satellite Centre, Bangalore. The payloads were developed by Space Applications Centre, Ahmedabad. Master Control Facility at Hassan is responsible for all post launch operations of the satellite. It is specially configured to meet the growing demand for an interactive satellite based distance education system for the country through audio-visual medium, employing Direct To Home (DTH) quality broadcast.
The satellite will have multiple regional beams covering different parts of India. EDUSAT FOR RURAL STUDENTS The main purpose of this is to provide education to all people primarily children from remote areas of the country who cannot go to schools or colleges. The classes would be conducted by various State Education Boards, NCERT, CBSE, Universities etc in a studio environment using power point presentations as well as the common black board. There could be interactive as well as non interactive sessions offered.
Classes would be conducted in a studio environment eliminating the need for a large number of competent, qualified teachers and televised to the entire nation. These classes would be beamed to pre-destined areas using the EDUSAT similar to regional TV programs on ‘Doordarshan’. It will be in the form of TV programs Students attending the classes will be able to ask questions to the teachers conducting classes through SMS, email or other mode of communication, something similar to a TV talk show.
To enable this, schools/colleges should have an interactive receiving terminal which is currently being supplied free by ISRO to selected schools/colleges as the whole program is at an experimental stage. In addition these classes would be recorded on a CD and converted into a computer file and made available on the net without the interactive session. They will be available from the archives at any later date in the future. The Government is trying to achieve in the education field using space technology.
The wider picture is that, this will give a thrust to distance education. Education will be available at a fraction of its cost to a large number of students in higher education. A large number of students can be educated by a very few extremely efficient teachers who can reach them from the studios located in the universities or education boards. Education can be taken to the students rather than students walking long distances to schools as in the case of rural India.
Students can receive education at their own pace and at their own convenience especially those who are employed. This technology can be used to eliminate illiteracy in other parts of the globe. Already there are talks about providing education to neighboring countries like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka. , and Afghanistan etc. using the EDUSAT. This is going to revolutionize education in the country. It would be necessary to have proper infrastructure such as communication facilities, power etc. in remote areas for this to work. Power can be supplied using solar power.
EDUSAT IN DISTANCE EDUCATION EDUSAT is primarily meant for providing connectivity to school, college and higher levels of education and also to support non-formal education including developmental communication. The quantity and quality of the content would ultimately decide the success of EDUSAT System. Satellites can establish the connectivity between urban educational institutions with adequate infrastructure imparting quality education and the large number of rural and semi-urban educational institutions that lack the necessary infrastructure.
Besides supporting formal education, a satellite system can facilitate the dissemination of knowledge to the rural and remote population about important aspects like health, hygiene and personality development and allow professionals to update their knowledge base as well. Thus, in spite of limited trained and skilled teachers, the aspirations of the growing student population at all levels can be met through the concept of tele-education. EDUSAT – IMPLEMENTING AGENCIES MINISTRY OF HUMAN RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT (MHRD)
The Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD), Govt. of India has been promoting actively the open and distance learning systems in the country. The launch of the Gyan Darshan bouquet of satellite based TV channels and Gyan Vani FM Radio Network are recent examples. The launch of EDUSAT marks a major milestone in the country and poses enormous challenges as well as offers excellent potential for the ministry. They have proposed to use the ICT capabilities of the EDUSAT satellite for Elementary Education, Literacy, Vocational Training and Teacher’s Training.
A later phase will expand to include Agriculture, Health, and Community Development Programmes etc. INDIAN SPACE RESEARCH ORGANIZATION (ISRO) ISRO provides the space segment for EDUSAT System and demonstrate the efficacy of the satellite system for interactive distance education. EDUSAT is the first exclusive satellite for serving the educational sector. It is specially configured for audio-visual medium, employing digital interactive classroom and multimedia multi-centric system. ISROs EDUSAT would help reach content to remote areas. The content could be for primary schools, high school or colleges.
The same satellite transmission facility could be used to reach lectures and study materials from special educators and experts to inaccessible areas where quality education did not reach. The satellite has multiple regional beams covering different parts of India INDIRA GANDHI NATIONAL OPEN UNIVERSITY (IGNOU) Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), a pioneer in Distance Education and Open Learning in the country, was established to provide cost-effective, quality education to large sections of our population including those living in remote and far flung areas.
Today IGNOU has emerged as the world’s single largest university. It has an efficient and effective networking of 32 Partner Institutions, 48 Regional Centers, 5 Sub-Regional Centers and over 1133 Study Centers, all over India. IGNOU expands the educational facilities in the remote areas of the country through EDUSAT. The University has been working to develop satellite based educational network dedicated for education since 1993. Extensive teaching learning using these networks has been growing fast.
Through such a network IGNOU conducted induction programme for new students through teleconferencing during September 25-26, 2004 which was attended by thousands of students spread over more than 150 receiving stations across the country. UNIVERSITY GRANTS COMMISSION (UGC) The University Grants Commission (UGC) was formally established only in November 1956 as a statutory body of the Government of India through an Act of Parliament for the coordination, determination and maintenance of standards of university education in India.
The UGCs is Country Wide Classroom (CWCR) programmes were started to be broadcast from August 15, 1984. The commission is at present supporting 7 Educational Media Research Centers (EMRC / EMMRC) and 8 Audio-Visual Research Centers (AVRS) are being supported for training of personnel and production of software. In order to make distance learning more effective and bring best teachers in the country within the reach of all section of students including semi-urban and rural students.
Through EDUSAT the University Grants Commission (UGC) expands the educational facilities to Universities and Colleges located in remote areas, Academic Staff Colleges, Media centers etc. GURU NANAK DEV UNIVERSITY Guru Nanak Dev University is the first University of India to have EDUSAT network at University campus with 120 interactive terminals at receiving stations to set up at different instruments. The special feature of EDUSAT being installed at this university would have two-way communication. Both Video and Audio would make virtual class-room a real life situation.
This university was established on 1st may 1981 under UGC scheme. NATIONAL COUNCIL OF EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH AND TRAINING (NCERT) The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) was set up by the Government of India in 1961 as an autonomous organization registered under Societies Registration Act (Act XXI of 1860) to advise and assist the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India and Departments of Education in States / UTs in formulation and implementation of their policies and major programmes in the field of education, particularly for qualitative improvement of school education.
In addition to research, development, training, extension, publication and dissemination activities, the NCERT acts as a major agency for implementing the bilateral Cultural Exchange Programmes with other countries in the field of school education. The NCERT also interacts and works in collaboration with international organizations, visiting foreign experts and delegations and offers various training facilities to educational personnel from developing countries.
NCERT expends its reach through EDUSAT to NCERT centers across the country, Central Tibetan School, National Institutes of Open Learning, Kendriya Vidhyalayas, Jawahar Navodaya Samitis and etc. ALL INDIA COUNCIL FOR TECHNICAL EDUCATION (AICTE) The statutory All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) was established for proper planning & coordinated development of technical education system throughout the country.
AICTE was sent up under an ACT in 1987 – To provide for establishment of an All India council for Technical Education with a view to the proper planning and coordinated development of the technical education system throughout the country, the promotion of qualitative improvement of such education in relation to planned quantitative growth and the regulation and proper maintenance of norms and standards in the technical education system and for matters connected therewith.
AICTE plans to cover Engineering Colleges and Institutes of Technology across the country under EDUSAT. CONCLUSION The scope of EDUSAT is to make distance learning more effective and bring best teachers in the country within the reach of all section of students including semi-urban and rural students. REFERENCES Balachandra Bhandigadi, (2005), Impact of EDUSAT on school students and teachers, NCERT. Harifa Menakath (2007), EDUSAT as a source of information for the Academic pursuit of Teachers.
University News, Vol. 45, No10. Madavan Nair, G. (2005), EDUSAT: Heralding a New Era in Distance Education, University News, 43 (39). Marmar Mukhopadhay (2006), Story of EDUSAT, Shipra publication, New Delhi. WEB REFERENCES http://www. edsatindia. org http://www. indiatelevision. com http://www. isro. org http://www. ncert-nic-in http://www. aicte. ernet. in http://www. icar. org. in http://www. ignou. ac. in http://www. ugc. ac. in
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