Nearly 25 ‘buddy colleges’ have been identified for an equal number of colleges, which lack online infrastructure facilities, majorly in the rural and interior areas, under a scheme of the Gujarat education department introduced to implement online classes during coronavirus pandemic.
The education department launched online academic work for all government and grant-in-aid technical and non-technical colleges in the state on June 22 under the project ‘Unlimited Digital Advanced Yearlong Academic Method of learning (UDYAM)’. The fees for such classes will be taken online, and these will run till the situation gets normal for physical classes.
A list of seven government colleges and 18 grant-in-aid colleges with corresponding ‘buddy colleges’ has been prepared by the education department for Chhota Udepur, Poshina (Sabarkantha), Ghogha (Bhavnagar), Suigam (Banaskantha), Lakhpat (Kutch), Dahod and Dhrangadhra (Surendranagar).
“Many colleges lack computers, webcams, interactive pads, microphones, internet connection and other infrastructure facilities required to conduct online classes. For such colleges, buddy colleges have been identified which have all these facilities,” said principal secretary, education, Anju Sharma.
“The education department had conducted a survey wherein colleges were asked to send details of the infrastructure facilities available. We have provided help to those where some minor requirements were sought. For others which do not have the required facilities, a list was chalked out so that they can use the facilities available in their nearby colleges,” said M Nagarajan, commissioner, higher education.
As many as 3,400 staff from 49 government technical colleges, 1,700 from 109 government higher colleges and 4,600 faculty from 357 grant-in-aid institutes and 12 vidyapiths have already registered under UDYAM scheme.
A state-level master trainer group has been created at Knowledge Consortium of Gujarat (KCG), Ahmedabad. “KCG has already completed one round of training of 9,013 faculty staff of these institutes. From next week, classes in these colleges are expected to start,” M Nagarajan said.
A platform — Common Gateway of Education and Technology (COGENT) — has been developed for data management and exchange of information. It will also act as a single platform for managing central digital repository of all information pertaining to academic and non-academic staff of all government and grant-in-aid technical and non-technical colleges.
All these higher education institutes including gram vidyapith have to get registered on this portal.
On the online platform, provided by Microsoft free of cost, teachers can also give assignments, conduct quiz and assess students online.
Recorded online lectures are also being uploaded on different social media platforms like Youtube, Namo App and other mediums.
An educational technology resource person has been appointed as nodal officer for each university or college.
The online classes have been launched in view of the University Grants Commission’s (UGC) suggestion as part of guidelines issued on April 29 to cover 25 per cent syllabus through online medium.
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