UGC’s new portal to offer more than 23,000 higher education courses for free

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The University Grants Commission (UGC) said on July 28 that more than 23,000 higher education courses will be available for free on its new web portal.

The courses include programs on artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and early childhood care and much more.

The portal aims to bridge the digital divide and improve access to higher education in remote parts of the country.

It will be launched today, July 29, as part of the second anniversary of the National Education Policy-2020.

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The UGC has contacted the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) to integrate the e-resources with their more than 7.5 lakh Common Service Centers (CSC) and Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) Centers to offer these courses from the upcoming academic session of 2022-23.

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“As part of its efforts to make higher education accessible to all, the UGC has continuously worked to make digital resources available to students in both English and the regional languages,” said UGC President M Jagadesh Kumar.

The aim of the CSCs is to provide digital access and make e-governance services available to the citizens, especially those living on their doorstep in rural India.

Nearly 2.5 lakh CSCs and SPVs operate in Gram Panchayats and more than 5 lakh CSCs/SPVs are functional across the country.

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“The CSCs and SPVs are managed and operated by entrepreneurs belonging to the local community and are referred to as village entrepreneurs (VLEs). VLEs operate the centers to earn a living by providing online services. These centers have computers and internet connectivity,” said Kumar.

The courses include 23,000 postgraduate courses, 137 SWAYAM MOOC courses in emerging areas and 25 non-technical SWAYAM courses. There is no cost to access these on the UGC portal.

“All courses are free. However, to use CSC/SVP’s services and infrastructure, a user must pay a fee of 20 per day or 500 per month to reimburse the ELO’s efforts and the cost of their infrastructure,” said Kumar.

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“This is comparable to other government projects like Ayushman Bharat Yojana, Prime Minister Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana, e-Shram, Pan Card, Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maandhan Yojana (PMSYM) and many others,” added Kumar.

(With inputs from PTI)

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