Thursday, October 10, 2013

Thouand Educational Channels from HRD ministry? Why?

This press release from HRD Ministry is indeed mind blowing. Ministry want to open 50 new educational DTH channels!!!

According to the press release, "HRD Ministry will soon launch 50 DTH educational channels... stated by the Secretary (HE)... channels will be different from the existing programmes on air including Gyan Darshan as new one will be more interactive... air programmes which will be live and not pre recorded... new initiatives will be one of the largest anywhere in the world of its kind... number of the channels will be increased to one thousand... has spent more than one billion dollars for ICT. Over 400 universities and twenty thousand colleges have been linked with bandwidth..."

I don't know what they are planning to do with 50 new channels. Problem with existing educational channels are neither they are up to the mark nor much interesting. I watched Gyan Darshan somewhat regularly in the past, which led me to wonder what they are planning to achieve by that?

If universities or government don’t have good quality contents then there is no point in launching thousand channels. We are not competing for some Guinness world record contest in total number of educational channels available in India.

Let me ask the ministry, do they have any idea about the popularity of Gyan Darshan itself? Why don’t they do something to improve the programs there? Government want to spend more money in ICT infrastructure? Fine; want to increase the bandwidth available for schools? Fine; want to increase computer literacy? Fine; but don’t immerse us in below average content transmitted over wonderful infrastructure like EDUSAT.

Ministry officials need to see National Geographic, History channel etc for a day and understand what is meant by quality. What about YouTube? Many Indian universities already have presence there. For e.g. youtube channel ‘NPTEL’ run by IIT Madras. Moreover YouTube may soon available in TV sets as well. Why don’t use those facilities?

Bring talented professionals from art-movie sector; bring in private sector; create a network of selected teachers to create/ assist in creating contents; and popularize it among the students. We don’t need thousand channels; 5-10 channels with quality content can serve our purpose.

Also remember that channels needs to be the output of creative process not the one to be mass manufactured by HRD ministry.



1.       Ministry of HRD, GoI.

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