IIT-Madras on Tuesday launched an online BSc degree in programming and data science. The institute claimed this to be the world’s first such online programme.
A person can work towards an undergraduate degree/diploma from an IIT regardless of age or location, and with a wide range of academic backgrounds. To get enrolled, a candidate must have studied mathematics and English in class 10 and should have cleared class 12 or equivalent.
Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, Union Minister of HRD, launched the programme through a virtual meeting.
Data science is one of the fastest growing sectors that is predicted to create 11.5 million jobs by 2026. Online education is a trend being rapidly embraced for high quality education on a large scale. Faculty from IIT-Madras are addressing the need of this sector using online education processes and present an inclusive and affordable education model that will extend IIT’s reach by orders of magnitude, said a press release.
The programme will produce graduates who will be employable in the sector — programming and data science — that presently has high demand, said Bhaskar Ramamurthi, Director, IIT-Madras. “I believe the programme will be a gamechanger in the field of education in the coming years and inspire other top-ranking institutions to launch many such online initiatives.”
The programme uses a combination of online learning and in-person assessment and is flexible and affordable, he said.
There are three levels in the programme — foundation level; diploma level and degree level, according to the programme’s website.
The Minister said an analysis reveals that every year 7 to 7.5 lakh Indian students go abroad in search of better education and the country’s talent and revenue goes outside the country. Institutions such as IIT-Madras have the vision and mission to help the nation move forward on its path to self-reliance by bringing such quality education and unique courses right here in India, he added.
IIT-Madras is not new to introducing online education. In 2001, it began the NPTEL programme, then the country’s first online content portal as an inter-IIT consortium. Today, nptel.ac.in is one of the largest online course portals in the world.
In 2014, the institute created NPTEL online courses — the country’s first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). Today, NPTEL is considered the largest MOOC provider in India, according to the institute.
The Ministry of HRD launched Swayam MOOC platform in 2017 and NPTEL has been the largest contributor to it. NPTEL also managed swayam.gov.in — the national MOOC’s portal — and the network of over 3,800 SWAYAM local chapter colleges.