New Delhi, Jun 30: Union HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' on Tuesday virtually launched the world's first ever online B Sc degree in Programming and Data Science, in the presence of Minister of State for HRD Sanjay Dhotre.
The programme has been prepared by the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras), which is ranked No 1 in India Rankings 2020 by NIRF, and is open to anyone who has passed Class XII with English and Maths at the Class X level, and enrolled in any on-campus UG course.
Congratulating the team of IIT Madras for the launch of the world's first-ever online B Sc degree programme in Data Science and Programming, the Minister said that the current batch of students, who are completing their Class XII in 2020, are eligible to apply.
Graduates and working professionals can also take up this programme, he added.
"This unique offering removes all barriers of age, discipline or geographic location and provides access to a world-class curriculum in data science which is in huge demand for skilled professionals," he said.
Students currently enrolled in a different on-campus programme anywhere in India can pursue this degree programme, without needing to switch careers or courses. Even employers, who want to upskill their employees, can consider this option, without loss of productive time on the job, the Minister added.
According to Pokhriyal, ''The programme brightens up the job prospects for students in a lucrative field, provides opportunity for working professionals to switch careers and also provides learners an opportunity to get a degree from a recognised institution, such as IIT Madras.''
The Minister said IIT Madras had a rich history of continuous innovation and success and its emergence as rank 1 in the NIRF rankings, which consistently underscored the team's talent, mission and vision.
Analysis revealed that every year, 7-7.5 lakh Indian students go abroad in search of better education and the country's talent as well as revenue went outside the country.
Even during this challenging time, when the nation was fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and everyone was forced to be at home, the IITs had come together to innovate for the sake of the nation, he added.
Congratulating the IIT Madras team on the launch of the programme, Dhotre said in today's world, students and professionals have to upgrade their knowledge to stay competitive and work within the constraints of time and location.
This has become even more challenging due to the prevailing COVID-19 situation.
''Data science and programming is a field of most significant growth for the industry and with this online degree opportunity in this important area, IIT Madras will be able to reach many more students," said the HRD MoS.
He expressed confidence that the course would reach diverse learners, "as it provides multiple entry and exit points and serves as a priceless contribution to the nation".
The programme will be delivered on a state-of-the-art online portal and attract learners from even remote parts of the country, where outreach of digital literacy is minimal, the Minister added.
He said to ensure that the online learning platform is closest to a classroom learning experience, the programme will have videos from the faculty, weekly assignments and in-person invigilated exams, just like any other regular course.
According to Dhotre, the programme will hone students' skills in managing data, visualising patterns to gain managerial insights, model uncertainties and build models that assist in producing forecasts to make effective business decisions.
The unique online offering will be offered in three different stages - Foundational Programme, Diploma Programme and Degree Programme. At each stage, students will have the freedom to exit from the programme and receive a Certificate, Diploma or a Degree, respectively, from IIT Madras, he added.
The Minister said based on eligibility, the interested candidates will have to fill a form and pay a nominal fee of Rs 3,000 for the qualifier exam. Learners will get access to four weeks of course content of four subjects (Mathematics, English, Statistics and Computational Thinking).
The students will go through the course lectures online, submit online assignments and write an in-person qualifier exam at the end of four weeks, he added.
In contrast to the typical admission processes of IITs, which are constrained due to the limited number of in-campus seats, in this programme, all students who clear (with an overall score of 50 per cent) the qualifier exam, will be eligible to register for the foundational programme, said Dhotre.
Dr Pawan Kumar Goenka, Chairman, IIT, Madras, Board of Governors, Director and the faculty of the IIT, Madra; Chairman, AICTE Prof Anil Sahasrabudhe; Additional Secretary of MHRD Rakesh Ranjan and other senior officials of the Ministry were present during the launch. (UNI)