Earning IIM, IIT credits via free e-courses a hit

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NEW DELHI: Self-learning through free courses offered by top institutions like IITs and IIMs and earning credits, certificates and diplomas in specialised areas by appearing for an examination for as low as Rs 750 per course is becoming an emerging trend among students and young professionals. An indication of the growing popularity of self-learning, is that the number of candidates appearing for exams for 390 programmes offered on SWAYAM through the National Testing Agency (NTA) platform has gone up from from 3,807 in 2018 to 1.2 lakh in 2023.
For students who were unable to secure a seat in a premier higher education institution or hampered by their location or socio-economic situation, the flexibility to accumulate credits from top institutions and complete their courses in home institutions has come as a boon.
SWAYAM, the Massive Open Online Courses platform, was launched in July 2017 by the ministry of education (then ministry of human resource development) under Digital India to provide a common platform for free web courses in all advanced education. Currently, as per SWAYAM dashboard there are 3.9 crore candidates registered on the platform of which 39.9 lakh have registered for examinations and 25.2 lakh candidates have been certified on successful completion of their courses.
Of the 203 partnering institutions offering 11,770 courses, NTA at present conducts exams for 390 courses offered under six national participating institutions as nodal agencies. They include All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and University Grants Commission (UGC) for self-paced and international courses and for non- technical post-graduation education respectively, Consortium for Educational Communication (CEC) for under-graduate education, IGNOU for out-of-school students , Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore for management studies, and National Institute of Technical Teachers Training and Research (NITTTR) for teacher training programme.
First offered in 2018, barring the Covid-19 year in 2020, the number of candidates taking the tests and successfully completing the courses have been increasing manifold. The year-on-year percentage increase in 2019 was 647%, in 2021 it was 181.9%, in 2022 it was 28% and in 2023 it registered a 204% growth.
NTA is streamlining the semester schedule this year to sync with the university system in India and has scheduled the semester exams in December (for July-November session) and May (January-May session).
“The credits to be earned from premier institutions, even for working professionals, are a special draw. Until now there were no certified courses. But with these courses from top institutions, the certificates not only enhance your CVs, but it also benefits students who for different reasons couldn’t make it to these top institutions,” said Subodh Kumar Singh, director general, NTA.
At present SWAYAM exams by NTA are conducted in 105 cities across India.

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