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A New Initiative launched by Human Resource Development and CIET

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A New initiative by HRD Ministry & CIET
The HRD Ministry along with CIET (Central Institute of Educational Technology) has come up with a new initiative called National Repository of Open Educational Resources (NROER).

NROER aims to offer resources for all school subjects and grades in multiple languages. The resources are available in the form of concept maps, videos, audio clips, talking books, multimedia, learning objects, photographs, diagrams, charts, articles, wiki pages and textbooks.

The Ministry of HRD has been actively engaging with various organisations, to propagate 'Education for All'. This repository will most certainly help to open the doors of educational opportunity to those very little or no access to education.

This initiative is also a significant step towards inclusive education. Opening access to all requires a debate on the issue of ownership, copyright, licensing and a balancing of reach with legitimate commercial interests. This is particularly important for public institutions and public funded projects. I am glad that the NCERT has taken the initiative of declaring that the NROER will carry the CC-BY-SA license.

This decision by NCERT is in tune with UNESCO's Paris Declaration on Open Education Resources and will ensure that all the resources are freely accessible to all. To put it in the language of the Creative Commons-to reuse, revise, remix and redistribute. But to ensure the smooth functioning of this repository, one needs to take support of the various ICT tools.

Shri M.M. Pallam Raju, Hon'ble Minister for Human Resource Development, Shri Ashok Thakur, Secretary, Higher Education, Shri Rajarshi Bhattacharya, Secretary, School Education and Literacy, Prof. Parvin Sinclair, Director, NCERT, other senior colleagues from the Ministry of HRD, were the distinguished participants at this conference.

Shashi Tharoor, who addressed this occasion said "Incorporating ICT in education is a key step towards realising the goals of both the National Education Policy and the National Curriculum Framework. In this rapidly evolving world, where technology has a crucial role to play in education, ICT is a tool that will help enhance the way education is imparted in schools. It will open doors for new ways of interactive learning for students and indeed for the teachers. However, this comes with an underlying caveat that in order to use this tool, students need to have free and open access to educational resources."

"I have no doubt that ICT adds immense value to teaching and learning. While I believe that technology cannot replace a teacher, ICT can aid a teacher and can surely help make the teacher-student relationship more interactive. In a day and age of continuously evolving technology, it is important that various ICT tools are absorbed into everyday teaching. Though it is convenient to explain the science through interactive technology, teachers need to use ICT for other subjects too", he added.

Additionally, contrary to media reports that the Ministry of Human Resource Development has given up on the Aakash tablet project, we do believe that affordable tablets will make a difference to learning outcomes. It will bring far reaching changes in our education system through enhanced portability and connectivity to the most remote villages.

With ICT becoming a part of the curriculum in schools, especially the Kendriya Vidyalayas (KVs), it is bringing our students closer to the larger world, allowing them to understand that their potential and their dreams are not limited to the immediate radius of their villages, towns or cities.

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