Doordarshan and All India Radio: Making Distance Education Convenient

Under this proposal, training can be provided to teachers by a “set of master trainers”, who will turn these teachers into “programmers” and “scriptwriters”.

One year after the covid-19 outbreak, access and affordability continue to plague teachers as well as students. The cost to health and continuous exposure to screens and financial burden on teachers and students are the side effects of online learning. With physical learning almost out of question,  access to education is now almost exclusively online. The children of the village have no access to online education. Even if teachers try to help them, there is a limit to each teacher’s ability to spend. Luckily, the Indian government has a solution right in front of it.

The government of India owns All India Radio and Doordarshan. Doordarshan has 34 satellite TV channels which are operated from 49 studio centres in every city and 17-well-equipped studios in the state capitals.

The Prasar Bharati Act of 1997 grants autonomy to All India Radio and Doordarshan, both of which were previously government-controlled entities. The Act received the assent of the president of India in 1990, but it was implemented in November 1997.

Therefore all the responsibilities that were previously held by Akashvaani, were transferred to Prasar Bharti. All India Radio has its centres established all over the country, covering 92% of the total geographical area and almost all of our population. Under the Prasar Bharti Act, imparting quality education is one of the three functions of the two organisations.

According to John Varghese, Principal of St. Stephen’s College, University of Delhi, these two can be used to satisfy the needs of the education sector by educational broadcasts for classes 10 to 12. He suggests that these classes can be done in a “4:1 ratio”, where 4 hours would be devoted to television and 1 hour to the radio. Although the courses need some training for the teachers it was very much feasible.

The advantages include relief from staring at the screens for long periods and reduction in strain on financial resources since Doordarshan and All India Radio are free. Under this proposal, training can be provided to teachers by a “set of master trainers”, who will turn these teachers into “programmers” and “scriptwriters”. Moreover, Varghese added that the Central and State educational boards should also be included to “support, monitor and provide feedback” to improve the system.

He concluded by saying that the government can ask Internet Service Providers to provide free internet usage to teachers and students. Government should take the call as it is in the interest of the people.

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