Super 30 founder and noted mathematician Anand Kumar has urged the HRD ministry to launch a 24x7 education channel 'Doordarshan Education' for students belonging to different sections of society as not everyone has access to online learning amid the ongoing COVID-19 lockdown.
Known for his highly successful and famed Super 30 programme, which nurtures 30 students from underprivileged sections every year for IIT-JEE entrance test with a phenomenal success rate, Kumar has reached out to HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' saying an exclusive education channel from DD would be of immense help to students across the country.
"India, like rest of the world, is in the midst of an unprecedented health crisis due to COVID-19 pandemic. The much-needed lockdown to save lives has worked, but it has caused huge disruption in education of our students, Kumar said.
Though many institutions are trying to adopt online means, it is not immediately feasible keeping in view the huge variation in the socio-economic condition of a large section of students, with a good chunk barely able to continue their studies due to low-cost government education system," he said.
"Under these circumstances, expecting all the students cutting across different economic strata to avail the facility of online education and equally benefit does not seem practical. It requires a decent system or a smart phone and good internet connectivity, all of which come at a cost. All the institutions are also not prepared for online education, though many of them are trying their best," he added.
Kumar further said he has urged the HRD minister to come up with an exclusive 24x7 Doordarshan education channel, like DD Kisan, which is totally devoted to the needs of farmers.
"It could be a game changer for the students without any extra cost to them. Every household now a days has a television set and having an exclusive DD education channel, with separate time slots for different classes, will be easily accessible to people of all economic strata across the country.
"It can also have motivational talks and counselling sessions for students and teach them about online benefits to groom them for future. But most importantly, it can cater to educational needs of students," he said.
Kumar's current batch, is yet to appear for the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) as it has been postponed due to COVID-19 lockdown.
"I usually start the process for selecting next batch in April but it has been delayed. I am conducting various classes through different mediums and will soon come up with a reasonable solution about how to select the next batch and the timeline," he said.
Universities and schools across the country have been closed since March 16 when the central government announced a countrywide classroom shutdown as one of the measures to contain the COVID-19 outbreak.
Later, a nationwide lockdown was announced on March 24, which has now been extended till May 3.
The HRD ministry is reaching out to students through its SWAYAM PRABHA which is a group of 32 DTH channels providing quality educational curriculum-based course contents covering diverse disciplines such as arts, science, commerce, social sciences and humanities subjects, engineering, medicine and agriculture to all teachers, students and citizens across the country interested in lifelong learning.
While earlier these channels were available only on DD-DTH, Dish TV, and Jio TV App, Tata Sky and Airtel DTH had agreed to the government's request of airing three of these channels during a lockdown.