01, April 2022
Institutes have been keeping up with the global trends and providing the best courses and facilities. But still, some sections of the student population find it difficult to avail the appropriate educational help due to various barriers. Simultaneously, some institutes cannot integrate the technology efficiently as they don’t have the proper knowledge of the required tools and systems.
Therefore, there is a need to address the issue and find a solution that can enable the institutes to provide educational benefits to students of all socio-cultural backgrounds. Also, so that the students can connect to the institutes without any obstacles.
With the aim of facilitating equal opportunities for students and giving a platform to educational institutes, the Indian government launched NEAT.
What is NEAT?
The National Education Alliance for Technology(NEAT) is a first of its kind government scheme launched by the Ministry of Education in September 2019. The initiative has finally taken shape two years after its launch; its aim is to bridge the gap between ed-tech companies, academic institutions, and students. The initiative was launched mainly after the Ministry of Education review, which indicated a huge inconsistency regarding student access to education.
The Ministry noted that ed-tech platforms develop a large number of learning tools that can easily supplement traditional classroom teaching. But students are not able to access them properly or at all, as a result, this hinders their education. Therefore, the Ministry proposed that a portal needs to be created where ed-tech platforms can be roped in to display their products after a brief shortlisting.
Objectives of the NEAT Scheme
- The scheme proposes to create a national alliance with ed-tech companies and their technology through a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model.
- Ministry of Human Resource and Development will act as a facilitator to make sure that economically backward students get Adaptive Learning Solutions freely and easily.
- Ed-tech companies will be responsible for creating solutions and managing the registrations of learners through the National Educational Alliance for Technology portal.
- One of the aims of the scheme is to take the concept of the Massive Open Online Courses(MOOCS) platform ahead.
- This scheme will ensure to facilitate higher education for financially backward students and give them the opportunity to learn new skills.
- It will help to strengthen the education system of the country by providing better opportunities to the youth of the nation.
- The institutes can optimise learning with the help of artificial intelligence. Hence, it will help educators to make learning personalised and customised depending on the needs of the learner.
- The scheme will help to develop better outcomes for higher education.
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What are the products on display in the portal?
The portal — neat.aicte-india.org has sections that are separated according to the product listing for students and institutes respectively. In addition, the NEAT chief coordinating officer, Buddha Chandrashekhar pointed out that the government has included 58 ed-tech companies so far. Independent expert committees shortlisted the companies after deliberate consideration and research.
Higher educational institutes can visit the portal and view varied courses that are on offer and under B2B(business to business) segment. They can buy these courses in bulk and make them available for students to pursue, on the other hand, the B2C(business to customer) section includes courses for students. Students can browse through the courses and select any one of them as per their preference. Moreover, they can choose from accounting and finance to coding, including advanced programming languages like python.
How are the students selected under this scheme?
Students belonging to disadvantaged communities often lag behind due to inefficient educational facilities and a lack of final resources. Hence, one of the primary objectives of the scheme is to make students from disadvantaged backgrounds aware of the possibility of opportunities. Also, to let them know about the courses and programs through which they can learn new skills or polish their old ones.
Therefore, AICTE(All India Council for Technical Education) reached out to higher educational institutes across the country. Consequently, the institutes would play a major role in informing the students about the portal and enrolling them based on their needs and consent. As for the fees, ed-tech platforms have been allowed to charge fees according to their policies.
Furthermore, the government has made it mandatory for every shortlisted company to offer free coupons to the extent of 25 per cent of the total registrations for their solution through the NEAT portal. With the help of this route, the government created a bank of 12.15 lakh free coupons over the last two years. Moreover, they have now started distributing those coupons among the SC/ST/OBC and EWS categories students with the annual family income cap fixed at Rs 8 lakh.