The Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) in India announced that all secondary education books will be available for free online for all eligible students and their teachers.
Smriti Irani, the HRD minister, said that all the Central Board Secondary Education (CBSE) books along with any additional media like video and other resources will be available to all students and teachers for free online. Previously, the government made all National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) books available on the Internet in the form of ebooks and mobile content.
Irani was addressing an inauguration event at a Kendriya Vidyalaya school when she made the announcement highlighting that the initiative is part of a larger agenda to improve overall student achievement. The effort is also part of the Center's good governance aims, NDTV reports.
At the same inauguration event in New Delhi, the minister also pledged the launch of two new anticipated services: the Shaala Darpan and the Saransh services, which will start in 2016 at every Kendriya Vidyalaya center across the country. Both services are aimed at parents who wish to have more control and better oversight over their children's academic progress.
The Shaala Darpan service will keep parents in the loop regarding their children's school attendance, schedule, and exam performance. The Saransh service will help parents make sense of their child's academic attainment by comparing it to that of students at district, state and national level, IBC World News explains. Schools will inform parents about their child's progress through an SMS service.
The HRD Minister also promised to organize Ball Sabha, Child Conventions to help children nurture their humanity and sensibility. As part of these Child Convention activities, students and professionals from a plethora of fields will come together as a way of helping learners grow into sensible human beings.
Her pledge was a response to the Delhi Deputy Chief Minister, Manish Sisodia, who highlighted the imperative of making children not just excellent learners, but noble people, too:
"When we read in newspapers about communal violence, rapes somewhere, then we feel we fell short somewhere. Hence, we will have to take responsibility. A person is giving us 20 years of his/her life. So, we will have to ensure we impress on him/her that it is equally important to be a good human being as to be a good engineer or other professional," Sisodia said.
He added that learners need to develop self-awareness and self-reflection to become sensible human beings:
"The focus should be that if a child gets out of educational institutes 20 years later, he/she should pass out as a sensible person," he explained according to the Indian Times.
The NCERT books that are available digitally for more than six weeks now let users download books or particular chapters for classes I to XII in Urdu, Hindi, and English.