The Union Minister of Human Resource Development, Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ on Tuesday virtually launched the World’s first-ever online B.Sc. degree in programming and data science in the presence of Minister of State for Human Resource Development, Sanjay Dhotre.
The programme has been prepared and offered by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Madras, which is ranked first in the National Institute Ranking Framework (NIRF) for 2020. It is open to anyone who has passed Class XII, with English and maths at the Class X level and enrolled in any on-campus undergraduate course.
Data science was one of the fastest-growing sectors that are predicted to create 11.5 million jobs by 2026. Online education was a trend that is being rapidly embraced for higher studies on a large scale. Faculty from IIT-Madras was addressing the need of this sector using online education to extend their reach.
While addressing the participants Pokhriyal congratulated the team of IIT-Madras for the launch of the world's first-ever online B.Sc. degree program in data science and programming. The minister informed that the current batch of students completing their Class XII in 2020 was eligible to apply for admission to the course. Graduates and working professionals could also take up this programme.
Pokhriyal added that this unique offering removed all barriers of age, discipline or geographic location and provided access to a world-class curriculum in data science.
The minister said that IIT-Madras had a rich history of continuous innovation and success, and its emergence at the top of NIRF rankings consistently underscored the team’s talent, mission and vision. An analysis revealed that every year 700,000- 750,000 Indian students went abroad in search of better education. As a result, the country’s talent, as well as revenue were also going outside. Institutions such as IIT-Madras had the vision and mission to help the nation move forward on its path to self-reliance by introducing quality education and unique courses in India. Even during this challenging time, when the nation was fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and everyone was forced to be at home, IITs had come together to innovate for the sake of the nation.
Pokhriyal also said that the students who were currently enrolled in a different on-campus programme anywhere in India could pursue this degree programme without needing to switch careers or courses. Even employers who wished to upskill their employees could consider this option without a loss of productive time on the job. He further added that the programme brightened the job prospects for students, provided an opportunity for working professionals to switch careers and also gave learners an opportunity to get a degree from a recognised institution such as IIT-Madras.
Congratulating the IIT Madras team on the launch of the program, Dhotre said that in today’s world education was a continuous process. Students and professionals had to continue to upgrade their knowledge to stay competitive and work within the constraints of time and location. This had become even more challenging due to the prevailing COVID-19 situation. He added that the data science and programming was a field of most significant growth for the industry and with this online degree, IIT-Madras would be able to reach many more students.
Dhotre expressed confidence that this course would reach a diversity of learners as it provided multiple entries and exit points, and served as a priceless contribution to the nation.
Three Stage Programme
The programme would be delivered on a state-of-the-art online portal and attract learners from even remote parts of India where outreach of digital literacy was minimal. To ensure that the online learning platform was closest to a classroom learning experience, the programme will have videos from the faculty, weekly assignments and in-person invigilated exams just like any other regular course. The programme will hone students’ skills in managing data, visualising patterns to gain managerial insights, model uncertainties and build models that assist in producing forecasts to make effective business decisions.
The online programme will be offered in the three stages of the Foundational Programme, Diploma Programme and Degree Programme. At each stage, students will have the freedom to exit from the programme and receive a certificate, diploma or a degree, respectively, from IIT-Madras. Based on eligibility, interested candidates will have to fill a form and pay a nominal fee of Rs 3,000 for the qualifier exam. Learners will get access to four weeks of the course content of four subjects that include mathematics, English, statistics and computational thinking. These students will go through the course lectures online, submit online assignments and write an in-person qualifier exam at the end of four weeks.
In contrast to the typical admission processes of IITs, which are constrained due to the limited number of in-campus seats, in this programme all students who clear the qualifier exam with an overall score of 50 per cent will be eligible to register for the foundational programme.
Those who wish to learn more about the IIT-Madras’ B Sc. degree programme programming and data science may click here.