Students in India's northeast will soon have satellite-based educational facilities to enhance their knowledge base.
Three states - Tripura, Mizoram and Nagaland - will be included in the first phase of the hi-tech facilities using the services of EDUSAT, a dedicated satellite for education launched in 2004.
In the first phase, the project will cover government-run schools and it will be subsequently introduced in private schools.
"Educational programmes through satellite would reach some of the most interior and inaccessible hilly areas of Tripura, Mizoram and Nagaland through video-conferencing," said K.C. Bhattacharya, director of the Northeastern Space Application Centre (NESAC).
There will be a hub and a studio each in the three states.
Tripura and Nagaland will each have 30 satellite educational facilities and Mizoram 31.
"These resource centres will be located in blocks, higher secondary and middle schools, district institutes of education and training," Bhattacharya told IANS.
Reception terminals will be installed in each centre.
The EDUSAT services will be made available in the remaining states of the region - Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim - by the end of March 2007.
NESAC is coordinating with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for the launch of the project.
There will be specialised teachers at the uplink station or the hub and lessons taught would reach hundreds of students in the remote centres through satellite signals.
"The teachings in the studio can be seen and heard in the classrooms on large screens or big television sets with cameras and audio equipment available at both ends for communication," said Krishna Dhan Nath, director of the State Council for Educational Research and Training.
"The teachers will be able to hear the students who will be visible to all the other learners in various centres, creating an atmosphere of a virtual classroom."
The new venture is expected to bring down the dropout rate among school students in the region, besides helping teachers to enhance their knowledge base.
The Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) and ISRO have been jointly working to develop a satellite-based educational network since 1993. The EDUSAT was launched in 2004 by the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV).
The project is being funded and coordinated by the human resource development ministry and the department of space and technology.
(Source: IANS News)