The Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday announced that the Government of India has tied up with Direct-to-Home (DTH) operators like Tata Sky and Airtel Digital TV to air 12 new Swayam Prabha channels. The Swayam Prabha is a group of channels initiated by the Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD) dedicated to air educational content through DTH platforms. Sitharaman said that the new channels are in addition to the three channels that were allocated by the government in April for school education. In April, the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) under the direction of MHRD delivered live sessions of educational content through three channels including Panini, Sharda and Kishore Manch.
Sitharaman said that the government has made provisions for telecast of live interactive sessions through the 12 new channels that would be introduced on DTH platforms.
“I’m sure, in schools in the rural areas also, this would be of great help where schools can bring in technology to children because irrespective of rural or urban, children love technology and adapt very quickly to it,” Sitharaman said.
The government is said to coordinate with states to share airtime on these channels with four hours being allocated for regional educational content.
Further, it was highlighted that the introduction of the 12 Swayam Prabha channels on DTH platforms would enhance the reach of these channels.
While Tata Sky and Airtel Digital TV were specifically highlighted by Sitharaman on Sunday, other operators including Dish TV and d2h could also air the channels in the upcoming months.
In April, Tata Sky and Airtel Digital TV initially carried Panini, Sharda and Kishore Manch, however, Dish TV and D2h soon agreed to air the channels on their platforms. Additionally, the channels were also made available on DD- DTH and JioTV app.
The MHRD in April highlighted that the Swayam Prabha channels are designed to aid students who do not have access to the internet at their homes. The programs in these channels are said to cover students in lower grades as well as those students in grade 11 and 12 with the channels being broadcasted through GSAT-15 satellite. The channels are said to follow the pattern of airing four hours of new content each day with the content repeated five more times in a day. The repeat telecasts are said to provide students multiple time slots to view the new content at their convenience.