Editorial Team

Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras), ranked No.1 in India Rankings 2020 by NIRF, today announced the launch of India’s first online B.Sc. degree in Programming and Data Science. The programme is open to anyone who has passed Class XII, with English and Maths at the Class X level and enrolled in any on-campus UG course. Even the current batch of students who are completing their Class XII in 2020 are eligible to apply. Graduates and working professionals can also take up this programme. This unique offering removes all barriers of age, discipline or geographic location and provides access to a world-class curriculum in data science which is in huge demand for skilled professionals. The programme was launched today in the august presence of Shri. Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’, Hon’ble Union Minister of HRD, Govt. of India and Shri. Sanjay Dhotre, Hon’ble Minister of State for HRD, Communications and Electronics and IT, Govt. of India along with Dr Pawan Kumar Goenka, Chairman, Board of Governors, Director and the faculty of the Institute. Prof. Anil Sahasrabudhe, Chairman of AICTE was also part of this historic launch.

Data Science is one of the fastest-growing sectors that is predicted to create 11.5 million jobs by 2026. Online education is a trend being rapidly embraced for high-quality education on a large scale. Faculty from IIT Madras is addressing the need of this sector using online education processes and present an inclusive and affordable education model that will extend IIT’s reach by orders of magnitude.

Ramesh Pokhriyal, Minister of HRD at IIT Madras Online Degree Launch

Congratulating IIT Madras on the launch, Shri. Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’, Hon’ble Union Minister of HRD, Govt. of India, said, “Congratulations to the team of IIT Madras for the launch of the world’s first-ever online B.Sc. degree program in Data Science and Programming. This institution has a rich history of continuous innovation and success and its emergence as rank 1 in the NIRF rankings consistently underscores the team’s talent, mission and vision. Analysis reveals that every year 7 to 7.5 lakh Indian students go abroad in search of better education and our talent, as well as our revenue, goes outside the country. Institutions such as IIT Madras have the vision and mission to help the nation move forward on its path to self-reliance by bringing such quality education and unique courses right here in India. Even during this challenging time, when the nation is fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and everyone is forced to be at home, the IITs have come together to innovate for the sake of the nation. Several innovations such as ventilators, masks and drones have come from continuous research from the IITs. I am confident that this educational initiative will help many students in India.”

Students who are currently enrolled in a different on-campus program anywhere in India can pursue this degree program without needing to switch careers or courses. Even employers who want to upskill their employees can consider this option without loss of productive time on the job. The World Economic Forum predicts that by 2022, data analyst and scientist will be the number one emerging job role in the world. The program brightens up job prospects for students in a lucrative field, provides an opportunity for working professionals to switch careers and also provides learners with an opportunity to get a degree from a recognized institution such as IIT Madras.

Congratulating the IIT Madras team on the launch of the program, Shri. Sanjay Dhotre, Hon’ble Minister of State (HRD), said, “In the world today, education is a continuous process. Students and professionals have to continue to upgrade their knowledge to stay competitive and work within the constraints of time and location. This has become even more challenging due to the prevailing COVID situation. Therefore, I take great pleasure in being part of this initiative today which will reach millions of students all over India. Data science and programming is a field of most significant growth for the industry and with this online degree opportunity in this important area, IIT Madras will be able to reach many more students. I am confident that this course will reach a diversity of learners as it provides multiple entries and exit points and serves as a priceless contribution to the nation.”

Speaking at the launch, Prof. Bhaskar Ramamurthi, Director, IIT Madras, said, “We are delighted to offer a program that will make quality education inclusive and address a pressing need in today’s challenging higher education environment. This programme not only embraces the trend of moving education online but also provides a platform to create skilled and employable women and men in a data-driven world. With our rich experience in the online education space, we are well-equipped to handle scale and seamless delivery and provide an enriching and engaging experience to all students. Our constant endeavour to provide the best to our students combined with our commitment to excellence has helped us continually emerge # 1 in the NIRF rankings. We are confident that this program will maintain the high standards that the Institution has set for itself.”

The programme will be delivered on a state-of-the-art online portal and will attract learners from even remote parts of India where outreach of digital literacy is minimal and will help them stay ahead in their career journeys. To ensure that the online learning platform is closest to a classroom learning experience, the program will have videos from the faculty, weekly assignments and in-person invigilated exams just like any other regular course. The program will hone students’ skills in managing data, visualizing patterns to gain managerial insights, model uncertainties and build models that assist in producing forecasts to make effective business decisions.

This unique online offering will be offered in three different stages – Foundational Programme, Diploma Programme and Degree Programme. At each stage, students will have the freedom to exit from the program and receive a Certificate, Diploma or a Degree, respectively, from IIT Madras. Based on the 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 the 4 weeks of the course content of 4 subjects (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 4 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 (with an overall score of 50%) the qualifier exam will be eligible to register for the foundational program.

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