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Satellite to connect villagers to experts in India

With the launch of a new education satellite Edusat (GSAT-3), experts sitting in the various Indian Institute of Technology (IITs) and Indian Institite of Management (IIMs) could be answering queries from a student sitting in a far-flung village.

Speaking to Newsline, Dr K.N. Shankara, Director, Space Applications Centre, ISRO, says, ‘‘Since this would lead to two-way interaction, the University Grants Commission (UGC) could soon be implementing its plans of resource-sharing, using it.’’

The satellite will have six beams — five covering different regions of the country and one common beam over the entire country — which could be used by different educational agencies for transmitting their programmes. Although the satellite would become operational by 2005, a host of pilot projects would soon be launched. The total launching cost would come to around Rs 100 crore.
At the ground, a one-way terminal will cost Rs 20,000 and an interactive one will cost Rs 1 lakh to the organisations going in for the technology,’’ says Dr Shankara.

The main benefit would be reaching out to a larger number of students, especially those living in far-flung areas of the country. ‘‘This is why the Ministry of Human Resource Development and the State Education Departments will eventually take over academic aspects of the programme,’’ adds B.S. Bhatia, director, Development and Educational Communication Unit, ISRO. Both Dr Shankara and Bhatia were in the city to attend a seminar on ‘Northern regional consultation on EDUSAT utilisation’ organised at National Institute of Technical Teachers’ Training and Research (NITTTR), Sector 26. Technical teachers from different educational institutions in the region attended the seminar.