9 Free Online Courses with Certificates by Government of India

CIOL Bureau
New Update

Going into 2021 with better skills, or starting afresh, might give some career as well as a mental push to many of us. Although 2020 has been a tough year, we have learnt how important upskilling can be. So, free online courses, that provide certificates too, are a boon in disguise. You can upskill yourself, or learn something new while earning college credits or a job promotion. Further, the Indian Government has provided us with the opportunity through its portals like SWAYAM etc.


Thus, I have enlisted 9 such government portals that will help you take free online courses. And don’t forget to take a certificate when you are done.

1. AICTE (All India Council for Technical Education) for self-paced and international courses

The All India Council for Technical Education launched an online training platform. They named it “Enhancement in Learning with Improvement In Skills (ELIS)”. Further, it offers free online courses from a single platform. These courses are sourced from 18 leading Ed-tech companies. These companies include edX, Guvi, Simpliv, Great Learning, etc.


Since AICTE is not the original content creator, but an aggregator, the content is the responsibility of the respective company. Enrol for the courses here.

2. NPTEL (National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning) for Engineering

Since 2013, through an online portal, NPTEL provides 4 to 12-week free online courses. The topics range from higher education along with basic core courses in sciences and humanities with exposure to relevant tools and technologies. The enrolment to and learn these free online courses involves no cost. An in-person, proctored certification exam (optional) will be conducted at Rs. 1000/- per course and a certificate is provided through the participating institutions and industry, when applicable.


The main benefits of participating in an online course under NPTEL are that students get credit transfer and a better resume. For faculties, they can avail refresher courses, AICTE- FDP courses. Moreover, working professionals can upskill or reskill themselves. Enrol in the courses here.

3. UGC (University Grants Commission) for non-technical post-graduation education

The SWAYAM platform is an MHRD initiative. It offers UGC’s course material as pdf and explanatory lecture videos from industry leaders. Not all courses on the portal provide a certificate, but they are more like help to UG/PG students of all streams. Some courses on the other hand, like those of Digital Marketing, Artificial Intelligence or Cybersecurity, provide a certificate. The UGC MOOCs portal is a vertical of the SWAYAM initiative of MHRD. You can enrol in the courses here.


4. CEC (Consortium for Educational Communication) for under-graduate education

CEC offers free online courses on Government of India’s SWAYAM platform to help students virtually attend digital higher education courses. From eminent subject experts, the students can access quality educational resources, participate in discussion forums, and earn academic grades by taking tests.

CEC MOOC spans a duration of 8-12 weeks approx. It engages students through video lectures, reading material, assessment components, discussion forums, e-mails & video conferencing. These structured and credit-bearing free online courses for higher education are available here.


5. NCERT (National Council of Educational Research and Training) for school education

The major objectives of NCERT and its constituent units are to undertake, promote and coordinate research in areas related to school education; prepare and publish model textbooks, supplementary material, newsletters, journals and develops educational kits, multimedia, digital materials, etc. organise pre-service and in-service training of teachers; develop and disseminate innovative educational techniques and practices.

Further, NCERT also collaborates and network with state educational departments, universities, NGOs and other educational institutions. It also acts as a clearinghouse for ideas and information in matters related to school education. Thus, NCERT also interacts and works in collaboration with international organizations, visiting foreign delegations and offers various training facilities to educational personnel from developing countries. You can enrol in the courses here.


6. NIOS (National Institute of Open Schooling) for school education

The National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) is an autonomous Institution under MHRD established in 1989. It offers Secondary (10th), Sr Secondary (12th) and Vocational courses through open and distance learning (ODL) mode. It also offers Open Basic Education and Elementary Teacher Education Programme. Further, there is no upper age for admission in NIOS.

NIOS offers 42 Courses on SWAYAM Platform for which you can enrol here.


7. IGNOU (Indira Gandhi National Open University) for out-of-school students

IGNOU has been entrusted with the responsibility of National Coordinator for facilitating the development of certificate/diploma courses in various disciplines. It invites Expression of Interest (EoI) for developing MOOCs on SWAYAM for both credit and non-credit streams from Course Coordinators through recognized Universities/ Institutes of National Importance and other educational Institutions authorized to award degrees/credits and from subject specialists both in Public and Private Sectors.

MOOCs offered through IGNOU will cover a wide range of subjects covering core subject areas and new and innovative areas of knowledge. The thrust will be on MOOCs on professional and life skills. Enrol in the free course here.

8. IIMB (Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore) for management studies

IIMB is one of the nine national coordinators and has offered more than 20 free online courses on SWAYAM since 2017. As a National Coordinator, IIMB receives and evaluates MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) proposals in the area of management studies from Universities and Institutions willing to offer their course on SWAYAM. Universities and Institutions can send the proposals to IIMBx, the digital learning division of IIM Bangalore.

IIMB offers a wide range of about 30 management courses for learners interested in management subjects. From accounting to innovation and corporate strategy, all the courses that suit the learner's needs are available from IIMB faculty. Further, the free online courses range in duration from 5 weeks to 12 weeks depending on the type, complexity, and level of the course. Enrol or take the existing courses here.

9. NITTTR (National Institute of Technical Teachers Training and Research) for Teacher Training programme

NITTTR is autonomous MHRD Institute that aims to improve the quality of Engineering Education system in India and the Southern Region in particular. Within this mandate, the institute takes initiatives to offer need-based Human Resource Development programs through appropriate modes and develop curricula and instructional resources to meet their clientele requirements.

It also fosters research in the interdisciplinary area of Engineering Education and offers consultancy and extension services for the total development of technical institutions (Engineering and Polytechnic Colleges), Industry, Service Sector and the Community at large. NITTTR Chennai also serves as one of the National Coordinator for SWAYAM for the teacher training program, along with the other NITTTRs (Bhopal, Chandigarh and Kolkata) they offer courses in the area of technical teacher training. Enrol in the free online courses here.

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