A new UGC chairman announced a number of important changes for online education on Monday. In the webinar on Digital University: Making World-Class Higher Education Accessible to All, Jagadesh Kumar stated that the UGC plans to end the restriction of only 13 distance education degree courses for universities. It may be possible for universities who are “entitled” to offer infinite online courses very soon. University-level online courses can be offered without UGC approval. Similar courses are now offered at a variety of universities.
Additionally, UGC will allow universities to offer courses online that are not currently available on campus. “Earlier, colleges had to offer online courses in physical form as well, but there are many areas in which colleges can gain expertise by cooperating with top educational institutions in India and abroad,” Kumar explained.
Kurian says students after Class 12 can enroll in courses since the digital university does not use a cut-off point for admission. Those who scored low in board exams from underprivileged sections will benefit from this ruling. According to the education ministry, all pupils will benefit from this rule. Because I am from a village, I know there are many talented students who do not succeed in board exams. “When opportunities arise, they do well,” Kumar stated in the webinar.
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It hasn’t been a loss of jobs for teachers
UGC’s chairman expressed his concern about professors losing their jobs in the new digital university. It has been suggested that teachers may lose their jobs if digital education becomes more widespread. Physical colleges and universities are always present in a country as large as the United States. In the webinar, Kumar asserted that “the claim that teachers will lose their jobs is simply false.”.
Kumar argued that industry-specific education should be customized and tailored. He also suggested that hiring trends within the industry be analyzed. Today, skills-based recruiting has become more popular than degree-based recruitment. Students can customize and personalize their education by using digital universities. They will be able to acquire the skills required by the industry, he explained.
Online students should take proctored tests or take exams at authorized testing centers, according to Kumar. Others have expressed concerns about evaluating these pupils due to their geographical dispersal. In spite of this, we have enough technology to regularly evaluate these students, either proctored or by sending them to designated evaluation centers.” said Kumar.
The Edtech and Universities agreement is not valid, but it can be amended
As part of the reform process, Kumar announced that university collaboration with ed-tech platforms would be relaxed. According to Kumar, universities may be able to provide quality instruction using Ed-tech. Education technology in India is cutting edge. India’s edtech start-ups have a lot of skill. “Universities should not be creating these digital platforms because it is redundant,” Kumar said. Education technology cloud platforms are UGC’s request. “Universities may use the tech tools provided in these platforms to generate high-quality content so that they can excel in their studies and contribute to the growth of our country,” he added.
A “franchise agreement” is not permissible under UGC rules, therefore universities and colleges should not be offering distance learning and online courses in collaboration with edtech companies.
An outline of a proposal
V Kamakoti, head of IIT Madras, proposed the idea of a “Digital University Ecosystem” during the virtual discussion. In his proposal, Kamakoti suggested integrating NPTEL digital universities with eminent technical and non-technical universities. Furthermore, he proposed a legislative structure that would allow digital universities to recommend ecosystem institutions for considered university status. In the webinar, Kamakoti argued that universities should offer foundation courses, skill-based courses, and specializations.
As a way to increase access to education, K Rajaraman, secretary of telecommunications, proposed a digital infrastructure. In Rajaraman’s plan, public digital kiosks, digital libraries, BSNL hotspots, and fiber to the home connections are being installed in 15,000 model schools, both public and private.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated that the digital university would solve the issue of the lack of seats during the inauguration of the webinar on the positive effects of the Union Budget 2022. The prime minister encouraged the AICTE, UGC, and the education ministry to speed up the digital university project.
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