Education

A gamechanger

Unlike courses offered in physical schools, online degrees allow students to save on transport costs, rent, hostel fees, and study material.  

Despite an increase in literacy rate over the last decade, India’s higher education infrastructure relies on didactic transmission and is in need of reforms and revamps. One of the key tenets of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 is the acceptance of online education as a mainstream delivery mechanism. While this does have advantages, children struggle to make full use of it, as those belonging to economically weaker sections have to work for a living. India’s Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) stands at 26.3%, which means that only that percentage of youngsters in the 18-23 age group are pursuing higher education.

The UGC giving the nod to the top 100 NIRF ranked institutes to offer 100% online degrees (later to be rolled out to other institutions) will impact the affordability, accessibility, and quality of higher education, and prove instrumental in impacting the lives of those students who are currently not part of the formal higher education system.

Long-term benefits

Now, they can access quality education from top-notch universities from the comfort of their homes. Unlike courses offered in physical schools, online degrees allow students to save on transport costs, rent, hostel fees, and study material. It is more flexible too; instead of attending strict 9-5 offline classes, students can record and watch lectures at their convenience, ensuring they never miss a class.

Online courses will allow them to experience customised learning. Unlike offline sessions, teachers can tune online learning platforms for greater interaction and feedback with students. Such platforms also allow teachers to integrate different formats like discussion boards/forums to improve learning.

The new policy also opens the door for innovative degree programmes such as employer-sponsored and work-integrated degree programmes, and more. With the pandemic still in the picture, access to online education will maintain the flow and allow individuals to study in a safe environment.

Online degrees will further encourage better class participation. According to a study by the National Institute of Mental Health, 74% of students suffer from speech anxiety and find offline participation intimidating. With online classes, a student won’t have all eyes on him/her and just has to communicate through a device. This is also a great way for working professionals to pursue further education or upskill themselves.

Further, universities sticking to the regular campus degrees can now convert up to 40% of their course curriculum online. This will allow close to 3.4 crore students, who are part of the formal education system, to learn from leading experts and avail benefits of collaborative learning pedagogy.

The writer is Director, ImaginXP.


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Printable version | Sep 26, 2021 5:30:45 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/education/how-online-learning-can-revolutionise-and-reform-indian-higher-education/article35647848.ece

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