Kerala

UGC panels’ suggestions disruptive: Gurukkal

Rajan Gurukkal

Rajan Gurukkal   | Photo Credit: K_GOPINATHAN

‘Many do not have Internet access’

Kerala State Higher Education Council vice chairman Rajan Gurukkal has termed the recommendations made by two expert committees constituted by the University Grants Commission (UGC) on the academic calendar and online education ‘pointedly disruptive’ to the State’s higher education scenario.

According to Prof. Gurukkal, the proposals by the panels chaired by the Central University of Haryana Vice Chancellor R.C. Kuhad and Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) Vice Chancellor Nageshwar Rao have sought de facto switching over to virtual learning. The Mr. Rao-headed panel had recommended to the UGC that all open universities, universities with NAAC grading above 3.0 and the top 100 National Institutional Ranking Framework-ranked universities be permitted to conduct undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in online mode.

UGC norms

However, the move differed with the UGC Regulations of 2018 under which only universities with a NAAC score above 3.26 could offer stand-alone online courses, while the rest of the universities could tag only 20% of their programmes to massive open online courses (MOOCs). Now, the panel has proposed a hike to 40% in the particular criterion, thereby pushing at least 200 universities to go fully online and forcing an unprecedented number of teachers to a mode unfamiliar to them.

Besides, the committee has also proposed a single online podcast of course material for various courses except engineering, medicine, law, dentistry, pharmacy, nursing, and architecture.

Internet access

“While online teaching and evaluation are being projected as the new normal on the pretext of the pandemic crisis, the mode is unfeasible in the case of about 30% of students for want of Internet connectivity at houses. As such, it upsets the State’s avowed objectives of access, equity, and excellence in the higher education sector. Further, this massive shift to online mode is tantamount to leaving one third of the teaching faculty redundant. There is an implicit intention to cut public expenditure on higher education by replacing a considerable portion of the teaching faculty component. Moreover, administering of courses online on short notice will compromise quality,” Prof. Gurukkal cautioned.

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Printable version | May 30, 2020 6:05:42 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/ugc-panels-suggestions-disruptive-gurukkal/article31504985.ece

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