NEW DELHI :
The Union government aims to monetise its online education courses, which have so far been available for free, with online education gaining traction and blended learning set to be the future.
Education regulators have approved an internal proposal for asking higher education institutions to pay for the government scheme, Swayam, which promotes online courses and hosts them on a dedicated platform. It said 15% of the fee collected from students for offering the courses should be transferred to the government, according to an official document. It was confirmed by an official familiar with the development.
The move comes after the education regulators allowed colleges and universities to offer 20% of their course online and approved the use of online courses on the Swayam platform for credit transfer.
Such a move is necessary for the sustainability of Swayam, according to the authorities. The University Grants Commission (UGC) has in a recent meeting ratified the suggestion made by Swayam’s board of monetization of the courses, said the official mentioned above requesting anonymity.
“The commission ratified… the decision of the Swayam board to ask each recognised higher educational institution offering programs on Swayam portal, to pay 15% of the fees collected from students to the Swayam scheme… and to request the Swayam board to make it a cost effective platform for higher educational institutions," according to the UGC meeting details. Mint has seen a copy of the document detailing the decision.
So far about 2,000 courses in management, technology, engineering, artificial intelligence, humanities, pure science, and commerce are available on the Swayam platform. Prepared by people at top educational institutions, these courses are set to get a boost post covid.
“Education will be a mix of online and offline mode. The government through top institutions is creating hundreds of courses and it has a cost. A portion of the money that universities charge their students should come to the scheme to make it a viable proposition in the long run," said the official.
The Union government has allocated more than ₹320 crore for creation of such courses in the last couple of years and also incurred other expenditure, including infrastructure cost, according to official data.
Monetising a good platform is not a bad idea but the success will depend on its value addition, said industry experts. “A library model is not the best model. If the courses are coming with certification and grading, which the government seems willing to adopt, then it will gain traction. However, in an Indian education system, the ability to pay and willingness to pay are not the same." said Mayank Kumar, co-founder and managing director of e-learning company upGrad.