Home > News > India > Up to 20% coursework goes online

With educational institutions shut indefinitely, e-learning is set be accorded legal and formal acceptance at all colleges and universities in the country.

Education regulators are now ready to allow higher education institutions to convert up to 20% of their coursework online and make it part of credit transfer, a government official said, asking not to be named.

The development comes amid a government push for online education, with finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman last week speaking about plans to focus on e-learning post the coronavirus outbreak.

“The disruption of education has necessitated the need for going online. Even when the new academic year begins, it may not be the same as it was in pre-covid time. To save time, to reduce loss of learning and to put a system in place, institutes may conduct up to 20% of their course curriculum via online. Formal notice will be issued in coming days," said a government official.

“Around 50,000 colleges and universities will benefit from this move, and in future any natural calamity won’t disrupt education the way it has done this time."

Education regulator University Grants Commission (UGC) has written to universities about some 120-odd online courses available on a dedicated online platform called Swayam. The letter by the UGC secretary underlined the need for institutions to use 82 courses for undergraduate students and 42 for postgraduate students from July ahead of the formal academic year beginning in August-November.

If required, colleges and universities may hold an exam in November and these marks can be transferred to the regular courses through the credit transfer mechanism. Such courses are available for all three streams—science, commerce and arts, as well as professional studies like management, law and engineering.

“The problem has turned into an opportunity. What looked difficult in the beginning of the lockdown is now working as a positive. A blended education model—a mix of online and offline education—will be the future for education. Seamless transfer of credit and acceptance of online education as part of mainstream education will be beneficial for students and institutions. In the last one month, we have roped in more industry people to take classes or be part of focused webinars purely because online medium gives us the time benefit. While earlier an expert used to devote a whole day for coming to university, teaching and going back, now they just need a couple of hours because of online facility," said Prashant Bhalla, president of Manav Rachna University in Faridabad.

“Our plan to adopt online mode has got accelerated. In 2020-21 we shall offer at least 20% of our course online to the students. The executive education modules will depend on online delivery due to social distancing norms. It’s the way forward for the education sector," said Harivansh Chaturvedi, director of Birla Institute of Management Technology.

The official mentioned above said the 20% online courses for regular students are, however, different from the full online degrees the top 100 universities will offer in the 2020-21 academic year.

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