For the first time, in the history of education, so many students have been out of the classroom. The pandemic has changed us forever and so has it changed how we learn. As the world embraced online learning for all age groups, EdTech started picking pace and working towards enhancing the learning experiences. Ultimately the Universities at the epicenter of higher education embraced online learning. Fueled by technology, digital transformation in universities and online learning will continue to see progress for decades to come. Higher education remotely is taking shape majorly because of the transformation of digital technologies. Universities are carrying forward the legacy of learning with digital libraries.
While Indian Universities have taken time to adjust to the digital transformation of higher education, it has the potential to address the long-standing challenges of Indian higher education. In the farther future, better opportunities for higher education shall make graduates more employable. Thus, Universities in India can see opportunities to transform higher education by using digital technology. The cutting technology is meant to overcome most of the challenges of higher education and offer a robust learning medium that everyone can benefit from.
Universities Continue to Embrace Digital Education
Higher education in India will continue to disperse learning online. It has picked up momentum because of the pandemic but it will continue to gain pace even when the pandemic is gone. This is what the education facilitators also believe.
As per the website, The Print:
“One of the mandatory conditions is that the course has to be a mix of online and face-to-face lectures. The other players in open and distance learning are IGNOU, state open universities, and the Ministry of Education. Engineering like medicine involves hands-on experience and therefore has been kept out of the purview for degree purposes, though add-on e-content like National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL) created by the Indian Institute of Technologies (IITs) for engineering students is hugely popular.”
Thus, it can be reasonably inferred that online higher education will continue to witness success. This does not infer that the only mode of higher education will be online but a part of it will surely be. Most of the courses that involve training on competency-based skills will have a blend of online and offline learning. Traditional Universities like Mumbai and Pune now have a good number of ODL courses than the regular programs.
The Scope of Online Higher Education for the Universities
The Indian government for the first time in decades has allowed the Universities to function from fully to partially online modes, depending on the nature of the courses. This is like opening the gates of higher education to all through the digital window. So, the education that was limited to the bounds of classrooms and a handful of universities are now reachable for several remote enthusiastic learners. Although the Universities are cautious at every step of digitizing education, it is a good start not only for the education facilitators but for everyone.
At the moment, the government has allowed the top 100 Indian institutions that are ranked as per the National Institutional Tanking Framework may fully operate online except for the medical and law degrees, but the foreseeable future has the hope of progressive changes.
Indian Government is, in fact, in the process to draft important policies surrounding online higher education. These policies outline the role of digital education in reforming the Indian education system and thus, the need to expand access to online higher education.
More Enrolments, More Colleges Taking Higher Education to New Horizons
Once in place, these government policies will not only enable the Universities to develop their online programs but recognize the programs offered by foreign institutions. Until now only 25% of the Indian youths had access to higher education but the government aims to raise this percentage to 50% with the help of online and blended learning. So, Universities going online also mean a higher number of enrolments and enrolments irrespective of geographical limitations. Thus, bringing a drastic change in the higher education sector.
On the other hand, several colleges had been running low or with lesser vigor due to absences of full-fledged campus facilities, resources to accommodate the higher demands of the increased number of students. With no financial support to enhance the campus infrastructure, these open universities had to battle operational issues and lesser enrolments. Online education can address this major issue greatly by powering colleges and universities to boost the capacity without an extra financial burden.
Digital Transformation in Universities: The Early Movers
Seven Universities are fully operating online for the last few years and emerged as the flag-bearers in Indian Online Higher Education. They are Indira Gandhi National Open University, JSS Academy of Higher Education and Research, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Manipal, Bharati Vidyapeeth, Pune, Dr. D.Y. Patil Vidyapeeth, Pune, Shanmugha Arts, Science, Technology & Research Academy, and Amity University, Noida.
These institutions came to be recognized as the Early Movers.
Although, with slow progress, the universities will pick up the pace soon and India will have more movers, in the online education genera.
This is a significant step leading to the true democratization of higher education in India. This also means, increased enrollments and completion, reducing several higher education accessibility barriers.
No More Vanilla Degrees
In the current times, the single institutions in India over two year or four-year degree courses. Change is coming in this regard too. As the landscape could become a lot more modular, with students taking courses for credit from multiple institutions around the world. This will be a breakthrough in encouraging global partnerships. However, the problem that needs to be addressed alongside is preparing job-ready graduates.
Universities are integrating with cloud platforms to offer online courses. In this regard, several universities are enabling online education with the help of platforms. As the industries are more interested in hiring candidates with relevant skills and knowledge instead of individuals with vanilla degrees, the stake is on the Universities and the curriculum they are offering through online mediums. This is also important in making the individuals job-ready after the degree course.
Mintbook has done extensive work in the field for years and has offered its robust digital library and LMS for universities and government colleges. It has made up a huge repository of online higher education course books so that higher education no more remains a tedious task for the institutions or the students.