New Delhi: A White Paper focusing on online higher education was released at the first roundtable on EdTech organized by the PHD Chamber of Commerce in New Delhi on Tuesday. Titled “EdTech – Unleashing the $100 billion Potential”, the White Paper brings to light certain key areas on the regulatory side where a little tweak in policy can go a long way in helping the Government achieve the target of 50% gross enrolment rate (GER) in higher education by 2035.
The White Paper says that “India already has an active and highly competitive ed-tech industry. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of online higher education. Students are now accustomed to the benefits of online education, such as flexible learning hours, and in many cases, reduced expenditure. Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), too, can scale up learners without having to invest in associated physical infrastructure costs.”
“Several HEIs now offer online and distance learning opportunities to students. However, some important regulations, including equivalence among digital platforms used for learning, still remain in the works. Early progress towards these would go a long way in meeting the key objectives of the NEP, including the 50% GER (Gross Enrolment Ratio) target.”
Some key points made in the White Paper are as given below:-
- Gross enrolment ratio in higher education is 27% and the Government target is to increase it to 50% by 2035.
- Faculty shortages necessitate further streamlining of norms for online education.
- Earning of credits from online programmes has so far been allowed for undergraduate programmes by the UGC. Same should also be extended to postgraduate programmes.
- Higher education institutions should not be prevented from hosting content on good learning platforms being used by some of the best universities across the world.
- Draft amendments to UGC’s online and distance learning regulation should be notified soon
- Requirement that a programme can only be offered in online mode if it is also offered in conventional mode, should be removed
- NIRF parameter on Online Education should be made less ambiguous. It should not restrict online education to only that received through the Swayam portal.