Coronavirus has brought the entire education system in the country to a halt impacting 320 million learners in India. In a bid to ensure continuity and encourage higher education institutes to start online learning, the government is working on allowing them to offer 40% of their coursework online. As per the regulations, Indian universities can currently offer 20% of their coursework online.
"The perspective taken by the government is that, because of the pandemic, education cannot be continued in the classroom mode so online should be promoted," says Anil Sahasrabudhe, chairman of All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE).
He adds that another fundamental reason why the government will gradually promote more online education is because of the access it offers. "Without travelling to a bigger institution, or to a bigger city, one can get the same level of access, good quality education by being in a remote village."
Recently, University Grants Commission (UGC) permitted top 100 universities, as per the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) ranking or those with scores of 3.26 or more, to offer full degree programmes online. However, not every course was allowed, especially those that require practical work like architecture, engineering, pharmacy, physics, chemistry. "To ensure courses in these domains also work towards the same goal of online learning, we found that instead of 20% we can extend it to 40%," says Sahasrabudhe.
Formal announcement is not yet made but is likely to be announced once UGC has had its commission meeting, he says. "We had the meeting and consensus was developed. It is truly likely to happen but formally the announcement has not yet been made."
"We take the same line as UGC and are waiting for the announcement from the Commission. Once UGC announces, we will also make the declaration," he said.
He adds that there are also ongoing discussions to allow more universities to offer complete full degrees programmes online.
This will impact all higher education institutions and universities in the country.