Concern over growing enrolment through online degrees

Experts are concerned at plans by India’s higher education regulator, the University Grants Commission, to establish new regulations for online education, which are expected to come into effect from the 2018-19 academic term, writes Shreya Roy Chowdhury for Scroll.

The regulations clear the way for universities that rank highly in the government’s ranking and rating systems to offer degree programmes online. In theory at least, a student will be able to earn a bachelor degree without attending college. Lectures will be recorded or delivered through video-conferencing and discussed in an online discussion forum; e-content will replace textbooks and there will be a provision for self-assessment. This will help increase the country’s gross enrolment ratio from 25.2% to 30% by 2020, the commission said.

The commission has also argued that harnessing technology will rapidly expand Indian students’ access to higher education. But experts in online and distance education are not so sure. They pointed out that online education demands investment – in software and staff – that public universities, which are short of staff and funds, might not be able to make.
Full report on the Scroll site