How will the digital university change education in India? The Ministry of Education webinar explains

Budget 2022 had a major announcement to make for education India was building a digital university that would link the local and the national and reach the remotest places in the country alongside improved internet connectivity in rural areas.

It has the potential to increase gross enrollment ratio (GER) by 27% to 50%, India’s leading education experts said in a webinar hosted by the Government of India’s Ministry of Education on Monday.

The Ministry of Education organized the webinar ‘Digital University: Making World-Class Higher Education Accessible to All’ as part of the Ministry’s program “Achieving Atmanirbharta through Amrit’s Mantra of Digital Education and Dynamic Skills”.

The webinar took place today and aimed to engage with stakeholders on the implementation of the 2022 budget in the education sector.

Who were the webinar experts?

The webinar was moderated by Prof. Anil Sahasrabudhe, President of AICTE, and saw the presence of distinguished panelists, Dr. Swati Piramal, Vice President, Piramal Group, Prof. V Kamakoti, Director, IIT Madras, and Professor M Jagadeesh Kumar, Chairman, CGU. The meeting chair and co-chair were K Sanjay Murthy, Secretary, Higher Education, and K Rajaraman, Secretary, DOT.

Panelists highlighted the need for a multilingual and accessible learning management system, creating engaging and immersive learning experiences, connecting peer learners to create strong learning communities and a synchronized experiential learning by blending online education with the physical (phygital) mode.

Establishment of BharatNet for better digital connectivity

In his opening statement, DOT Secretary Rajaraman said the implementation of BharatNet will make education accessible and affordable through digital university.

“BharatNet will eventually cover 6 lakh villages in India and will provide high-speed broadband to rural India. The architecture we will have enable learning for different segments of society for college and certificate level learning,” he said.

“We believe that BharatNet will act as a dynamic hub and with active collaboration with AICTE and state governments, we can maximize the integration of millions of students into the digital university,” Rajaraman said.

Aim to quickly increase the TBS

K Sanjay Murthy, Secretary, Higher Educationhopes that a digital university coupled with high-speed internet connectivity will aim to double the country’s GER.

“With the type of infrastructure that we expect, we hope increase the gross enrollment rate from 27% to 50% as provided by the NEP. This means we will have 10 million more students in the higher education system,” he said.

“The GER of tribal students is well below the national threshold. We need to increase the rate of this segment as well as the female population of the country,” he added.

Professor Sahasrabudhe also pointed out that increasing gross enrollment rate cannot be achieved by brick and mortar universities.

“Digital education is a way to reach those who are inaccessible in remote areas, villages and mountainous areas,” he said.

“For them, it is very difficult to move to cities for quality education as it will put a lot of pressure on their living expenses. The digital university is one of the best things that has happened to India under the Digital India initiatives,” he added.

The digital university can help reduce the dropout rate of girls

Stressing the need for a digital university accessible to all, Dr. Swati Piramal, Vice President, Piramal Groupsaid it could prevent girls from dropping out of the school system.

“Online education across the world has seen a big spike due to Covid norms, but the solution has to be unique to our country. We know many girls dropped out of school despite having access to digital education,” she says.

“Besides the education of children, digital universities are important in health care to train ASHA workers, adult education and development. The only way to do that is to manage change and get people on the ground involved,” she said.

“Piramal University of Education has 5000 young people doing preparatory work and he managed to work with NITI AAYOG, the government and have experience in rural areas to retrain where he had the most need,” she said.

Colleges can be affiliated with the digital university

Teacher. V Kamakoti, Director, IIT Madrassaid if colleges affiliated with a digital university, it would reduce barriers to access.

“We actually understand some barriers to access much more clearly and we’ve been able to break down barriers to access. For example, we are trying to get such a local chapter that can bring together these people who can become a very interesting kind of thing in the digital university,” he said.

“Also, colleges can affiliate with the digital university. And it can admit students to the local program and provide local support to local students“, said the professor.

University-edtech collaborations

Teacher. Mr. Jagadeesh Kumar, Chairman, UGCsaid the government is working to put in place regulations that would allow them to work with education technology companies to enable students in remote areas to become exceptional learners and contribute to the country’s economic growth.

“India is ahead of the curve in terms of educational technology, there is huge talent in our own country, both in terms of ed-tech and start-ups that are emerging,” he said. he declares.

“In accordance with the regulatory reforms we are making, universities will be able to have collaborations with ed-tech companies and use their cloud platforms, and the technological facilities they have in terms of animation, visual effects, games, comics to create high-quality digital content to enable these students to become exceptional learners and contribute to the economic growth of our country,” said Professor Kumar.

Learn more about the Digital University

The vision of the Digital University will be to increase access to quality higher education programs through the innovative use of ICT tools and platforms.

The digital university is offered in a hub and spoke model, in which the digital university will be the hub and many leading higher education institutions inside and outside the country will be its spokes.

Digital University will offer bachelor’s, diploma and certificate level programs either under its umbrella or in conjunction with the spokes.

The digital university ecosystem will have three important components, viz. technology platform provider, digital content creator and higher education institutions (HEIs) with the digital university at the heart of the ecosystem.

Read: Budget push towards digital university will solve shortage of places and reduce digital divide: PM Modi

Read: 2022 education budget increases by 11.86%: main areas of union budget allocation, schemes covered, new plans

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