New programs for students, regulations for online learning soon, says UGC chief Jagadesh Kumar
New Delhi: The central government is about to roll out a series of initiatives for students in the field of online education, and will also issue related regulations in the coming month, said Mr. Jagadesh Kumar, new president. of the University Grants Commission (UGC). ThePrint interacting on Wednesday.
He also stressed the need to educate students about programs such as Academic Bank of Credit (ABC) and other initiatives for their benefit.
Kumar, a former vice-chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), took office earlier this month as head of the body that formulates regulations for universities across India.
Professor at IIT, Kumar also spoke about the recently announced digital university and regulations for online learning, and how educational technology companies can help.
“In the coming months, the government will roll out initiatives for students in the area of online education. All must come together for students to derive maximum benefit,” he said.
Elaborating on the online education initiatives, he mentioned that the ABC curriculum needs to be widely implemented, as well as the digital university.
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The ABC diagram
The ABC program will help students earn bespoke degrees, which means they can choose to take different courses at separate universities and collect credits, which can then be redeemed for a degree. Credits can be stored in the student’s credit account, much like a bank account.
Kumar said if universities offer online courses, the ABC program will be more beneficial as students will have a wide range of options to choose from.
“It’s a great program for students and they need to be made aware of these programs so they can use them to their advantage. It will give students a lot of flexibility in terms of choosing courses. We need to raise awareness through workshops and other means,” the UGC president said.
The commission has already started holding meetings with various central and state universities to explain the implementation of ABC and discuss online education with them, he said.
Sources told ThePrint that the ABC program has not picked up the pace so far as leading institutions like Delhi University, JNU, IITs and IIMs among others are waiting for the Center to offer defined regulations for online education before moving on to implementing the schemes.
When asked about this, Kumar said, “For ABC to spread widely, we need to have defined rules for online education. We are discussing all of these issues internally and will be ready with regulations for online education in the coming month. »
No limit for students for online programs
The government is trying to open up the space for online education significantly, through amendments to the UGC (Open and Distance Learning Programs and Online Programs) Regulations, 2020.
“We are working on regulations through which top-rated institutions will be able to offer online courses from the 2022-23 academic session. There will also be no limit for students to be admitted into the programs offered online. The minimum qualification will be successful completion of Class 12, based on which students can apply for admission into any course of their choice,” Jagadesh Kumar explained.
“The regulations will also pave the way for the digital university, which we are trying to create through a hub-and-spoke model. Various institutions will be the centers of knowledge provision in this case,” he added.
The new head of UGC also spoke of a bigger role for edtech companies once the digital university is in place. The idea is that edtech companies can partner with educational institutions and offer learning and exam support.
“Edtech players will be able to participate in a major way once the digital university comes into existence… They can offer support in terms of the resources they have, such as technology to offer live conferences and organize exams,” he said.
“The condition we have for edtech companies is that they must provide quality education and be affordable for students,” Kumar added.
(Editing by Nida Fatima Siddiqui)
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