Digital Universities Will Promote Exponential Growth Of Online Education: UGC Chairman
- On September 26, 2022
Recently, the University Grants Commission (UGC) collaborated with the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) to enable every student in our country, irrespective of location, to access quality online educational resources.
UGC Chairman’s Statement
“We are working on a multi-dimensional way to ensure that education reaches the last student in the remotest area. So, we have partnered with MeitY to set up common service centers (CSCs). Any student can walk into those centers, pay a nominal monthly fee, and access digital universities.” Prof. M Jagadesh Kumar, chairman of UGC, made this statement at the roundtable on "Enhancing Competitiveness and Quality Revolution in Indian Higher Education," where he was invited as the chief guest.
He stated that the Indian government is working to bring in regulations that will enable them to work with Ed-Tech companies to enable students in distant areas to become outstanding learners and contribute to the country’s economic growth.
The UGC Chief also responded to several vice chancellors' questions at the roundtable. He disclosed that the Academic Bank of Credits (ABC) has over 550 universities registered for higher credits.
He continued, "Currently, students can take up to 40% of the credit requirements in a program, but once we announce online regulations and establish the digital university, online education will grow exponentially. Thousands of students are benefiting in terms of transferring the credits to the host university where they are studying online."
What are Digital Universities?
A "digital university," as the name suggests, is a university that uses only digital technology, i.e., online resources, to conduct all of its operations. In a digital university, all courses are taught using ICT (Information and Communication Technology) tools in a completely virtual setting.
Digital universities aim to be full-fledged central universities to provide students with a large selection of digital courses in various formats, similar to many online courses like Dual Degree Programs, Certificate Programs, etc. On the whole, the concept of a digital university is a creative fusion of numerous current educational frameworks in India, including online learning, open distance learning (ODL), and multiple EdTech initiatives.
The “Hub and Spoke” Model of Digital Universities
UGC and the top government educational bodies like AICTE have proposed that digital universities be formed in a ‘Hub and Spoke’ model. This means that the digital university will be a centralized university in which there will be one central unit for running all the administrative and technical functions of the university and multiple collaborative partners that provide the various educational programs for the students.
The hub, which includes all the administrative entities and the technical unit responsible for handling the digital university's efficient operation, serves as this concept's central component. The spokes will be the many educational partners, such as colleges, universities, and other higher education institutions in India and overseas, and EdTech platforms that can provide students with various educational programs in a digital format.
A Gamechanger For Our Country’s Education System
Three key elements will make up the Digital University ecosystem:
- A provider of technology platforms.
- A producer of high-quality digital content.
- Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), with the Digital University acting as the ecosystem’s central node.
The prime goal of digital universities will be to offer programs at the degree, diploma, and certificate levels digitally and expand access to high-quality programs of higher education through the creative application of ICT tools and platforms that enables colleges to do so. The proposed Digital University is a step in the right direction and will position India as a world leader in virtual education.
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