The third largest higher education system of the world, following the USA and China, Indian education has come a long way. Today India has its own ivory league, the IITs, IIMs, ISBs, NITs, NIFTs, and the list goes on.
However, even as these institutions educate a large number of young Indians, the demand and supply gap is massively wide. We have a better infrastructure today than we had some seventy years ago but this is not adequate. The strain on our education system is just overwhelming.
Among other challenges like low GER (Gross Enrolment Rate), inconsistencies in enrolment from different sections of the society, poor quality of education, lack of well-qualified teachers, strict accreditation laws, corruption, the main challenges that plague the Indian education system is lack of proper infrastructure and serving capacity of quality institutions.
Point Made. But what next?
Well, next is the solution, Online Education.
Many of us remember the IIN ad campaign of a cellular service provider in India. This campaign focussed on how availability of internet opened new avenues of education for people residing in the most impossible parts of India.
What this ad campaign focussed on, just scratched the surface of possibilities online education provides.
Online Graduation and Post Graduation
As mentioned earlier, there is huge demand and supply gap in India education system. There have been times when cut-offs for getting admission in a college has been as high as 100%.
While India is no stranger to distance education, online education is another story. While the quality of education via a distance course is substandard at best, the integrity of these courses is also questionable.
Online education, comes as a beacon of hope in such circumstances. Many foreign universities already provide online courses for students in every corner of the world.
There are education providers who are completely based out on virtual platforms like Coursera, SoloLearn, Udemy, and many more. Some of these sites have support from universities and colleges while others exist of their own prerogative.
Most of these platform provides certifications and courses on even the most niche domains. From digital marketing, artificial intelligence, to big data certifications, these online institutes take care of most of the hot topics in the world.
What India needs is an advent online graduation and post-graduation courses which fit the needs and aspirations of Indian students, courses which take into account the Indian education systems, try to do away with the faults, and boost higher education among all ages and classes.
Among other challenges, engineering institutions face an acute lack of research and development facilities. These facilities are crucial to develop and support the inquisitive attitude a science student requires.
Also, many higher education institutes need a more comprehensive library, so as to provide a more inclusive literature collection to quell student doubts.
Employing digital technology to this end can improve various things for Indian higher education scene.
Considering the acute unavailability of well-qualified teachers, video lectures would prove to be a bliss. Not only can these lectures be played over and over again, these can easily be made available in even the most remote areas of India. Furthermore, with a fraction of cost of the college fee, students will have access to quality education.
Online education is cheaper than offline education, upholding the same standards of quality. This will make education more accessible to the lower rungs of the social strata.
Using devices for online education, makes high-end technologies more commonplace and contributes to assimilation of latest technology in day to day life. It also becomes easier for students to understand such technology and room for improvement and innovation expands.
Online education also provides you with flexibility to schedule your classes at your own convenience.
Picture this, a student working a day job to take care of his expenses and taking classes in the evening, at his own behest, from a premier institute of India. Or something simpler, like never having to miss your first class because you overslept. You can just watch it again, won’t you?
An online repository of books is an unmatched resource. The internet is littered with scholarly books and articles on just about any subject imaginable. Harnessing this information through online education, will save us quite some bucks on resource maintenance.
Room for Improvement:
This section is specifically for the naysayers.
There are arguments that a class online is not as same as it is in person. Off course its not, its more efficient online. Can’t really boo the lecturer online, can we?
There indeed is quite some work to be done on the lines of more interactive classrooms and doubt forums. However, compared to the offline education system, the difference is abysmal.
A serious handicap of online education is that while it is apt for general disciplines like arts, commerce, literature, even computers and programming; we need more interactive and life like systems for education in fields like automobile studies, mechanical engineering, computer hardware classes etc.
This could be achieved to an extent by applying augmented and virtual reality devices. A hybrid form of education can be followed for such cases where as much as possible portion of the educating process is digitized, and facilities for research and development be provided for specific disciplines.
Summing it up, online education is essentially education without the limiting constraints of offline education. Anybody can get an admission in any course at any time, take their classes and their exams at their own pace, practically paperless (we can cash in some environment friendliness credits here), and limitless.
Online education is open to anyone who cares to access it, in a society where social equity is a concern to date, this easy availability is a welcome upgradation.
What do you think online education at higher levels can do for Indian education system? Let us know in the comments!
(Disclaimer: This is a guest post submitted on Techstory by the mentioned authors.All the contents and images in the article have been provided to Techstory by the authors of the article. Techstory is not responsible or liable for any content in this article.)
About The Author:
Vivek is the President of Consumer Revenue at UpGrad, an online education platform providing industry oriented programs in collaboration with world-class institutes, some of which are MICA, IIIT BANGALORE, BITS and various industry leaders which include MakeMyTrip, Ola, Flipkart to name a few.
He has 19 years of experience in diversified industries like Consumer goods, Media, Technology Products and Education Services. He has been leading businesses & multi-cultural teams with a consistent record of market-beating performance and building brand leadership. His previous engagement has been with Manipal Global Education services as Sr General Manager, Education Services (Digital Transformation Strategy & Global Expansion).