If racing and driving simulation games can be sold by companies only if they are manufacturing regular automobile cars and bikes, the entire simulation and gaming industry will come down crashing. Why should gaming products sold for entertainment require the seller to have a manufacturing facility for cars and bikes? Extending the same logic to the online education ecosystem, why should online programmes be offered only if the universities offer the same in regular mode? This valid question needs a careful response as gaming is for entertainment while online education is for enlightenment.
Various reports are upbeat about the global e-learning market which is estimated to reach around $330 billion by 2025. Of this, lies the global massive open online course (MOOC) market, which is estimated to be valued at $3.61 billion and is expected to reach $25.33 billion by 2025. MOOC is a platform that enables users to learn courses online without any limit on attendance.
The role of India in this online and MOOC market is significant with huge potential for export of Indian education. Prime Minister Modi launching the Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya mission for teachers at the Banaras Hindu University called for an effort to export India’s teachers globally. The knowledge economy in online space has a rapid multiplier effect if it’s fuelled more by digital teaching assets and less by physical mobility of faculty resources making the PM’s target a reality.
India’s response has multi-dimensional positive pathways—from online education in school to university to workplace and other potential areas. While the corporates have their own learning and development tools to meet their internal demand which is also not adequate, the higher education space is bubbling with promise, thanks to SWAYAM. And the University Grants Commission (UGC) has rightly notified the regulations to uncork the potential of Indian online education in the global eduspace.
The concern of UGC to ensure that online education can be in programmes that are offered only in the regular mode which has graduated one batch is understandable. The need for quality enforcement mechanisms requires no emphasis and the UGC’s restrictions need to be seen in that light. However, such speed-breakers can be smoothened.
Way forward: The UGC needs to ascertain the available expertise of teaching faculty in interdisciplinary universities and eligible higher educational institutions. It should encourage those having adequate faculty to offer online courses without any regular course or graduation embargo as availability.
The same may also be followed for the Open & Distance Learning programmes as many lack access to formal education in India. In both modes, UGC can ensure that the desired educational outcomes and metrics are achievable. This shall avoid unnecessary physical infrastructure in the brick and mortar mode, and encourage building digital assets in the bits and bytes mode. For online education, in-house faculty availability is the key and not the regular mode or graduation precedent. In short: Online degree needs no regular pedigree. email@example.com