ANANTAPUR: Vice-President M Venakaiah Naidu on Thursday called for an inclusive approach to online and distance education, and cautioned that issues pertaining to internet access, quality and affordability may get accentuated with the pandemic and exclude many students in the process.While noting the power of online education as a ‘digital bridge’ for people in remote areas, he stressed that care must be taken not to exclude students from socio-economically weaker sections and create a ‘digital divide’.
To improve the access and affordability of internet, especially in rural areas, Venkaiah Naidu underscored the need for expeditious implementation of projects such as Bharat Net. He wanted institutions that undertake CSR activities to prioritise providing electronic devices to school and college students from socially and economically weaker sections.
Naidu also noted the paucity of online courses in Indian languages and called upon private players in the educational technology sector to offer content in more regional languages. In this context, he recalled the tool developed by the AICTE recently which translates English content online into 11 Indian regional languages. “Online education should not remain a privilege for the few, but rather should be the ultimate tool for real democratisation of education in India,” he stressed.
Virtually addressing the first Foundation Day celebration of Central University of Andhra Pradesh, Anantapur, the Vice-President noted how higher education can be a great economic catalyst for the community, bring development to a region and even spur growth of the country. In this regard, he expressed hope that the Central University will accelerate the educational and economic development of the State and unlock the potential of the Rayalaseema region.
Noting the positive externalities of higher education, Naidu called for more ‘internationalisation’ of the Indian universities. He cited examples of top global universities, which attract international talent every year and have been thriving as centres of excellence and delivering economic benefits to the host nation.
In order to achieve internationalisation of the universities and their collaborations with global institutions, the Vice-President stressed the need to promote diversity among faculty and students.
Recalling that India was once known as “Vishwaguru” and attracted students from all corners of the world to renowned institutions such as Nalanda, Takshashila and Pushpagiri, the V-P said, “We must regain that intellectual leadership and emerge as a global hub of learning and innovation again”.
Referring to the stress on multidisciplinary and holistic education in the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, Naidu called for strengthening of education in humanities and social sciences in all universities.
Observing the change in pedagogy over the years, Naidu said the NEP is a visionary document that encourages hands-on activity and community engagement to ensure overall development of children.
The V-P complimented the Central University for adopting six villages under the Unnat Bharat Abhiyan. He advised all States to speedily implement provisions of the NEP.
Venkaiah for better and cheaper internet
To improve the access and affordability of internet, Venkaiah Naidu underscored the need for expeditious implementation of projects such as Bharat Net
Online education should not remain a privilege for the few, but rather should be the ultimate tool for real democratisation of education in India, the V-P said