Edunews

UGC guideline for online teaching to be against most students who cannot afford digital infrastructure


University Grants Commission (UGC) issued a concept note on the blended mode of teaching and learning in universities and colleges that have not gone down well with the academia who claim that it is premature to expect a majority of students to accustomed to online learning.

According to UGC’s draft guidelines issued recently, higher education institutions (HEIs) may be allowed to teach up to 40% of the syllabus of each course through online mode and the remaining 60% through offline teaching.

Congratulations!

You have successfully cast your vote

Rajnish Jain, secretary & CVO, UGC, says, “The blended teaching-learning method will be more flexible, engaging, interactive and effective for teachers as well as students, especially during the Covid times when classes are not happening in the physical mode.”
But academia opines that online teaching as a replacement of on-campus classes is not feasible due to lack of infrastructure and equipment with a majority of the students.

“With three-fourth of the students coming from SC, ST, OBC, EWS, PWD and remote areas like NE & JK, who are mostly on the wrong side of the digital divide, the latest UGC guideline is far away from the ground reality, says Rajesh Jha, associate professor, Rajdhani College, Delhi University.

Priya Ranjan, professor, Electronics and Communications Engineering, SRM Andhra University, Amravati, says all students do not belong to the same economic status, therefore, the commission has to design methods appropriate for all sections of the society. “According to data, only 8% of the students can access online studying and the rest 92% are bereft of those facilities. UGC has to introduce innovative online methods to reach this large chunk of students,” says Ranjan.

Also, the quality of on-campus learning cannot be compared with online learning. “Offline learning is always qualitatively better than the online method, especially in Science or Social Science subjects. Interacting with the peer group and teachers on the campus has its own advantages and can have no substitute,” says Jha.

Though Jain reasons out that a large number of students do have smartphones and they are making use of social media with the basic internet and email facility, Jha nullifies it saying that merely having a smartphone does not mean having access to the digital medium. “Effectively, only 12.5% of the households have internet access at home on a computing device. The data also varies from state to state. For example, the sample survey says that in Andhra Pradesh, 30% of rural households have access to the internet, but only 2% of the people are likely to have ‘effective’ internet access at home, that is, with a computing device,” says Jha.

“Teachers need to decide if a particular course can be covered by taking 5% of the classes online. Institutions have the liberty to take classes online or not take it,” says Jain.

Ranjan, on the other hand, proposes that till the time on-campus classes are not held, the government should make arrangements through ‘Shiksha Mitra’ by posting reading material to student’s homes. “Study material can be sent to the students through posts. Even exams can be conducted through posts. If the government has a will and desire to take up the challenge then nothing is impossible,” says Ranjan.

Jain is however hopeful that over a period of time, technology will become more accessible and economical to most of the students. “Since last year when the pandemic started, classes are being held online whether in schools or HEIs, and most of the students are finding their own ways to get access to attend online classes in whatever possible ways,” says Jain.





Source link

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *