India's top universities can now offer full online degree programs, but some are worried.
On May 24, the University Grants Commission, India’s higher education regulator, approved the new regulations for online education.
According to India's website, Scroll.in, The regulations allow high ranking universities to offer students bachelor's degrees without attending college. Universities will record lectures or deliver them through video-conferencing and use online discussion forums for class discussion. E-content will replace textbooks, and there will be a system for self-assessment.
The commission argues that the country's gross enrollment ratio will increase from 25.2 percent to 30 percent by 2020, and that using technology will expand Indian students' access to higher education opportunities.
Some experts are wary, saying that online education requires an investment in software and staff that many Indian universities do not have the funds to make.
Their biggest complaint? Exams. The regulations call for "proctored examination. The University Grants Commission explained that a proctor will be present in an exam hall where students will have to report, or they'll be monitored through video cameras.
In the Scroll, K Murali Manohar, who teaches at Dr BR Ambedkar Open University in Telangana and heads the Indian Distance Education Association, said, “Some private universities may come forward but I do not think any public university can. We are not prepared. This will require investment and staff. We will need new software and computer laboratories and examination centers.”
While many agree that online programs will be less expensive to run than traditional programs, many in the Indian higher education community have doubts.
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