Feb 23, 2018 at 12:00am ET By Alyssa Walker

Good news for online students in India.

At the recent Central Advisory Board for Education (CABE) meeting, attendants passed a resolution that will allow institutions of higher education that hold National Assessment and Accreditation (NAAC) rating can offer three-year degree programs through open- and distance-learning programs.

In an article in Times of India, Minister for Human Resource Development, Prakash Javadeka said, "Nearly 15% institutions in the country with top NAAC score of A+ and A++ will be able to offer three-year degree programmes through online mode."

The programs offered online will be non-technical in nature, so engineering, medicine will not be included.

In an article in The Hindu, he added, "The UGC (University Grants Commission) will approve their course structure. There will be online lectures, tutorials and also a weekly online discussion forum where professors will answer queries of the enrolled candidates. There will be an online examination in six months or one year. They will be granted certificates if they pass.” 

The goal? To increase the number of students in higher education in India. CABE resolved to increase the Gross Enrollment Ratio in higher education from its present rate of 25.2 percent to 30-32 percent within five years.

The move comes in response to the desire to increase access to education in India and to capitalize on growing access to mobile technology.

In the recent Annual Status of Education Report (ASER), which measures the learning ability of youth between 14 and 18 years old, 73 percent of students reportedly use mobile phones.

In an article in Live Mint, Madhav Chavan, co-foundation of the NGO Pratham, which publishes the report, said, "Maybe the policymakers can think about utilizing this bright spot."

They're doing just that.

Learn more about studying online in India


Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.

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