By Dr Mallikarjuna Gadapa
Most defense personnel join the military at a relatively young age, soon after completing their higher secondary grades. The basic qualification for a preliminary grade military position is secondary level education, with a focus on mental and physical strength. However, this doesn’t mean military personnel must give up on further higher education.
Most military personnel pursue education in the distance mode while serving in the army. It is among the most preferred modes of learning for them. But most universities that offer distance education require learners to appear for exams in a physical center within the state jurisdiction which causes great hindrance to these learners as their nature of job involves moving to remote locations of the country as per national security requirements. Online degree programs do not have this territorial jurisdiction clause and top universities can offer quality and accessible education to learners across the world.
Online degree programs are delivered using intuitive learning platforms that enable individuals of different ages, regions, and careers to pursue higher education from the comfort of their homes. They are convenient, flexible, and very affordable when compared to on-campus degrees. With cutting edge technology playing a key role in the education sector, the quality of delivery of online degrees and programs has improved multifold. These benefits make online degrees a perfect pick for military personnel.
Greater flexibility & accessibility
The daily routine of military personnel is quite unpredictable. They face demanding situations and might not be able to spend time regularly on academics. In online mode of education, they can study at their own pace and schedule commitments accordingly. They can attend live sessions and access recorded classes anywhere, anytime with the help of a smartphone or laptop or tablet with internet connection. Universities like Manipal University Jaipur offer online degree programs that can be accessed at any time, even in low bandwidth. In case learners miss a live session, they can access recordings of live sessions in the learning portal any time as per their convenience.
Utilize their spare time
Sometimes, military personnel are posted in undisturbed areas and might have extra time off their duties. This time can be utilized to study. Since e-learning material (Faculty recorded videos and reading material) is available in the Learning Management System at the start of the session, they can make optimum use of their spare time.
Acquire in-demand degrees and upskill
Most universities offer degrees within-demand specializations in the online mode, some of which are not available in most of the on-campus universities. These programs help in acquiring industry-relevant skills required to compete in today’s job market. The course curriculum is also designed keeping industry trends in mind. These degrees help them acquire in-demand skills and knowledge to explore lucrative career options in their chosen domain. This allows military personnel to become future ready professionals, especially post retirement. While organizations are always ready to hire ex-military personnel in honor of their selfless service to the nation, an online degree adds greater value to their academic background.
A second career post retirement
The value of an online degree is often realized after military personnel retire. While some of them might not opt to work further, others want to explore a career after retirement. Multiple reasons like family commitments and personal aspirations might push them towards exploring a career post retirement. If defense personnel start pursuing an online degree just before their retirement, they would be able to graduate by the time they retire. This allows them to immediately look for jobs after retirement. However, military personnel can pursue an online degree even after retirement which would further allow them to research in-demand job roles and pursue a degree that suits their interest and helps them pursue high-paying jobs.
Without a decent academic background, defense personnel might find it difficult to get a suitable job. Pursuing an online degree in a sought-after domain helps them explore their dream career.
Online degrees provide good quality education which is more cost-effective than on-campus degrees, thus helping military personnel to pursue valuable degrees at a lower cost. Some online learning platforms also provide scholarship options for defense personnel. Universities like Manipal University Jaipur help further boost and empower the educational qualifications of the Indian armed forces, by offering scholarships upto 20% on course fee for online degrees to the in-service and retired military personnel and their families.
Build a network outside the army
Military personnel often don’t have an active social life outside of their army circles. Pursuing an online degreeenables them to broaden their professional networks as cohorts of online students are from across the globe. Opportunities are provided to interact with corporate leaders through webinars/guest lectures and learners are given access to alumni networks upon completing online programs. This helps them build connections before entering civilian life.
Online degrees enable military personnel to acquire the necessary degree and relevant skills which will help them explore lucrative career options for a secure life. They are, therefore, the right pick for those who want to explore a professional life post retirement.
Author is Director, Directorate of Online Education, Manipal University Jaipur (MUJ).
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