While foreign universities are beating lockdowns with online teaching, this is yet to take off in Indian universities
While many of the Indian universities have done well to restart sessions using Zoom, Meet, Teams and other such video-conferencing apps, online course offerings are yet to come up in a big way. Of the 100 universities that were granted automatic approval for starting online courses earlier this year, only a few have been able to roll out programmes. IIT-Madras announced in June that it shall offer all-online diploma and degree courses in programming and data science. IIT-Roorkee announced something similar, but the likes of Delhi University, BHU and JNU are yet to announce any such plans.
Meanwhile, with a QS report stating that nearly two-thirds (61%) students deferring their plans to apply for foreign universities this year, the need for such courses is even more urgent. On the one hand, students shelving foreign education plans is good since it is a massive forex outgo. On the other, if there continues to be a dearth in India universities offering courses of globally comparable quality and standing—it is true that the demand for top global universities is not related solely to the superior curriculum or pedagogy, but also to factors such as the industry-heft of the alumni network, networking opportunities with business leaders, etc—the deferral may last only as long as the pandemic does. While Harvard and other universities were quick to launch courses and diplomas to beat lockdown restrictions, Indian universities need to do the same. The sooner they launch, the better it will be. Not only will they be able to take advantage of the transition year—students and even professionals stuck at home would plan to upskill themselves—but they will become globally competitive as they vie with foreign universities for students. The government also has its task cut out in this regard. Although it did well to grant automatic approval for the top 100 universities as per the NIRF ranking or those with 3.26 NAAC grade and above, it needs to extend this facility to other universities as well. In any case, most universities will be relying on online mediums to resume the session.