ODLs might sink many low quality HEIs ?
Any student would want a degree from a top Indian university. After all, every one aspires to build one’s career profile with a stamp of an eminent institute.
UGC has since removed, if at all there was any difference between regular and online/distance mode of learning degrees. Credits are also easily transferable between regular and online mode qualification. There is no entry merit, no admissions cut off, no limit in number of seats in the eminent university delivering ODL/Online degree or diploma. So why won’t students gravitate towards ODL/Online from a top Indian university/college? And if they do, where would the remaining HEIs go?
We know, India is set to achieve GER from the current level of 27% to 50% by the year 2035 as per the NEP targets. To this aim, UGC has started various initiatives. ODL/Online degrees are now up for the grab, not just in the universities but over 900 eligible autonomous colleges are also on the bandwagon. Not just that, the government is set to establish more online universities as Institutes of National Importance who would launch various multi-disciplinary and futuristic programs such as Fintech, Data Analytics, cyber security, cloud etc. besides, science, economics, commerce, liberal arts, management and language courses etc.
With the above scenario on the radar, is anyone thinking about a seemingly bleak future of almost 80% of average performing HEIs running various programs in the field of art, liberal arts, management etc.(except for the ODE/online prohibited programs of Engineering, Architecture, Medical, Dental, Pharmacy, allied health sciences, Law, Visual Arts, Hotel Management & Catering etc) ?
If these HEIs don’t quickly realise their gradual extinction, and fail to institute strong rebounding measures such as building a strong academic capacity, raise the bar of performance quickly and attain A series NAAC grade/top 100 NIRF ranking and become attractive to students, they would have no one else but themselves to blame.
At the centre of all is the need to protect the robustness and credibility of NAAC grading and NIRF ranking. From the time, NAAC in particular, has been linked to grant of an autonomy and expansion, including running of ODL programs, quite a few undeserving institutes have managed to walk away with A+ grade. Will someone in the government plug the big hole in the system quickly ?
Prof JRS : The views expressed are personal and for the larger good of HEIs to build quality.