Digital University will be a game-changer for the country: Experts on education budget 2022

Experts emphasized the need for a multi-lingual, accessible learning management system, experiential learning by blending online education with offline.

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Anu Parthiban | February 21, 2022 | 09:12 PM IST

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today addressed a webinar on the positive impact of the Union Budget 2022 on the education sector. The ministry of education organized the webinar that had sessions on different themes of relevance and the participation of government officials of various ministries and state governments, industry representatives, skill development organizations, educationists, students and other experts.

The proposed Digital University is a step in the right direction and will position India as a world leader in virtual education and has the potential of increasing the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) from 27% to 50%, India’s leading education experts said during a webinar.

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The webinar Digital University: Making World Class Higher Education Accessible for All was a part of the Ministry of Education’s ‘Achieving Atmanirbharta through the Amrit Mantra of Digital Education and Dynamic Skilling’ that was held today and was aimed at engaging with stakeholders on the implementation of Budget 2022 in the education sector.

The webinar was moderated by Anil Sahasrabudhe, AICTE Chairman, and saw the presence of eminent panellists Swati Piramal, Vice Chairperson, Piramal Group, V Kamakoti, Director, IIT Madras, and M Jagadeesh Kumar, Chairman, UGC. The Chair and Co-Chair of the meeting were K Sanjay Murthy, Secretary, Higher Education, and K Rajaraman, Secretary, DOT.

The panellists emphasized the need for multi-lingual, accessible learning management system, the creation of engaging, immersive learning experiences, linking peer learners to create strong learning communities and synchronised, experiential learning by blending online education with physical mode (phy-igital).

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Digital education a way to reach unreachable: AICTE

Sahasrabudhe stressed that increasing the Gross Enrolment Ratio cannot be possible done by the brick-and-mortar universities. “Digital education is a way of reaching out to those who are unreachable in remote areas, villages, and mountainous areas. For them, it is very difficult to move to cities for quality education as it will put a lot of pressure on their living expenses. Digital University is one of the best things that has happened to India under the Digital India initiatives,” Sahasrabudhe said.

Digital University to lower access barriers: IIT Madras

V Kamakoti, IIT Madras Director, said that if colleges get affiliated to a Digital University it would be lower the access barriers.

“We actually understand certain access barriers in a much clearer way and we were able to address access barriers. For instance, we are trying to get such a local chapter which can bring these people together that can become a sort of a very interesting thing in the Digital University also, colleges can get affiliated to the Digital University. And it can admit students to the local program and provide local support to local students,” Kamakoti said.

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M Jagadeesh Kumar, UGC Chairman, said that the government is working to bring in regulations that will enable them to work with ed-tech companies to enable students in distant areas to become outstanding learners and contribute to the country’s economic growth.

“The Digital University will be offering programmes at degree, diploma, and certificate levels either under its umbrella or in collaboration with the spokes. The Digital University ecosystem will have three important components such as technology platform provider, digital content creator, and Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) with the Digital University at the core of the ecosystem,” the AICTE press release said.

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