The University Grants Commission (UGC), the higher education regulator in India is pinning its hopes on the Digital University being prepared for rollout and more relaxed regulations for online delivery of courseware to address both the capacity as well as quality issues of higher education in India. According to UGC chairman, Prof M Jagadesh Kumar, UGC is going to be the facilitator of higher education in India. Speaking at the PHDCCI Education Summit 2022 in New Delhi on Sep 2, Prof Kumar illustrated that country’s 45% universities and 65% of colleges were in rural settings and often faced challenge in infrastructure, supply of good quality of teachers and other facilities. “The proposed Digital University and online regulations will help meeting these challenges and also increasing capacity the higher education system,” he added.
UGC chairman also made a strong pitch for better access, better quality of education and affordability and said that we have to move from a system of elimination referring to high stakes admission process in UG programs whereby a lot of aspirants are left out due to limited seats in reputed HEIs. He said: “Higher education can’t be left alone to academicians. We need to bring in the expertise of industry and of those dealing with real life problems that come into the play. That’s we need to work together.”
Referring to various reforms announced by the UGC in the recent months from 4-year UG program to multiple-entry and exit system and professor of practice guidelines along with internships, etc. Prof Kumar said that at 40 crore enrolment strength, India’s higher education system also needs to build accountability into the system to resonate across the world and harness its vast potential for everybody in the country.
Speaking at the same conference Pradeep Multani, President, PHDCCI drew attention to the large number of students going aboard every year and the resultant loss of revenue to the country. He said that whatever is needed must be done to make India a hub of education for India. He added: “We have world-class intuitions but the same is not reflected in rankings, there is something which our system must upgrade to. If we can be the pharmacy of the world, why can’t we become a not education destination?”
Dr. Jitendra Singh, Minister of State, (IC) Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, also addressed the conference and said that NEP 2020 will pave a way for honing aptitude, skills and inherent talent of students and give control over quality. “There will be no more dropouts in India as the flexible curriculum and more capacity will make our system inclusive and along with preparing for livelihood and unleashing power of vernacular languages .”