By: S P Thanusree
While the COVID-9 pandemic has posed unprecedented challenges and disrupted education and economies of countries across the world, it has also ushered in a new lifestyle. The most prominent being the paradigm shift to embrace virtual education and workspaces. Students across the globe have become the largest clientele for online education. Within a short span of time, both the students and teachers have adapted themselves and have become more comfortable with taking and tutoring classes online.
Institutionalizing this model of education in Under Graduation and Post Graduation education structure in India and recognizing the certification offered by online courses for job employment can certainly prove to be a boon in the long run. At present, in India, it takes 3-5 yrs to finish an undergrad course (Arts/Professional Courses) and an additional 2-3 yrs for post graduation. This extended period of education can be cut down by creating a right mix of online and offline classes, where students can opt to attend a part of their course online. This will give students more time to pursue other courses of their interests simultaneously. Universities Grant Commission recently approved the new Dual Degree Programmes, in which students can pursue two different courses at the same time. Thus incorporating an online curriculum as a part of a dual degree programme can be a game changer.
By 2030, India is set to have the largest working-age population in the world. Through online learning students can acquire multiple skill sets within a shorter time frame. This would strengthen the “Skill India” initiatives of the Government and also equip the millennials to find more interesting jobs. Jobs in India and abroad are growing to be extremely competitive, setting towering standards and requirements to be fulfilled by the candidates. Hence online classes will allow students to develop a holistic personality suited for future needs. Another advantage of online classes is its impact on the cost of education. Analysts predict that online degrees will likely be offered at lower cost than face-to-face programs and will likely appeal to working adults who don’t have the time to pursue a traditional on-campus degree.
As digitalisation of India is also gaining momentum with increase in internet services even in rural and remote villages, where education is underfunded, online classes will help these communities get access to quality higher education at low cost.
Time is the most important benefit of online classes. They will greatly cut down the time and cost of on-campus degree programmes, which could be used effectively for multi skilling the students. Students will have more opportunity to pursue various other hobbies, interest and extracurriculars that usually are shelved due to academic pressure. It will increase the flexibility of the students and teachers to optimize their schedules to fit everyone’s agenda.
A better balance of work and studies can be created and students can also think about starting to work at a younger age as they continue with their education. As people start contributing to the economy at an early stage it will drastically improve the economic status of our country in the future. Creating a curriculum that combines online and offline classes (say 65% offline and 35% online) will truly be an asset for future education. This pandemic has provided us the time to test such novel ideas, with schools and universities already resorting to taking classes online during these trying times. This model has a great potential to revolutionize education enabling students to select subjects of their interests and complete their undergraduate/ post graduation in a time bound manner.