Higher education council submits feedback to UGC on draft note
Autonomy of universities and flexibility in choice of courses have to be retained in the blended learning mode of teaching and learning, pointed out the Kerala State Higher Education Council in its feedback on blended learning submitted to the University Grants Commission (UGC).
The council had organised a meeting on June 3 to collect feedback from various stakeholders on the draft note on blended learning published by the commission.
“On the whole, there is a general consensus about the background statement about the need for flexibility and student centricity in higher education. However, individual institutions require freedom to adapt them to suit their special academic structure, composition, and instructional practices, while retaining the core provisions of the draft for which we need to identify areas where flexibility is permissible,” the council said in its feedback.
The report stated that it would be difficult for Kerala to give an immediate guarantee to the draft recommendation that called for ensuring 24×7 connectivity of at least a minimum 1 Gbps and an up-to-date edu-tech infrastructure with open access to all the teachers and students.
“However, the State can achieve this in the near future and address the limitations of digital divide. There is the requirement of redesigning the curricula in tune with technology, which amounts to total revamping. It is not possible for all the higher educational institutions to satisfy this requirement immediately. However, it is feasible for all university-level departments and selected colleges to satisfy the requirement,” it said.
The council pointed out that the reforms will lead to the replacement of a significant amount of classroom teaching by various other online activities. “Classes will be mostly conducted online. Face-to-face classroom teaching will become activities under the online driver and flipped classroom models. In effect, the real offline teaching will mostly be confined to lab work. The workload norms and career prospects of teachers will have to be reworked, taking the teaching community into confidence through adequate consultation with representatives of teachers’ organisations, both at the Central and State levels,” it said.
The report said that public funding is required for augmenting the infrastructural facilities associated with the development of online mode of teaching-learning. Otherwise, it will aggravate the existing digital divide and deprive the poor students, especially the marginalised sections from the mainstream of higher education.
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