India will soon have a central university in a digital mode. This announcement was made by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman during her budget speech. Digital University will be established to provide access to students across the country for world-class quality universal education with a personalised learning experience at their doorsteps, said FM in her speech.
In a bid to provide online learning to the masses, the digital university will be set on a hub and spoke model. The hub and spoke model means that the distribution will be centralised and everything will originate at a centralised ‘hub’ and then will be sent to other locations referred to as ‘spokes’.
Through this scheme the students, even sitting in remote parts of the country will be able to get access to “quality education” by the ‘hubs’ while sitting at their home via the digital medium. Claiming that this will help in providing “world-class education at the doorstep” the Finance minister said, “The best public universities and institutions in the country will collaborate (in the digital university) as a network of hub-spoke.”
The digital university will collaborate with the best public universities and institutions in the country. The courses will be available in different Indian languages.
India currently has two digital universities. The first-ever university was set up in Kerala by upgrading the Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIITM-K). The second digital university was set up in Jodhpur.
It will impart teaching in regional languages and ICT (information and communication technology) formats. The digital university will be set up as per Indian Society for Technical Education (ISTE) standards.
While many experts have claimed that the move is touted to be instrumental for the education sector, some others have criticised it. Bhavesh Goswami, CEO & founder, CloudThat, said, “The idea of implementing Digital University has been a strategic move towards guiding the development of India’s education. This does not directly acknowledge the contribution of the ed-tech sector or seek their expertise to help the government in this endeavour. It will be interesting to see if and how the government will leverage the budding ed-tech sector in increasing the access to digital education as well as making sure the quality of the education remains relevant to the needs of the modern job environment.”