The government is framing a policy for virtual universities, to push for dissemination of education through digital means such as tablets, computers and big screens in classrooms.
Source said a draft policy had been prepared by the Ministry of Human Resource Development in consultation with the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (IT). The idea for this policy has its source in Digital India, the government’s flagship programme to digitise different sectors such as health, government services, social services, and finance.
Last week, IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad met the IT secretary to discuss the creation of a virtual university policy and if digital universities could be set up.
“With the country moving towards total digitisation, it is imperative to evolve a system insulated from academic disparities,” said an official in the ministry, adding it was essential to make Indian youth globally competitive.
The official also pointed to disparities between rural and urban education, as well as the difficulties engineering students faced in getting jobs. “Universities fail to make their syllabuses dynamic. There is a wide gap between industry demands and educational curriculum,” said another person privy to the development.
He added India does not have universities with global standards, and it would be easy to upgrade digital ones. The officials also cited international research on how technology could be used to improve learning.
Sources said the policy was based on the Gujarat model. As the state’s chief minister, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had pushed for virtual sectoral universities.