Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the inauguration of a digital university in India earlier in February 2022. The announcement pleasantly surprised onlookers as India is carving out a niche for itself in the education sector .
The declaration was made after careful consideration and planning, bearing in mind that education must reach even underserved pockets of India. The news gave impetus to strengthen and improve the existing telecommunications infrastructure and overcome the digital divide that would deprive citizens of the fundamental right to education. It has also allowed EdTechs to spread their wings as they can work in collaboration with a deep government body and get involved in course co-creation and co-certification at a general level, allowing EdTechs to grow.
What is a digital university?
A digital university comprises many universities across India, united as a single unit on a virtual platform. This means that students from anywhere across the country can apply for admission and take a course leading to a degree, diploma or certification in the range of segments offered by the university. Digital infrastructure has its own advantages. These include in particular the following,
- No cap will be imposed on the number of places. Any number of learners and professionals can join this university if they have obtained an upper secondary certificate (HSC certificate) in the passing category.
- It is an indirect way of the government stating that any skills program or certification course will require a minimum pass 12 criterion, providing an incentive for students to continue their education.
- The right to education will be duly exercised because each individual can improve themselves in an appropriate way, by acquiring a recognized certification from a university of their choice, even if they follow instructions from a distance.
- In 2020, the NEP restructured the academic model from the local level to meet the demands of the new business era. This means that the program is focused on the growing importance of skills and understanding the concepts that will be involved in real life situations.
- The birth of a digital university has given rise to the futuristic concept of a “classroom without walls” where learners enjoy greater flexibility with the subject of their choice.
- The pedagogy of the course will be uniformly centralized. Learner progress will be tracked and monitored using sophisticated software and applications.
- Students will be able to access the chosen program from anywhere and conclude the same within the desired time frame.
The Role of EdTech Companies (Reimagined)
The role of EdTech companies will grow significantly as they work with digital universities. EdTech companies can help the university open up to a plethora of courses for students to choose from. EdTech companies will also assist in the co-creation and co-certification of courses to meet continued industry demand. This will add much more importance to the course that is in progress.
EdTech companies can help catalyze the development of the digital university by conscientiously lending manpower, technical support, and other resources that can be provided at a scalable level. Such integration will not only prove beneficial for the EdTech enterprise but also for the Digital University. Challenges that may arise during the formation of the Digital University could be eliminated more quickly with the involvement of EdTechs.
EdTech will have the opportunity to explore a nuanced target audience. The Digital University will be a centralized entity. Educational prospects will improve considerably. The faculty will be top-notch, giving impetus to the government to open the doors to foreign nationals. This will appear as a win-win for government and EdTech organizations. This fruitful collaboration will present Indian and foreign learners and professionals residing abroad a chance to interact with prolific professionals from India.
Acceptance of such compelling change will be slow but will emerge as part of the process in the years to come. EdTechs can collectively work with India’s Digital University, to mobilize placement options for learners and professionals, bridging the gap created due to the economic lull caused by the pandemic and the current global situation.