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NEP implementation: Hybrid courses may soon get green signal from government

A blended programme would allow up to 40 percent of the course module to be offered online, while the rest could be provided through physical lectures.

June 25, 2021 / 09:45 AM IST
Under the NEP, a student can decide whether to complete the full-year programme for entry and exit.

Under the NEP, a student can decide whether to complete the full-year programme for entry and exit.

Hybrid courses across higher education institutes for regular degree programmes may soon get a formal green-signal from the government as part of the National Education Policy (NEP) implementation.

Sources said that this formal approval would also enable regular degrees to be offered on a blended module, including online lectures and physical classes.

For students, this could also be beneficial since their living costs in the campus/hostel would be restricted only to the physical lectures.

"Universities could offer up to 40 percent of a degree programme in a blended module. This will enable better accessibility to students from across the country," said a government official.

He added that the Ministry of Education has given its nod for this arrangement. Formal guidelines are likely to be released in the next 2-3 months.

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At present, institutes are required to take permission for each hybrid course. Once a formal approval comes in from the government, institutes will have the flexibility to offer such courses to all students.

Typically, while the fees for an undergraduate degree programme (BA) ranges from Rs 55,000 to Rs 1 lakh for a three-year degree, over and above are the hostel fees that range between Rs 17,000-20,000 per year.

If a student can pursue 40 percent of a programme online, he/she would save up on living expenses in the hostels and on meals.

In July 2020, the Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave its nod to the National Education Policy.

Consequently, the Ministry of Human Resource Development has been renamed as the Ministry of Education.

NEP 2020 proposes far-reaching changes in the system of education in India and includes proposals for technology-led learning to flexible entry and exit systems.

How will hybrid models benefit students?

Hybrid learning modules can also aid the flexible entry-exit system proposed under NEP 2020. Students need not physically travel and study at the campus if they only seek a certification programme.

Under the NEP, a student can decide whether to complete the full-year programme for entry and exit.

If one year is completed, a student can get a certificate. If the student completes two years, a diploma would be provided. If the three-year or four-year programme is completed, then the degree will be awarded.

Said Delhi-based education consultant Vikrant Oberoi: "Online programmes are already available in India but not all universities are open to this idea. Instead of making the full degree programme fully online, a hybrid approach works best."

He added that this would also be helpful for corporate professionals wanting to upskill, since they would be away from work for a lesser period under a hybrid module.

How will the programme be structured?

Depending on the nature of the programme, the online component for a degree programme could be between 5-40 percent.

Each educational institute would need to structure the courses, keeping blended learning in mind. Students would be informed in advance about the course modules that will be delivered online.

"Typically, when we get an international guest faculty for teaching any course, we have to schedule the lectures around his/her convenience. But if this is made part of the blended programme, then it could be done as per our regular course schedule," said a Delhi University professor.

It is also likely that practical-lesson intensive courses like engineering may only have 5-10 percent of online learning while the rest of it involves campus-based physical classes.

The same applies to medical degrees as well. Only theory-based lessons of 5 percent could be offered online.
M Saraswathy is a business journalist with 10 years of reporting experience. Based in Mumbai, she covers consumer durables, insurance, education and human resources beat for Moneycontrol.
first published: Jun 25, 2021 09:45 am

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