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Digitalization during the Pandemic: A Paradigm Shift in HEIs: Prof S. Jeelani

Prof S. Jeelani Director, Centre for Distance and Virtual Learning, University of Hyderabad

The implementation of lock-down regulations in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic has increased the importance of work from home, online education, and virtual meetings. With this the digitalization process came to the fore.

We are lagging far behind other countries due to lack of proper understanding of the new virtual learning and online approaches that everyone is listening to. The shortage of knowledge and resources required for this seems severe. Prof. S. Jeelani, Director, Center for Distance and Virtual Learning, University of Hyderabad, gave correct answers to the questions raised on the issues to be followed on these policies.

 Why we need online education?

Presently, Indian Education system is having 990 Degree awarding Institutions and 40000 colleges, more than 5 lakh teachers and 30 million students.  It is quite important to note that the literary rate is drastically improved from 18 per cent in 1951 to 85 percent in 2020.

However in Higher education sector it is not showing much satisfactory results.  Merely 27% of higher education enrolment against the global average of 34% of enrolment. While many developed countries like Japan, Australia, USA, UK the enrolment is more than 50%.

Therefore National Education Policy (2020) also recommended massive expansion of universities nationwide that would enable India to attain a gross enrolment GER of 50% by 2035 It has also stated that to raise the quality of higher education in every sphere at the same time it is essential to create institutions that are exemplars of excellence at par with the best in the world.(National Educational Policy 2020)

Table: 1  Higher Education enrolment in various countries (%)(Gross Enrolment Ratio)

S. No. Name of the Country No. of Degree avoiding institution % of GER
1 Japan 780 63
2 U.S.A 4298 82
3 UK 130 60
4 German 330 70
5 Australia 399 72
6 India 993 27

The present phase of globalization, along with WTO agreements under GATT, has already promoted internationalization of higher education in a big way-foreign universities. In view of the increase of FDI percentage in education last year many foreign universities also showing their interest to set up their centres in India.

How online education can be used in promoting Ger?

National Knowledge Commission 2009 recommended that India need of 1500 universities  Even today to total degree awarding universities are below 1000 only.  But a survey when conducted It was come to know that most of the institutions nearly half the seats are going vacant especially in private engineering colleges.

Accordingly a feedback was collected from engineering institutions the students from these institutions responded that primary concern of them are  a) flexible learning i..e. “Learn while you earn “ 2) Guaranteed  career  prospectus. Based on this feedback our HEIs may create courses for the benefit of studentz.

What type of technology need for examination and evaluation?

On-demand Examination provides students complete flexibility in the system of examination. The ICT can be used extensively in organizing capacity building programs for the ODL teachers and enhancing the ODL system for growth of skilled manpower. for conducting PROCTORED examinations

How to shape curriculum according to the need of industry?

The curriculum helps in development of quality standards, quantum of theory and requirement of Hands on training, field work and project work.  Many a times the curriculum not relevant to needs of Industry.  Therefore before development of curriculum the teacher has to interact with the Industry.

Curriculum in New law universities

In the recent times   National Law universities replaced the new curriculum in place of old curriculum and it is helping the students to secure early and best carrier immediately after completion of programme Ex. Introduction of Patent rights, Intellectual Property Rights, Taxation etc .Similarly courses like Psychology and Sociology have also come up new curriculum like Clinical psychology, Child psychology, women psychology, Corporate sociology etc.

 How to make learner centric effectively?

To make the participants Learner centric the e- content to be designed with best quality standards with which the teacher can make interactive classes

E-content development

As per UGC e contents is one which is electrically electronically prepared learning content with four with FOUR QUADRANTS approach i.e. 1) shall contain video and audio and multimedia with animation. 2) Self-instructional learning material in the for e-text. 3) Assessment component viz., Tests, MCQ etc. 4) Discussion forums and doubt clarifications interactive secession.

Table 2:  Online learning portals (public and private) in India for students and teachers:


Online learning portals The open educational resources (OERS):

Open Educational Resources can be defined as free and open digital publications of high quality materials organized as courses that include lectures, related reading materials, snapshots of discussions of assignment, evaluations, etc.

MOOC’s (massive online open courses)

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have recently received a great deal of attention from the media, entrepreneurial vendors, education professionals and technologically literate sections of the public.

 EDX (https://www.edX.org/) is a non-profit MOOCs platform founded by Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University institutions

 COURSERA (https://www.coursera.org/) it started with venture capitalists, with four university partners, namely Stanford University, Princeton University and the Universities of Michigan and Pennsylvania. Coursera currently has many courses in many subjects, including computer science, mathematics, business, humanities, social science, medicine, engineering and education.

 UDACITY (https://www.udacity.com/) is another for-profit start-up founded by Sebastian Thrun. Udacity currently offers more than 300 online courses in computer science, mathematics, general sciences, programming and entrepreneurship.

 UDEMY (https://www.udemy.com/) founded in 2010. It provides a learning platform, which allows anyone to teach and participate in online video classes. Udemy currently offers over 5,000 courses.


Thus the Learning and teaching mechanism is taking a paradigm shift from Chalk and Board system to Technology enabled learning and teaching.  However  right technology and to be used in appropriate mode of subjects by the teacher as a tool to provide the best quality of education in the form of Virtual reality.

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