Home E-Learning Can MOOCs help in the expansion of higher education in India?

Can MOOCs help in the expansion of higher education in India?


India is facing huge challenges in the field of higher education. In 2007, the Prime Minister said that enrollment in higher education is “very low” in almost half of India’s districts, and two-thirds of Indian universities and 90 percent of Indian colleges are far below average in terms of quality. It is not surprising that due to the failure of the government to meet the demands of education, the elite and middle-class students of India have started moving towards private institutions in India and also outside India. This migration from government institutions is continuously weakening the ability of the government to meet the educational demands of Indians and is making this problem more frightening. Unfortunately in private institutions, the tendency to walk on the narrow business route is increasing and internal administration is starting to weaken and government regulations are getting relaxed.

By running large-scale free online courses (MOOCs), not only can India’s higher education-related challenges be fully addressed, but India’s access and quality in higher education can also be enhanced to some extent. During the last two years, MOOC has attracted international media attention. Some leading universities around the world have also started partnering with MOOC providers such as Corsera and EDX to provide high-level on-line courses to millions of students worldwide for free.  

Supporters of MOOC have started talking about a possible revolution to provide education facilities to all, irrespective of social, economic or national background. But some people are cautious about the fact that this will reduce the importance of local institutions related to higher education and will further promote educational inequality by facilitating individualized education to elite students in physical universities. , While most students will be limited to virtual education, which will reduce the cost of education, but Do not be a decline in quality.

To understand the potential impact of MOOCs in the context of higher education in India and to consider how MOOCs can achieve effective and equal results, we must first understand the partners of MOOCs well. To solve this problem, the University of Pennsylvania had conducted a survey of all students who have enrolled in at least one course at Corsera’s MOOC (the world’s largest MOOC provider). The survey was conducted in July 2013 and at that time PAN offered thirty-two courses to over 800,000 students ..

The number of Indian students taking the MOOC operated by Corsera is second only to the Indian students (ie 10 percent). Geostatistical analysis of users based on their IP addresses shows that most of these users are limited to urban areas of India. Out of these, 61 percent of the users are settled in one of the five big cities of India and 16 percent of the users are located in the next five big cities. Mumbai and Bangalore have the largest number of users. Of these students, 18 – 18 percent of the total courses are from these two cities.        

Based on the responses received from nearly two thousand students, this survey shows that most of the Indian students taking MOOC are young, male and well educated. Two-thirds of these students are less than thirty and more than three-fourths are male and also have college degrees. Some students with college degrees are also pursuing post-graduation and most of them are working full-time (and the rest are either self-employed or part-time). There is nothing surprising on the user-based survey and it is just like the situation of users who have recently adopted cell phones, new media and other technologies.This survey shows that after mathematics, humanities and public health, students like to take courses in business, economics and social science the most. The fact that Indians have the highest number of users of MOOCs indicates that there is a great demand in India for quality education, which has not yet been met. But if we want MOOC to provide viable and right path to meet the challenges of India’s higher education, then we have to do many things.   First of all, we need to create a basic technological framework, in which the facilities of computers, mobile devices and high-speed Internet will be further developed to increase the reach of online education to more and more people of India. Till the technological hurdles are not overcome, only a few students of the elite class will be able to choose this option of education and this will worsen the situation of inequality in education opportunities in India. MOOC providers will have to connect themselves to the Indian revolution of low-cost, comprehensive coverage and mobile phones they own. In December 2013, Corsera released mobile apps that allow users to browse courses, enroll in them, check out lectures and even fill the entire quiz from a mobile device. Although some assignments other than posting on forums and filling in quizzes are still not available on mobile, mobile apps released by Corsera are important for facilitating access to MOOC in a country like India where broadband coverage is very limited. Step. MOOC providers will face greater challenges than the banking industry to enter the mobile world, as their video content, quizzes, and assignments require smartphones, While some of the functions of mobile banking can be dealt only through SMS services. But due to 3G and 4G internet, now smartphones and tablet are increasing in India and as their prices will come down, their facilities will also expand rapidly.

Secondly, most of the MOOCs run by some of the best universities in the world are very challenging and demanding courses for which most of the candidates are not ready. In addition to the traditional university-level courses, MOOC providers should also run pre-university-level courses so that primary and secondary education can be completed.  Apart from this, there is also a huge demand for technical certifications that prepare students for professional placements in high-skill areas. When prepared for these requirements, MOOCs can help reduce the burden of those institutions that are already offering such certification and will help to develop a more diverse and competitive technical certification industry. There is a lot of diversity in educational demands in India and MOOC providers should think about how these demands can be met. MOOC providers can help promote a policy of diversification to meet India’s unequal educational demands.

Ultimately, MOOC providers will have to invest in India to understand and meet the educational demands. Despite the fact that Corsica is the largest MOOC provider and Corsica has neither offered courses with any Indian institution till now nor do they offer courses in Indian languages, yet MOOC’s most Students are Indian only. The second MOOC provider EDX has partnered with the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay, but there is still room for expansion. Given the imbalance between supply and heavy demand in the context of higher education in India and the need for affordable and good quality education, India is the ideal place for the development of MOOC technology.

The basic problems of Indian higher education will not be solved even by increasing the reach of MOOCs to more and more Indian students. But as recent events show, with the help of new technology, a wide variety of themes can also be disseminated across India. MOOCs can provide higher-level content to more and more students at very low cost. 

If the technological, educational and cultural barriers that come in the way of facilitating access to these courses are removed, then millions of Indian students will be able to get a good level of higher education easily and in a dramatic way in India and around the world. Also the scenario of higher education can be changed.


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