Sun. Jun 13th, 2021

It is not a pandemic induced contingent solution, but a package in connection with the implementation of NEP: Rajan Gurukkal

The proposal by the University Grants Commission (UGC) to go for blended learning by allowing higher education institutes to teach up to 40% of each course online and the remaining 60% offline has to be implemented very carefully and without affecting the well-framed face-to-face teaching mode, according to the Kerala State Higher Education Council (KSHEC).

The commission had asked the stakeholders to submit their feedback on the concept note prepared by an expert committee on blended mode of teaching on or before June 6. The new provision of offering a blended mode of learning will be in addition to the 40 per cent course that universities are allowed to offer through Study Webs of Active-Learning for Young Aspiring Minds (SWAYAM).

“UGC’s document on blended mode of teaching and learning is not a pandemic induced contingent solution, but a package in connection with the implementation of National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, which assigns blended learning an important role claiming that it would provide more flexibility and choice to the learners for developing 21st century skills,” pointed out Rajan Gurukkal P.M, vice-chairman of the council.

“NEP 2020 has the agenda to reduce face-to-face teaching load and the cost. What it says in the open is that blended learning is a means to eliminate poor teaching. The claim is that it can offer higher cognitive benefits at lower cost. Heavily dependent on edu-tech tools, the interest of the corporate sector is explicit,” he said.

On whether the move would result in a cut in new teaching posts, Prof. Gurukkal said that teachers in a State like Kerala have nothing to worry about at the moment.

“But it is a fact that there exists the lurking danger of imposing a reduction in teaching posts,” he said.

Rajan Varughese, Member Secretary of the council, said that several issues were involved in the draft note prepared by the UGC on the proposed changes in higher education following the pandemic situation.

“They include IT infrastructural facilities in the universities and colleges in the State, training for teachers in the arts and science streams on online teaching and revamp of the curriculum of all programmes by incorporating e-content and e-teaching-learning evaluation strategies along with direct teaching,” he said.

Prof. Varughese said that the council will soon collect the feedback from the stakeholders on blended learning and submit it before the UGC.

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