Here’s a story from The Gulf Today about India’s high-profile Minister for Human Resources Development Kapil Sibal … and what he said about online education at a recent speech at a conference in Dubai called Educon 2011. He’s calling on educators to meet the need for a generation he says will be increasingly online. Mr. Sibal spends many “sleepless nights” thinking of what to do about the 220 million young people enrolled in initial schooling, which will result in only 14 million going to college. Imran Mojib writes:
He asked the academicians to launch a movement to share and partner with other universities for course-content exchange, course-content collaboration, course-content innovation and knowledge creation. It will create knowledge power for the nation.
“At the first stage, post everything online, including education materials, notes and lectures. It will bring a revolution,” he said.
He said that the government is working on a project to connect all 800 universities and 13,000 colleges in the country through information highways. However, without availability of the content, it would be meaningless.
Addressing over 50 vice-chancellors, deans, directors and other policymakers from India, the minister said that opening up in this context will also involve the students who will become co-creator of content instead of just being recipient of knowledge.
He advocated online teaching and learning as the best way to meet the growing demand of quality education in a world where not every student can study at the top-most institutes due to limitation of seats.
Advocating a change in the system, he said: “In a networked world why should one be enrolled to just one university. Let them learn the best courses provided by the best universities in the world.”
Imagine a scenario where 200 million people don’t go to college,” he said, during the discussion at Citibank headquarters in New York attended by the bank’s chief executive Vikram Pandit and dozens of other high-powered executives in attendance. “It’s a frightening issue.”
He explained his goals of seeing India offer universal, free education. He wants up to 60 million young people to attend colleges in coming years, which will mean 50,000 new colleges and universities starting through public-private partnerships. And with 150 million young people not in college, Mr. Sibal wants an extensive network of vocational and trade schools to train Indian young people in jobs for industries such as automotive and energy. He summarized India’s plans to spend $60 billion to improve elementary education and new laws before parliament that will create a right to an education and will prevent malpractice by private colleges.