Budget 2020: While a some institutions already offer online degree courses, the announcement comes as a major boost towards recognition of the key role online education can play in a country of India’s size and diversity.
In a major decision that will have a long-term effect on the education scenario in the country, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced in her budget speech on Saturday that the top 100 institutions in the country will begin offering full-fledged online programmes.
While a some institutions already offer online degree courses, the announcement comes as a major boost towards recognition of the key role online education can play in a country of India’s size and diversity.
In her speech in the Parliament, the Finance Minister said degree level full-fledged online education programmes will be conducted by institutions ranked in the top 100. The ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) brings out National Institutional Rankings Framework (NIRF) lists which show which colleges and varsities are the best in the country.
In her speech, Sitharaman also said the Centre will soon announce a new education policy and the government has received over 2 lakh suggestions on it.
Significantly, the Finance minister also made another major decision that steps will be be taken to attract external commercial borrowing and Foreign Direct Investment in the education sector.
Presenting the Budget for 2020-21, Sitharaman said Rs 99,300 crore has been allocated for the education sector and Rs 3,000 crore for skill development for the next fiscal.
The minister also said that the New Education Policy (NEP) would soon come out and the government had received 2 lakh suggestions on it.
Significantly, in the draft NEP submitted by a panel of eminent experts led by former ISRO chief K Kasturiranagan, emphasis has been laid on online education as well as allowing foreign varsities to come to India to augment the spread of education.
In her speech, Sitharaman also said the government plans to start a programme for urban local bodies to provide opportunities for internship to young engineers.
She also said National Police University and National Forensic University are being proposed, while planning to allow degree level full-fledged online education programme by institutions ranked in top 100.
The government has also proposed to attach medical colleges with district hospitals on PPP model to deal with shortage of doctors, she added.
IIM Rohtak Director Dheeraj Sharma welcomed the move to encourage online education.
“IIM Rohtak has a large number of programs that are purely online and offered through blended mode that provide certification and diplomas to participants. This is a welcome move and will facilitate degree granting to new applicants and new students to specific programs that are offered online and blended learning mode in various top ranking institutions,” he told HT.