They point out funding, infrastructural issues

Teachers’ organisations have pointed out several gaps in the concept note on blended learning proposed by the University Grants Commission (UGC).

“Online teaching can be considered as an aid to direct teaching, but should not replace it,” pointed out Anilkumar K. and Jafer Sadik P.P., president and general secretary respectively of the Government College Teachers’ Organisation (Kerala) in their response on blended learning submitted to Rajnish Jain, Secretary, UGC.

Stating that there was no justification for introducing a 40% online component in teaching, Mr. Anilkumar said that incorporating online resources and information technology-enabled methods in the teaching-learning process required advanced infrastructural facilities.

Funding issues

“The concept note sheds no light on the financial resources required for the project. Reducing the budgetary allocation on higher education on the one hand and propagating blended learning on the other is contradictory,” he said.

Mr. Sadik said that the provision that a student could obtain a degree by acquiring certain number of credits with no minimum or maximum period could lead to mushrooming of private institutions offering degree programmes with duration of six months.

U. Abdul Khalam and Premachandran Keezhoth, president and general secretary of the Kerala Private College Teachers’ Association, pointed out in their response that teachers had the new role of mentor as per the concept note. “The teacher has responsibilities involving structuring of pedagogy, procurement of learning resources, creation of e-content and e-learning material along with collecting individual feedback and extending personal care to students. All these would increase the load on the teachers. It would be difficult to offer the system with the current level of student-teacher ratio,” they said.

Digital divide

The letter sent by the organisation to the commission said that blended learning would strengthen the higher education infrastructure of the country, if accessibility to the Internet and basic educational devices were declared as the rights of the citizens. “We fear that the system could fail considering the deep digital divide in the country,” the letter said.

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