The University Grants Commission (UGC) is encouraging colleges and universities to use the government’s study portal, SWAYAM. SWAYAM is the government’s online massive open online courses (MOOCs) platform, which has a wide range of study material available. The portal will enable students to begin their academic sessions before August.
The UGC had earlier decided that the academic session will begin in August for the second-year and third-year students. It will commence from September for the first-year students as the admission procedure will require time. However, the UGC has not asked colleges to begin with online classes from July itself, before the actual academic session begins.
UGC secretary Rajnish Jain wrote a letter to vice-chancellors of all universities, asking them to make optimum use of the SWAYAM online platform. The letter also details a time table with the details of courses and their timings on SWAYAM. However, it only talks about non-engineering courses.
There are more than 120 available courses on SWAYAM. The letter confirms that there are 82 courses for undergraduate students and 42 courses for postgraduate students. These courses will be on offer from July onwards.
There is a likelihood of a SWAYAM examination in November 2020 for courses that the students will take on the platform. Students have a chance of earning credits that can be assigned to their regular courses.
The letter requested all universities and colleges to popularise these courses through official websites and social media handles, and encourage students and faculty members to use it. However, it has clarified that it is not mandatory. It is an additional option for institutions to start their session early and prevent academic loss.
The government has been pushing for a shift to online education due to the lockdown. It has been more than two months now that educational institutions have been shut for. This has led to a great academic loss. Moreover, students and faculty members have complained about the lack of depth in the method of online teaching.
“I wish we could go back to classroom teaching. None of this online business does any justice to literature,” said a faculty member of the University of Delhi when she was asked if she preferred online teaching to classroom teaching.
When students have been habituated to classroom teaching for all their life, switching to the unfamiliarity of online teaching is a difficult change for them to adapt to.