Development of Digital infra most important to make online education more accessible: BGU VC

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On Saturday, Ten News hosted Prof.(Dr.) P.P. Mathur Vice-Chancellor, Birla Global University for a special interview on NEP implementation and BGU in post-Covid era.

The interview was conducted by Dr. Shaili Tomar, Functional medicine expert and medical nutritionist with a decade of experience in Holistic wellness.

When asked by Dr. Shaili about how much the education system has changed in the context of pandemic during the last one year, Dr. Mathur said “The way we were giving education to the students in the pre-Covid era is never going to return. I think if this Covid thing had happened 10 or 15 years back, then nothing would have been possible as the internet was not easily accessible back then. During the lockdown most of the institutions conducted online classes, offcourse there were challenges and there would be challenges, conducting exams was one of the major challenges, but the institutions handled it quite well.”

“One thing which is good with this online teaching is flexibility, students can reach their teachers anytime. But it also has certain limitations like it becomes difficult when the course is a practical one and requires a lab. But as I said, everyone has to upgrade themselves to face these challenges.”

When asked about the change from 10+2 format to 5+3+3+4 format, Dr. Mathur said “The system that we have been following was fine, but the problem was that it was not integrated with the world. With 5+3+3+4 format, there would be much more emphasis on developing students skills and the students will be allowed to choose the courses as per their wishes. Students pursuing a 3-year degree course or a 4-year degree course will be allowed to take a sabbatical and then join back their studies after a period of time without losing any credits. Students will also be free to choose major and minor subjects for their degree. If a student drops out after first year, the student would get a certificate, a diploma after second year, a degree after completing three years and they will get honors after completing all four years. So, the good thing is that even a dropout student will be employable.

Responding to a question on how online education can be made more accessible, BGU VC said that “When the pandemic hit us, the education system was not prepared for online classes. However, the credit goes to the institutions, teachers and students who coped pretty well in these difficult times. But, the country is so large that the resources could not be available to every school, teacher and student. In those cases, it was a great challenge to see how the country can provide facilities for online teaching. I feel that after the pandemic has waned, the government and the institutions should work together to improve the basic digital resources needed for online interaction. With this, we may prepare ourselves better for the next eventuality.”

When asked about his thoughts on the allocation to the Education sector in the Union Budget 2021, Dr. Mathur said that the government’s first priority this year was to revive the economy, and hence, it is understandable that the education budget was slacked. However, from next year, we have to increase the education budget so as to fulfill the necessary actions that are required for the upliftment of the education sector. Things like technology upgradation should be the priority for the government. 

Finally, as a message for the students, BGU VC said that the students having a bright idea must not shy away from experimenting with them, even at the cost of small failures. “I feel you should try to be a competent person rather than a person with a lot of information.”

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