No data yet on digital learning in higher education

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The gaps in digital infrastructure in higher educational institutions have not yet been ascertained even after one year of the online mode of education as only 10% of the about 1,500 institutions responded to a survey initiated by the Kerala State Higher Education Council (KSHEC).

The council had launched the process to assess the IT infrastructure and technology-enabled learning environment in the universities and colleges in the State after the COVID-19 outbreak disrupted academic activities in March last. The primary aim of the online questionnaire was to assess the strengths and weaknesses and initiate measures to step up the digital infrastructure on campuses.

“The questionnaire was uploaded on the official website of the council. It was rolled out in the first phase of the pandemic,” says Rajan Varughese, Member-Secretary of the KSHEC.

“A fresh effort will be made by the council to gauge the ground reality in the online mode of education in the higher education sector. The feedback will be useful for policy formulation in the context of the Kerala-Fibre Optic Network project being implemented by the State government. The survey results will also help the council to formulate policies that can benefit all stakeholders in higher education,” he says.

As per the council, the online questionnaire has to be filled by a responsible officer in a university/institution to provide relevant data, preferably the nodal officer dealing with the All-Kerala Higher Education Survey initiated by the council.

The reluctance shown by the institutions to submit the feedback had prompted the Department of Higher Education to remind the partners that all higher educational institutions have to mandatorily disclose all information pertaining to the institution for the benefit of the stakeholders.

The council had reminded the institutions that all government and aided higher educational institutions are covered by the Right to Information Act 2005 and as per the UGC/AICTE norms. The executive body of the council had earlier requested the government to issue an order which mandate all higher education institutions to compulsorily participate in the All-Kerala Higher Education Survey, invoking provisions in the RTI Act and UGC/ AICTE directives related to mandatory disclosure of information by the institutions.

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