• The Covid-19 pandemic has greatly affected the education sector. But even before the pandemic, the lack of an adequate number of universities led to limited options for aspiring students. This created a need to reform the way in which we impart higher education.
  • The surge of digital technologies provided a whole new view to imagine teaching-learning methods, university governance systems, higher education goals, and how future universities are perceived by employers.
  • The Budget 2022-23 announced the establishment of a digital university.This is a decision of great significance as a digital university will provide better access to high-quality higher education in multiple languages and also aligns with the vision laid out in the National Education Policy, 2020.

Arguments in Favour

  • There is an increasing recognition that the current university model is rigid and that traditional universities have failed to customise education to take care of needs, interests, financial capabilities, and diverse cognitive abilities of students.
  • Thus, the educators and policymakers feel the need to create flexible educational systems to provide customised high-quality “anytime/anywhere” education.
  • Such pre-packaged education by academics would help in achieving the economies of scale required in India.
  • With emerging technologies driving information economies, it also becomes necessary for those employed to acquire new skills relevant to their changing roles. The current model is of little help in this context.

Way Forward

  • If universities have to remain relevant for students, they need to recalibrate their functioning to resonate with the priorities of their non-working and working students.
  • While digital forms of learning have the potential to enable students to pursue independent learning, conventional and digital forms of education should not be considered mutually exclusive.
  • Online learning needs to be understood as one strand in a complex tapestry of curricular communication that may still assign an important central role to direct human engagement and social learning.


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