Document Details

Title MOOCs GO, Online Degrees STOP- Online Higher Education in India
Author Richard Garrett - Director, OBHE


In India, distance education is a big deal, at least at university level. There are more distance university students, both undergraduate and postgraduate, than so-called “regular” students who study at a physical campus. In 2015/16, there were 3.8 million distance students in universities, compared to only 2.9m regular students. Distance learners made up 61% of university undergraduates and 59% of postgraduate students below doctoral level.

This volume reflects a long-held reality that a country the size of India, with a fast-growing population and a desire to raise living standards, cannot rely on conventional education models alone. Distance education- leveraging economies of scale to lower tuition- has enabled India’s universities to reach far more students than would otherwise have been possible.

But then things get complicated. Regulation of distance education is in transition, a bill to create a new Distance Education Council of India is stuck in parliament, and the interim regulator forbids Indian universities from offering online degrees. At the same time, a grand MOOC initiative has been launched by the government.

What are the key characteristics of distance learning in Indian higher education, and what role does online learning play?

Date 07/04/2017
Region(s) Asia
Countries India
Theme(s) Transnational Education (TNE) Models, Technology
Topic(s) Online Learning

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