The advent of the Internet has definitely helped the Indian education sector redefine its platforms and strategies for imparting knowledge. This was an imperative for India considering the sheer size of the country and the fact that our educational institutions have to cater to millions of students and offer them some degree of uniformity when it comes to quality of education. Now, with the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) taking strides to migrate the Common Admission Test (CAT) from the traditional paper-pencil basis to an online platform, it clearly shows how education and examination in India is gradually steering towards the online route. However, it must be noted that the glitches in conducting CAT online for the first time marred the show.
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The introduction of online education in India was primarily undertaken to ensure that every person receives education irrespective of his or her location. Major universities in India were early adopters of online education. Moreover, the gap between rural and urban literacy rate became significant in India which called for a system that could bridge the same.
The growing popularity of online courses is because the technology provides flexibility to both teachers and students to participate in a course at anytime, from anywhere. Working students benefit the most as they can attend classes no matter what their work schedule might be as this model of education dissemination enables teachers to take a student-centered approach. Online courses are also helpful in avoiding distractions, missed classes, tiredness or boredom that often takes place in a physical classroom.
According to a survey done by Tata Consultancy Services called Generation Web 2.0, students today are shifting their academic and social life online and embracing the digital world as true digital natives.
Going online is relatively less intimidating than classroom-based education as the anonymity in the online model provides students with a level playing field undisturbed by extraneous factors like discrimination, egotism, background, gender related issues and seating arrangement. Online education addresses some of the inadequacies of education in the country including a dismal system, limited reach and an inadequate supply of faculty.
Keeping aside these societal factors, online education is a forward looking approach in terms of technological augmentation. Mindsets are changing and the adoption of newer technologies is taking place. Universities and institutes are embracing the inevitable trend of robust integration between education and technology.
Professional education is undoubtedly the major driving factor for online education. Streams like engineering, management, human resources, and mass communications are popular as they give room to working professionals to address the need to gain a deeper understanding of their chosen subject. Institutions, realizing the issues of staff shortages and student demands, are now embracing the model overwhelmingly.
For example, IIM Lucknow has embarked upon bridging the gap in the managerial capacity that is available. In the process, it has been scaling up the strengths of its traditional PG programs and has launched several specialized online programs.
The institute has a one year certificate program in General Management (e-CPGM) which is aimed at BPO and KPO employees or executives to groom them to take up managerial and leadership positions in their organizations. This program is delivered with 120 hours of online contact over a year.
Other IIMs have similar programs which are designed for managers at all levels, with work experience in medium and large organizations in the public, private or government sectors. Managers with recognized high-growth potential preparing for general management responsibilities and those seeking to consolidate their work experience with intense integrative inputs will find this program beneficial.
IIM Lucknow has an Executive General Management Program (EPGM) which is particularly relevant to first time leaders, project managers and those aspiring for managerial and business development roles in a business operation. The program is delivered online over a period of one year. In addition, there is a three-day workshop at the start of the program with three more days at its conclusion at the IIM Lucknow Campus.