JUTA and ABUTA against the blended learning method by UGC

The two-teacher associations of Jadavpur University- JUTA and ABUTA, have told the UGC that while the application of digital tools to make the teaching-learning process more innovative and inclusive is the need of the hour, but for this, the necessary physical infrastructure must be developed by the government.

The Jadavpur University Teachers Association (JUTA) said in its response to the UGC Concept Note about the Blended Learning method that the majority of students do not have the required high-speed internet connectivity with a standard digital device which is essential to get round-the-clock access to learning resources.

As JUTA states, the geographical location of 60 per cent of all colleges and 40 per cent of all universities in India is in rural areas where network connectivity is a major issue. Moreover, the digital divide among students is starkly visible across gender, caste, religion, region, and income. Against this backdrop, JUTA strongly feels that the mechanical imposition of a blended model of education on such diversely different stakeholders of higher education is unscientific, iniquitous, and undemocratic. “JUTA strongly feels that the hidden agenda behind this prescribed blended mode is to advocate reduction of government spending on higher education in the name of quality education,” association General Secretary Partha Pratim Roy said.

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“The recommendation for a blended model of education in the present scenario is untimely and is very likely to exclude millions of students, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, from the arena of higher education,” Partha Pratim Roy further added. “It is clear from the concept note that the blended model of education will be effective for urban students from higher-income groups with better network connectivity as this blended model will include and benefit only those who can financially afford better digital access”, Roy stated.

The All Bengal University Teachers’ Association (ABUTA) said the move to seek feedback from teachers bodies about blended teaching mode is nothing but an attempt to mislead the people as the UGC has already framed regulations asking Vice Chancellors of different universities to have 40 per cent of teaching on online mode.

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“We had lodged our protests against the draft of new National Education Policy (NEP) but the UGC ignored. We feel this blended teaching will destroy the public-funded university system, and help the privately run corporate sector,” ABUTA, JU Convenor Goutam Maity said, adding as the association communicated its decision to the UGC in a letter on Sunday.

UGC had sent its concept note sent to the varsity and college teachers’ bodies last month about the blended teaching model in the pandemic situation and sought the views of the associations in this regard.

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