Student bodies sign a petition over UGC’s blended mode of learning
University Grants Commission

Various student organisations have signed an online petition against the University Grants Commission’s (UGC) blended mode of education, which will be sent to President Ram Nath Kovind.

This petition was initiated by the All India Forum to Save Public Education – an umbrella organisation comprised of student delegates from diverse organisations such as the Students’ Federation of India (SFI), Chhatra RJD, and JNUSU.

On June 12, at 11:45 p.m., the petition had gained more than 1,204 signatures. The petition said that UGC’s blended mode of education would “widen the existing structural differences, reduce the objective of educational institutions to profit-making, and implement a bureaucratic surveillance network that would help the government curb opposing voices in higher educational institutions”.

The petition argued that because there is no evidence to support the usefulness of online education, continuing in this format has an impact on academic quality because it cannot replace classroom learning. It further added that any benefit derived from the blended mode comes at a larger cost in terms of excluding students from underserved communities from higher education.

With a UGC-created expert group producing a concept note on “blended mode of teaching and learning” in universities and colleges, higher education institutions may soon be able to teach up to 40% of any course online.

The petition also urged that fellowships and extensions be disbursed immediately, as well as a special package for families of students from marginalised communities. The petition also stated – “We also ask the government to ensure that students applying for higher education do not face prejudice as a result of the ongoing pandemic’s differential policy on board exams and university-specific tests.

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