Global Education Alliance and Need for Education Grid and Gateway System (EGGS) for India

  • Prof. K .Subramanian, Former Senior Deputy Director General, Ministry of Communication & IT and Former Director, IGNOU

The present higher education system is in deep crisis. The present model of affiliating university, colleges and their management of education fails to deliver quality education. We have the irony of bright students, poor teaching, wrong learning management, no meaningful postgraduate education in most places, very few quality Ph.D.’s coming out of our systems and so on. Although technologies like EDUSAT, CD and video based learning materials, channels like Ekalavya and Gyan Darshan are beaming some educational broadcasts, there impact is far from even scratching the surface of the huge problem of providing quality education to millions of students, or, supporting effective life-long learning to the large pool of employed persons. Our systems like the UGC, AICTE, the present functioning of accreditation boards and assessment councils have largely become outdated, and unable to facilitate issues related to quality in education and yet to address issues related to technology enhanced learning and teaching. Theyare yet to feel, understand and address the emerging realities and how to guide the change management that is so urgently needed in the higher education system. Their incremental approach, if any, to bringing in the necessary change is incapable of addressing the large shortfall in colleges that are capable of offering good education. There is the severe and acute shortage of quality and experienced teachers in education. Where a few such teachers exist, they are also unable to impart quality instruction, as the present examinations oriented system practically ignores the basics of the teaching-learning process. The miserable state controls in education are more concerned with appointments, admissions, quota, transfers, fee, interfering with autonomy, etc. than showing even elementary concerns on supporting quality of education wherever they are offered. They stifle innovations in teaching and learning. The academic councils and boards of studies in the universities have little energy and do not address the systemic issues adequately or have the capacity to apply themselves to issues of quality in education.

India now must come up with a different approach and squarely face the daunting task of offering quality education to all, independent of geography. We must leverage on the effective deployment and management of technology enhanced learning and teaching in our higher education. EGG Alliance attempts to do this with fairly comprehensive set of systems and processes. A bright student today spends two years in the final years at school running to coaching classes to face meaningless competitive examinations, and neglects his/her school studies, thereafter enters a professional college that support only rote learning and unable to excite the creative thinking and learning that ought to be nurtured in higher education. The colleges have poor teaching and learning ambiance. After graduation he/she again goes for a finishing school to pay more for what the college should have taught earlier. At least six years of a good student in his/her prime years are thus almost wasted in today’s education. This is a colossal brain drain much, much bigger than losing some going abroad. We have enough potentially bright students who are capable of supplying the thinking workforce for the whole world if only we teach well and impart genuine learning. In a functional sense, we, our government and universities and higher education system have failed in our core social responsibility of providing quality education to all independent of geography. There is the talk of India’s education attracting foreign students (enrolments here are steadily declining), but this will not be possible until our universities conduct and manage themselves as genuine universities.

National Educational Grid and Gateway Alliance (EGG) hereby proposes a 3-Tier & 4-Way system of Technology Enhanced Learning and Teaching using content from NPTEL and such sources as may be made available as well as open sources like MIT OCW. The Alliance will be an enabling forum. It will assist the change management to effect the transition from the rote-learning cookbook-examination approaches in the universities and colleges to one of enabling them to impart effective education and quality learning ambiance in all our higher education universities, colleges and institutions.

To keep up with global developments in the e-Learning, open standards, open architecture and open knowledge initiatives, EGG Alliance will recommend applicable open standards, their Indian profiles and specific version-driven implementations. To achieve this we need to have India has to develop its own open standards profile and a referral facility to maintain, test and certify compliances to the recommended profile. We also need to build capacity in the planning, configuration, installation, commissioning and management of such standard profiles for the many open systems needed in the education sector.


The education cloud is the right way to go ahead with convergence of technologies and there is a dire need to set up a Educational Cloud regulatory Authority to standardize the quality, tariff etc. by the participating institutions/universities etc. This will eliminate the various ICT platforms being set up by every institution in the country.

We have to make effort to reach the unreached and remove the fear of the unknown.

=> Technology is an enabler, but it is not a substitute for teachers-remove the fear of unknown
=> Interaction and Delivery system can change
=> It is not one way delivery of lectures, but it is a integrated interaction between learners & Teachers
=> Multi-media exposures makes teaching made easier- at the same time, it empowers the teachers & Learners
=> Teachers & Learners use the same medium of Internet & Web.
=> Best course notes on any subject made available for knowledge enrichment

Successful Experiments-Partnership Alliances The National Technological University (NTU-USA)

=> Acts as a bridge between learners and participating institutions (FACULTY)
=> One-way transmission of lectures (sync and a-sync mode) with two or multiple ways of Teacher-learner-learner-learner computer-based communication
=> Enables movement of credits and also awards credits

Successful Alliances of Resource Sharing Open Learning Australia (OLA)

=> Acts as an educational broker with multiplicity of functions to bring courses of Australian tertiary institutions
=> Doesn't have Credit or Credential granting authority

Successful Alliances The Open Learning Foundation Group-U.K.(OLF)

=> Federation of British Universities
=> Designs curriculum and develop learning materials for distribution to off-campus students
=>Doesn't support the learning environment
=> Doesn't assess or award credits
=> Facilitates Staff Development activities

21st Century-Learning Systems will witness more Private Participation

COMPLIMENTARITY: Partnership based on mutual respect, trust, benefit

MISSION CLARITY AND ARTICULATION:Clear sense of direction in fulfilling the mission.

INSTITUTIONAL COMMITMENT: Ownership of entire community

GOVT.& COMMUNIITY SUPPORT: Total support to delivery of educational products and Services

ORGANISATION STRUCTURE: To support partnership activity with faith,trust and belief in educational delivery and support to learning environment

LEADERSHIP: Should have a vision of global development and to meet international community needs

This system will give flexibility to students in choice of the programs offered and enable credit transferability between universities/institutions and get the degrees from any accredited university/institution of their choice, thus playing a level playing with universalisation of curriculum and assuring Quality of Education anytime, anywhere and anytime and any choice.

Acknowledgment: This Education Grid concept was conceived by Prof. KR Srivathsan, former Pro VC IGNOU and supported by then VC, Prof. Rajasekaran Pillai. Thanks to National Institute of Multimedia Education, Japan, where the concept was visualised by me as a visiting professor to NIME. Thanks to many professors from various IITs/IIMs, NIT’s who have participated in the discussions.