Free choice through meta-universities

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28 november 2011 | Higher education faces constraints. Developing countries like India need to accommodate millions of additional students. India’s Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, now announced the creation of a meta-university allowing students to take courses anywhere in the country.

Crises make creative. To keep up with the massive expansion ofits higher education system, India needs to train 300.000 more professors within the next10 years. How can you satisfy the study demand of 25 millionadditional student flooding universities while still offering greatfreedom of choice? India’s Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, gave theanswer: meta-universities.

The idea behind a meta-university is that students will be ableto follow courses of any university connected digitally via India’sinformation system “National Knowledge Network”. On a web-basedplatform, students and teachers share and receive study contenteliminating bureaucratic barriers that allow individuals to onlypursue classes at the institution they are enrolled at.

Fostering innovation through e-learning

“The meta-university would enable a student of astrophysics atthe Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, for example, to take upa course in comparative literature at Jadavpur University [inKolkata]. Such creative reconfigurations are expected to create’new minds’ conducive to innovation,” commented Singh.

India features a young and tech-savvy population which couldcome in handy implementing such a meta-university. Sing said that”demographically we are also a very youthful nation. The youngpeople are restless, they are impatient for change, and they areinnovative. We need to fully exploit these enormous advantages thatwe have as a nation.”

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