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The Maharashtra Education Department is forming a panel to establish a “online” university

The influence of the Covid-19 pandemic on education, particularly when the learning process moves online, has encouraged Maharashtra’s Higher and Technical Education Department to consider establishing a ‘online’ university at the state level. The department’s intentions were made obvious in a government resolution released on Thursday, in which it established a committee led by former Savitribai Phule Pune University vice-chancellor Dr R K Shegaonkar.

The committee’s mandate is to research the provisions of the National Education Policy 2020, as well as the structure of online universities established in other countries, and to recommend a framework for the establishment of such an online university in Maharashtra.

The committee has been instructed to investigate whether any Indian states have established similar state-run online universities, as well as their structure. It has also been tasked with researching all aspects of establishing an online university, including syllabus, lecture delivery, study material, teaching staff and credentials, as well as the training required, study centres and their structures, human resources, infrastructure, examinations and examination results, the courses offered in online universities versus traditional universities, including distance education programmes, course duration, and fee structures.

The group has been given a six-month deadline to deliver its final recommendations, after which a decision will be made.

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