NASHIK: This month, the Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) will launch its own online platform for several courses, ‘Degree Plus’. As job-related skills and added certifications become increasingly relevant for students to increase their employment opportunities, the university is launching its own platform where nearly 500 certificate courses will be available to students.
Since the Covid-19 pandemic hit, the popularity of online courses has grown exponentially and several ed-tech companies, in collaboration with Indian and foreign universities, have started offering diploma and certificate courses online. SPPU Vice-Chancellor Dr Nitin Karmalkar said the journey started during the lockdown period when he was speaking to a few ed-tech companies about making a few diploma courses of the university available online.
“During the lockdown, we realised that acceptance of online courses was finally picking up. Today, a pure graduation in one subject isn’t enough, students need to pick up several skills and certificates to increase employability and besides that, why not study subjects that they are interested in? That’s why I thought of speaking to online course platforms but I realised that the fees which these platforms charge can be exorbitant… being a state-funded public university, we have to be inclusive and sensitive to all sections of society, especially students from economically weaker sections. We couldn’t expect them to pay such high fees,” he said.
In the meantime, the university developed several short courses as a part of either industry partnerships, like diplomas in mountaineering, or tie-ups with government bodies like AYUSH.
“We got in touch with one of the platforms during the online examination system, when we were using their cloud servers. After that we had a meeting and decided to start our own platform, Degree Plus, where the university would offer certificate courses online.
In fact, barring a few courses which will be technology oriented, most courses will be available mostly free for the first six months, apart from the payment of a small registration fee,” he added.