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JU, IIT-J organize Policy Dialogue on Inclusive Blended Learning Practices

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STATE TIMES NEWS

JAMMU: To enhance educational practices, a policy dialogue on “Developing Inclusive Blended Learning Practices for Universities and Colleges in Jammu and Kashmir” was organized here on Friday at the University of Jammu (JU).
This first-of-its-kind initiative was organized by the P.G. Department of Education, University of Jammu in collaboration with the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT Jammu.
The Chief Guest, Alok Kumar, Principal Secretary of the Higher Education Department, JKUT, underscored the significance of academia-industry collaboration and localized strategies to promote an inclusive learning environment.
He emphasized the necessity of access and equity to achieve the goals of blended learning as outlined in NEP 2020. Alok Kumar advocated for a balanced approach, with 40 per cent of content delivered through blended methods focusing on instructions, while the remaining 60 per cent should involve experiential learning methods like problem-solving, project work, and field visits. He also recommended adopting the flipped classroom model and redefining teachers as mentors.
In his presidential address, Prof. Umesh Rai, Vice-Chancellor, JU highlighted the critical role of adaptive learning technologies, teacher training, and infrastructure development in facilitating impactful blended learning across disciplines.
Quoting Swami Vivekananda, Sri Aurobindo, and Acharya Vinoba Bhave, Prof. Rai emphasized the true essence of education, advocating for integrating technology with experiential learning over traditional classroom learning.
He urged teachers to focus on sparking students’ interest rather than worrying about the specific methods of delivering knowledge.
Prof. Rai emphasized the importance of a collaborative environment for sharing best practices and tailored strategies to create a more equitable and resilient education system.
He also highlighted the need to cultivate a broad spectrum of skills among students, including life skills, soft skills, teamwork, analytical capabilities, digital and technical proficiency, problem-solving abilities, mathematical skills, and critical and creative thinking.
Earlier, Dr. Ana Bali, Lecturer, P.G. Department of Education, in her welcome address, outlined the day’s activities. Dr. Sayantan Mandal, Assistant Professor and Principal Investigator of the Integrating Teaching and Learning with Digital Education Project, presented an overview of the policy document. He emphasized the research project’s depth and the collaboration between IIT Jammu and the University of Jammu, led by Prof. Renu Nanda, Head of the P.G. Department of Education.
Discussions cantered on the necessity of integrating digital technologies into higher education to promote effective learning and develop a skilled, self-reliant youth, in line with the vision of Atamnirbhar Bharat.
The event brought together eminent policymakers, educationists, NGO’s, faculty members, and researchers to discuss various aspects of the Policy Dialogue on Inclusive Blended Learning. Prof. Pankaj Srivastava, Director, Directorate of Distance and Online Education, JU pointed out two major barriers to digital teaching: non-uniform syllabus and the need for robust digital infrastructure to bridge the digital divide. Dr. Shashi Prabha, Associate Professor, Department of Geography, University of Jammu, highlighted the challenges faced by rural students during harvest seasons and the importance of blended learning in such contexts. Other notable speakers included Ms. Ashima Kaul, Founder of YAKJAH NGO, who raised concerns about the emotional and psychological aspects of digital learning, and Mr. Rajeev Khajuria, President, National Development Foundation, who focused on student engagement and fostering partnerships among stakeholders.
Dr. Alka Sharma from the School Education Department emphasized the importance of experiential learning and the crucial role of teachers while framing the digital teaching learning policies importance of teachers should be focused. Prof. B.B. Anand, Principal, M.A.M. College, raised concerns about digital infrastructure availability in rural areas and the true purpose of digital technology in education.
Later, the vote of thanks was proposed by Prof. Renu Nanda, Head, P.G. Department of Education wherein she reiterated that the roadmap for effective implementation of NEP 2020 has been given a special impetus through the discussions held this day wherein Alok Kumar himself has come forward to ensure that digital technologies get implemented and augmented, aligning with the vision of the Government of India.
Among others, who were present on the occasion included Prof. Meena Sharma, Dean Planning and Development, Prof. Rajeev Rattan Sharma, Dean, Faculty of Education and Director CDC, Dr. Malay Dey, Centre for Studies in Museology, University of Jammu, Dr. Bhat Iqbal, Central University Jammu, Dr. Rupinder Kour, Cluster University Jammu, Prof. Bijoy Borouah, IIT Jammu, Dr. Gourav Bhaduri, IIT Jammu, Sheriya Sareen, research scholar, IIT Jammu, Rakhi Attri, School Education Department, Sunil Kumar Sharma, Senior Academic Officer, SCERT, Jammu, Ravinder Singh, Prof. Mubarak Singh, Former Head and Dean, Department of Education, University of Jammu, Dr. S.K. Panda & Dr. Kajal Devi Manhas, Faculty Department of Education, Sita Anand, Liaison Officer, GZSAC. Rishika, Surjeet students of M.A. Education and research scholars of Department of Education, University of Jammu were among the delegates who were also present on the occasion.

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