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Higher Education and MOOCS in India and the Global South

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Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning Volume 47, Number 3, ISSN 0009-1383


Demographic surges and economic growth have created an exploding demand for higher education in the Global South--a demand that low- and middle-income countries cannot realistically meet with traditional institutions alone. In India, the demand increasingly is being met by online education. Recently, MOOCs--with their potential to scale up rapidly at low marginal cost--are increasingly popular, primarily for professional training. The focus of this paper is to explore how this solution may play out, using data on enrollees in MOOCs in India. The picture that seems to be emerging in India is one in which MOOCs are able to fill in some of the gaps of an underperforming higher education system and provide opportunities that students are eager to employ. However, the fact that so many of the Indian MOOC students have already passed through the Indian higher education system suggests that MOOCs are not primarily a higher education tool--but rather, mostly serve professional-training needs. MOOCs hold the promise of filling at least some part of the gap between demand and the quality of education for students from the Global South. In those areas, MOOCs can be a critical part of the education landscape where a mix of online, private, and public education can comprise a diverse ecosystem of educational options. A list of resources is included.


Alcorn, B., Christensen, G. & Kapur, D. (2015). Higher Education and MOOCS in India and the Global South. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 47(3), 42-49. Retrieved August 9, 2020 from .

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