From the Viewsroom

Let workers learn

Jinoy Jose P | Updated on May 22, 2020 Published on May 22, 2020

Covid may get them to enhance knowledge through online courses

The reported proposal by the University Grants Commission to allow students to pursue dual degrees simultaneously is a welcome move. If implemented, this move can make a significant difference to the way Indian students acquire knowledge and skill. The move can improve job opportunities by upgrading the overall quality of education. Clearly, these decisions and many similar ones in the pipeline are inspired by the ground realities necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic which has forced colleges and schools to shut campuses and move learning processes online. Clearly, millions of students stand to benefit from the UGC plans, especially from the recommendations of the panel headed by Nageswar Rao, vice-chancellor of the Indira Gandhi National Open University. But the UGC and the HRD Ministry seem to be ignoring an important component of society that is deeply affected by Covid-19 and is forced to upgrade skills — workers.

Industry body CII estimates that more than 100 million jobs are at stake in India due to Covid-19. Workers who are lucky to have retained their jobs have taken pay cuts to the tune of 10-50 per cent across industries. Most of them will be looking for jobs, part-time or full time. The situation will force all of them to upgrade their skills and knowledge. India’s public-funded open education system is not equipped to cater to the needs of such people.

The average worker cannot access courses offered by private players. India’s rich tradition of evening colleges has entered a sunset already, making it extremely difficult for working people to earn a degree or a diploma without sacrificing their day jobs. In this context, the UGC move to offer dual degrees and move chunks of offline courses online is well-meaning. But there must be dedicated plans targeting workers. IGNOU and similar institutions should introduce more online and open courses for workers. The private sector must be encouraged to offer quality education for aspiring workers. Banks can support such programmes.

Published on May 22, 2020

A letter from the Editor


Dear Readers,

The coronavirus crisis has changed the world completely in the last few months. All of us have been locked into our homes, economic activity has come to a near standstill. Everyone has been impacted.

Including your favourite business and financial newspaper. Our printing and distribution chains have been severely disrupted across the country, leaving readers without access to newspapers. Newspaper delivery agents have also been unable to service their customers because of multiple restrictions.

In these difficult times, we, at BusinessLine have been working continuously every day so that you are informed about all the developments – whether on the pandemic, on policy responses, or the impact on the world of business and finance. Our team has been working round the clock to keep track of developments so that you – the reader – gets accurate information and actionable insights so that you can protect your jobs, businesses, finances and investments.

We are trying our best to ensure the newspaper reaches your hands every day. We have also ensured that even if your paper is not delivered, you can access BusinessLine in the e-paper format – just as it appears in print. Our website and apps too, are updated every minute, so that you can access the information you want anywhere, anytime.

But all this comes at a heavy cost. As you are aware, the lockdowns have wiped out almost all our entire revenue stream. Sustaining our quality journalism has become extremely challenging. That we have managed so far is thanks to your support. I thank all our subscribers – print and digital – for your support.

I appeal to all or readers to help us navigate these challenging times and help sustain one of the truly independent and credible voices in the world of Indian journalism. Doing so is easy. You can help us enormously simply by subscribing to our digital or e-paper editions. We offer several affordable subscription plans for our website, which includes Portfolio, our investment advisory section that offers rich investment advice from our highly qualified, in-house Research Bureau, the only such team in the Indian newspaper industry.

A little help from you can make a huge difference to the cause of quality journalism!

Support Quality Journalism
  1. Comments will be moderated by The Hindu Business Line editorial team.
  2. Comments that are abusive, personal, incendiary or irrelevant cannot be published.
  3. Please write complete sentences. Do not type comments in all capital letters, or in all lower case letters, or using abbreviated text. (example: u cannot substitute for you, d is not 'the', n is not 'and').
  4. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.
  5. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name, to avoid rejection.
You have read 1 out of 3 free articles for this week. For full access, please subscribe and get unlimited access to all sections.