While the objective of increasing access to higher education through Community College is welcome and appreciated, it is important that the scheme is implemented and monitored systematically. After the first back of Associate Degree holders are out, the system should be able to inform us, the success rate, trade-wise vocational education imparted, state-wise vocational statistics, percentage of student going in for BDP of IGNOU; placement of the students, etc. It is also necessary to ensure quality of operations and academic offerings in the Community Colleges, and therefore, necessary guidelines, standards, and manuals may be developed. Capacity building of the faculty and non-teaching staff to ensure quality is highly important and regular training programmes should be conducted by IGNOU on various areas such as needs assessment, curriculum development, teaching methodology. Distance learning material development, use of technology in teaching and learning, application of technology in office administration, evaluation technology, etc. It is also important to think of credit transfer of the Associate Degree to regular conventional colleges and universities. To this extent, the University Grants Commission may develop norms and guidelines to be followed by the colleges and universities. If the Associate Degree holders get opportunity to join the conventional higher education system as well, it will add to the value of the scheme and also improve mobility of learners giving them more choice.
In short, a good scheme has been initiated, but there are miles to go before its results are visible to the society. I will be interested in news and views about the success of the scheme and its implementation and monitoring aspects.