Saturday, December 31, 2011

Online Education In India: Some Legal Considerations

Online education in India is still passing through a transformation. In India, a major focus is given to traditional institutionalised education system that requires establishment of big infrastructure not necessarily justifying its costs. On the other hand, online education can provide cost effective, timely, qualitative and transparent education system of India.

Another limitation of the traditional educational system of India is that it is largely academic in nature. Very few educational institutions of India are providing practical trainings and skills development courses while imparting education to their students and professionals.

This has resulted in mass unemployment for a large majority of educated masses of India. As per many studies and surveys, only 20-25% educated population is fit for employment purposes in India. We must stress more upon technical education in India and technical education skills development in India.

Skills development in India is an area that has still not got the attention of policy makers of India. This is more so regarding cyber skills development in India. Virtual campuses in India can solve many of educational problems of India. These problems include corruption, lack of transparency, lack of accountability, non qualitative education, monopolistic behaviours, etc. Virtual campuses can eliminate the corruption in higher education of India and bring fairness and competition among various stakeholders.

Higher education in India needs reform especially the higher legal education in India. PhDs in India are suffering due to corruption. Similarly, lack of skills and expertise is also affecting higher education in India.

Another area that has received limited attention of Indian government pertains to lifelong learning in India. For instance, till now Perry4Law Techno Legal Base (PTLB) is the exclusive techno legal lifelong learning institutions and centre of India. Professional continuing legal education in India is also missing.

Although efforts in the direction of conducting bar examinations in India were undertaken in 2011 yet they are not coherent and well designed and managed. Bar examinations in India need to be properly managed and scientifically undertaken. The focus should be to evaluate skills and knowledge of the students rather than introducing another hurdle that is more on the side of formality. A better option is to scrap the bar examination altogether or conduct a very qualitative bar examination in India.

Further issues have been introduced with the proposal to conduct Indian legal services examinations In India and Indian regulatory services examination In India. These examinations require a totally different outlook, orientation and preparation that are presently missing in India.

As online education in India is going to grow, contents creation and its management would be a big problem. For instance, legal research in India is no good and plagiarism in India and other places is widespread. Further, the growing use of online advertisement for online contents has increased the demand and value for educational and non educational contents. In order to earn money through advertisement and e-learning methods, many individuals and companies are violating the intellectual property rights (IPRs) like copyright of others.

Individuals and companies engaging in online business or transactions are required to observe cyber law due diligence in India. Cyber due diligence for companies in India requires that they avoid violating IPRs of others and also prevent the violation of the same at their own online platforms and websites.

Countries like United States have created dedicated laws like online copyright infringement liability limitation act (OCILLA) in this regard. However, in India we have no such dedicated law for dealing with online copyright violations cases. Even the copyright law of India is not expressly dealing with this issue. However, Internet intermediaries’ liability in India, under the information technology act 2000 (IT Act 2000), covers this issue.

The role and responsibility of Internet intermediaries in the field of copyright in India cannot be anymore ignored by various stakeholders. Even technological issues of IPRs in India must be kept in mind by all while dealing with others contents and IPRs. Liability of Internet intermediaries for copyright violations in India is very stringent under the cyber laws of India and contents of others should not be taken without their permissions.

Perry4Law Techno Legal Base (PTLB) has been providing various techno legal e-learning courses in India. These include online legal education in India, online cyber law education in India, online cyber law trainings in India, online cyber law courses in India, etc.

PTLB is providing the exclusive techno legal e-learning courses in India. The exclusive techno legal e-learning centre in India is also managed by PTLB. It is providing e-learning for lawyers in India, public legal awareness training in India, legal e-learning in India, online skills development in India , etc. There is no second opinion that Indian legal workforce needs to be skilled driven.

Similarly, online education in India needs to be developed urgently. However, in order to achieve this task, we must do proper planning and actual implementation. The sooner it is done the better it would for all the stakeholders involved.

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