Colleges desire a strong presence on social media, but they are struggling due to a lack of personnel.

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The University Grants Commission (UGC) has requested all public universities to maintain a visible online presence in order to boost communication and visibility between students and universities. Higher education institutions have mentioned that the lack of resources restricts their ability to have an active social media presence, which will take time to address.

Essential but time consuming

According to Rajneesh Kumar Shukla, Vice Chancellor of Mahatma Gandhi Antarrashtriya Hindi Vishwavidyalaya in Wardha, Maharashtra, wider distribution of information by Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) will bring many advantages. He also added that apart from increasing transparency in the activities of HEIs, a more active presence in social media will help put to rest any doubts that students may have, and ideally will convince more individuals to pursue higher education.

Major issues

Shukla states that in order to follow the UGC’s instructions, universities will have to be active on social media, but it may take more time for actual communication with students to happen. He explains that it’s hard to maintain a team to manage social media operations with financial limitations, and the university currently has a seven-member group consisting of technical and non-technical staff, faculty, and students. Therefore, only the questions the administration thinks are relevant will be answered on the social media platforms, Shukla adds.

Vikas Gupta, registrar at the University of Delhi (DU), notes that the institution only has a few social media platforms which are used to disseminate information rather than respond to inquiries. He emphasizes that this does not hinder DU’s transparency, as all the required information is accessible on their websites via FAQs.

Gupta states that it is not permissible to make sensitive information, such as the university’s monetary dealings, available to the public domain. He emphasizes that basic details can be released, but financial details must be reviewed and approved by the relevant authorities. Additionally, he explains that it is a substantial challenge to have direct interactions with students and that it would require an organized system in order to do so. Nonetheless, the university will attempt to maintain an active social media presence in order to comply with any UGC regulations.

Alternate options

Gupta noted that DU receives a lot of attention on its website during admission season and that administrators are attempting to answer as many inquiries as possible through FAQs. He went on to add that if students can’t find what they’re looking for, they can call the landline numbers listed on individual college websites. He further mentioned that while having a presence on social media will help streamline the inquiry process, it will take time to implement. Shukla, on the other hand, is working on creating an interactive website that will help students get more information in a timely manner.

Mayank Tewari

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