The UGC instructed to all the independent institutes to cease their distance education programmes.
The University Grants Commission (UGC), a statutory body, which is set up by the Indian government under the UGC Act 1956 to maintain the standards of higher education, banned non-university institutions to offer distance education programs. A committee headed by Prof N R Madhav Menon submitted a report in the last week of June 2017 to standardise and regularise the distance education in India. As per the decision, taken by the committee, the standalone institutes, which are running independently, are no longer authorised to offer distance programmes. This comes after scrutinising the decreasing standard of education in the country.
Why is this ban imposed?
Seeing the immense growth in the education industry and literacy rate in the country, there are hundreds of B-Schools and other institutes, which are functioning independently and offering distance-learning courses. Such institutes are raking huge money by offering Diploma courses at distance mode. Since these institutes offering Diploma courses, they did not fall under the sphere of All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE).
According to a former director of the Institute of Open and Distance Learning, Mumbai University, these institutes are producing various new courses, such as hospital administration, forest management, agriculture and plantation management etc., which are not mainstreams distance learning programmes, thus becoming a barrier to students’ career growth in future.
Since the UGC has mandated the independent institutes to shut down such distance programmes, a lot of non-university institutions will be affected across the country. However, these institutes can continue offering such courses by successfully registering as the university or deemed to be a university. In case the institute fails to register as the university or deemed to be a university, the commission will not approve the distance education courses offered by these institutions.
Other New Rules Imposed by UGC
The UGC has also frozen the jurisdiction of the university. This means, now universities cannot operate beyond their jurisdiction. We can understand it with the help of an example here:
Suppose, the University of Pune has a study centre in Belapur and it doesn’t come under its jurisdiction, the university has to shut down the centre.
Moreover, the UGC has also stated that the examination centres should be assigned to the government schools and university approved colleges only. Therefore, no exam centre will be allotted to private and unapproved institutes. Furthermore, the centres are required to be equipped with CCTV or videography technology and must record the examination proceeding and archive it for a decade.
Alongside, the attendance of students taking the examination shall be authorised via the biometric system. Additionally, as per the new norms introduced by the UGC, universities are instructed to close their admissions by August making it mandatory to have a study time of minimum 120 hours per paper for a four-credit paper.