A new directive from the UGC says that the degrees, diplomas and certificates obtained through ODL mode in non-technical courses are at par with their counterparts from the regular institutes/universities.
In a bid to end speculations about the validity of degrees, diplomas and certificates that students obtain through distance learning in non-technical courses, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has come to the fore with an important announcement. UGC has issued a public notice wherein the higher education regulator has clarified that the distance education programs that different institutions offer with the approval of either UGC or erstwhile Distance Education Council (DEC) are valid for all purposes including employment.
The notification from the UGC clearly mentions that degrees, diplomas and certificates awarded for the programs that Open Distance Learning (ODL) institutes were/are offering are valid and at par with the ones offered through regular institutes and universities. With recognition from DEC/UGC and being in confirmation with the UGC notification on specifications, degrees obtained through ODL should be treated at par with the corresponding awards of the degrees, diplomas and certificates of the traditional institutions/universities in the country.
The announcement comes months after the Supreme Court (SC) of India’s directive wherein it stated that technical courses could not be conducted through open and distance education mode. While hearing a bunch of petitions against four institutions, SC also suspended the engineering degrees and diploma that four private deemed to be universities awarded to its students between 2001 and 2005 and cancelled those awards beyond 2005.
The court’s order was pertaining to the unlawful grant of engineering degrees by the above mentioned four deemed to be universities. The court also ordered CBI to probe into the irregularities in the grant of approval to these institutions that gave rise to the speculations over the validity of degrees and diplomas awarded by the rest of the institutions offering courses in non-technical streams through ODL mode.
The announcement came in a response to students and employers who recurrently wrote to MHRD, UGC and All India Council for Technical Education ever since seeking clarification on the issue. UGC has clarified that OLD system is to stay around in the country as it is helping in the expansion of higher education considerably well besides providing a firm support in achieving the target of gross enrollment ratio without compromising the on quality a wee bit.