The open universities across the country are badly hit due to the absence of a regulator. No Approvals have been made over new courses since 2014. Read further to know more.
With the dissolution of Distance Education Council (DEC) of the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) in 2012, the open universities across the nation have faced multiple challenges. While some institutes have not been allocated funds for development, others have not been able to start courses due to lack of approvals.
The task of framing new regulations for open and distance learning (ODL) was transferred to University Grants Commission (UGC). However, till the new rules were implemented, it was decided that the DEC guidelines will be followed for recognition of ODL institutes.
Professor Nageshwar Rao, VC of Uttarakhand State Open University said that no new courses have been recognised since 2014. Due to this, they cannot start a new course. Even after inspections and permissions by designated bodies, the university is still waiting for approvals. He added that the courses that were implemented in 2013/14 have become outdated.
Though the HRD minister had instructed the distance education regulator to allow open and distance learning institutes to start diploma and certificate courses by themselves starting August 30, 2016, but Professor Rao mentioned that he still hasn't received any orders.
IGNOU was, in August 2016, granted approval by the regulator to resume PhD courses but some other state open universities have yet to receive a letter of approval.
Most of the state universities are also finding it difficult to get funds from the Distance Education Bureau for their developmental initiatives. This is because the regulator is insisting that these institutes must be recognised under Section 12(B). Professor Rao says that for recognition under this section, the UGC had revised the provisions for an ODL university to have minimum 15 acres of land. He says that since nobody was notified to implement this, the review became redundant and now the universities are suffering.