You may soon be able to finish a course in MBA or engineering from top government institutes like the IIMs and IITs, or premier private institutes, without attending regular classes.
<b1>The government has now allowed leading institutes — both, government-run and private — like the Indian Institutes of Technology and Indian Institutes of Management to offer their courses through distance learning programmes as well as classroom education.
The University Grants Commission (UGC), All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and Distance Education Council (DEC) jointly decided to allow all educational institutions to offer distance education courses.
Institutes that want to set up distance learning programmes will need to get the approval of a joint committee of that the three regulatory bodies decided to set up earlier this month. The committee will help establish a ‘single window’ approach for institutes. “It is a big leap forward for high quality distance education,” said a UGC member.
“The mechanism would be in place in few months so that institutions can start offering online courses from the next academic year,” added another UGC official.
The AICTE has been entrusted with the job of monitoring distance education courses offered by institutions offering technical education whereas UGC will monitor universities, including deemed universities. The DEC will be the overall regulatory body for open education.
According to UGC, the committee will evolve a mechanism to monitor institutions conducting courses in distance learning.
It would identify thrust areas and develop curriculum and learning methods to bring uniformity to distance learning by laying down quality guidelines.
A UGC official said allowing top institutions to offer distance education would help meet the growing demand for quality higher education.
In 2006-07, about 1.13 crore students enrolled in the Indian higher education system and by 2010, this may rise to two crore.