Who monitors the quality of courses offered in the distance learning mode? While many institutes offer genuine programmes, there are quite a few universities playing with the lives and careers of students by granting affiliations to anyone showing them the money.
How education mafias exploit the regulatory paralysis in distance education for commercial gains became evident when this correspondent posed as the head of a private institute in Bihar and met the regional head of a state open university in south India. For a certain sum, the official of the university which runs a facilitation centre in Delhi, agreed to start bachelor science courses in something as undefined and vague as drycleaning and mobile repairing. Here are the excerpts from the institute. (The name of the official and institute have been withheld for obvious reasons)
I am running a private ITI institute in Sasaram, Bihar. How can I get affiliation from your university?
Our university charges Rs. 50,000 to grant affiliation to any private institute anywhere in the country. Once you get affiliation, you can start teaching degree courses in your institute. If you teach one degree course, you have to deposit 50% from each student’s fee with my university. For example, if you are starting BSc in fashion designing and charging Rs. 20,000 per semester to per student, you have to deposit Rs. 10,000 with the university.
But what about the academic infrastructure I have, such as number of rooms, teachers etc? Do you carry out inspections in institutes affiliated to your university?
No, you pay the money and you will get the affiliation. No inspection is done by any staff from the university.
How many courses do you have? Are they all approved by UGC?
We have more than 100 courses and all of them have UGC approval.
The list you have provided, however, doesn’t have any course which will sell in my area. I need courses like BSc in housekeeping, BSc in drycleaning, BSc in retailing and BSc in mobile repairing. How can I start degree courses in these subjects?
Sir, we can help you but first you have to change the name of the degree courses. BSc in mobile repairing can be changed to BSc in mobile integrated technology. BSc in housekeeping can be changed to facility management.
What’s the procedure to start a degree course in Bsc in integrated mobile technology?
Please make a syllabus for six semesters – each semester is of six months. Please give details of the syllabus and do not compromise with quality when you finalise the syllabus. It has nothing to do with what you teach in your institute. This is just to get the university’s approval for the degree course. Also, you will have to pay Rs. 1 lakh for approval of one degree course.
What’s the procedure for conducting exams, setting question papers, finalising centres etc?
The university will not interfere in all these. You will have to set question papers, fix the examination centres and check answer sheets. The university will only give you the marksheets and degrees. So everything is up to you.
But you said that 50% of each student’s tuition fees will go to the university. I will not make much of a profit then.
There are many ways in which you can charge money from students. For instance, if our university charges Rs. 100 for prospectus, you can charge Rs. 400. You can earn money by creating various other heads such as admission fee, building funds, examination fees etc. Many institutes start coaching classes in the evening and advise students to attend to get good marks. It can also generate good money.
How long will you take to grant affiliation to my institute and allow me to start my programmes?
We will finish everything from 15 to 30 days.