In an effort to regulate distance and online education courses in India, the Human Resources and Development Ministry has sought the Cabinet’s approval to set up a statutory body that will also monitor courses being provided by the foreign universities/colleges through Internet.
The ministry has prepared a draft law to provide legal backing to the Distance Education Council (DEC), currently a body under Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU).
A Parliamentary standing committee had recommended that the Council should be an independent regulatory body. The Council would be an apex body for obtaining approval for all forms of distance education modes, a ministry official said.
The proposed law is based on the recommendations of a committee appointed by the ministry last year. The panel had felt that regulation of online and distance education is imperative as in the next five years, admissions in the online courses will double with an increase in the Internet access.
The draft bill agreed by all stakeholders including IGNOU and other distance education providers will soon be sent for the Cabinet consideration. “We expect to introduce the bill in budget session of Parliament,” an official said.