The much-talked about proposal of Punjab Technical University (PTU), Kapurthala, to restart its distance education courses from this session is in the thick of controversy with the University Grants Commission (UGC) not granting approval to the varsity to run these courses.
In the list of universities released for approving their distance education programmes, UGC, the apex body to regulate the higher education in the country, has not mentioned PTU among 139 varsities which have been given approval to run distance education courses.
The list was issued on May 29. PTU was planning to start distance education courses after a gap of two years.
In 2012, the UGC had not given approval to these courses saying PTU cannot run them across the country at its learning centres. The university got the UGC approval to run its courses in Punjab only last year.
There was confusion over running these courses by PTU as in a letter dated August 6 last year the UGC granted approval to distance education courses saying that the university will not outsources its learning centres, as being done by it previously. It added that PTU should start courses on its own and these learning centres will only be considered as study centres which would not charge any tuition fee.
It further said the teaching fee for distance education courses should to be collected by PTU itself and not by distance learning centres.
Before 2012, when PTU was running such courses, distance learning centres used to collect tuition fee, minting money from students.
Secretary, technical education, Rakesh Verma, who is also holding the additional charge of PTU vice-chancellor, said, “The issue of PTU not listed among universities approved by the UGC to run distance courses is being blown out of proportion. The fact is that the UGC has given in-principle approval to run these courses for all the universities which were given permission for the same for the 2014-15 session. Now, we had started enrollment in January this year. I don’t know how UGC left PTU from the list when they have already permitted us to run these courses,” said Verma.
“The UGC has asked PTU to file an affidavit regarding completing few formalities relating to starting of distance education courses. Reports that PTU has not been given the approval are not true. After filing the affidavit we are going to start the admissions from July this year,” he further clarified.
Distance education courses of PTU have been in the thick of controversies for one or another reason because of huge money involved in the business and vested interests of study centre owners.