Only institutes with top NAAC ranking to provide distance education
According to a senior HRD official, the UGC will soon notify these changes in the existing University Grants Commission (Open and Distance Learning) Regulations, 2017.education Updated: Jan 05, 2018 16:49 IST
To regulate distance education institutes in the country, the government is all set to make “quality” a major criteria for giving approvals to such institutes.
Human resource development ministry officials said institutes and universities with top NAAC ranking will be able to offer distance education programmes and those who do not have such rankings will be given a year’s time to get the ranking.
Currently, institutes need mere accreditation to get the approval for the grant of degree at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels through open and distance learning mode. An institute might now need a rating of 3.25 from National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) to be eligible.
According to a senior HRD official, the University Grants Commission (UGC) will soon notify these changes in the existing University Grants Commission (Open and Distance Learning) Regulations, 2017, that were notified last year by it.
“Quality has become a major issue as a number of institutes are offering courses which do not have good infrastructure or quality faculty. This new clause of having a high rating from NAAC will ensure only quality institutes will be able to offer courses. This will ensure students are able to get good education even through distance education mode,” said the HRD official.
Earlier, UGC had laid down the minimum standards of instruction for the grant of degree at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels through open and distance learning mode. As per the regulations, students will also be allowed to take up to 20% of the total courses being offered in a particular programme in a semester through the online learning courses/massive open online courses as per UGC’s (Credit Framework for Online Learning Courses through SWAYAM) Regulations, 2016.
Last year, the human resource development (HRD) ministry had also set up a three-member committee in line with a Supreme Court order to examine the working of deemed universities and suggest an “oversight” and “regulatory mechanism” for these institutions within four months. The Supreme Court in October had cancelled the degrees awarded by four of them as they were conducting distance education programmes in technical education without necessary approval. It asked the government to set up a panel of eminent persons who have held high positions in the field of education, investigation, administration or law at national level within one month, to examine issues related to distance education, deemed universities and suggest a regulatory mechanism for them.