UGC set to issue norms for online degree courses
Universities having an accreditation rating of 3.26 and above will be eligible to begin online degree courses and those with a score of 3.01 and above will be able to do the same after getting requisite nods, as the University Grants Commission (UGC) gets closer to issuing regulations for giving a boost to internet-based education.
“The UGC has finalised the regulations that have been sent by the HRD ministry to the Law ministry for vetting. Once the regulations are issued, the way for a large number of universities to start online degree courses would be paved,” a person familiar with the development said.
Once the UGC guidelines are issued in the coming weeks, it would be easier for varsities to begin online degrees from the next academic session, which is likely to begin in November-December.
The UGC, in an earlier meeting, had discussed the modalities for imparting online degrees.
“The Commission has been of the view that universities with high accreditation be allowed to impart degree courses online. The ones in the highest category (with a rating of 3.26 and above) will have to only give intimation about the courses they want to start. Others, in the second rung, will be allowed after they take permission,” said the person cited above.
Significantly, there is a view that to ensure quality, there may be an initial cap on the number of online degrees universities may offer. Universities are accredited by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), with those receiving a rating of 3.26 and above, out of four, awarded A++ and A+ status. Those with a rating of 3.01 to 3.25 are ranked A, as per the range of institutional cumulative grade point average.
The human resources development (HRD) ministry has been focusing on online education, especially in view of the Covid-19 pandemic. The ministry is also looking at the concept of setting up a virtual university, which has been recommended in the draft National Education Policy (NEP).
Among other initiatives, the UGC is also developing its own app, for easier accessibility to students and educators.