Indian Govt’s fresh regulations for distance learning courses

NEW DELHI :  Provision of filling an FIR against the management an institute for duping students, installing CCTVs at examination centres and roping in quality faculty are some of the highlights of the regulations for open and distance learning approved by HRD minister Prakash Javadekar, sources said.

Under the new regulations, which will be notified soon, universities and institutes offering courses through open and distance learning(ODL) will have to seek fresh approval from the University Grants Commission(UGC) or else their degrees will be considered invalid. The regulations will cover the government as well as the private institutes.

“Degrees acquired through ODL from non-recognised institutes of higher learning will neither be recognised for the purpose of employment in government service nor for pursuing higher education,” said a senior official.

On an average, close to 40 lakh students get enrolled in such universities every year. Source said currently there were no clear guidelines for ODL courses.

“The UGC had been given the charge of open and distance learning from the distance education council. However there were no clear guidelines for ODL. One major issue was that while the courses were  being regulated, the universities were left out. Now the universities will also be regulated. The new regulations will also keep a check on dubious and bogus institutes,” said Ravindra Kumar, VC, IGNOU.

If the institutes fail to comply with the regulations, they can be penalised too.

“If despite penalties, the institutes are found flouting rules or cheating students, FIR may be lodged against the officials/management of the errant higher educational institutions,” reads the draft regulation.

The  new regulations are aimed at improving the quality of programmes offered through the distance mode.

Currently there are over 140 universities/ higher educational institutions which are given approval by the UGC under its distance education bureau to offer courses through the ODL.


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