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Act against universities offering illegal distance courses: HRD to UGC

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The Indian Express | Ritika Chopra | New Delhi | November 18, 2016 |

The ministry is learnt to have despatched the order in the first week of November after five earlier letters, urging the UGC to initiate stern action against erring institutions, went unheeded.

The HRD Ministry has ordered the University Grants Commission (UGC) to file FIRs against the management of universities that have been offering correspondence courses to students outside their territorial jurisdiction. The ministry is learnt to have despatched the order in the first week of November after five earlier letters, urging the UGC to initiate stern action against erring institutions, went unheeded. The government resorted to its extraordinary powers under Section 20 of the UGC Act to order the higher education regulator to file FIRs against vice-chancellors, deans and registrars in order to “safeguard the interests of the thousands of gullible students who have been cheated by such universities and institutions”. The UGC was asked to submit an action plan by November 15, sources said.  UGC chairman Ved Prakash was not available for comment.

According to the rules, all state universities — private and government-funded — can offer distance learning programmes only within the state they are located in. If an institution violates this, then the certificates, diplomas and degrees awarded to students outside the state are deemed invalid. Sources said the recent directive could mean trouble for universities such as Sikkim Manipal University, Karnataka State Open University, Periyar University, Salem (Tamil Nadu), and Global Open University, Nagaland, which, according to HRD Ministry officials, have been violating UGC rules on territorial jurisdiction. A letter written by Higher Education Secretary V S Oberoi to UGC chairman Prakash earlier this year had identified the above institutions as regular violators and urged the UGC to act against them. Oberoi’s missive referred to advertisements released by Sikkim Manipal University in particular and stated that the advertisements were deliberately ambiguous and did not mention the institution’s jurisdiction, which results in a lot of outstation students being misled into enrolling for the correspondence courses. Sources said the Ministry did not receive any concrete reply to this and four other letters. –  Courtesy


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