Home » Distance Education

Category Archives: Distance Education

Advertisements

Engineering students with cancelled degrees get 2nd chance

DNA India | Mar 19, 2018 | DNA Correspondent |

Students from the four engineering institutes, whose eligibility for distance learning was cancelled by the Supreme Court last year, will get to appear for a qualifying exam in June. The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), which is the authority for technical education in the country, has prepared the curriculum for the qualifying exam and the applicants will have to get at least 40 per cent marks in both theory and practical exams to pass the exam. The curriculum has been put on the official website of AICTE. Students will be tested through objective-type questions, which will include questions from both mathematics and core engineering. An expert team from the AICTE and officials from the Human Resource Development Ministry decided on what should be included in the question paper.

The Supreme Court had in December last year cancelled engineering degrees obtained between 2001 and 2005 through distance learning from four institutes and ordered authorities to conduct an examination to give students another chance to validate their degree. According to officials in the AICTE, those who are unable to clear the June examination will get another chance to write the qualifying exam in December. Those who have not been able to register with the council will also get a chance to register before the December qualifying exam. That exam, however, will be the last chance for the applicants to validate their degree. The colleges disqualified for long distance courses were JRN Rajasthan Vidyapeeth in Udaipur, the Institute of Advanced Studies in Education in Rajasthan’s Churu district, Allahabad Agricultural Institute in Uttar Pradesh and Vinayaka Mission Research Foundation in Tamil Nadu. While cancelling the degrees of students obtained from these colleges, the Supreme Court further ruled that technical education cannot be provided through distance learning or correspondence courses.

THE COLLEGES

  • JRN Rajasthan Vidyapeeth, Udaipur, Institute of Advanced Studies in Education, Churu, Rajasthan, Allahabad Agricultural Institute in UP and Vinayaka Mission Research Foundation, TN.  –  Courtesy

Click here to view / download the AICTE Circular, 1 page, pdf  – Public Notice on Examination to be Conducted by AICTE in respect of 4 Deemed to be Universities

Advertisements

Supreme Court gives ‘One-Time Relaxation’ for distance learning B.Tech degrees

The Tribune | Jan 23, 2018Satya Prakash |

Tells candidates to take AICTE test

Modifying its November 3, 2017, order suspending engineering degrees granted between 2001 and 2005 to all graduates through distance learning, the Supreme Court on Tuesday granted ‘One-Time Relaxation’ to such candidates, many of whom were employed in various government departments.  A Bench of Justice AK Goel and Justice UU Lalit directed them to appear in a test to be conducted by AICTE in May-June 2018. “All such candidates, who wish to appear at the forthcoming test to be conducted by AICTE in May-June 2018 and who exercise option to appear at the test in terms of the judgment, can retain the degrees in question and all the advantages flowing therefrom till one month after the declaration of the result of such test or till 31.07.2018 whichever is earlier,” the Bench ordered. 

In its November 2017 verdict, the top court had suspended engineering degrees granted between 2001 and 2005 to all graduates through distance learning by JRN Rajasthan Vidyapeeth, Rajasthan (JRN), Institute of Advanced Studies in Education, Rajasthan (IASE) and Allahabad Agricultural Institute, Allahabad and Vinayak Mission Research Foundation (VMRF), Tamil Nadu for want of adherence to statutory guidelines and policies.  The Bench, however, rejected petitions seeking a general relief for those who had diplomas and later completed B. Tech. through distance learning, saying: “We cannot make any such exception. The infirmity in their degrees is basic and fundamental and cannot be wished away”. “At the same time, we find some force in their submission that if the suspension of their degrees and all advantages were to apply as indicated in the judgment, the concerned candidates may lose their jobs and even if they were to successfully pass the test, restoration of their jobs and present position would pose some difficulty,” it said, giving ‘One-Time Relaxation’ to those who got Engineering degrees through distance learning.  The top court said: “This facility is given as one-time exception so that those who have the ability and can pass the test in the first attempt itself should not be put to inconvenience. If the candidates pass in such first attempt, they would be entitled to retain all the advantages”.  “But if they fail or choose not to appear, the directions in the judgment shall apply, in that the degrees and all advantages shall stand suspended and withdrawn,” it said.  It clarified that “no more such chances or exceptions will be given or made. They will undoubtedly be entitled to appear on the second occasion in terms of the judgment but this exception shall not apply for such second attempt”.  “AICTE shall however extend the time to exercise the option to appear at the test suitably,” it added. –  Courtesy

UGC Ban on distance engineering degrees: Engineers of DRDO, IT, Aeronautical streams move Supreme Court for relief

Jan 09, 2018 | Times Now Digital, Agencies |

New Delhi: A group of engineers, including those from DRDO’s chemical warfare unit, who are facing the threat of suspension of their degrees, today moved the Supreme Court for relief, saying most of them have been working for over 10-15 years and their career will be jeopardized. The engineering degrees of these candidates, many of whom are employed in aeronautical and IT streams also, were obtained after pursuing distance learning course from four institutions in academic session 2001-2005. However, according to a November 3 order of the apex court, the degrees of students, who studied in these four deemed universities–JRN Rajasthan Vidyapeeth, Institute of Advanced Studies in Education (IASE), Rajasthan, Allahabad Agricultural Institute (AAI) and Vinayaka Mission’s Research Foundation, Tamil Nadu, will remain suspended from January 15 this year. A bench of Justices Adarsh Goel and U U Lalit today said that it will pass orders on multiple petitions separately on January 12. Senior advocate V Giri appearing for some of the engineers said that there were candidates who appeared in competitive examinations based on degrees obtained from these universities and qualified it to get a job. They are now at senior positions in their respective organisations.

“These candidates risk losing their jobs after being 10-15 years in service. The court should have a humane approach towards them as it will have a cascading effect on them and their families will be in trouble,” he said. Giri said that there were also some candidates who were in service and used their degrees to get the promotion. The top court said that the degrees were wrongly given by the universities and it had the interest of students in its mind while granting them two opportunities to clear the examination to be conducted by AICTE. “Post facto approvals were granted to these universities by the authorities concerned despite there being a provision for prior sanction for enrolling the students. There was ambiguity between them but we didn’t want the students to suffer and hence granted them opportunities,” the bench said. After their degrees were held to be “illegal and void”, it was not the students’ right that they are given such an opportunity, it said. “There has to be some test of their abilities as many of the study centres affiliated to these universities did not even have the necessary infrastructure. Those who will not pass the examination will have to face the consequences,” the bench observed. Senior advocate Meenakshi Arora, appearing for one of the students who studied from ITM University (now Northcap University) at Gurgaon, said that his client didn’t even know that his degree was in the distance learning category. Arora said that there is another category of students who didn’t know it was a distance learning course as they attended regular classes. “World-class companies tested their skills, they qualified for the post, did their post-graduation all on the basis of that degree,” she said. “It is not the case where their skills were not tested. They had all necessary infrastructure at their colleges and students attended all the classes just the degree was from another university,” she contended.

Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh supported the cause of the students and said that some other methodology could also be there for testing the abilities of students. He said that if on the basis of this foundation degree, a candidate acquires another superior degree than his case can be considered by the court. Similarly, other candidates who are now mining engineers, many with the Central Armed Police Forces like ITBP and Seema Suraksha Bal have also approached the court seeking relief. The bench said it will consider the petitions and pass the orders on January 12. On November 3, the top court had set aside the ex-facto approvals granted by the UGC to the four deemed universities, terming them as “incorrect” and “illegal”, saying that such institutions were not justified in introducing any new course in technical education without the approval of AICTE. The top court had directed the AICTE to hold tests for the students whose degrees would stand suspended by January 15, 2018 and said these students should not be given more than two chances to clear the examination. If the students do not successfully clear the examination within the stipulated time, their degrees will stand cancelled and every single advantage on the basis of that degree shall also stand withdrawn, it said. The court had said that any promotion or advancement in career on the basis of such degree shall also stand withdrawn. It had also cancelled the engineering degrees awarded to students who were admitted after the academic session 2001-05 in these four deemed universities in distance education mode. – Courtesy

AICTE to conduct test for students whose distance engineering degrees were suspended by SC

Hindustan Times | Neelam Pandey | Dec 03, 2017 | New Delhi |

All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has started the process of registration of such students who will get an opportunity to write a test following which their degrees will stand validated.

Days after the University Grants Commission (UGC) suspended the degrees awarded to students of four deemed universities, the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has started the process of registration of such students who will get an opportunity to write a test following which their degrees will stand validated. The AICTE and UGC on Sunday started the registration of candidates enrolled in deemed-to-be universities from 2001 to 2005 and were awarded degrees/diplomas in engineering through distance mode. Candidates have been given time till January 15 to register for the test. The degrees will remain suspended till they clear it, officials said. Officials said that the entrance exam will be conducted in May or June. “All the degrees of the students remain suspended. The last date for registration is January 15 and students need to register online. A written as well as practical examination will be conducted for the students,” reads the public notice issued by AICTE.

 Four institutes — JRN Rajasthan Vidyapeeth, Rajasthan, Advanced Studies in Education, Rajasthan (IASE), Allahabad Agricultural Institute, (AAI), and Vinayaka Mission’s Research Foundation, Tamil Nadu, (VMRF)— have been conducting distance engineering programmes without necessary approvals, including that from the UGC or AICTE. The Supreme Court last month had suspended the degrees awarded by them between 2001 and 2005 while the degrees awarded through distance learning by the deemed universities to students admitted after 2005 stand cancelled. The universities have been directed by the court to return the tuition fee and other expenditure incurred by the students. The Supreme Court had also restrained “all deemed-to-be universities to carry on any courses in distance education mode from the academic session 2018-2019 onwards unless and until it is permissible to conduct such courses in distance education mode and specific permissions are granted by the concerned statutory/regulatory authorities in respect of each of those courses and unless the off-campus centres/study centres are individually inspected and found adequate by the concerned statutory authorities”. AICTE rules mandate that engineering degrees cannot be offered through distance education mode. – Courtesy

GATE-like test for students with cancelled engineering degrees from these 3 deemed universities

Hindustan Times | Neelam Pandey |  Nov 06, 2017 | New Delhi |

AICTE is considering an aptitude test for students who obtained engineering degrees from JRN Rajasthan Vidhyapeeth University, Vinayaka Mission Research Foundation and IASE Deemed University.

Representational image

Days after the Supreme Court cancelled engineering degrees granted since 2001 by three deemed universities through the distance education mode, the Union HRD ministry has called a meeting of the University Grants Commission (UGC) on Monday to protect the interests of hundreds who could be affected by the move, people familiar with the matter said. JRN Rajasthan Vidhyapeeth University, Udaipur; Vinayaka Mission Research Foundation, Salem, Tamil Nadu; and IASE Deemed University, Rajasthan — have been conducting distance engineering programmes without necessary approvals, including that from the UGC or the All India Council for Technical Education or AICTE.  The people said that the country’s apex technical education regulator AICTE is considering conducting an aptitude test for students who received degrees from these universities between 2001 and 2005 so that they are not affected. If they clear this GATE-like test it will validate their degrees, the people added.

GATE stands for Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering and is conducted jointly by some of the country’s best engineering colleges including the prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology for admission to post-graduate programmes.  The test being considered by the ministry is in keeping with the Supreme Court’s directive. The degrees awarded through distance learning by the three deemed universities to students admitted after 2005 stand cancelled. The universities have been directed by the court to return the tuition fee and other expenditure incurred by the students.  “We are examining the court order and may consider a GATE-like exam for which modalities will be worked out,” said a senior AICTE official.  AICTE rules mandate that engineering degrees cannot be offered through distance education mode. Officials at the regulator told Hindustan Times that they are working on a blended learning mode.

Officials in the HRD ministry said the HRD minister would meet UGC officials to discuss the issue related to the deemed universities and technical education programmes being offered through the distance education mode. “UGC has not allowed engineering courses through the distance mode. Currently, as per the HRD ministry the regulatory powers on open and distance learning (ODL) is vested with the UGC,” one of the officials said. Recently, UGC notified the Open and Distance Learning) Regulations, 2017. The commission, through the regulations, laid down the minimum standards of instruction for the grant of degree at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels through the open and distance learning mode. The Supreme Court on Friday also restrained “all deemed-to-be universities to carry on any courses in distance education mode from the academic session 2018-2019 onwards unless and until it is permissible to conduct such courses in distance education mode and specific permissions are granted by the concerned statutory/regulatory authorities in respect of each of those courses and unless the off-campus centres/study centres are individually inspected and found adequate by the concerned statutory authorities”. – Courtesy

SC ban on engineering degree through correspondence: 10 key points and developments

Nov 06, 2017 | 09:54 IST | Times Now Digital

New Delhi: Supreme Court on Friday passed an order banning correspondence courses in technical education. Apart from banning any such courses in future, SC has also asked the All India Council of Technical Education to re-conduct examination for all the students who have acquired their engineering degrees through correspondence. The immediate effect of the order has brought lakhs of students under the ambit. Here is the list of development and how it progressed in 10 key points. While the actual number of students affected by the order remains unknown, the estimate suggests that around a lakh and a half students from the four deemed universities would be directly affected. The order has also brought under lens the many ‘deemed’ universities that continue to offer correspondence courses in engineering to diploma holders. SC bench headed by Justice Lalit penned a 118 page verdict. Here are the 10 Key highlights of the verdict and the road ahead explained.

1. Supreme Court has in its order affirmed Punjab and Haryana High Court’s finding and set aside a previous order of Odisha High Court when it banned the ‘deemed universities’ to offer technical courses like engineering through correspondence or distance learning.

2. As per the order, engineering degrees of students of four deemed universities — JRN Rajasthan Vidyapeeth, Institute of Advanced Studies in Education (IASE), Rajasthan, Allahabad Agricultural Institute (AAI) and Vinayaka Mission’s Research Foundation, Tamil Nadu, will remain suspended.

3. AICTE has been directed to conduct examination for these students latest by January 15, 2018. Students who fail to clear the examination would summarily loose their degrees. However, the degrees of the students who pass the exam would be accordingly reinstated.

4. Students would be given a maximum of 2 tries to clear the examination conducted by AICTE. If the students do not successfully clear the examination within the stipulated time, their degrees will stand cancelled and every single advantage on the basis of that degree shall also stand withdrawn, it said.

5. Monetary benefits gained by students during the time by means of the degree, however, would not be recovered from them. What this means is that in case someone was given a job on the basis of such a degree, then the job would stand suspended. However, the earnings of the person, would not be recovered.

6. Candidates/ students have the ‘choice’ of not writing the examination. These students, would then be eligible to claim a full refund of the tuition fee from these institutes within a month of such claim. However, the degrees of these students would be summarily canceled and all benefits withdrawn. – Courtesy

Supreme Court bans deemed universities from offering engineering courses in distance mode

Deccan Herald | DH News Service | New Delhi, Nov 3 2017 |

A bench of Justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and UU Lalit also raised serious questions over the institutions being allowed to use the word ‘university’ and asked the government to restrain them from use of the word.

Supreme Court on Friday ordered CBI probe on officials who allowed a group of deemed universities to offer engineering courses in distance education, as it took a critical view of such institutions. A bench of Justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and UU Lalit also raised serious questions over the institutions being allowed to use the word ‘university’ and asked the government to restrain them from use of the word. In a series of orders, the bench banned deemed universities from offering engineering courses through distance education from 2018-19 academic year, instructing them not to do so without the sanction of AICTE.  Lamenting that extensive commercialization has robbed higher education of credibility and standard; the bench said it seriously compromised knowledge and impacted excellence and merit. It also asked government to set up a three-member panel to develop roadmap to strengthen higher education and come up with a regulatory system in six months.

“The UGC had completely failed to remedy the situation,” the bench said in its 118-page judgement highlighting failure of monitoring and regulating ‘deemed-to-be-universities.’ “Serious question has therefore arisen as to the manning of the UGC itself for its effective working,” it noted. IT ordered CBI probe on officials who allowed Vinayaka Mission’s research Foundation, Salem, Tamil Nadu, IASE Gandhi Vidya Mandir, Sardarshahr Rajasthan, JRN Vidyapeeth Udaipur, Rajasthan and Allahabad Agriculture Research Institute, Allahabad to offer B Tech and B E courses in distance education mode. It also ordered the UGC to consider if the ‘deemed university’ status enjoyed by the institutions could be withdrawn as they violated policies and norms.

Citing the affidavit of the then UGC Chairman Ved Prakash detailing how the institutes were allowed to offer courses, the bench raised serious doubt over the approach and conduct of the higher education regulator. “On one hand, the authorities were proclaiming their policy statements and on the other, despite there being complaints, they went about granting permissions,” it noted. The issue came up before the apex court following conflicting orders by Orissa and Punjab and Haryana High Courts. While the Orissa HC had approved engineering degrees awarded to serving diploma holders through ‘Off-Campus Study Centres’, Punjab and Haryana HC took a contrary view. The court ordered to suspend degrees awarded to students by the four institutions in the 2001-05 academic session. It asked AICTE to hold a test in May 2018-19 and recall degrees given to students who fail. Asking the varsities to refund fees collected on the course if the students do not wish to appear for the AICTE test, the court also ordered to withdraw any jobs or benefits taken by the students on the basis of those degrees. It ordered to cancel degrees awarded after the academic session 2001-05 and withdraw any jobs given on that basis. – Courtesy   /   Click here to download / view the Judgement – 118 pages, pdf

No technical education through correspondence courses: Supreme Court

The Indian Express | Express Web Desk | New Delhi | November 3, 2017 |

The Supreme court hailed the decision of Punjab and Haryana Court that had issued a similar order against the distance education in the technical courses two years back.

 

The Supreme Court on Friday ruled that technical education can not be provided through the process of correspondence courses. Setting aside Odisha High Court order, the apex court restrained educational institutions from providing courses in subjects like engineering in the distance education mode. The Supreme court hailed the decision of Punjab and Haryana Court that had issued a similar order against the distance education in the technical courses two years back. The Punjab and Haryana High Court ruled out a degree in computer science through a distance education. In their order, they said it will not be same as the person who is attending the regular college. – Courtesy

‘No technical education via correspondence courses,’ rules Supreme Court  – The Times of India

Amit Anand Choudhary |  TIMES OF INDIA.COM |  Nov 3, 2017 |

Highlights

  • The apex court restrained educational institutions from providing courses in subjects like engineering, in the distance education mode
  • With its ruling, the SC affirmed the findings of the Punjab and Haryana high court on the issue
  • Also with its ruling, the SC set aside a verdict by the Odisha high court, which allowed technical education by correspondence

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court (SC) on Friday ruled that technical education cannot be provided via correspondence courses.    The apex court restrained educational institutions from providing courses in subjects like engineering, in the distance education mode.  In ruling against distance education in these courses, the top court affirmed the findings of the Punjab and Haryana high court on the issue. And in doing that, the SC set aside a verdict by the Odisha high court, which allowed technical education by correspondence. Two years ago, the Punjab and Haryana high court ruled that a degree in ‘computer science’ obtained through distance mode could not considered on par with one attained by attending regular classes. – Courtesy

Khan Academy to create educational videos in Indian languages

Live Mint | Sarah Zia | 01 November 2017 |

Khan Academy, the online provider of educational videos, is expected to release content in Gujarati, Bengali and Hindi by 2018

New Delhi: Khan Academy, a non-profit education organisation, is set to launch content in Indian languages. By 2018, the online provider of educational videos is expected to release content in Gujarati, Bengali and Hindi. “Currently, the content on Khan Academy’s portal which is also tailored to the Indian curriculum is available in English,” said Sandeep Bapna, managing director, Khan Academy India. “The vernacular content will not be dubbed but will be recustomised in local languages to tap the hinterland market in India.” To this end, Khan Academy entered into an agreement with the Karnataka government which will be recreating the content in Kannada for use across government schools in the state. According to Bapna, collaborating with the state government is one of the fastest ways of scaling the content available on the portal in local languages. “This content will be hosted on sub-domains and students can choose whether they would prefer content in English or their mother tongue,” he added.

Explaining the need for recreating the content in local languages, Bapna said that this was not just a content library but more like a personalized tutor. “The portal has content which tracks a user’s progress and suggests recommendations accordingly with the audio in the background sounding like one’s friend,” he elaborated. ile the portal provides content related to maths, science and engineering, computing, arts and humanities, economics and finance as well as preparatory material for tests such as SAT and GMAT, only the maths and physics content has been mapped to the Indian curriculum. This includes roughly 5,500 videos and over 20,000 exercises across the two subjects. “While the focus is on maths and physics currently, we plan to map other subjects such as social science as well to the Indian curriculum By the end of 2018,” said Bapna.  An estimated 1 million users from India access the content on Khan Academy. The content is also accessible over the app where users can access low-bandwidth videos.  Further, the second edition of an India Talent Search has been launched to scout for content creators in English, Hindi, Kannada, Marathi and Tamil. The search is aimed at identifying those who could create lucid explanatory videos for complex concepts. “We are not going to judge entry videos for production values but on how one chooses to explain a concept,” said Bapna. The last date for sending entries is 17 December. – Courtesy

Distance education: institutes must become deemed-to-be varsities

Deccan Chronicle | Prakash Kumar | DH News Service | Oct 19 2017 |

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has amended its ODL regulations for this

NEW DELHI : Standalone higher educational institutions, which offer various certificate and post-graduate diploma programmes in the open and distance learning (ODL) mode, will have to qualify for deemed university status to continue their operations from the next academic session. The University Grants Commission (UGC) has amended its ODL regulations for this.  The revised UGC (ODL) regulations, 2017 are applicable to all standalone institutions which have been offering distance education with the approval of the erstwhile Distance Education Council (DEC) under the Indira Gandhi National Open University (Ignou).  The standalone higher educational institutions include those which are not affiliated or recognised by any university.

“Certificates, diplomas or post-graduate diplomas awarded by the standalone institutions, which have also been approved by the commission based on the policies of the then Distance Education Council till the academic year 2016-17, shall remain valid programmes till the academic session 2017-18,” the UGC said, notifying the changes in its ODL regulations in an official gazette on October 11. “Thereafter, they shall be free to get their standalone institution status converted to university or deemed-to-be-university for the purpose of these ODL regulations, failing which, the commission shall not accord any approval to the ODL programmes of standalone institutions,” it said. This comes after many standalone institutions faced UGC regulations banning them from offering any distance education programmes earlier this year, even though they were running the courses with the approval of the DEC. Some of these institutions, including Maharashtra Academy of Engineering and Research, approached the Delhi High Court, seeking relief. Hearing their petition, a division bench of the high court recently directed the government to let all approved standalone institutions continue offering distance education programmes, as approved by the DEC, in the current academic session of 2017-18. It also held that petitioners may, in the meantime, commence the process of admissions to the courses they offer. – Courtesy

Cloud on UGC distance learning rules : UGC Open and Distance Learning Regulations, 2017

The Telegraph | June 29 , 2017 |  Basant Kumar Mohanty |  Cloud on distance learning rules | Opinion |

New Delhi, June 28: Distance learning courses offered by institutions across the country could be headed for the freezer over the next six months after new rules notified by the University Grants Commission came into effect last week. The UGC (Open and Distance Learning) Regulations, 2017 – notified on June 23 – asks every institution intending to offer courses in distance mode to apply to the higher education regulator for approval “at least six months before the commencement of the academic session of the programme intended to be offered”. The regulations have left the 160-odd universities in the country that offer distance education worried because the recognition they had obtained earlier from the UGC has no relevance for fresh enrolment of students. The latest guidelines say that every institution has to seek a fresh nod from the regulator even if the approval they had got under the earlier rules was still valid. Most of these institutes have started the admission process for the 2017-18 academic session beginning next month when, going by the new regulations, they should have applied before January at least for courses they were intending to offer.

“The notification has come at a time when all universities have started the admission process for the 2017-18 academic session starting in July. The admission process in SOL is going on. It has created a lot of confusion,” said J. Khuntia, a professor at the School of Open Leaning in Delhi University. Nearly 1.5 lakh students enrol in July every year for the undergraduate courses the school offers. No UGC official was available for comment. Till late this evening, UGC secretary Jaspal Sandhu had not responded to calls and a text message from this newspaper. There are around 150 conventional universities and 14 open universities that offer degree and diploma courses in various subjects in distance mode. Dozens of standalone institutions not affiliated to any university also offer distance learning in diploma courses. The medium, which helps students pursue their studies without having to be physically present in classrooms, caters to nearly 40 lakh of the 3.42 crore doing their higher studies in India. Another provision in the new regulations bars institutions other than open universities from offering programmes that are not among subjects taught in the conventional face-to-face mode. At present, many private institutions offer courses they don’t teach in regular classrooms. Professor Manikrao Salunkhe, vice-chancellor of the Pune-based Bharati Vidyapeeth, said the regulations had several good provisions to ensure quality control. For example, it wants institutions to disclose details of faculty, tuition fees and facilities on their website and in brochures. Salunkhe said there have been questions about the “standard of courses” offered in the distance mode. “The UGC has tried to standardise the courses.” The regulations have retained the restrictions on offering engineering courses, which, Salunkhe said, was a concern. “I was expecting that the regulations would enable institutions to offer various kinds of courses. But the restrictions are still there. It is a matter of concern,” he said.

The regulations bar institutions from offering courses through franchisees. There have been allegations of irregularities in granting of permission to such centres by several universities, including the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU). A member of the faculty at Yashwantrao Chavan Maharashtra Open University said the regulations should have disbanded study centres too. “The study centres and franchisee centres are the same thing. Only banning franchisee centres is not enough. They may come up as study centres,” he said. The regulations say 20 per cent of a course can be pursued online through the Massive Open Online Courses prepared by the UGC and the IITs in various subjects. Now the entire course is based on correspondence. According to the new regulations, standalone institutions will not be given fresh recognition. “The biggest sufferers are standalone institutions. The regulations have given them a deathblow. They can function only till the time their present permission is valid and not thereafter,” said Ravi Bhardwaj, a lawyer who specialises in education-related cases. – Courtesy

Distance learning rule ‘for 2018’   :   The Telegraph, July 1 , 2017, Special Correspondent

New Delhi, June 30: The University Grants Commission (UGC) has issued a clarification saying its new rules making it mandatory for distance learning courses to seek approval six months prior to commencement is applicable for the 2018 session. The Telegraph had reported on June 29 that distance learning courses could be headed for the freezer over the next six months because of the new rules that came into effect last week. The UGC (Open and Distance Learning) Regulations, 2017 – notified on June 23 – asks every institution intending to offer courses in distance mode to apply to the higher education regulator for approval “at least six months before the commencement of the academic session of the programme intended to be offered”. The regulations left the 160-odd universities in the country that offer distance education worried because the admission for the current session begins in July and according to the new rule, permission would have had to be sought in January.

However, in a public notice dated June 29, the UGC has now said: “Applications for recognising new higher  educational institutions and/or starting of new programmes are invited online shortly as per the UGC ODL Regulations, 2017, for the academic session beginning January 2018/July 2018.” The notice has been issued by Avichal Kapur, a joint secretary in the UGC. The rules that came into effect last week did not mention any date. The regulation notified in the government’s gazette, however, is yet to be amended. “How can a clarification of the UGC override its law notified in a government gazette? The UGC should have amended its own regulation. Otherwise, there will be a lot of legal complications,” said Ravi Bhardwaj, a lawyer. – Courtesy

Click here to download, UGC Circular : Published on 29/06/2017 :  University Grants Commission, UGC gazette notification , 72 Pages, pdf  (Open and Distance Learning) Regulations, 2017

Click here to download, UGC Circular : Published on 29/06/2017 :  Public Notice reg.: Open and Distance Learning Programmes, 1 Page, pdf