No cheats: Universities, other institutes to be penalised for duping students of distance learning.


New Delhi: Filing of FIR against management of universities and other institutes offering distance learning if they dupe students, installing CCTVs inside exam centres, having quality faculty are some of the major highlights of the open and distance learning regulation approved by HRD minister Prakash Javadekar, sources have said.

Under new regulations to be notified soon, universities and institutions offering courses through the open and distance learning (ODL) mode will have to seek fresh approval from the University Grants Commission. The regulations will cover government and private institutions.

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

On an average close to 40 lakh students get enrolled in distance universities every year. Under the new regulations, degrees of educational institutes offering courses not approved by the regulator or not taking new approvals once the new regulations kick in will not be considered valid. Sources said currently there were no clear guidelines in place 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 wre being regulated, the universities were left out . Now they will also be regulated. The new regulations will also keep a check on dubious and bogus institutes,” said Ravindra Kumar, VC, of the Indira Gandhi National Open University.

Institutions will also be penalised they do not check the violations or continue cheating the students. “If in spite of the penalties, the higher educational institution is found continuing the violations/cheating the students, an FIR may be lodged against the officials/management of the errant higher educational institution,” reads the draft regulation.

To improve the quality of courses offered through open and distance mode, proposals have also been made for adequate faculty for which information has to be provided before getting approval.

“The new regulations are aimed at improving the quality of programmes offered through the distance mode. Institutions will have to seek approval for the courses from their statutory bodies such as UGC, Bar council of India among others. Institutions have not been given permission to offer courses through online mode so far,” said a senior official.

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 ODL mode.

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