The UGC (University Grant Commission) has given out a ruling to about 12 institutes, that offer open and distance learning courses to, either get the status of a university or become affiliated with a known university if they want to continue providing such courses.
In a notice named ‘UGC (Open and Distance Learning) Regulations 2017, (first amendment) issued this past Tuesday itself, the committee states that standalone colleges can provide these courses without any problem till the completion of this year, that is 2017-18.
However, after the current academic year is over, these institutions will have to choose from 2 options of getting the status of a deemed university or affiliation with an already recognized university.
If these institutes do not take the required steps, the commission has the authority to not approve the courses that are offered by such standalone colleges.
From Ban To Conditional Approval
The Distance Education Bureau of UGC had earlier this year, around June, made some changes to the Open and Distance Learning Regulations which denied these standalone institutions any more approval to offer certificate or diploma courses.
These institutes have been providing such kind of courses for quite a while now, but the latest alteration to the regulations put a stop to that immediately.
However, it seems that the UGC did not entirely agree with the change too and has lifted the ban on standalone institutes though there a condition linked to this all.
In a way, the condition does not really sound that bad, because if the standalone colleges are considered a recognized university or come under one, then the scope of their degree too will increase.
Till now such kind of institutes do not really come under any university and are not addressed as such too, and most of such ones usually offer courses on the certificate or diploma level along with the open or distance learning approach.
Although this kind of a method has been extremely beneficial to management and business schools that offer a wide array of professional level short-term courses through the new modes of learning, the problem lay in the fact that many times the degree from these colleges would not be recognized or given the same weight as one coming from a known university.
This ruling then can turn out to be a good thing as it might result in more control over the quality of education being imparted, importance of the degree and a certain regulation over these institutes that till now have been not answerable to any senior body.
Some of the institutes included in this rules are Institute of Management and Technology, Ghaziabad, Symbiosis Centre for Distance Learning, Maharashtra Institute of Technology School for Distance Education and more.
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