On Friday, the UGC’s distance education bureau notified that universities not running the same/similar course in regular mode for the past five years would also not receive recognition. In case of professional courses such as MBA, MCA, BEd, hotel management and tourism, the UGC, in its announcement, said recognition would not be accorded without the prior approval of the respective regulatory authority.
Scrutiny of courses offered by deemed universities was still on, sources in the academic circles told TOI.
Fearing cancellation, several universities have reduced their programme offerings, as they did not meet the compliance requirement.
Last year, a total of 117 institutes, including private and deemed universities, were granted permission to run distance education courses.
Maharashtra is one of the worst affected with Mumbai University’s Institute of Distance and Open Learning (IDOL), Shivaji University, Marathwada University and Mahatma Gandhi University losing their recognition. Besides, Yeshwantrao Chavan Maharashtra Open University (YCMOU) can admit students only to only 17 of its 38 UG and PG programmes in 2018-19. The open university, which has close to 6.5 lakh students, offers 110 courses, including diploma and certificate courses which do not need the UGC’s recognition criteria.
D Harichandan, director of IDOL, which sees an annual enrolment of close to 70,000 students, said, “The expert committee had strongly recommended all our courses. We don’t know what happened after that. Mumbai University is an autonomous body and our courses are recognized by our academic council; who is the UGC to derecognize us?” He felt that the UGC was undermining the autonomy of MU. The cancellation was reasoned to the absence of National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) accreditation for this university; the grade expired in April 2017.
As per the UGC’s notice on February 6, institutes not accredited by NAAC within three months would not be awarded recognition. “We had brought this to the notice of the authorities, but no one was concerned. The deadline was early April,” said a senate member.
Vice-chancellor of Yeshwantrao Chavan Maharashtra Open University E Vayunandan said he did not know whether the UGC exercise was “scientific and logical”. He pointed out that many of the applied courses have been validated leaving the basic course unrecognised. For instance, while all the commerce courses like BCom Cooperative Management and MCom are recognised, the plain BCom programme has been left out. Similar is case with science. “We are writing to the UGC pointing out all the discrepancies. We are meeting all the compliances laid down by them,” he said.