UGC recently published a list of distance education universities approved for the 2019-2020 academic year with effect from 31 st July 2019. This covers the entire list of national open universities, state open universities and other miscellaneous universities all of which provide distance education.
In the latest announcement, approval has been granted to 113 Higher Education Institutes or HEIs for the academic year 2019-2020. The list of approved courses includes both Bachelors’ and Masters’ degree courses.
Degree programs approved are B.Ed, BA, BCom, BBA, BLISc, MA, MCA, MBA, MCom, MLISc, BSc, and MSc. Total 1500 new programs have been approved.
Some of the private universities that were approved are MATS University (Raipur), Amity University (Jaipur and Noida). IGNOU, largest provider of distance and online courses in the country but it does not fall under UGC’s ambit.
Institutes are allowed to enrol students in two sessions starting in January and July. The admissions for these sessions need to be completed before end of February and August respectively.
Need for ODL
Government is looking to increase GER (Gross enrolment ratio) in higher education. Distance and online courses help those who cannot get a degree in regular mode. These courses are less expensive and easier to get into. Some courses like MBA in distance and online mode, help working professionals to further their career.
With a surge in number of students opting for distance and open courses, UGC has come up with a number of guidelines to improve quality of these courses. It is mandatory for an institute to score minimum 3.26 from NAAC and secure a NIRF ranking in top 100.
Institutes looking to offer a course in distance format must also offer same course in regular mode. Institutes have also been advised to have a common question paper for distance and regular programs.
Distance Education Council
UGC has barred institutes from offering programs in engineering, architecture, medicine, dental, nursing, pharmacy and physiotherapy in distance mode.
UGC (University Grants Commission) is an apex body vested with the charge of handling all regulatory matters related to higher education in India is the UGC. It was formed in 1953 and became a statutory body by an act of parliament in 1956.
Distance education in India was previously administered by the Distance Education Council of India. This was altered by a directive issued by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Department of Higher Education, government of India on 29 th December 2012 and all authority in this field was entirely handed over to UGC.
UGC set up the DEB or the Distance Education Bureau for dealing with all matters connected to open and distance learning (ODL) in India.