The University Grants Commission has the right to cancel and recognize the distance education programmes offered by the Indian universities. Recently, UGC granted approval to three universities for its distance education courses. The names of the universities are SRTM – Swami Ramanand Teerth Marathwada university in Nanded, and its counterparts that are located at Kolhapur and Mumbai. The universities can now continue to offer distance learning programmes to its students for the next two years now.
The university will offer three undergraduate courses and 11 postgraduate courses through its distance learning mode. The varsities have 41 centres where such programmes are offered. The screening process that was done recently, will benefit the students and the university as well.
UGC is a statutory body which was established in the year 1956. The role of UGC is to coordinate, determine and maintain the standards of higher education in the country. It also provides recognition of the universities, provides them funds. The body is headquartered at New Delhi.
The body has asked the universities to follow all the norms that have been set by it. Also, this approval was a very important step because, for the first time, the whole process was carried forward by Distance Education Bureau (DEB). The university went through a very tough screening process and after that, it was approved.
Director of distance learning education at SRTM University, Shivaji Ambekar said, “It was the first time that e-applications were sought in the stipulated format from institutions, followed by thorough scrutiny of each proposal for seeking continuation of distance learning programmes.”
He further added, “The procedure followed by the DEB was altogether different from what the then Distance Education Council, which stands dissolved, and the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) used to do while clearing proposals. There were lots of checks and balances before submitting applications. Moreover, formal proposals were also screened carefully for possible lapses.”
UGC has made it very clear to all the institutions to offer only those courses that are approved by the respective authorities. All the universities need to follow the norms that have been set by authorities like that of UGC, AICTE, and NCTE. UGC will not approve distance courses like B.Tech, Medicine, and Nursing.
UGC was in the news a few days back where Central Information Commission had claimed that certain probing questions do not fall under RTI. It was because the UGC had denied sharing certain information with CIC and CIC took the whole matter to the court.