UGC to Allow More Institutes to Offer Open and Distance Learning Courses

UGC is likely to allow more institutes to offer distance and open learning courses to make up for the academic loss suffered due to the COVID-19 lockdown since March 2020.

To help the institutes make up for the academic loss due to the COVID-19 lockdown, the University Grants Commission (UGC) is likely to allow more institutes to offer open and distance learning courses. This issue of setting a new benchmark for these institutes to begin the courses was discussed at a UGC meeting held recently.

In 2019, the institutes which have an accreditation score of 3.26 or above, were allowed to offer ODL (Open and Distance learning) courses. Several institutes especially state universities and private scored less than 1. If this norm continues, it won’t be possible for these institutes to offer ODL courses. At the meeting, it was discussed that this criterion should be relaxed and an accreditation score of 3 should be set for the universities in order to offer ODL or correspondence courses.

During the meeting, many UGC members mentioned that due to the shutting down of the institutes since March 2020 due to coronavirus, the students have been impacted. So, it is a good idea to allow institutes with lesser scores to offer these courses for at least 1 year. A NAAC score of 3 should be allowed for the same and as soon as a final call is taken, the UGC will officially announce it.

The National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) grades universities in India and those who score above 3 on a scale of 4 are considered as A-grade institutions. Recently, the UGC came up with new norms to ensure that only the best institutes in the country offer open and distance learning courses.

According to sources, only 40 out of 118 dual-mode universities across the country are eligible to offer distance education courses as per the UGC rules. The situation of state universities in Tamil Nadu is even worse. Only three out of 10 state universities i.e. Madras UniversityAnna University and Alagappa University are eligible to offer distance education courses. Surprisingly, Annamalai University, which is an older university than IGNOU in offering distance education courses, lost the eligibility as per new UGC rules.

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