Doon Business School (DBS)
UGC to let 900 autonomous colleges offer online degrees
Curently, only universities are allowed to offer online degrees. However, the new move will allow autonomus colleges securing ranks in the top 100 list in respective subject category twice in the preceding three ranks of National Institutional Ranking Framework(NIRF) or havingNational Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) grade of minimum 3.26 to award online degrees without prior approval of the University Grants Commission (UGC), but in compliance with regulations.
Lovely Professional University
Jalandhar , Punjab
Also, unlike in conventional programmes where aspirants are required to have a certain score at the Class 12 level,eligibility for admission to these online undergraduate degree programmes will be simply “senior secondary pass”. Similarly, for admission to online postgraduate degree programmes, the eligibility will be “pass” in the relevant undergraduate courses.
The draft for the amendment in the existing UGC (Open and Distance Learning Programmes and Online Programmes) Regulations, 2020 is being finalized and will be available for feedback from stakeholders this week.
The new framework, accessed exclusively by TOI, will also let higher educational institutions(HEIs), including autonomus colleges, teach courses in emerging areas that may not be possible in in-person mode. There will not be any requirements of “one batch passout” in conventional programmes so as to offer the same programme in open and distance learning(ODL) and online mode. In the current structure, courses taught in universities don’t vary, though the medium of instruction could be either digital or conventional.
All online degrees will have the flexibility of conventional programmes in accordance with NEP 2020 – such as the four year undergraduate programme with multiple entry and exit facilities.UGC chairperson M Jagadesh Kumar said the online, ODL and conventional degrees will be of equal value.
All this has been done with the underlying goals of pushing up india’s gross enrolment ratio to 50% in the next 13 years in line with the NEP target. It recorded an upstick from 26.3% in 2018-19 to 27.1% in 2019-20for the 18-23 age group.
“Like NEP, which is built on the five pillars of access,equity,affordability and accountability, the online education ecosystem will be developed on the same principles,” said Kumar.
The new reforms will be notified as amendements in the current regulations issued during the pandemic on September 4, 2020,he said.
Starting that barring professional and technical programmes that need laboratories and those programmes prohibited by any regulatory authority, the UGC chief said online degrees can be offered for all others programmes.
“Also, many universities may not have a physical model programmes– for instance, in machine learning, data science,artificial intelligence and financial management. But they would like to offer that in the online mode. So, even if you don’t have this degree on the conventional physical campus, you can still offer these programmes online,” the UGC head explained.
At present, universities are offering 120 UG, 229 PG diploma programmes online. The choice is limited because only courses taught conventionally can be offered digitally.
“The new regulatory framework is to enable all the autonomous colleges to offer online education because if we stick to only universities, it becomes limited.There are a large number of high-quality autonomous colleges in the country.This will enhance access for learners.And we will have these institutes participating and offering both UG and PG programmes online. These online degrees will be just like degrees obtained from any physical university,”Kumar said.