Published: 31st May 2018
UGC comes up with new regulation for online courses offered by higher education institutions
These regulations will be made applicable from the academic session 2018-19, which was aimed at attaining the targeted GER of 30 per cent by the year 2020
Higher education institutions that secured a place among the top 100 as ranked by the National Institutional Ranking Framework and those that secured a National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) score of 3.6 or more will be permitted to offer degree and diploma courses online, announced the University Grants Commission (UGC).
In a major reform, the UGC had approved Online Courses Regulation at its recent meeting, which also said that higher education institutions should also be in existence for at least five years. However, NAAC and NIRF conditions shall not be applicable to existing government open universities till NAAC or similar accreditation system or NIRF were made available.
According to the new regulation, higher education institutions can now offer certificate, diploma and degree programmes in a full-fledged online mode in only those disciplines in which it offered similar courses in classrooms or open education and from which at least one batch had graduated and approved by the statutory council, as applicable.
Online programmes requiring practical or laboratory courses as part of the curriculum shall not be permitted. The online learning shall have a minimum of four quadrants -- video lectures, e-content, self-assessment and discussion forum -- to clarify doubts, it added.
These regulations will be made applicable from the academic session 2018-19, which was aimed at attaining the targeted GER of 30 per cent by the year 2020.
Commenting on this, Association of University Teachers former general secretary C Pichnady said, "The UGC should clearly define lab-oriented courses and spell out what are the courses can be offered online; otherwise, each university will look take a different perspective. Institutions with top 100 ranks in the NIRF or 3.26 score or above in NAAC are parameters meant for identifying universities of excellence and for giving grand, which should not be linked with online courses. Instead, the UGC should identify universities known for offering distance education programmes and permit them to offer online courses."
He also wanted the State higher education department to review distance education and online education and come out with a clear policy perspective. The domain strength of each State University should be assessed and types of courses, which each university will offer, should be listed out, he demanded.