Published: 01st June 2022
UGC declares Periyar University's distance learning courses invalid, sites regulation breach
In its notification, the UGC said it learnt that Periyar University doesn’t have a full-time director and there aren’t enough full-time faculty and non-teaching staff
The University Grants Commission (UGC) has declared Periyar University's online, distant learning (ODL) programmes to be illegitimate. It also urged students not to enrol in these programmes at the university in a notice released on May 27. Meanwhile, the university claims it has not broken any rules.
The UGC stated, in its notification, that it has learnt that Periyar University lacks a full-time director and that there are insufficient full-time academic and non-teaching employees. Furthermore, it has not created a centre and is conducting ODL programmes without the approval of the UGC, which is a clear breach of the UGC Open and Distance Learning Regulations, according to the notification. Details and complaints will be given to the Governor and the State Secretary of Higher Education for investigation and action, according to the UGC.
The commission said, “Taking admission in such programmes may jeopardise the career of the students, in view of the absence of recognition of the programmes by the UGC." Periyar University was recognised by the former Distance Education Council for offering ODL courses from 2007-08 to 2014-15, as well as by the UGC Distance Education Bureau for 2019-20 (academic session January 2020 only). The UGC decided not to entertain any applications from the institution for the years 2022-23 and 2023-24 at a meeting on February 12. The university's application to provide ODL programmes in 2021-22 was similarly not processed.
The university issued a statement in response to the UGC announcement, in which Vice-Chancellor R Jagannathan stated that distance education courses are only offered with UGC clearance. “The National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) held an inspection of the varsity last December. On the basis of research projects, syllabus, welfare measures and infrastructure, the university was granted an A++ grade. It secured first place in the state and second place in the country,” said the statement.
The VC said that the UGC granted permission to conduct 13 distance education courses for one semester in January 2020, based on which students were admitted to the courses. Even in 2021, the UGC permitted the varsity to conduct seven courses online and these are the only courses being offered through distance education, the VC added.