UGC has undone a great policy initiative taken by MHRD to recognize technical education obtained distance education by re-imposing the ban on such degrees and has cautioned by way of Public Notice that no institution is permitted to offer Diploma, Bachelor or Masters level programme under ODL mode in Engineering and Technology.
In a big departure from its earlier stand, the Centre has notified in July 25, 2015 Notification that degrees, diplomas and certificates granted by universities through open and distance-learning mode of education for programmes including technical education would now be considered valid for Government Employment.
The path breaking approach of MHRD was consistent with recommendation of Madhav Menon Committee, which had advocated that recognition of technical education qualification from distance education mode is consistent with National Policy of Education and should be allowed by using Study Learning Material for theory component, face-to-face / e-learning for interaction and compulsory practical component for development of requisite skill. Regular face-to-face counselling sessions during weekends should be used for clarification and removal of doubts. Laboratory experiments could be conducted in AICTE recognized colleges taking into account the physical infrastructure and human resource required for the purpose.
Now the present notice issued by UGC, which has come as a big shock, ignores not only the recommendation of the Madhav Menon Committee but also the Notification issued by MHRD and is actually repetitive of the earlier approach of UGC and AICTE, which has always followed a policy of not approving B.Tech, M.Tech, courses in distance mode, but have only recognising MBA / MCA Qualifications from Distance Education Mode.
UGC has turned the tide termed offering such courses by Institutions to be “misleading” and in “gross violation” of the policy regarding offering programmes in Open and Distance Learning Mode. It also clarified that it has not recognized any Institution to offer distance Programme in technical education and such qualification, acquired by a student shall not be eligible for employment in Government Services or for pursuing higher studies.
The proposed Distance Education Council Bill, 2014 also makes provisions for technical education within the scope of Distance Education and the proposed Council has representations from AICTE and other technical / professional regulators.
Higher Education in our country has experienced substantial growth however has failed to scale upto the required strengths more so because it is highly dependent on conventional education, which is highly capital-intensive.
The need of the hour is to develop an alternative mode of education to supplement the conventional education system, through policy initiatives to facilitate the expansion of higher education sector for the fulfillment of aspirations of those who are deprived of pursuing it for whatever reason and recognising the qualifications earned through distance education for employability is certainly one of such policy initiatives.
UGC’s Notice is a step backwards and works against the aspirations.
But the larger picture is, WHAT IS A CONFUSION BETWEEN TWO APEX AGENCIES, MHRD and UGC ?
Read Related Stories:
Ravi Bhardwaj | email@example.com