UGC distance learning
rules from next year
: Granting relief to a number of institutions, the
University Grants Commission (UGC) has postponed the
implementation of regulations for open and distance
learning (ODL) programmes to the 2018-19 academic
"The process of admission
for 2017-18 by the universities/institutions is ongoing.
Keeping in view the para 3, sub-para (1) of Part-II of
the said regulations, it has been decided that the UGC
(Open and Distance learning) Regulations, 2017, will be
operationalised from 2018-19," the UGC said in a fresh
notification on July 17.
The move comes following
realisation that an immediate implementation of the
regulations from the date of notification would
technically render invalid all the ODL programmes
offered by various higher educational institutions in
case they do not seek fresh recognition from the UGC.
The UGC had notified the
ODL Regulations, 2017 in an official gazette on June
Many of the universities and other higher educational
institutions, which had just got the UGC's approval to
their open and distance learning (ODL) programmes in
May-June, found themselves in a catch-22 situation as
the new regulations mandatorily required them to make a
fresh application to get approval for their ODL courses.
Stalling of new admissions to the approved ODL
programmes in the academic session of 2017-18 was
another immediate consequence of its implementation.
"Every higher educational institution offering a
programme in the ODL mode in pursuance of an approval
granted to it for the purpose by the then Distance
Education Council or by the commission or by any other
regulatory authority or intending to offer a programme
in ODL mode from the academic session immediately after
the notification of these regulations shall, for grant
of recognition, make an application to the commission,"
para 3, sub-para (1) of Part-II of the UGC Regulations
Open varsities allowed
M.Phil, Ph.D programme
By Sanjiv Dube
NEW DELHI : Indira Gandhi National Open
University's (IGNOU) mounting pressure on the University
Grants Commission has borne fruit. The UGC has allowed
open universities to run M.Phil and Ph.D programme in
This was disclosed by Human
Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar on
August 30 after a meeting with the vice-chancellors of
all the open universities here.
"The open universities have
been allowed to offer research programmes. But they have
to follow the minimum norms," he told reporters after
The open universities have
been specifically told that the relief will hold good
only for those universities that meet all the quality
requirements for these programmes, such as holding
entrance tests and enforcing course work before
beginning the thesis.
The relief comes after seven years as the open
universities were barred from running M.Phil and Ph.D
Regulation 5 of the UGC Regulation
2009 notified on July 17, 2009.
With the change in stand,
mostly because of persistent defiance by the IGNOU and
brewing revolt by others, the UGC recently wrote to all
the 15 open universities allowing them to offer research
(M.Phil and Ph.D) programmes. They are, however,
barred from offering
technical programmes such as B.Tech, M.Tech and
In July this year when the
UGC revised its Regulations 2009 it retained the bar
clause and hence the open universities continued to be
barred from running research courses.
The universities are
established either by and Act of Parliament or a state
legislature and have the autonomy to frame their own
courseware and award degrees. The restrictions imposed
on them, they feel are unlawful.
At today's meeting, the vice-chancellors gave vent to
their feeling and told the minister about the difficulties they had been facing from the
University Grants Commission, which began regulating
open universities since 2013.
Earlier, the open universities were monitored by the Distance
Education Council, created under the IGNOU Act. But in
2012, the government brought the council under the
commission through an executive order.
Subsequently, the council was renamed the Distance
Education Bureau which, functioning under the
commission, came up with its own regulations in 2014
asking the open universities to seek its approval for
every course every year.
Towards this, each of the 15 universities had to furnish
an affidavit every year saying it did not offer any
online or research courses.
Even after the ban was imposed in 2009, some of the open
universities like IGNOU had continued to offer research
programmes, citing the acts under which they had been
established. But the 2014 regulations of the Distance
Education Bureau forced them to scrap their M.Phil and Ph.D
"We have decided to resume M.Phil and Ph.D programmes from
next year," IGNOU vice-chancellor Ravindra Kumar said.
Today's meeting also decided to allow 20 per cent of
every course in any distance education programme to be
taught online, enabling the students to pursue this part
of the course at a different university if they want.
Universities teaching regular courses are already
allowed to offer up to 20 per cent of the course content
online, with the same concession to inter-varsity
Varsities told to adopt
online course norms
By Sanjiv Dube
NEW DELHI : On July 27 last year the
all universities and deemed universities to amend their
act/statutes or ordinances by August-end to facilitate
transfer of credits of their students opting for the
degree programmes under scheme SWAYAM, a massive online
open courses (Moocs) platform.
To give effect to its directive the UGC, on July 19,
notified the UGC (Credit Framework
for Online Learning Courses through Swayam) Regulation,
2016 in the official gazette (extraordinary).
This was done, according to
the notification, in exercise of the powers conferred by
clause (f) and (g) of sub-section (1) of Section 26 of
the UGC Act 1956.
According to the
notification SWAYAM (Study Web of Active Learning by
Young and Aspiring Minds) was being launched to "widen
the access to higher education and to bring down its
cost by using technological advances" and added that
this was being done through "Massive Open Online Courses
The notification authorises
the UGC to notify a standing committee to resolve any
issues that may arise in the implementation of these
regulations during the transition period of three years.
The programme, which seeks
to fill the gap created by the acute shortage of quality
teachers in the country's higher educational
institutions, is likely to be dedicated to the nation by
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 15.
The Swayam will offer a virtual class room to students
with structured lectures by subject experts.
"An institution can only allow up to 20% of the total
courses being offered in a particular programme in a
semester through the online learning courses provided
through SWAYAM platform," the UGC regulations stipulate.
Students, registered with the Swayam, can complete their
entire programme by attending classes online and take
"proctored" examinations at the end of each semester to
move to the next level. For the proctored examinations,
centres with adequate facilities will be opened in
The credit earned by the students will be transferred to
their parent university by the one conducting the
programme at the Moocs platform.
If PhD before 2009, no
need to clear NET
: The Central government gave a major relief to
researchers. It decided to exempt pre-2009 Ph.D holders
from clearing the mandatory National Eligibility Test
(NET) to get teaching jobs. A notification in this
regard will be issued soon.
The information was given in the Lok Sabha on May 9 by
HRD Minister Smriti Irani, who said the BJP government
had decided to undo the “injustice” the Congress-led UPA
government had meted out to research scholars by
mandating NET even for pre-2009 PhD holders.
Prior to 2009, there was no requirement for PhD holders
to clear NET or State Level Eligibility Test to become
assistant professors. This regulation was brought by the
UGC after reports of educational institutions lowering
the bar for teaching.
Subsequently, the UGC issued “Minimum Qualifications for
Appointment of Teachers and Other Academic Staff in
Universities and Colleges” during the UPA tenure, making
it mandatory for PhD holders (pre and post-2009) to
clear NET for jobs.
No engg, tech courses in
: The University Grants Commission (UGC) has banned
universities and institutes from offering diploma and
post graduate courses in engineering and technology
through distance learning mode until further orders.
notification dated March 11,
the regulator has warned that it would take action
against institutions violating the ban.
The Commission, in the process of finalising regulations
for open and distant learning mode, has also said it
will not give retrospective approval to distant learning
programmes by institutes "at this stage".
The institutions have been barred from offering BE and
B.Tech through distant education mode following a ban in
2009-10 by the former distance education council on the
orders of the Human Resource Development Ministry.
Referring to the government's previous decision, the
Commission, in its notice, directed universities and
higher educational institutions not to offer degrees in
engineering and technology programmes.
"No university/institution deemed to be
university/institution should offer diploma, bachelors
and masters level programme in engineering and
technology other than MBA and MCA till the finalisation
of the UGC (open and distance learning) regulations,
2014 or notification of relevant regulations by an
independent regulatory authority established by the
central government, whichever is earlier," the
commission said in its public notice.
"UGC has also decided not to consider any request for
ex-post facto approval for the ODL programmes offered by
any university or other higher educational institutions
at this stage," it added.
The notification did not mention names of the
institutions that offer such courses.
"The UGC has been issuing guidelines and notifications
from time to time to regulate courses being offered, but
it does not have legal backing to enforce its
guidelines, particularly over two thirds of the
universities and colleges which are not under the grant
list of the higher education regulator," UGC member M M
Ansari said when contacted.
He also wondered why the Commission has to issue a
notification when it did not have a comprehensive list
of institutions violating the ban.
"Issuing such notifications without identifying the
institutions has no meaning," he said adding that there
were many private universities, deemed to be
universities and state universities offering such
programmes in distance learning mode but the UGC did not
have the authority to stop them.
UGC makes affiliation rules tough for
education institutions in the country will now have to
face relatively tougher rules for university
This follows the Supreme Court decision in
Association of Management of
Private Colleges vs All India Council for Technical
Education & others
delivered on April 25, 2013.
According to the new affiliation rules --
UGC Regulations 2014 --
finalized by the University Grants Commission (UGC)
recently both the old and the new engineering
colleges would have to produce complete information
about building and staff on the affidavit to be
considered for an affiliation.
Called as the UGC [Affiliation of colleges offering
technical education by universities] Regulations, 2014
the new rules make it mandatory for the new colleges to
deposit Rs 1 crore for 10 years in the university
account and Rs 30 lakh as ‘security fund’.
UGC [Affiliation of colleges offering technical
education by universities] Regulations, 2014 would be
effective from the 2014-15 academic session.
universities would have to ensure compulsory
accreditation from the NSC and its programmes from NBA
to the colleges, according to the UGC Regulations 2014
to be notified soon.
According to the UGC, the university has to be most
cautious and vigilant while giving affiliation. A new
college can be given affiliation with a condition that
it has committed to give related application for NBA
evaluation within six months.
colleges should also submit application for
accreditation from the NASE or the NBA within six months
to six years. The Commission said that a university
should have to submit a compliance report every year to
it regarding all affiliated colleges. The report would
be uploaded on the website of the university. The UGC
will take action against universities for non-compliance
of its rules.
Vivekananda Technical University has asked all the
institutions, which have applied for affiliation for the
year 2014-15, to submit their reports regarding
building, infrastructure and human resources by April 4
affiliation fee has also been fixed for the colleges.
The fee for minority institutions will be Rs 2 lakh and
for other institutions Rs 3 lakh. For extension of
affiliation, the fee will be Rs 75,000 for minority
institutions and for other institutions Rs 1 lakh. The
late fee will be Rs 2 lakh.
Technical and engineering colleges have to deposit Rs 1
crore fund for affiliation, whereas, for pharmacy,
architecture and MCA, the amount would Rs 50 lakh each.
Besides, the engineering colleges have to deposit Rs 30
lakh as security fund, whereas, it would be Rs 15 lakh
each for others.
University Executive Council will take decision
regarding affiliation. The new rules have caused a
flutter among the operators of old and new colleges.
Many old colleges neither have sufficient building, nor
staff. Now, as all information has to be given in the
affidavit, the danger of action is looming large on
giving wrong information.
Beware of teaching
shops, UGC warns students
From Sanjiv Dube
NEW DELHI : With no hope in sight for the passage of
the National Commission for Higher Education and Research
Bill, the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the All
India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) have
started an exercise to make their presence felt.
On June 27 the UGC issued
a circular signed by UGC secretary Akhilesh Gupta
warning students about the ‘misleading’ publicity
campaigns by many private universities. At the
same time, the AICTE has taken a vow to undo the damage
done to it by the startling judgement in the
Association of Management of Private Colleges
vs AICTE case
(Civil Appeal No. 1145 of 2004).
The UGC circular issued to
all universities and state governments warns students
not to get influenced by glossy, attractive
advertisements in newspapers and catchy puffs on the electronic channels.
It has advised students to keep away from unapproved
study centres, off-campus centres, franchisee
institutions, colleges/institutions claiming to be
affiliated to private universities or deemed
“The private and deemed
universities cannot affiliate any college or institution
for conducting courses leading to award of diplomas,
degrees or other qualifications,” the UGC circular warns.
“The students are advised
not to take admission in these unapproved study centres,
off campus centres, franchise institutions,
colleges/institutions claiming to be affiliated with
private universities or deemed universities,” the
The UGC has observed that these private
establishments, claiming to be study centres or learning
centres of different universities, enroll students for
various degree programme and also claim to be
responsible for teaching and conducting examinations.
“The faculty and the infrastructure belong to these
private agencies and the concerned university, except
providing syllabus and teaching materials, has no
mechanism to monitor and maintain the academic standards
of teaching being imparted at these centres. This
blatant compromise with the standards of education has
led to widespread criticism,” the circular says.
The UGC has also clarified that a central or state
government university can conduct courses through its
own departments, its constituent colleges and/or through
its affiliate colleges. A university established or
incorporated by or under the State Act should operate
only within the territorial jurisdiction allotted to it
under the Act.
“No university - whether central, state, private or
deemed - can offer its courses through franchising
arrangement with private coaching institutions, even for
the purpose of conducting courses through long distance.
All universities have been authorised to award only such
degrees as are specified by the UGC,” the circular says.
Similarly, private universities and deemed
universities could not affiliate any college or
institution for conducting courses leading to the award
of its diploma, degree or other qualifications.
All universities have been authorised to award only
such degrees as are specified by the UGC. Importantly,
the M.Phil/Ph.D course
could not be run under distance mode and had to be
conducted on only regular mode by any university,
including private or deemed universities, and as
specified under the Minimum Standards and Procedure for
Award of M.Phil/Ph.D Degree, Regulations 2009.
Deemed universities that have been offering courses
in distance mode before the UGC implemented its
Regulation on Deemed Universities, 2010, can continue to
offer such programmes. But no new deemed university will
be permitted to offer courses in distance mode, the UGC
The UGC is essentially a
toothless body as it cannot award punishment to the
defiant institution, says a seasoned UGC member. “As per
the UGC Act, it can only impose a fine of Rs 1,000 and
issue a public notice against an errant institute. This
penalty is not sufficient,” he said.
There are 158 private universities and 130 deemed
universities, including about 90 private deemed
universities. The ministry has identified 38 private
universities that offer courses in distance mode without
permission from regulatory bodies.
Accreditation must for higher edu institutions
By Sanjiv Dube
NEW DELHI : All
higher educational institutions in the country, except
technical education one, will now have to get accredited
The law, called the
(Mandatory Assessment and Accreditation of Higher
Education Institutions) Regulations 2012, were notified
in the official gazette on February 19, and come into
force with immediate effect.
The UGC Regulations 2012
say that all higher education institutions who fail to
comply with the assessment and accreditation clause will
be barred from financial aid granted by the UGC or the
Ministry of Human Resource Development but says nothing
of the private institutions who do not take or aspire to
take any financial aid from the government. Nor do the
Regulations say anything about institutions like the
Indian Institute of Planning and Management (IIPM) who
blatantly defy the UGC and the All India Council for
Technical Education (AICTE).
The Regulation require that all higher education
institutions (expect technical education colleges
governed by the AICTE) apply for accreditation within a
period of six months to the accreditation agencies
namely the National Assessment and Accreditation
Council, the National Board of Accreditation, and the
National Accreditation Board currently recognised by the UGC.
The Regulations say that all institutions which have been in existence for six
years or from where two batches of students have passed
out (whichever is earlier) will need to seek
accreditation within this stipulated time. Those that
haven’t yet completed these criteria must apply within
six months of completing six years of operation or
passing out of two batches apply for accreditation.
The Regulations, says the notification, seeks to ensure that students can make
informed choices about academic courses, institutions
can raise quality and seek international recognition for
which benchmarking is necessary. Hitherto, accreditation
was voluntary in India and less than 10 per cent of all
institutions are accredited.
The regulations will be applicable to all 44 Central
universities,; about 300 state universities, over 100
deemed universities and over
33,000 colleges of which 6,000 are UGC funded.
UGC sets norms for tie-ups with foreign varsities
NEW DELHI : The University Grants Commission
(Promotion and Maintenance of Standards of Academic
Collaboration between Indian and Foreign educational
Institutions) Regulations, 2012 approved in June will
ensure that academic collaboration between Indian and
foreign educational institutes followed the highest
The regulations mandate that only institutes graded ‘A’
by the National Board of Accreditation or the National
Assessment and Accreditation Council can
collaborate with foreign institutes, which, in turn,
must figure in the list of top 500 global educational
institutes, as ranked by the Times Higher
Education Rankings or the Shanghai Rankings.
Students will not only get a degree from the Indian
institute where they are enrolled but also from the
collaborating foreign institute, if it is inclined to
give one. No programme of study and research shall be
offered which is against national security and
territorial integrity of India.
The two institutions (Indian and its foreign
collaborator) will have to enter into an agreement which
will have to be approved by the UGC before it is
implemented. The approval will be valid for 5 years and
the Commission may review the progress made and
periodically inform the agencies concerned about the
results of such a review. After the expiry of this
period, the UGC may extend or withdraw the approval or
impose such other conditions for extension, as may deem
fit. The regulations make clear that no franchise
arrangement will be allowed.
Existing tie-ups through the Indian institutions will
have six months to meet the new eligibility criteria. In
case they fail to do so, they will have to
terminate the agreements. Institutions that refuse to
comply with the new regulations can lose UGC funding,
de-recognition in case of a deemed university, and
public notices announcing the ineligibility of the
institution to enter into collaborations with foreign
Disputes arising in relation to collaboration will be
settled as per Indian laws.
As per a 2006 study by the Association of Indian
Universities, over 340 institutes were offering courses
in collaboration with foreign institutes. The UGC
regulations seek to bring some order in area to protect
students by ensuring that only genuine academic
collaborations are encouraged.