The top Indian universities and colleges of India will now offer online degrees and diplomas from the academic year 2018-19 since the apex body of universities University Grants Commission (UGC) on Thursday approved the new regulation for online courses that will be provided by universities under it.
“Higher educational institutions can offer certificate, diploma and degree programmes in the full-fledged online mode in only those disciplines in which it has already been offering the same or similar programmes. Online programmes requiring practical/laboratory courses as a curricular requirement shall not be permitted,” a statement by Human Resource Ministry said in a statement.
About the Regulation
Higher Educational Institutes will be eligible to offer online programmes only if they are five years old and are accredited by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) with a valid minimum score of 3.26 or on a 4-point scale or A+ categorization. Also, the institute should be one of the top-100 institutes in the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) since last two or three years. There will be four segments in these courses namely e-content, video lectures, self-assessment and discussion forum to clarify doubts.
Indian and foreign students will be authenticated on the basis of Aadhar cards and passports. “These regulations will be made applicable from the academic session 2018-19. This initiative is a big step towards attaining the targeted gross enrolment ratio of 30% by 2020,” the statement further added.
Would it Increase GER?
The annual status of education report (ASER) published on Tuesday stated that 73% students from the age group of 14-18 years used cell phones. However, the move will face three challenges. Firstly, these courses will be in direct conflict with distance learning courses that provide education mostly students of rural areas and underprivileged students. Secondly, open online courses available worldwide have not been able to impart quality education and thirdly students of far-flung rural areas will not be able to access these courses due to unavailability of technology.
Currently, a state university cannot provide correspondence courses to students residing outside the state boundary. Despite the fact that online courses will never be able to match the standards of a conventional classroom course, it still is an important step towards educating an enormous population which can be effective if examinations for these courses are conducted stringently.