Education as a whole is currently experiencing a landsliding transformation, which is mostly good. A lot many factors are in play here right from the occurrence of the pandemic, the introduction of the new National Educational Policy, to the recent decision the union government took during the Union Budget of introducing digital universities across the country. In another attempt to make higher education accessible, affordable and convenient for students, the UGC has taken a crucial step.
The Union Grant Commission or UGC, the watchdog of higher education in India has allowed 900 autonomous colleges to offer online degree courses from July onwards. The reason why this announcement is a matter of importance is that up until now only universities were granted permission to offer online courses. Now, however, private and autonomous colleges too will be able to offer online degree courses.
The list of colleges granted the permission involves those ranked among the top 100 in their respective subject categories at least twice in the preceding three rankings by the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) or have gained a grade of a minimum of 3.26 from the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC). Colleges ticking off all these requirements won’t have to take prior approval from UGC. They will only be required to follow the guidelines and regulations issued by UGC.
This move of the regulatory body aims to boost the gross enrolment ratio to 50 per cent by 2035, as proposed in the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020.
The undergraduate online degrees will be available to students who have cleared their class 12. Those wanting to pursue a postgraduate degree will have to have to pass the relevant undergraduate course. Applicants of these courses won’t require a certain score at the senior secondary level.
The admission process into these courses involves the evaluation of students through an online proctored mode examination or computer-based test (CBT) by the National Testing Agency (NTA). Unlike offline courses, 75 per cent attendance will not be mandatory for online programmes. Students will also be able to make multiple exits and entries into the course.
Officials at the UGC are presently finalising the draft for the amendment of the current UGC (Open and Distance Learning Programmes and Online Programmes) Regulations, 2020. A report stated that by the end of this week, a draft will be made available to stakeholders for feedback and suggestions.
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