'No more retrospective recognition to ODL programme'

The decision has been taken by the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry following recommendations of a committee, set up on a Supreme Court's directive last year. Representative image.

The Centre has decided not to give “any retrospective and ex-post facto” recognition to open and distance learning (ODL) programmes of the higher education institutions.

If any of the higher education institutions is found to have deviated from the open and distance learning regulations of the university grants commission (UGC), the government will also withdraw permission granted to them for running all courses, even those offered by them in regular and conventional mode.

The decision has been taken by the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry following recommendations of a committee, set up on a Supreme Court's directive last year.

Hearing a case of the grant of ex-post-facto approval to four deemed-to-be-universities' correspondence course in engineering by the UGC, the apex court, in a hard hitting judgement on November 3, 2017, had suspended all the B Tech degrees awarded to students by them from 2001 to 2005 and canceled those B Tech degrees awarded by them beyond 2005.

Holding the grant of ex-post-facto approval to these institutions' distance education programmes in engineering by the higher education regulator as “incorrect and illegal,” the Supreme Court had also ordered for a CBI probe into the matter and directed the government to constitute a committee to examine the functioning of deemed-to-be-universities and suggest an “oversight” and “regulatory mechanism” for these institutions.

The apex court verdict pertained to the correspondence courses offered by the Vinayaka Mission's research Foundation, Tamil Nadu; J R N Rajasthan Vidyapeeth, Udaipur, Rajasthan; Institute of Advanced Studies in Education, Sardarshahr, Rajasthan; and the Allahabad Agricultural Institute, Uttar Pradesh.

Following the court's directive, the ministry constituted a three member committee under former chief justice of Patna high court L Narasimhan Reddy.

“The report of the committee as well as its recommendations have been accepted by the government fully,” UGC said, notifying the government's decision taken on the recommendations of the panel.

The commission has advised the students to verify the legal status of the courses from the UGC website before taking admission to any open and distance learning programme.

“A candidate who studies unrecognised courses can not claim any benefit,” the higher education regulator has stated in its notification.

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'No more retrospective recognition to ODL programme'

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