In a major boost to distance learning in Gujarat,the Distance Education Council (DEC) under the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) has accepted Babasaheb Ambedkar Open Universitys (BAOU) proposal to start the Centre for Internal Quality Assurance (CIQA) cell across 14 open universities in India.
Earlier,the University Grants Commission (UGC) had expressed a requirement to increase the Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) to 15 per cent by 2012.
BAOU vice-chancellor,Prof A K Singh,said,Vice-chancellors of 14 open universities across India met at BAOU on June 14 to discuss the requirement for having the CIQA. The meeting was also attended by DEC officials. Based on the discussions,guidelines for setting up CIQA were set. On July 3,the proposal was formally accepted.
Prof Singh added: UGC is giving importance to GER. Distance learnings share in higher education is around 40 per cent. Measures such as quality assessment of materials,extension activities and students support services play an important role in distance education.
Manjulika Srivastav,Director,DEC,said: Continuous monitoring of research material and quality assessment is very important for higher education. For immediate implementation of this scheme,we have organised a meeting on August 5 where we will discuss some finer points involved in setting up of CIQA.
The cell will be for open universities as well as other universities offering distance education.
Srivastav further said: Even now,internal quality assessment cells in conventional universities are very fluid. The staff is not yet permanent. We are planning to appoint fulltime staff with salaries paid by CIQA. The staff will include a permanent professor,associate professors and an assistant professor.
CIQA will be in constant touch with vice-chancellors of all open universities,and would apprise them about delivery of material to the learner.
Srivastav added: The aim of CIQA will be to monitor education of a student all throughout. It will be an intricate mechanism that will involve material development,discussing and organising sessions with important institutes about curriculum,dispatching,delivery,purpose and final outcome.