The University Grants Commission (UGC) has prohibited the universities from carrying a list of courses in distance mode. In the latest circular, the commission has asked higher education institutes (HEIs) not to grant degrees in ‘professional’ courses under distance or open learning mode. While the rule was in place earlier as well, in the recent 538th meeting of UGC, the number of courses under the ambit of ‘professional’ was extended.
As per the new rules, agriculture and related courses will also be considered professional and institutes cannot deliver degree programmes in the field in open or distance mode anymore. Under the new rule, many institutes will have to shut their courses or tweak the degree programme.
Among HEIs across the country, famous institutes that currently provide distance mode degrees in agriculture are Nasik-based Yashwant Rao Chavan Maharashtra Open University (YCMOU), Annamalai University, IGNOU, Kuvempu University and Nalanda Open University.
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Thus, now the list of degree courses not allowed to be imparted through distance mode include – engineering, medicine, dental, pharmacy, nursing, architecture, physiotherapy and agriculture.
“To protect the interest of the students already enrolled to the agriculture degree programme, the Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) has been requested for hand-holding of such higher education institutions. However, no new enrolments will be permitted from the 2019 academic session,” a UGC official told PTI.
Further, the UGC has also restricted a timeline for universities when it comes to open distance learning (ODL). Academic sessions should begin by January and the second session by July; the corresponding admissions should end by the end of February and August respectively. The HEIs are asked to upload information related to admission within 10 days from the last date of admission in respective sessions.
— With Inputs from PTI