In a revolutionary step, the University Grants Commission (UGC) allowed the higher education sector to start discussions on starting full-fledged online degree courses.
The institutions can launch these courses from Jan 2021 after proper planning and deliberation. The step aims to reduce the physical-digital divide.
The institutions have to stand on either of the two criteria to kick-off these online degree courses, the notification from UGC said.
- On the scale of 4, the higher educational universities which have a minimum accreditation score of 3.26.
- It should be one of the 100 best universities included in the list released by National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF), for past three applications the university must have been in the list twice.
Previously, the government has released a statement that was going to allow the top 100 universities to launch online degree courses.
The pandemic has forced all the institutions to go online. The government carries forwards the idea of online education and its benefits by starting these courses. The lockdown caused due to pandemic has made more than 50,000 higher education institutions to carry online classes.
According to the guidelines of the regulator, three Undergraduate (UG) Level programs and 10 Post Graduate (PG) level programs can open for admissions. The confirmation will come from the statutory authorities after checking the regulatory provisions.
The notification says that only those courses can be taught online which have been in operation for a minimum of three years and the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) has given it a score of 3.01 or above out of 4. All the decisions will be taken after strict regulation and invigilation which leaves no room for discrepancies.
The UG PG and Diploma level programs that have been in existence in conventional learning i.e. the classroom learning or the ones in open and distance learning mode, can qualify to appear as full-fledged online degree courses. Another guideline is that at least one batch should have passed out from that course.
Moreover, UGC added that the courses involving practical work or laboratory tasks can not be included under online courses. There is an exception to practical tasks like coding software and programming can be added to the list.
The interested students are required to send their Aadhaar or any other government Id card details and the foreign enthusiasts can send the details of their passport. This will ensure the authentication procedure and aims to reduce the chances of manipulation.
The UGC promotes online courses by popularizing the government’s online course platform Swayam and also asks colleges to encourage students to take these courses from private ed-tech companies or government-owned platforms.
The regulator writes that online courses add to the knowledge and skills of the students. Many ed-tech companies apart from government-owned Swayam are offering online courses. Moreover, colleges and universities have been continuing with online classes. The momentum of the pandemic induced online classes need to be managed and carry forwarded. It requests the faculty as well as the students to learn from Swayam courses as it offers credit transparency and is reliable. The message summed up, advised everyone to take advantage of these online programs.