One of the officials familiar with the matter said that the (UGC) University Grants Commission is set to bring in regulations for online degree courses.
Due to the outbreak of the pandemic, it is necessary to bring norms for e-degree courses and this advancement has come after the ministry of human resource development consulted the country’s top 100 universities to provide such courses amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
On Friday there was a meeting of Members of the commission in which they discussed the contours of the regulations which will be related to those for open learning courses.
A senior official, requesting anonymity, said that it is likely that an integrated set of rules for distance and online learning can soon be brought out by the University Grant Commission. There is a common agreement that courses that are high on practical content like engineering or others will not be delivered through online education. Moreover, courses, where there is less of practical training, are suitable for such teaching. However, subjects like coding can also be considered in such training.
He further added that even with integrated rules, there may be sections specifically for online courses. The official said that the purpose of giving rise to regulations is mainly to address quality concerns related to such courses.
It has been already decided by the higher education regulator that for at least one academic year, this will lower the bar for varsities to provide online and distance learning courses from the earlier standard 3.26 score by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC).
Another official of the University Grant Commission said in addition to bringing e-degree courses amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that it is also likely that varsities will be provided a free hand in offering diploma and certificate courses online.
The HRD ministry has been popularising online education and he is focusing on this mode because classroom teaching appears increasingly difficult due to the outbreak of the coronavirus disease.
Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, in her budget speech earlier this year, had mentioned that the country’s top 100 educational institutions will start offering full-fledged degree courses online. Nirmala Sitharaman further added that the online courses while declaring the relief measures to ameliorate the effect of the pandemic on the economy.