The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Shape-up warning to distance schools

Siliguri, May 17: Institutions offering distance education may well pull up their socks and upgrade their standards or face de-recognition by the Council for Distance Education.

In a notification, expected to be issued to all educational institutions offering distance learning programmes within a fortnight, the University Grants Commission, the All-India Institute for Technical Education and the distance education council have issued directives to the institutions to maintain prescribed standards or face the axe.

This was revealed by the council’s chairman, H.P. Dikshit, today at a seminar on ‘Science and technology education through distance mode’ at North Bengal University. The seminar, organised by the Association of the Universities in North Bengal, was attended by the vice-chancellors of state universities.

Higher education minister Satyasadhan Chakraborty and vice-chairman of the West Bengal State Council for Higher Education Pabitra Sarkar were guests of honour at the inaugural session.

“We have observed that there are many institutions that conduct distance education courses despite the fact that they are not properly equipped for the job. The standard of education is low and the fees are exorbitantly high,” Dikshit, who is also the vice-chancellor of Indira Gandhi National Open University, said.

“Owing to the gravity of the situation, the three apex authorities in the field of higher education got together and have jointly put their signatures on a notification which will be circulated to the colleges and universities within a fortnight,” he added.

“No new distance education course will be allowed to start unless they get prior approval from the Council for Distance Education. If any course has already been started and it is not up to the guidelines issued by us, the university will be asked to improve upon it within a stipulated period,” the council’s chairman said.

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