Distance learning rule 'for 2018'

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has issued a clarification saying its new rules making it mandatory for distance learning courses to seek approval six months prior to commencement is applicable for the 2018 session.

By Our Special Correspondent
  • Published 1.07.17
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New Delhi, June 30: The University Grants Commission (UGC) has issued a clarification saying its new rules making it mandatory for distance learning courses to seek approval six months prior to commencement is applicable for the 2018 session.

The Telegraph had reported on June 29 that distance learning courses could be headed for the freezer over the next six months because of the new rules that came into effect last week.

The UGC (Open and Distance Learning) Regulations, 2017 - notified on June 23 - asks every institution intending to offer courses in distance mode to apply to the higher education regulator for approval "at least six months before the commencement of the academic session of the programme intended to be offered".

The regulations left the 160-odd universities in the country that offer distance education worried because the admission for the current session begins in July and according to the new rule, permission would have had to be sought in January.

However, in a public notice dated June 29, the UGC has now said: "Applications for recognising new higher educational institutions and/or starting of new programmes are invited online shortly as per the UGC ODL Regulations, 2017, for the academic session beginning January 2018/July 2018."

The notice has been issued by Avichal Kapur, a joint secretary in the UGC. The rules that came into effect last week did not mention any date.

The regulation notified in the government's gazette, however, is yet to be amended.

"How can a clarification of the UGC override its law notified in a government gazette? The UGC should have amended its own regulation. Otherwise, there will be a lot of legal complications," said Ravi Bhardwaj, a lawyer.