The top education body, University Grants Commission (UGC), has listed out precautions required to be taken by the students before enrolling in Open and Distance Learning (ODL) programmes. Adherence to duration of the academic session, prohibition of franchising agreement and ensuring that all activities are within territorial jurisdiction are on the UGC checklist for ODL courses.
“Please ensure that the minimum duration, nomenclature and qualification for degree programme under which they are enrolling is strictly as per UGC notification on specification of degrees and its amendments,” said UGC Secretary Rajnish Jain in a notice.
Jain said it must be ensured all activities of the Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), including the admission, counselling sessions, contact programmes, programme delivery and examinations are strictly conducted within the territorial jurisdiction.
As per norms, no university whether central, state, private or deemed to be university, can offer its programmes through franchising agreements with private coaching institutions for admitting learners and conducting courses through ODL and online mode.
“Please ensure that the admission process is carried out through headquarters of the HEIs in a transparent manner. The learners are also advised to verify all details as claimed by the institution on the website. If any deviation is noticed, please communicate the same to UGC for necessary punitive action as per provisions defined under respective regulations,” Jain said.
The secretary also said that in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Commission has decided that the revised academic session for this year as decided by the commission for ODL programmes, shall be kept as a period of 12 months starting from September-October, 2020 and February-March, 2021.
Students have been advised against taking admission in courses prohibited in distance learning including engineering, medicine, law, dental, pharmacy, nursing, architecture, physiotherapy, agriculture, hotel management, culinary studies, valuation of real estate and MPhil or PhD programmes in any discipline.