NEW DELHI: The practice followed by many universities, academic institutions, offering education through Open and Distance Learning (ODL) mode, and issuing degrees, diploma, certificate and mark sheets without mentioning the mode of the education programme - whether done through correspondence or regular - will come to an end now.
The University Grants Commission (UGC) taking a serious note of it issued directions on October 31 to all universities and institutions engaged in ODL programmes and for immediately putting an end to such a practice which it believes is unfair to those candidates who have undergone regular courses for the same programme.
While issuing guidelines the UGC said: “It has been noticed that some institutions/ universities offering education through Open and Distance Learning mode have issued degrees, mark-sheets, diplomas, certificates etc to the students without indicating the mode of delivery of the programme”.
“All the institutions offering programmes through ODL mode are essentially required to mention `Mode of delivery: ODL/ Distance’ on all documents issued to the students during or after the completion of programme.
The Commission has pointed out that “it had on September 2, 2016 decided that universities, institutions should reflect the mode of delivery of the programme on all the documents issued to students in order to erase ambiguities between conventional mode degree(s) with that of ODL mode degree (s)”.
A top UGC official pointed out that any candidate undergoing educational course as a regular candidate and another through ODL or as a non-regular student are two different modes of education and that requires to be differentiated in all certificates, mark sheets, degree or diploma.
"You cannot paint all with the same brush. A regular student puts in more energy and time for the same academic course in comparison to a candidate undergoing the same educational programme through correspondence, non-regular or ODL mode. This requires to be mandatorily written on the degree, diplomas, certificates or mark sheets,” said the official.
Another official from the Union HRD ministry pointed out that there has been too much of ambiguity and confusion in courses like MBA and post-graduate diplomas courses in business administration/ management besides other professional courses.
Many private institutions offering part-time, non regular, distance programme courses don’t mention the mode of education, owing to which companies hiring candidates do not come to know the real mode of education of the candidate they are hiring.
"The UGC guidelines will put a full stop to such anomalies and ambiguity and make it clear if the candidate has passed a course through regular or through correspondence/ non-regular," said the official.
Every year approximately 35 lakh to 40 lakh students take up ODL degree post degree and diploma courses in India.
Additionally, a regulator for distance education is also awaiting the nod of the Union HRD ministry to check malpractices owing to increasing number of registration of these non regular/ distance learning courses.
At least 131 universities in India are offering ODL programmes. The UGC early last year allowed over 100 universities to continue offering academic programmes through ODL mode for the academic year 2015-16.