New Delhi, Feb 27, 2018 : The University Grants Commission (UGC) has sought to end speculations over the validity of the degrees, diplomas or certificates obtained by students through distance education in non-technical streams.
Issuing a public notice on the issue, the higher education regulator has clarified that the distance education programmes offered by the institutions, either with the approval of the UGC or the erstwhile distance education council (DEC), are valid for all purpose including employment.
"Accordingly, the degrees/diplomas/certificates awarded for the programmes conducted by the ODL (open and distance learning) institutions, recognized by the erstwhile DEC/UGC, in conformity with the UGC notification on specification of degrees should be treated as equivalent to the corresponding awards of the degree/diploma/certificate of the traditional universities/institutions in the country," the regulator said in a notification recently.
This comes months after the Supreme Court held that technical courses cannot be conducted through open and distance education mode.
It also suspended the engineering degrees and diplomas awarded by four private deemed to be universities to their students between 2001-2005 and cancelled those awarded beyond 2005 while hearing a bunch of petitions against the four institutions.
Though the court’s verdict pertained to the unlawful grant of engineering degrees by these four institutions, its order for a CBI probe into the "irregularities" in the grant of approval to these institutions sparked speculations over the validity of degrees awarded by the rest of the institutions offering courses in non-technical stream through ODL mode.
Since then, both the employers and students have been writing to the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry, UGC and the All India Council for Technical Institutes (AICTE), seeking a clarification on the issue.
"The ODL system in the country is contributing a lot in the expansion of higher education and for achieving the target of the gross enrollment ratio without compromising on quality," Rajnish Jain, who was recently appointed as the UGC secretary, said.
Non-recognition or non-equivalence of degrees of ODL institutions for the purpose of promotion or employment and pursuing higher education may prove to be "a deterrent" to many aspiring students and will "ultimately" defeat the purpose of the ODL, he added.