The University Grants Commission (UGC) on May 24, 2018 approved new regulations for online courses by universities.
The commission decided that the higher educational institutions and universities will be able to offer graduate, postgraduate and diploma programmes online from the upcoming academic session.
The decision to allow institutions to offer courses and programmes online is a landmark reform in the field of higher education.
The decision will help top-rated institutions to offer certificate, diploma & degree programmes in full-fledged online mode.
• The Institutions can offer online programmes in those disciplines in which they are already offering the same or similar programmes in regular or open and distance learning.
• The Institutions will be able to offer online degrees in all fields, except the ones that require practical or laboratory classes including engineering, medicine, dental, pharmacy, nursing, architecture and physiotherapy.
• The examinations would be conducted in proctored mode and in conformity with any norms for such examinations stipulated by the commission.
• The online learning shall have minimum four quadrants, video lectures, e-content, self-assessment and a discussion forum to clarify doubts.
• Under the UGC (Online Courses) Regulations, 2018, all higher education institutions that have been in existence for at least five years and are accredited by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) with a valid minimum score of 3.26 on a 4-point scale are eligible to offer online programmes.
• The higher educational institutions should also be in the top-100 in overall category in the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) for at least two years in the previous three years.
• However, the NAAC and NIRF conditions shall not be applicable to existing government Open Universities till NAAC or similar accreditation system or NIRF are made available.
The initiative is a big step towards attaining the targeted Gross Enrolment Ratio GER of 30 per cent by the year 2020.