Double online component of regular university courses, suggests govt panel

A government-appointed committee, tasked with suggesting ways to promote online learning during the COVID-19 lockdown, has recommended tweaking UGC regulations to raise the limit on online instruction in regular programmes across universities.

Currently, the UGC (Credit Framework for online learning courses through SWAYAM) Regulations, 2016, allow higher education institutions to offer up to 20 per cent of the their courses in a programme each semester through online learning platform SWAYAM, which is run by the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development and offers Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).

The panel, led by Nageshwar Rao, Vice-Chancellor of the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), has recommended that the cap be extended to 40 per cent in “national interest during COVID19”.

Based on the committee’s report, which came out last week, the UGC is expected to release guidelines on university examinations and online learning next week.

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The report also states that universities with either a valid NAAC score equal to or greater than 3.01 or with a rank in the top 100 in the overall NIRF ranking at least once in the last two cycles should be permitted to offer online programmes without UGC’s permission.

“However, they have to give an undertaking that they shall comply with all other provisions of the UGC Online Regulations, as amended from time to time, in ‘letter and spirit’,” the report states.

The committee expects this reform to make around 200 universities eligible for offering full-fledged online programmes from the academic session starting July 2020, for a period of two years. The prohibited programmes, as mentioned in the regulations, shall remain prohibited.

Courtesy: The Indian Express

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