By Linus Garg
First publised on 2022-02-23 03:24:27
After the education sector was hugely impacted by the disruptions caused by the pandemic, online learning became the norm. Even as restrictions are now being removed and physical classes have begun, the online, and hybrid, model of learning has caught on. The Universities Grants Commission (UGC) has proactively allowed more than 900 autonomous colleges to offer online degrees with the same value as offline degrees. For being able to offer these online degrees, the colleges will have to either figure in the top-100 ranks in the NIRF subject rankings or have NAAC-grade higher than 3.26.
This decision comes after the recent red-letter notice the UGC and AICTE issued to higher education institutions (HEIs) to stop offering online or conventional courses or programmes in association with edtech companies. Both the bodies have warned HEIs that any contravention of this would lead to derecognition. The current decision is a natural follow up of the earlier decision.
There are many prestigious colleges that cannot admit many students who apply due to shortage of seats. Allowing them to offer online degrees of the same value will offer these students a chance to study at the prestigious college. At the same time, if there is no limit on the intake for online degrees, enrolment will also increase across India. Further, if these colleges choose not to apply the stringent cut-off for online courses, students with lower marks will also benefit. Students from anywhere in India will now be able to study at the college of their choice is any part of India from their homes.
This is a timely decision by the UGC. Students will benefit from the expectedly reasonably priced degree courses of the same value as offline degrees from these reputed colleges. Earlier, edtech companies were offering such courses but their value was less.