UGC Seeks Roadmap On Launching Online Degree Programs By Varsities

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Bhubaneswar: The Union Grants Commission (UGC) has asked academic institutions to provide a roadmap on introducing online degree courses.

The UGC along with top colleges and universities in India is in plans to introduce full-fledged online degree programs from January 2021. The move aims to bridge the physical-digital divide in tertiary education.

“Higher educational institutions having an accreditation score of 3.26 (in a scale of 4) and above, or having a rank in top 100 best university category of National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) shall be permitted to start online programs without prior approval,” said UGC in a notification on Thursday, reported Mint.

The UGC initiative comes five months after the Union government indicated plans for online degree programs in May.

“Eligible universities can start a maximum of three programs in the undergraduate (UG) level and 10 programs in the postgraduate (PG) level with the approval of statutory authorities and in strict compliance with the regulatory provisions,” read the notification.

UGC has said that colleges and universities “may also apply for offering programs through the online mode, provided they are in existence for at least three years and are accredited by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) with a minimum score of 3.01 on a 4-point scale.” However, this will be done after proper invigilation and review by the regulator.

An institution can offer only those online degree programs at UG, PG, and PG Diploma levels, which it has already been offering in form of classroom teaching or in open and distance learning mode, and from which at least one batch has passed out.

Programs requiring practical or laboratory work shall be prohibited through online mode, except in cases where the practical component is limited to programming and coding.

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