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Distance and regular degrees are equal : UGC

Anju Susan James

Kochi, October 19, 2013: Nearly four months after the University Grants Commission undertook the regulatory charges of the distance education in the country after dissolving the Distance Education Council, the Distance Education Bureau has directed all universities to treat various courses offered through distant mode on par with those obtained through regular mode.

There are a number of open and distance learning institutions in the country offering Degree/ Diploma/Certificate programmes through the mode of non formal education. These comprise open universities, distance education institutions (either single mode or dual mode) of central universities, state universities, deemed to be universities, institutions of national Importance or any other institution of higher learning recognized by Central/State/Statutory Council/Societies registered under the Society Registration Act 1860.

Though a circular regarding the recognition of distance education courses was issued way back in May 2004, most of the universities even now fail to recognize the students who obtain their degrees through correspondence courses. Many distant education students are facing difficulty even now in getting placements or pursuing higher studies, thanks to the apathy shown by the conventional universities.

Another UGC circular in July 1993 had mooted the transfer of credit for courses successfully completed by students between the two types of universities so that the mobility of students from Open University stream to traditional universities/ institutions is ensured without any difficulty.

As per the latest circular from UGC issued in the second week of October, the Centre has envisaged a greater role for the open and the distance education system. Recognizing and treating the degrees/ diplomas/ certificates awarded through distance mode at par with the degrees obtained through the formal system of education is needed to fulfill the envisioned role.

Hence, the conventional universities have been asked to treat the Degrees/ Diplomas/ Certificates awarded for programmes conducted by the ODL institutions, recognized by DEC (now DEB) and UGC, as equivalent to the corresponding awards of the Degree/Diploma/Certificate of the traditional Universities/ institutions in the country.

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