MGU seeks exemption for distance courses


Mahatma Gandhi University (MGU) has approached the University Grants Commission (UGC) seeking special permission to offer programmes in the open distance learning mode from the academic year 2018-19.

The request was made after the apex body of higher education issued a directive that higher educational institutions that have a valid accreditation of National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) with a minimum CGPA of 3.26 on a 4-point scale (also completed five years of existence) are eligible to apply for recognition of their distance learning programmes, beginning July, 2018. MGU has been accredited ‘A’ grade with CGPA of 3.24 on a 4-point scale after the third cycle of NAAC accreditation held in October last.

In a letter to the UGC Chairman, Vice Chancellor Babu Sebastian said there was an exemption to the condition (CGPA 3.26) to higher educational institutions, which were given permission by the UGC to offer programmes in open distance learning mode for the academic session 2017-18. Those institutions will be allowed to impart open distance learning education till the academic session 2019-20 to enable them to reach the prescribed quality NAAC benchmark. The varsity is not within this ambit, he said.

The letter said the university had failed to get recognition to offer open distance learning programmes despite having a full-fledged statutory department (School of Distance Education). It is a precarious situation wherein the student community and society at large are at a loss and the university becomes disarmed, it said. The varsity had submitted application for recognition to the UGC for starting open distance learning programmes in 2018-19 in accordance with the UGC (Open Distance Learning) Regulations, 2017. However, the commission on February 21 said the process for recognition of distance learning programmes of higher educational institutions under which applications were invited during August-October 2017 stands cancelled.