UGC ‘derecognises’ open courses of 35 universities


MUMBAI: UGC has ‘cancelled’ the recognition of distance learning courses offered by 35 state and central universities, casting into uncertainty the future of lakhs of higher education aspirants across the country. The institutes have been given a month to submit their explanation to seek reversal of UGC’s decision. 

On Friday, the UGC’s bureau notified that universities not running the same/similar course in regular mode for the past five years would also not receive recognition. In case of professional courses such as MBA, MCA, BEd, hotel management and tourism, the UGC, in its announcement, said recognition would not be accorded without the prior approval of the respective regulatory authority.Scrutiny of courses offered by deemed universities was still on, sources told TOI. 

Fearing cancellation, several universities have reduced their programme offerings, as they did not meet the compliance requirement. Maharashtra is one of the worst affected with Mumbai University’s Institute of Distance and Open Learning(IDOL), Marathwada University and Mahatma Gandhi University losing their recognition. Besides, Yeshwantrao Chavan Maharashtra Open University can admit students only to only 17 of its 38 UG and PG programmes in 2018-19. 

D Harichandan, director of Mumbai University’s IDOL, said, “The expert committee had strongly recommended all our courses. We don’t know what happened after that. Mumbai University is an autonomous body and our courses are recognized by our academic council; who is the UGC to derecognise us?” The cancellation was reasoned to the absence of National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) accreditation for this university; the grade expired in April 2017. 

As per the UGC’s notice on February 6, institutes not accredited by NAAC within three months would not be awarded recognition. “We had brought this to the notice of the authorities, but no one was concerned. The deadline was early April,” said a senate member. In case of Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), the V-C said there was confusion over professional courses, in addition to two to three other programmes. 

“We have sent our records to UGC for verification,” said V-C Nageshwar Rao. Vice-chancellor of Yeshwantrao Chavan Maharashtra Open University E Vayunandan pointed out that many of the applied courses have been validated leaving the basic course unrecognised. For instance, while all the commerce courses like BCom Cooperative Management and MCom are recognised, the plain BCom programme has been left out.

By Hemali Chhapia