Save Distance Education In India
Establish Autonomous Distance Education Council (DECI)
Absence of an autonomous body as facilitator and regulator in distance education, has created various problems and mushrooming of institutions and Universities offering sub standard higher education. DEC was assigned the dual responsibility of providing leadership in distance education within IGNOU and also to additionally coordinate distance education systems within other universities through a Notification No. 44 in 1995 issued by MHRD.
Even after 17 years there is no clarity on the role of DEC of IGNOU vis-a-vis its mandated responsibilities in the distance education scenario in the country. Various acts of omission and commission has led everyone to firmly believe that instead of helping the cause of distance education, presence of DEC has in fact hurt the cause of ODL system, primarily because there has been no leadership intervention in ODL system through IGNOU for the past 27 years. Institutions and Universities have innovated more for distance education than IGNOU and sadly whereas other institutions have gone from blended to online to virtual concept, IGNOU has steadfastly returned to primarily correspondence courses!
Under such a scenario, if the mandate of the government is to enhance Gross Enrolment Ratio on the basis of Knowledge Commission recommendations that it can be achieved only through increasing contribution of distance education from present 24% to 40%, there is a need for a co-ordinated development of distance education with progressive policies and quality conscious systems.
Every year there are controversies regarding DEP programs of state Universities, Private Universities or Deemed Universities and so many contradicting notifications have been issued by the UGC, AICTE and DEC that no one knows whom to approach for clarity. Some of these are artificially created only during admission time so that IGNOU can attract more students to its kitty and allow the students to perpetually suffer. Some of the problems that DE providers face in the country are the following (we shall substantiate each issue raised here with specific examples and documents):
• How can DEC be a regulator when it has been born out of statutes of a university (IGNOU) and the mandate is to regulate IGNOU’s own policies and system?
• Over the past 17 years there are no Norms and Standards and Guidelines for approval thus making the whole process extremely person centric and whimsical.
• There is no mention of distance education, correspondence education, virtual education in the Act of AICTE or in Clause 10 of the AICTE Act, yet AICTE always issues public notices creating confusion. Have they forgotten Bharathidasan Judgment and UP Universities judgment of the Apex Court?
• There has been various flip flop on jurisdiction issues. It is issued with contempt only to suit authorities not to the education system in general, without any scientific basis by misrepresenting judgments!
• DEC insists on creating its replica and cannot see or appreciate innovations. It fails to approve their own courses for 20 years and when it does, it does without their own departments in place, without faculty recruited and without material ready for their own programs, yet they ask for such things in other institutions.
• From the time of its constitution DEC has absolutely done nothing for the ODL system of conventional Universities except debarring them from time to time to offer distance education.
These are only some of the issues, just the tip of the ICEBERG. But, as a result of this mishandling, distance education is losing its social credibility and if the corrective steps are not taken distance education will vanish which seems to be the intent of private players in the regular system desperately looking for avenues to improve their enrolment. Another misconception by the colleges and private Universities (not offering distance education) is that their students are taken away by distance learning institutions not realising that it is not their market and even if distance education is issued a severe death blow, the students who would be mostly affected will be those students who are deprived of higher education due to social, physical, demographic or economical reasons.
We invite your participation in this cause and you can post your comments and documents available with you supporting the cause. The complete representation will soon be made to the new ministers who seem to be less autocratic and more practical than their predecessors.
The first example of the above is quoted below:
Based on the Judgement of the Honourable Supreme Court in the Yashpal Vs State Of Chattisgarh Government, where Universities were formed through a letter and not an Act, the University Grants Commission issued a notification no. F.9-8/2008 (CPP-I) dated 16th April, 2009 stating that State Universities cannot offer distance education outside their state. Upon investigation and obtaining documents through RTI it has been made clear by UGC that this letter was only regarding the Off Campus and not study centers. This notification was sent by UGC to all state Governments and Universities and thus everyone got into the process of pushing out distance education providers from their state who belonged to some other state. There were public notices and litigations in J&K, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Uttrakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujrat etc and their is a chaos amongst students who have undergone distance education.
The Bill to establish an independent autonomous distance education council of India was drafted years ago but has never been taken to the parliament. It is high time for all the stake holders in distance education to get together and fight for this cause and ensure the establishment of an independent (Not Under UGC) autonomous Distance Education Council of India.
This petition closed almost 2 years ago
We need your inputs, comments, support, related documents and references for this cause. Please pass this message to your faculty, students and colleagues so that the Government must know that...
We need your inputs, comments, support, related documents and references for this cause. Please pass this message to your faculty, students and colleagues so that the Government must know that large number of students are suffering due to Government policies. After 10,000 signatures this petition will be sent to Prime Minister, President and MHRD.