Higher Ed Institutions with Top NAAC Ratings Eligible to Offer Online Courses
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In the 65th meeting of the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) on higher education, it has been decided that higher education institutions with top National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) ratings, of A+ and A++, will be now allowed to offer 3-year degree courses in open and distance learning modes. CABE has also resolved to increase the GER in higher education in India to 30% from the current 25.2% in the next five years.
Speaking after the meeting, the Minister for Human Resource Development, Prakash Javadekar, said that the rules and guidelines for this move to provide impetus to online education and increase in GER would be released in February 2018. He added that, "Nearly 15% institutions in the country with top NAAC score of A+ and A++ will be able to offer three-year degree programs through online mode."
Currently, this scheme would not extend to technical courses like engineering and medicine. Naysayers have also come forward and raised concern about this move impacting quality of education. Tackling this Mr. Javadekar added that institutions offering online courses, which have poor NAAC ratings will have to discontinue their program if ratings are not improved. He said, "Currently there are few universities which are offering online courses but there are no set norms. Post the notification of the guidelines if any university which does not meet the NAAC grade requirement will be given a two-year period to either improve its NAAC grading or close down the course."
He also said that the idea behind this move was increase GER in higher education and increase accessibility. “We are creating an enabling environment where not just students but working executives can study and earn a degree without traveling the distance,” said Javadekar referring to the high rate of technology adoption and mobile penetration in India which can boost higher education. What is also to be taken into consideration is the increasing awareness of online education and the openness of people in pursuing these courses.
At the same meeting, CABE also resolved to reduce regional imbalance by taking positive action.