By A Special Correspondent
First publised on 2022-01-17 06:38:17
The Universities Grants Commission (UGC) and the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) have issued a red-letter notice to higher education institutes (HEIs) and asked them to stop offering online or conventional courses or programmes in association with edtech companies. Both the bodies have warned HEIs that any contravention of this would lead to derecognition.
UGC and AICTE have been forced to act after it was found that most edtech companies, who develop unregulated curriculum and content and advertise that they offer higher education diplomas and degrees (in ODL/online modes) that are recognized by universities regulated and recognized by UGC and AICTE for grant of such diplomas and degrees. It was also found that several recognized HEIs have started outsourcing their content to these edtech companies.
Since these edtech companies are neither licensed nor recognized by either UGC or AICTE, these regulatory bodies have no control over the kind of curriculum or content that they are teaching. Hence, it is not correct for HEIs to tie-up with these institutes and allow them to offer such diplomas and degrees.
A certain minimum standard of teaching, as mandated by UGC and AICTE is expected in HEIs. The appointment of teachers and professors in HEIs is also as per guidelines prescribed by these two bodies. Hence it is obvious that if the edtech institutes are not regulated, they are not complying with these standards. In such a scenario, it is not correct to allow recognized HEIs to tie-up with them. These edtech institutes cannot be allowed to issue degrees and diplomas that are not recognized by UGC and AICTE and reconized HEIs cannot be allowed to act as facilitators.
Further, only HEIs have the trained staff that conforms to UGC and AICTE standards and only they should be allowed to develop content to be used for study. Outsourcing of such content, however attractive and well-presented, should not be allowed. UGC and AICTE have also warned students and parents to verify the credentials of all institutes before enrolment.