The digital degree move is part of the government’s efforts to ramp up India's gross enrolment ratio to 50% by 2035, as proposed in the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020. The ratio stood at 27.1 percent in 2019-20.
Higher education regulatory body University Grants Commission (UGC) will allow 900 autonomous colleges in the country to offer online degree courses to students from July this year, said a report. At present, only universities are allowed to offer online degree courses.
The move is part of the government’s efforts to ramp up the gross enrolment ratio to 50 percent by 2035, as proposed in the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020. India’s gross enrolment ratio stood at 27.1 percent in 2019-20 for the 18-23 age group, against 26.3 percent in 2018-19.
Under the new UGC order, 900 autonomous colleges that have ranked among the top 100 in their respective subject categories at least twice in the preceding three rankings by the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) or have earned a grade of minimum 3.26 from the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) will not require prior approval from UGC to offer online degrees. However, these colleges will have to follow the guidelines and regulations issued by UGC, The Times of India reported.
Students who have passed Class 12 are eligible to apply for the undergraduate degree, while those seeking admission for post-graduation will have to pass the relevant undergraduate course. Aspirants will not need to have a certain score at the senior secondary level to apply for the online degree courses.
Students will be evaluated through the online proctored mode exam or computer-based test (CBT) by the National Testing Agency (NTA). There will be no difference between the online and conventional degree courses, TOI quoted UGC chairperson M. Jagadesh Kumar as saying. Also, the 75 percent attendance for online programmes will not be mandatory and students can make multiple exits and entries into the course.
At present, officials are finalising the draft for the amendment of the current UGC (Open and Distance Learning Programmes and Online Programmes) Regulations, 2020. By this week, the draft is likely to be made available to stakeholders for feedback, the report added.
Apart from this, the new framework will allow higher educational institutions (HEIs), including autonomous colleges, to offer courses in emerging areas.