With the objective to make education available and accessible to students and executives anywhere anytime, the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has decided to allow 15 per cent of country’s universities to offer degrees online.
"Nearly 15 per cent institutions in the country with top National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) score of A+ and A++ will be able to offer three-year degree programmes through online mode," HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar said on January 16, 2018 at the 65th meeting of the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE).
The minister said the online mode of three-year degree programme will enable students and working executives earn a degree without travelling the distance.
“We are creating an enabling environment where not just students but working executives can study and earn a degree without travelling the distance,” Javadekar said, adding, “Adoption of technology in India is huge and this can be leveraged to boost higher education.”
He also pointed out that his ministry is formulating guidelines for three-year degree programmes and rules and guidelines would be notified by next month.
#CABE will make all out efforts to increase #GER by opening new #Universities , #colleges using infrastructure more productively and using #ODL and #onlineeducation #TransformingIndia #SabkoSikshaAcchiSiksha #NewIndia pic.twitter.com/fM05W9a8o9
— Prakash Javadekar (@PrakashJavdekar) January 16, 2018
"At present, there are a few universities offering online courses but there are no set norms. Once the guidelines are notified, a university which does not meet the NAAC grade requirement will be given two-year period to either improve its NAAC grading or close down the course," he said.
This decision from the MHRD is aimed at increasing the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in higher education from the current 25 per cent to 30-32 per cent in the coming years.
"CABE will make efforts to increase the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) which is at present 25.2 per cent to 30 per cent in next five years," Javadekar said.
The examination procedure for these courses will be conducted online, but the format will be decided by the respective universities.
"The universities will be free to decide their curriculum and set their question papers, be it multiple choice questions or subjective questions, but there will be certain norms that will be universally applicable," he said.
Saying that the UGC will approve the course structure for these degree programmes, the minister said there will be online lectures, tutorials and online examination will be held in six months or one year.
“The UGC will approve their course structure. There will be online lectures, tutorials and also a weekly online discussion forum where professors will answer queries of the enrolled candidates,” Javadekar said, adding, “There will be an online examination in six months or one year. They will be granted certificates if they pass.”
According to reports, the country in 2016-17 had more than 40,000 colleges, 11,669 stand-alone institutes and 864 universities catering to more than 35.7 million students.