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UGC : Students can now pursue two degree courses at same time

Indian Express - Anubhuti Vishnoi : New Delhi, Wed Aug 14 2013, 00:52 hrs

The University Grants Commission has finally given the go-ahead to students to pursue two degree programmes simultaneously.

Giving in to long-standing demands from universities and students, the apex higher education regulator, at a meeting on July 31, decided to accept its expert panel’s recommendations on permitting pursuit of an additional degree programme.

This will allow students enrolled in a regular full-time degree programme to pursue one more additional degree programme simultaneously on open/distance learning mode from the same university or another institution. A student pursuing a regular degree will also be allowed to pursue an additional certificate/diploma/advanced diploma/PG diploma programme simultaneously either in regular or open/distance mode from the same university or another institution.

The UGC expert panel headed by Dr Furqan Qamar, Vice Chancellor, Central University of Hyderabad, had made these recommendations “in view of the changing scenario and flexible guidelines”. Saying that “more choices to the students need to be given”, the panel was of the view that joint degree programmes need to be encouraged by the UGC.

UGC Chairman Prof Ved Prakash said the idea was to allow new opportunities to students who wish to expand their skill set and have the will to stretch themselves beyond their comfort zones. Universities have been asked to modify their ordinances to facilitate the joint degree programmes.

Currently, no student in India can legally pursue more than one degree simultaneously either from the same institution or from any other institution. The restriction is applicable irrespective of the mode of pursuing degrees — open/distance learning/part-time/private or full time. To ensure compliance, students are required to submit in the original the migration certificate issued by the previous institute.

While there has been a lot of interest to pursue two or more degree programmes simultaneously to help students improve their knowledge, skill and employability, the present UGC guidelines are silent about the pursuit of a certificate/diploma course alongside a degree programme.

Distance Education Council of IGNOU dissolved

In a major development, the Distance Education Council (DEC) of the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) has been dissolved. The Human Resource Development Ministry of India will entrust the University Grants Commission with all regulatory responsibilities of the Open and Distance Learning (ODL) education system.

“Pursuant to notification dated May 4 issued by the IGNOU, statute 28 of IGNOU Act 1985 dealing with the DEC has been repealed and deleted with immediate effect. Accordingly, DEC of IGNOU stands dissolved,” a UGC notification, dated May 28 stated.

The UGC said it was working on development of appropriate regulations for maintaining standards in ODL programmes/courses. “In view of the above, wherever applicable, universities may kindly ensure that no further affiliations/approvals are granted to any new centre for ODL programmes/courses till such regulations are notified and come into force,” UGC has appealed.

Headquartered in New Delhi, DEC was constituted under the IGNOU Act and was responsible for promotion and coordination of the open university and distance education system and determination of its standards in the country.

“Shifting of DEC from IGNOU to UGC is a good move in the interest of open distance learning programme in the country. With ODL emerging as powerful and sought after mode of learning in today’s age of globalisation, the empowered body like UGC could govern the affairs effectively,” sources from UGC said.

Set up by the Union government in 1956, UGC is a statutory organisation that has the unique distinction of being the only grant-giving agency in the country which has been vested with two responsibilities — of providing funds and of coordination, determination and maintenance of standards in institutions of higher education.