It said the degrees of Open and Distance Learning (ODL) institutions registered under the erstwhile Distance Education Council (DEC) or the commission, in conformity with UGC Notification on Specification of Degrees, should be treated as equivalent to the corresponding awards of the Degree or Diploma or Certificate of the traditional Universities/ Institutions in the country.
"The Government of India has envisaged a greater role for the Open and the Distance Education System. The envisioned role may be fulfilled by recognizing and treating the Degrees/Diplomas/Certificates awarded through distance mode at par with the corresponding awards of Degrees/Diplomas/Certificates obtained through the formal system of education," said the notification.
According to the notification, non-recognition or non-equivalence of degrees of ODL institutions for the purpose of promotion/employment and pursuing higher education may prove a deterrent to many aspiring students and will ultimately defeat the purpose of Open and Distance Education.
UGC (Open and Distance Learning) Regulations lay down the minimum standards of instruction for the grant of degree at the undergraduate and post-graduate levels, through Open and Distance Learning mode.
These regulations apply to a University referred to under clause (f) of section 2 of the University Grants Commission Act, 1956, an Institution Deemed to be University under section 3 of the said Act, for all degree programmes of learning at the undergraduate and post-graduate level, other than programmes in engineering, medicine, dental, pharmacy, nursing, architecture, physiotherapy and programmes not permitted to be offered in distance mode by any other regulatory body.
According to the regulation, "Open and Distance Learning" mode, means a mode of providing flexible learning opportunities by overcoming separation of teacher and learner using a variety of media, including print, electronic, online and occasional interactive face-to-face meetings with the presence of an Higher Educational Institution or Learner Support Services to deliver teaching-learning experiences, including practical or work experiences.
Same as, "Open University" means a University which imparts education through distance education or Open and Distance Learning mode using variety of Information and Communication Technology educational aids i.e. online education in the form of Open Educational Resources (OERs) or Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) etc.
On last November, the Supreme Court on no deemed-to-be-university can run open and distant learning courses from the next academic year (2018-19) unless it is permitted to do so by the concerned authorities.
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