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UGC allows educational institutes to develop online courses with Ed-tech firms

The UGC (University Grants Commission) has announced to allow 900 autonomous educational institutions to collaborate with EdTech companies to offer online courses that will include graduate and postgraduate degrees.

According to the UGC Chairperson, M Jagadesh Kumar the proposed amendments will encourage greater flexibility for colleges and universities and will help in harnessing the technological tools available with the fast-growing EdTech sector.

“Through amendments in the UGC (Open and Distance Learning Programs and Online Programs) Regulations, 2020, universities and colleges offering online UG and PG programs will be allowed to collaborate with EdTech platforms towards developing course content and Financial Rules,” Kumar said.

Reports say that the latest move will help the autonomous colleges with ranking among the top 10 spots in their respective subject categories in the NIRF (National Institutional Ranking Framework) or have a NAAC (National Assessment Accreditation Council) grade of a minimum of 3.26 to offer online degree courses. The new amendments will be implemented from July this year. As a part of the new National Education Policy (NEP), the online education sector is proposed to get a 50 percent enrolment by 2035.

Unlike other courses which need a cut-off for the student to get enrolled, the eligibility for these courses will just be “senior secondary passed”. According to the framework released by UGC new online education policies will focus on knowledge application, learning outcomes, ethical and moral values acquired at different stages. It also focuses on the integration of vocational education in higher education and developing the entrepreneurial mindset of students.

Previously only universities were allowed to offer online courses. The UGC wanted a regulation on the collaborations between the educational institutes and the EdTech companies. The UGC and the AICTE (All India Council for Technical Education) in January had told educational institutes to cancel their partnerships with EdTech firms. It was observed that top EdTech companies such as Byju’s, Unacademy, UpGrad, and others were joining forces to create a self-regulatory code for the sector. With the new policies, the governing bodies will have better control over the quality of the courses and their implementation.

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