The issue came up when some Central departments rejected degrees

for giving jobs

HYDERABAD: Degrees given by the Distance Education Centres of various universities before 2007 would be valid though the courses were not approved by the Distance Education Council (DEC). The news comes in the wake of fears that such degrees are being rejected by the Central government for providing employment.

Approval must

Vice-Chancellor of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Open University (BRAOU) O.R. Reddy told The Hindu that the issue was clarified by the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) Vice- Chancellor V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai, who is also the Chairman of the DEC, during a meeting of distance education institutions in New Delhi on July 1 this year.

“All such degrees will be valid and it has been informed to the universities officially,” Prof. Reddy said.

However, courses to be offered from 2007, after the DEC decided that its approval was mandatory, would have to be approved at any cost.

The issue got into prominence when some Central government departments rejected the degrees obtained by the students from the Centres of Distance Education of various universities.

Non-recognition

The reason cited was that the courses were not recognised by the Distance Education Council (DEC), a statutory body working under IGNOU.

When it was referred to the universities, they refused to take the blame arguing that the DEC had asked them to take approval of the courses only in 2005.

Universities informed

“The Andhra Pradesh State Council of Higher Education (APSCHE) had written to all the universities in the same year informing them that the DEC’s approval was must.

We complied with the orders and applied for approval in 2006 and got the permission from 2007,” says P. Prasad, Coordinator, Prof. G. Ram Reddy Centre for Distance Education, Osmania University.

Osmania University had paid Rs. 10,000 each for 33 courses and submitted the course materials. “It took one year for the DEC to give approval as the quality of the course material had to be endorsed.”

Topic of discussions

In fact, the issue was discussed at several Vice-Chancellors’ conferences and it was argued that the courses in respective universities were approved by the Academic Senates and Boards of Studies.

Doubts cleared

However, with the DEC Chairman Prof. Pillai clearing the doubts of students in the meeting held on July 1, all the degree-holders from distance education centres can now heave a sigh of relief.