Shastry V Mallady

To check 'sub-standard courses,' irregularities

MADURAI: The country will soon have a Distance Education Act to monitor and regularise functioning of distance education courses offered by various universities and lay strict guidelines for them.

In an attempt to check 'sub-standard courses' offered by a few universities and irregularities, the Distance Education Council (DEC), New Delhi, prepared a draft copy of the bill with support from the Ministry of Human Resources Development and circulated it among DEC members.

Speaking to The Hindu here on Saturday, the Vice-Chancellor of Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) and DEC Chairman, H. P. Dikshit, said the bill was likely to be taken up for discussion in the next session of Parliament.

To be given shape soon

"The Centre is keen to give a shape to the bill, strengthen distance education and make it free of lapses and malpractices."

The copy has also been sent to the Planning Commission, University Grants Commission, National Council for Technical Education and various other bodies to get more suggestions for its effectiveness.

Prof. Dikshit, who was here to address the IGNOU centre coordinators, said the bill was in the final stages and would be given shape soon "and everything is based on a Supreme Court judgement that is aimed at giving quality education through distance education mode."

The DEC, in a major decision taken at its meeting on January 19, has directed universities to be cautious while appointing franchisees/authorised centres outside their State Prof. Dikshit said, hereafter, one private centre will have to offer courses of one university only; "people cannot offer courses of so many universities from a single room."

The DEC has also written to universities to get their distance education courses evaluated, assessed and recognised by the Council.