Adherence to the duration of the academic session, the prohibition of franchising agreement and ensuring all activities are within territorial jurisdiction are on the checklist issued by the University Grants Commission (UGC) for students before enrolling in distance learning programmes. "Please ensure that the minimum duration, nomenclature and qualification for degree programme under which they are enrolling is strict as per UGC notification on the specification of degrees and its amendments," said UGC Secretary Rajnish Jain in a notice listing the precautions need too be taken by students before enrolling in Open and Distance Learning (ODL) programmes.
"Also ensure that all activities of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) including admission, counseling sessions, contact programmes, programme delivery and examinations are strictly conducted within the territorial jurisdiction," he added.
As per norms, no university whether central, state, private or deemed to be university, can offer its programmes through franchising agreements with private coaching institutions for admitting learners and conducting courses through open and distance learning and online mode.
"Please ensure that the admission process is carried out through the headquarters of the HEIs in a transparent manner. The learners are also advised to verify all details as claimed by the institution on the website. If any deviation is noticed, please communicate the same to UGC for necessary punitive action as per provisions defined under respective regulations," Jain said.
The secretary also said that in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Commission has decided that the revised academic session for this year as decided by the commission for ODL programmes, shall be kept as a period of 12 months starting from September-October, 2020 and February-March, 2021.
The students have also been advised against taking admission in programmes which are prohibited in distance learning including engineering, medicine, law, dental, pharmacy, nursing, architecture, physiotherapy, agriculture, hotel management, culinary studies, valuation of real estate and MPhil or PhD programmes in any discipline.