Distance Education Needs an Improvement

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Aiming for higher enrolment in distance education in India, a panel investigated its present status and has recommended to the HRD Ministry that an independent legislation must be passed on the lines of UGC.

According to Prof N R Madhava Menon, the legal educator and founder-director of National Law School of India University (NLSIU) said that he has recently submitted a report on the performance of the distance education system in the country and there is deadly need to have an independent legislation like the UGC on an independent statutory basis. The distance education, if properly organised, can almost double or treble higher education enrolment than at present. Also, the sector is now a part of IGNOU, he added. The sector is in total chaos due to a variety of reasons. Private players can be a part of distance education sector, but they must ensure maintenance of standards. So these norms have to be set by the Distance Education Council. If those norms are set well and monitored properly, distance education can go even to technical education.

As per the recent report to the HRD, some action is being taken on it. It is hopeful that the National Commission on Higher Education and Research Bill is passed in the next session in Parliament. If it is passed in the next session, a total structural change in the higher education sector is expected. Furthermore, its objective would be to ensure autonomy for universities and colleges.