AICTE to frame guidelines for technical education through distance mode

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All India Council for Technical Education

All India Council for Technical Education

According to a news report in Times of India, the ministry of human resource development (MHRD) has asked the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) to create a regulatory framework for technical education offered through the distance mode. AICTE is expected to firm up the guidelines by March 2013.

At present, private technical universities run distance programmes without approval. “The AICTE will prepare norms for distance education by March 2013,” HRD minister MM Pallam Raju said.

AICTE chairman S S Mantha added, “We are creating processes and based on that we would be coming up with the regulatory framework for the benefit of students.”

Under the new set of guidelines, the first year degree or diploma will have to be pursued through formal learning and the rest through the distance mode. The laboratory classes have to be taken face-to-face, Mantha said.

The move would stop institutes from duping students with false claims about their programmes and institutes, he said. The new accreditation body will also accredit the distance education.

Meanwhile, in a related development, the ministry has decided to once again empower UGC to regulate distance education system and determine its standards.

The Distance Education Council under IGNOU can no more regulate others and its “powers will be put back to its original regulator which is UGC”, Ashok Thakur, higher education secretary, said.

The move has received the nod of DEC and IGNOU, he said, adding the IGNOU Act will be amended accordingly.

The development comes in wake of several petitions filed in courts challenging the IGNOU Act on the grounds that how can IGNOU award affiliation to other institutes when it itself was one of them.