The University Grants Commission (UGC) has announced a new opportunity for higher education institutions (HEIs) to seek recognition for the academic year 2023-24. This initiative aims to encourage more HEIs to provide programs in online, open, or distance learning (ODL) modes, with classes scheduled to commence in February 2024.
According to a notification released on Friday, the UGC has specified that the online application portal will be accessible for submissions from October 10th to October 31st. Additionally, HEIs have the option to apply offline, with the deadline for offline applications set for November 15th.
The notification emphasises that higher education institutions (HEIs) should not interpret the act of submitting an application as an automatic grant of approval. All applications will be carefully reviewed to ensure they comply with the standards outlined in the UGC (Open and Distance Learning Programmes and Online Programmes) Regulations of 2020 and any subsequent amendments.
In September of the previous year, the UGC revised its regulations for online and open learning, allowing autonomous colleges in India to offer online and distance education programs starting from the academic session of 2022-23 without the need for prior approval. These revised norms also enable these institutions to collaborate with education technology companies to create content and evaluation systems. However, specific categories of HEIs are still required to apply to the higher education regulator for permission.
The notification also states that eligible HEIs that have already received UGC recognition for offering Open and Distance Learning (ODL) and/or Online Programmes for the academic year 2023-24 can apply for recognition of additional programs if they wish to do so.