Instruction for the grant of degrees at the undergraduate and post graduate levels and grant of post graduate diploma, through Open and Distance Learning mode and Online mode: Notification

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Instruction for the grant of degrees at the undergraduate and post graduate levels and grant of post graduate diploma, through Open and Distance Learning mode and Online mode: Notification

Instruction for the grant of degrees at the undergraduate and post graduate levels and grant of post graduate diploma, through Open and Distance Learn

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Instruction for the grant of degrees at the undergraduate and post graduate levels and grant of post graduate diploma, through Open and Distance Learning mode and Online mode: Notification

UNIVERSITY GRANTS COMMISSION
NOTIFICATION
New Delhi, the 4th September, 2020

No. F. 1-1/2020(DEB-I).—In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-sections (1) and (2) of section 26 read with clause (j) of section 12 of the University Grants Commission Act, 1956 (3 of 1956) and in supersession of the University Grants Commission (Open and Distance Learning) Regulations, 2017 and University Grants Commission (Online Courses or Programmes) Regulations, 2018 except as respect of things done or omitted to be done before such supersession, the University Grants Commission with the previous approval of the Central Government hereby makes the following regulations, namely:-

PART I

PRELIMINARY

1. Short title, application and commencement.─ (1) These regulations may be called the University Grants Commission (Open and Distance Learning Programmes and Online Programmes) Regulations, 2020.

(2) These regulations lay down the minimum standards of instruction for the grant of degrees at the undergraduate and post graduate levels and grant of post graduate diploma, through Open and Distance Learning mode and Online mode and shall be in addition to and not in derogation of any other regulations, Notifications, Guidelines or Instructions issued by the Commission.

(3) These regulations shall apply to a University referred to under clause (f) of section 2 of the University Grants Commission Act, 1956 (3 of 1956), an Institution Deemed to be University under section 3 of the said Act: Provided that the University Grants Commission may, by order, exempt a Higher Educational Institution or Higher Educational Institutions from the application of these regulations.

(4) They shall come into force on the date of their publication in the Official Gazette.

2. Definitions.─ In these regulations, unless the context otherwise requires,-

  1. Academic Council or Senate means the body empowered to take decisions regarding all academic matters in a Higher Educational Institution including the decision permitting to offer Open and Distance Learning Programmes and/or Online Programmes in compliance to these regulations;
  2. Academic session means duration of twelve months beginning either in January to February or in the month of July to August, as the case may be, of every calendar year;
  3. Act means the University Grants Commission Act, 1956 (3 of 1956);
  4. Centre for Internal Quality Assurance (CIQA) means a Centre established by a Higher Educational Institution for ensuring the quality of programmes being offered in Open and Distance Learning mode and Online mode, as specified in
    Annexure-I;
  5. Commission means the University Grants Commission established under the University Grants Commission Act, 1956 (3 of 1956);
  6. Conventional mode means a mode of providing learning opportunities through face to face interaction between the teacher and learner in regular class room environment but does not exclude supplementary instructions if any for the learner through use of online;
  7. Credit means the Unit award gained by a learner with study efforts of minimum number of hours required to acquire the prescribed level of learning in respect of that Unit;
    Explanation.– For the purpose of this clause, A study effort for one credit shall mean time required by a learner to understand the contents equivalent to 15 hours of classroom teaching or 30 hours including self-learning time required to acquire the prescribed level of learning in respect of that Unit;
  8. Degree means a degree specified under sub-section (3) of section 22 of the Act;
  9. Dual Mode University means a Higher Educational Institution offering programmes under conventional mode and also under Open and Distance Learning mode and/or Online mode;
  10. e-Learning Material means and includes contents in the form of structured course material, as a part of one or more courses in the Online Programme, in digital format delivered through Learning Management System, which is inter alia self explanatory, self-contained, self-directed at the learner, and amenable to self evaluation, and enables the learner to acquire the prescribed level of learning in a course of study, but does not include text-books or guide-books; as defined in these regulations;
  11. Examination Centre means a place where examinations are conducted, inter alia, for assessment of the learners pursuing programmes under Open and Distance Learning mode and Online mode and is having the requisite infrastructure relevant to respective mode of education including adequate manpower for smooth conduct of examinations and adhering to such minimum standards as specified in these regulations;
  12. Franchising for the purpose of these regulations, means and includes the practice of allowing, formally or informally, any person or institution or organisation, other than the Higher Educational Institution recognised under these regulations for offering programmes under Open and Distance Learning mode and Online mode, to offer such programmes of study or any related activity on behalf of or in the name of the recognised Higher Educational Institution, and the terms ‗franchise‘ and ‗franchisee‘ shall be construed accordingly;
  13. Higher Education means such education imparted by conventional mode or through open and distance learning mode or through online mode conducting regular classes or through Open and Distance Learning mode or through Online mode, beyond twelve years of schooling leading to the award of a Degree at undergraduate or postgraduate level or Certificate or Diploma or Postgraduate Diploma;
  14. Higher Educational Institution means a university under clause (f) of section 2 and an Institution Deemed to be a University under section 3, of the University Grants Commission Act, 1956, which is offering programmes through conventional mode and/or through Open and Distance Learning mode and/or through Online mode, in the field of higher education or research therein;
  15. Information and Communication Technology means the diverse set of tools and resources used to communicate, create, disseminate, store, manage information and be deployed for realising the goals of interactive teaching-learning, enhancing access, ensuring knowledge cum information sharing, building capacities and management of the educational system and resources;
  16. Integrated Programme shall have the same meaning as defined in UGC Notification on Specification of Degree, 2014;
  17. Learning Management System means a system to keep track of delivery of e- Learning Programmes, learner‘s engagement, assessment, results, reporting and other related details in one centralised location;
  18. Learner Support Centre means a centre established or recognised by the Higher Educational Institution for advising, counselling, providing interface between the teachers and the learners, rendering any academic and any other related service and assistance required, inter alia, by the learners of Open and Distance Learning mode;
  19. Learner Support Services means and includes such services as are provided by a Higher Educational Institution in order to facilitate the acquisition of teaching learning experiences by the learner to the level prescribed by or on behalf of the Commission in respect of a programme of study under Open and Distance Learning mode and/or Online mode;
  20. MOOCs shall have the same meaning as assigned to it under sub-regulation 3.6 of regulation 3 of UGC (Credit Framework for Online learning courses through SWAYAM) Regulations, 2016;
  21. Online Mode means a mode of providing flexible learning opportunities by overcoming separation of teacher and learner using internet, e-Learning Materials and full-fledged programme delivery through the internet using technology assisted mechanism and resources;
  22. Open and Distance Learning Mode means a mode of providing flexible learning opportunities by overcoming separation of teacher and learner using a variety of media, including print, electronic, online and occasional interactive face-to-face meetings with the learners or Learner Support Services to deliver teaching-learning experiences, including practical or work experiences;
  23. Open University means a Higher Educational Institution which imparts education only through Open and Distance learning mode and/or Online mode using variety of media including print, electronic, online, information and communication technology educational aids including Open Educational Resources (OERs) or Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) etc. and is not having any provision for offering higher education in conventional mode in its Act or Memorandum of Association or other statutory documents governing the Higher Educational Institution;
  24. Post Graduate Diploma means a programme with minimum duration of two years, minimum entry level qualification as graduation, minimum 80 credits and nomenclature as recognised by the Commission and regulatory authority or statutory council, as applicable;
  25. Proctored Examination means the examination conducted under the supervision of approved person or technology enabled proctoring which ensures the identity of the test taker and the integrity of the test taking environment, either in pen-paper mode or in computer based testing mode or in full-fledged Online mode; as permissible in Open and Distance Learning mode and Online mode under these regulations;
  26. Prohibited programmes means such programmes which shall not be permitted to be offered in Open and Distance Learning Mode and Online Mode in Higher Education, as detailed under:
    (a) The programmes in the disciplines (including their allied domains) of Engineering, Medical, Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy and other Para-Medical disciplines, Pharmacy, Nursing, Dental, Architecture, Law, Agriculture, Horticulture, Hotel Management, Catering Technology, Culinary Sciences, Aircraft Maintenance, Visual Arts and Sports;
    (b) The research based programmes such as M.Phil and Ph.D;
    (c) Such other Programmes not permitted to be offered through Open and Distance Learning mode and/or Online mode by any concerned statutory or regulatory body or council: Provided that, if the concerned statutory or regulatory body or council permits any of the prohibited programmes, as mentioned above, under its domain, in Open and Distance Learning mode and/or Online mode, the same may be considered by the Commission, and the decision so taken shall be notified by an Order.
  27. Prospectus includes any publication, whether in print or e-form, issued for providing fair and transparent information, relating to a Higher Educational Institution and its programmes, to the general public (including to those seeking admission in such Higher Educational Institution) by the management of such Higher Educational Institution or any authority or person authorised by such Higher Educational Institution to do so;
  28. Regional Centre means a Centre established or maintained by the Higher Educational Institution for the purpose of coordinating and supervising the work of the Learner Support Centres in the region as per its territorial jurisdiction and for performing such other functions as may be conferred on such Centre by the statutory authorities of the Higher Educational Institution;
  29. Self-Learning e-Module for Online mode means a modular unit of course material in e-learning form which is inter alia self-explanatory, self- contained, self-directed at the learner, and amenable to self-evaluation, and enables the learner to acquire the prescribed level of learning in a course of study and includes contents in the form of a combination of the following e-Learning content, namely:-
    (a) e-Text Materials;
    (b) Video Lectures;
    (c) Audio-Visual interactive material;
    (d) Virtual Classroom sessions;
    (e) Audio Pod casts;
    (f) Virtual Simulation; and
    (g) Self-Assessment Quizzes or Tests;
  30. Self-Learning Material for Open and Distance Learning mode means and includes contents in the form of course material, whether print or in e- form, which is interalia self-explanatory, self-contained, self-directed at the learner, and amenable to self-evaluation, and enables the learner to acquire the prescribed level of learning in a course of study, but does not include text-books or guide-books;
  31. SWAYAM (Study Webs of Active Learning for Young Aspiring Minds) means the learning management system as specified in the UGC (Credit Framework for online learning courses through SWAYAM) Regulations, 2016.

PART II

RECOGNITION PROCESS FOR OFFERING PROGRAMMES UNDER OPEN AND
DISTANCE LEARNING (ODL) MODE AND ONLINE MODE

3. Institutional Level Eligibility Criteria.─

(A) Open and Distance Learning Mode: Any Higher Educational Institution, may apply for offering programmes through the Open and Distance Learning mode, which fulfils the following conditions, namely:-

(i) shall be accredited by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council with minimum score of 3.01 on a 4-point scale;
or
having rank in top-100 in University category of National Institutional Ranking Framework, at least once in two preceding cycles (at the time of application):

Provided that the NAAC and NIRF Ranking requirements shall be valid for academic session 2020-2021 (session beginning July, 2020 and January, 2021) only and shall be reviewed subsequently by the Commission for the academic session 2021-2022 (session beginning July 2021) and onwards:

Provided further that in view of unprecedented circumstances due to COVID-19 pandemic, the Higher Educational Institutions recognised by the University Grants Commission to offer programmes in Open and Distance Learning mode till the academic session 2019- 2020 to enable them to reach the prescribed quality National Assessment and Accreditation Council benchmark and had submitted an undertaking to the effect that they will attain a National Assessment and Accreditation Council score of 3.26 on a 4-point scale before the end of academic session July 2019 – June 2020, and have also submitted an application to the National Assessment and Accreditation Council till 29 February 2020, shall continue to offer programmes, already recognised for the academic session 2019-2020, in Open and Distance Learning mode for a period of one year, academic session 2020-2021, starting from July 2020. Thereafter these Higher Educational Institutions shall be required to attain the eligibility mentioned at sub-clause (i) above:

Provided also that the NAAC condition mentioned above shall not be applicable to the Open Universities already recognised by the Commission for offering Open and Distance Learning Programmes for the academic year 2019-2020. These Open Universities shall be required to submit an affidavit that they shall obtain NAAC accreditation prior to the completion of the current recognition period, as specified in the Commission order already issued, failing which the Commission shall not accord further recognition to the programmes of such Open Universities under Open and Distance Learning mode:

Provided also that Open Universities not recognised by the Commission under UGC (Open and Distance Learning) Regulations, 2017 shall be required to obtain National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) accreditation within one year of their becoming eligible for accreditation by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), failing which the Commission shall not accord further recognition to the programmes of such Open Universities under Open and Distance Learning mode:

Provided also that an Institution Deemed to be a University under section 3 of the University Grants Commission Act, 1956 shall offer programmes in Open and Distance Learning mode in accordance with the extant Deemed to be University Regulations and also in compliance to the provisions of these regulations;

(B) Online Mode

  1. Higher Educational Institutions having NAAC score 3.26 and above or having rank in Top-100 in University category of National Institutional Ranking Framework, at least twice in three preceding cycles (at the time of application), shall be permitted to start full-fledged Online programmes without prior approval of the UGC, provided it satisfies all the conditions mentioned in these regulations: Provided that the Higher Educational Institutions can start maximum of three (03) Under Graduate (UG) programmes and ten (10) Post Graduate (PG) programmes with the approval of its statutory authorities and in strict compliance with the provisions of these regulations:
  2. Provided further that the NAAC and NIRF Ranking requirements shall be valid for academic session 2020-2021 (session beginning July, 2020 and January, 2021) only and shall be reviewed subsequently by the Commission for the academic session 2021-2022 (session beginning July 2021) and onwards:
    Provided also that Higher Educational Institutions shall be required to submit
    application and desired information, and comply to all the provisions of the regulations and shall be required to submit an affidavit to the UGC:
    Provided also, that in case, the Higher Educational Institutions want to start more than the defined number of programmes, then they shall seek prior permission from the Commission.
  3. Any Higher Educational Institution, may apply for offering programmes through the Online mode, which fulfils the following conditions, namely:-
  4. (i) shall be in existence for at least three years; and

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