New Delhi, 17 January 2022 – The University Grants Commission (UGC) and the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has issued a warning to Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) to cut ties with EdTech companies, as these companies are offering online/distance learning programmes under franchise arrangements, which is not permitted by the UGC.
UGC and AICTE state that EdTech companies are offering open and distance learning (ODL) and online programmes in association with UGC-recognised institutions and universities, which is not permissible. Therefore, these education bodies have released a notice warning educational institutions to cut ties with Edtech companies, otherwise strict action will be taken against these institutions.
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What is the Reason for UGC’s Warning?
- There are several Edtech firms in India that offer higher education courses like the Master of Business Administration (MBA), Business Management Studies (BMS), among others.
- These companies state that they offer these courses in association with UGC-recognized institutions.
- However, this has not been permitted by the UGC and institutions cannot allow firms to run online courses.
- As there is no way for UGC to keep a check on the quality of these courses, the commission has released a warning asking educational institutions to cut ties with these firms.
What does UGC’s Warning to Higher Education Institutions State?
UGC has warned that if colleges do not cut ties with Edtech firms, it will have to take action against these institutions.
As per UGC, “It has come to the notice of UGC recently that some EdTech companies are giving advertisements in newspaper/social media/television that they are offering degree and diploma programmes in ODL/online modes in association with some universities/institutions recognized/entitled by the UGC. Such a franchisee arrangement is not permissible and action will be taken against defaulting EdTech companies as well as HEIs under applicable laws/rules/regulations.”
According to a senior officer from AICTE, “Some universities and institutes are running programmes through edtech companies. Using a particular platform or a learning management system is different but many higher education institutes in India are outsourcing the running of their online courses to edtech firms. That kind of outsourcing or franchising is definitely not permitted.”
UGC Also Warns Students Against Edtech Firms
Along with releasing the warning, the commission has also asked students to check the recognition or entitlement status of online programmes before enrolling. Students are directed to use UGC’s Distance Education Bureau website before taking admission into these programmes.
This is because the website contains the official list of affiliated institutions. If there is an education programme offered that does not check out with the official website, students are advised to not register for such a programme.