Saturday, October 09, 2010

Many distance learning courses not recognized: AICTE

Several courses offered by popular distance education institutions like Sikkim Manipal University (SMU) and Punjab Technical University (PTU) are unapproved, India's apex technical education regulator has warned students. The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has warned students across India to avoid these courses because degrees earned at the end of these programmes will be unrecognized. The AICTE Member Secretary has issued a public advisory recently, council member secretary D.K. Paliwal confirmed.

The decision came after the AICTE received several complaints from students and other stakeholders of institutions --- including SMU and PTU --- running technical education programmes through distance mode, the sources said. Thousands of students across India are enrolled in various distance education programmes offered by SMU and PTU, which are among the country's best known and most popular institutions for distance education after Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU).

AICTE Acting Chairman S.S. Mantha said the council under its policy approved distance education programmes only in MBA and MCA. "Any other programme offered through distance education has not been approved by us," Mantha said. SMU offers a slew of engineering, technology and hospitality-related programmes through the distance mode.
PTU also offers a B.Sc. in information technology.

Any institution can start a distance education course only after it is approved by a joint committee of the AICTE, University Grants Commission (UGC) and the Distance Education Council (DEC).

PTU Dean Dr. N.P. Singh, however, said the varsity had obtained approval from the joint panel. "The AICTE advisory is unwarranted as it will create confusion among them," he said. "We went through the entire process of applications. Our programmes were recognized by the DEC but face the AICTE's concerns because of technicalities which are not in our hands," SMU Academic Director V. Sivaramakrishnan said. Paliwal, however, told HT that at the last meeting of the tripartite committee, SMU and PTU requests for recognition to various programmes were rejected.

Source: Hindustan Times, October 9, 2010
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