UGC reforms: Edtech firms can tie up with universities to develop e-courses

Edtech companies will soon be allowed to “partner” with higher education institutions offering undergraduate and postgraduate degrees online to help develop course content and evaluate students under a series of sweeping reforms planned by the University Grants Commission ( UGC).

UGC chairman M Jagadesh Kumar told The Indian Express on Monday that the proposed changes aim to encourage greater flexibility for colleges and universities and leverage the technology tools available in the fast-growing ed-tech sector.

“Due to changes in the 2020 UGC (Open and Distance Learning Programs and Online Programs) regulations, universities and colleges offering online RUG and PG programs will be allowed to partner with ed-tech platforms to develop course content and financial regulations,” said Kumar .

The amended draft regulations are likely to be placed in the public domain for suggestions and feedback in the first week of March.

Kumar said the regulator also plans to allow leading autonomous colleges to offer online degrees from the 2022-23 academic session. Autonomous colleges that have been among the top 100 rank holders in NIRF (National Institute Ranking Framework) twice in the last three cycles or have an NAAC rating of at least 3.26 are subject to the easing.

Currently, only universities and their constituent colleges that meet these criteria are allowed to offer online degrees. Currently, 59 universities offer 120 UG, 29 PG and two PG degrees online, of which 15 percent are science subjects, 50 percent business administration and 35 percent humanities.

The initiative to formalize the ed-tech sector’s involvement in digital education comes at a time when the government has urged industry players to do their business more transparently.

Sajal Jain
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