UGC de-recognizes Mumbai University Distance Education Program

Mumbai University Distance Education -The University Grants Commission has de-recognised the Mumbai University Distance Education Program. According to an NDTV report, the distance programme offered by the University of Mumbai is no longer recognized by UGC. The Distance Education Bureau, UGC released the list of approved Distance Education Institutes and their corresponding courses for the academic year 2018-19 on October 3, 2018. By the time the file was released, several Open Universities and Distance Education departments had completed the admission process. Students who have taken admission into such programmes and institutes which are no longer recognised by UGC are now in a fix, noted the report.

Impact

Several students who enrolled into distance education program offered by the Institute of Distance and Open Learning (IDOL) of the University of Mumbai have been sent in a lurch; the report pointed out. Quoting Mumbai Mirror, the report said that the Mumbai University Distance Education Program lost its recognition apparently due to its lack of NAAC grade. Citing the daily, the NDTV report further noted that the University had completed admission process to the distance education courses on October 30, this year, which poses the question as to why the University went ahead with the admission process when UGC had de-recognised its distance program.

De-recognition

It’s not just IDOL, Mumbai University that has lost its recognition. As opposed to 118 Open Schools and Universities that were recognized by UGC in the list released in 2017, there are only 75 universities in the list published in 2018, the report said and added that there was no word form UGC yet about the plight of these students and what steps could be taken to rectify the mistake and not allow one academic year to go into waste for these students.

As per the official website of the varsity mu.ac.in, the introduction of Correspondence Courses in the Mumbai University was in the year 1971-72. Primarily, the University was established for the benefit of students who would have otherwise been deprived of the access to higher education. The Annual Report of the University for the year 1970-71, submitted by the Syndicate to the Senate, states as follows.

Correspondence Courses

The Syndicate, at its meeting held on September 26, 1970, considered proposal made by AN Namjoshi, a member of the Syndicate, that the possibility of introducing Correspondence Courses and External Degree Courses at the University for the benefit of a large number of Students who cannot avail themselves of the facilities of Morning/Evening classes, be explored. The suggestion was referred by the Syndicate to the Academic Council, and the Council appointed a committee to consider it.

The Academic Council, at its meeting held on March 24, 1971, approved the report of its Committee and recommended to the Syndicate, among other things, as follows:

  • Correspondence Courses in the Faculties of Arts and Commerce, with English as the medium of correspondence, instruction and examination, be started from June 1971 for the First Year Arts and Commerce examinations and progressively after that up to the graduate level
  • Enrolment is restricted to persons residing within the University area viz. Greater Bombay
  • Eligibility requirements, the curricular content, the mode of examination and the Degree to be awarded be the same as for the regular day student of the University
  • The recommendation has been accepted by the Syndicate

The Correspondence Courses were, then introduced in the University with a vocabulary as “The Directorate of Correspondence Courses” for which correspondence instructions were to be given at the First Year Arts and First Year Commerce Examination to be held in the first half of the year 1972. Initially, it started with the meagre registration of 845 students which has grown up to a staggering figure of about 69,792 students in the year 2008 2009.

Principal AN Kothare was the first Director. Through his devotion and dedication, he nurtured and nourished the infant institution to lay down a stable formation.

The Directorate of Correspondence Courses was up-graded as ‘Directorate of Distance Education’, in 1985. Dr Kishore Valecha was the first full-time Director appointed by the University. With the up-gradation, the jurisdiction of Directorate was extended to cover the entire country. Earlier, the enrolment was restricted to persons residing within the University area. With the extended jurisdiction, registration showed a rising trend.

Dr Valecha endeavoured to bring about improvement and reforms by the recommendations of the UGC. He did achieve measurable success.  Right from its inception, till the time of Dr Valecha, the going was good for the Mumbai University. Apparently, over the years, people at the help lost focus and made a prestigious institution to the present embarrassing situation is nothing but unfortunate, one of the officials in the varsity who did not want to be named lamented.

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