In what appears to be a blow to educational technology companies, the University Grant Commission (UGC) and the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) have discredited their online doctoral programs offered in collaboration with overseas universities. The move would negatively impact major edtech players such as Upgrad, among others. “It will surely reduce the revenue generated by ed-tech companies,” said Dipak Jha, CEO of Gurusiksha.com.
The move comes amid the central government’s warning to e-tech companies against unfair trade practices. The government is believed to be working on a regulatory framework for ed-tech platforms, Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister for Education, Skills Development and Entrepreneurship, had announced during an online event of the AICTE in January 2022. “The policy is still under deliberation,” said sources familiar with the development. “Regulators should come up with a solution for working professionals whose last resort for pursuing higher education is online support,” said Gaurav Bhatia, CEO of RISE.
Online education has emerged as an alternative amid the COVID-19 pandemic and continues to grow in prominence both in industry and among learners due to the flexibility it offers. In addition, degrees such as the doctorate also came under his wing. “There can be no shortcuts to a doctorate, it’s not a cup of tea. Institutes must follow proper procedure to award such degrees otherwise they lose their authenticity and value,” said Prabudhha Ananda, Associate Professor at Delhi University, adding that the bullish approach of some education technologies aiming to make a profit at all costs has led to deterioration. in the quality of education.
Moreover, Indian higher education regulators have raised serious objections to this. According to the notification of UGC and AICTE, providing a doctoral program in online mode undermines the standard and procedure for awarding these degrees. It violates the UGC Degree Regulation Act 2016. The regulator has warned students not to fall prey to advertisements promising online doctoral programs offered by educational technology companies in conjunction with overseas educational institutions. According to him, these online doctoral programs are not recognized by the UGC. “It was the responsibility of Indian ed-techs and foreign academic collaborators to establish strict quality control criteria and the rigor required for a PhD program,” explained Anubhi Prakash, GatewayAbroad.
In accordance with UGC guidelines, not all of its higher education institutions are permitted to offer courses in distance learning and online mode in association with ed-tech companies. Moreover, even if the new education policy allows to pursue two university degrees simultaneously, this option is not valid for doctoral students. Students in all other courses such as undergraduate, postgraduate or diploma programs can pursue dual degrees online or offline.
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