Enrolment for distance programs declines in Tamil Nadu after UGC’s 2018 laws

Enrolment into distance training programs run by State establishments, which declined after the University Grants Commission’s (UGC) 2018 laws, has hit a brand new low after the pandemic.
Officials and school members from these establishments say that stopping college students from exterior the establishment’s respective State to use, has not solely decreased enrolment but additionally lowered selection for college students and harm wholesome competitors amongst establishments.

The regulation mandates that each one actions of upper training establishments together with admission, counselling periods, contact programmes, and examinations are to be strictly performed inside the territorial jurisdiction of the varsity. On the opposite hand, Central establishments just like the Indira Gandhi National Open University and technical institutes that don’t fall beneath the purview of the UGC, would not have jurisdictional restrictions.

According to information accessed by Express, the Institute of Distance Education (IDE), University of Madras, had over 36,000 admissions in 2017-18. But in 2018-19, it dropped to 17,051 and 23,269 in 2019-20. “We had many niche courses like cyber forensics, Saiva Siddhantham and Tamil literature that were not available in most other institutions. While there is a general reduction in enrolment, the niche and speciality courses of the university which attracted students from other states and even abroad have been hit,” mentioned Okay Ravichandran, Director, IDE, University of Madras. 

Meanwhile, PE Thomas, the director answerable for the School of Distance Education in Bharathiar University mentioned that the varsity had supplied over 190 programs within the distance mode earlier than 2018, whereas they presently run simply 72 programs, of which solely 30-odd programs have good enrolment. “We had over 38,000 admissions in 2014-15 at our peak.

Since 2018, our enrolment staggers between 15,000-18,000,” he said. A senior official from Annamalai University too said there has been a drop in enrolment, but said it was due to the pandemic. “Registrations dropped considerably after the pandemic. With respect to laws, now we have fought legally. Therefore, we proceed taking courses on-line for many who registered for a distance training programme,” the official mentioned.

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A senior college of distance training, on situation of anonymity, mentioned that the restrictions lowered college students’ capability to decide on a course from the establishment that specialises in a topic and concurrently lowered a wholesome competitors between establishments to give you higher content material.

Another regulation, which requires establishments to run the course in common mode for a minimum of two years earlier than launching it, prevents establishments from exploring interdisciplinary fields, the school mentioned. “The UGC wants us to launch innovative courses that are in demand in the market. Take data science for example. We have distinguished faculty in computer science and statistics who can run the course. But we cannot do that because we do not have a data science department that has functioned in regular mode for two years,” he mentioned.

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