UGC bans degree courses in Agriculture through Open and Distance Learning but retains certificate and diploma courses

NEW DELHI: Universities can no longer provide degree programmes in Agriculture through distance learning mode following a restriction imposed by the University Grants Commission (UGC). The rule, however, will not restrict distance learning diploma, certification and postgraduate diploma courses.

The decision to ban degree programmes in agriculture was taken on the ground that the course work is technical in nature as it requires practical projects or laboratory courses.

“The blanket ban is only on degree programmes through Open and Distance Learning (ODL). It is not applicable on certificate, diploma and PG diploma programmes that are being offered by Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) and other institutes,” said MK Salooja, director, School of Agriculture, IGNOU. He adds that the short-term courses are crucial to impart skill-based education and are used for knowledge enhancement by students. “The need of distance education is high in our country as students in the interiors have limited access to resources. However, it is important for the institutes to maintain the quality of these courses,” says Salooja.

According to the UGC Open and Distance Learning Regulations, 2017, professional programmes such as medicine, engineering, architecture, nursing, dental, pharmacy and physiotherapy, are not permitted to be offered in distance learning mode since the courses require exhaustive laboratory training.