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UGC reforms: Edtech companies can partner with universities to develop online courses

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Edtech companies will soon be allowed to “collaborate” with institutes of higher learning offering online undergraduate and postgraduate degrees to help develop course content and conduct student assessment as part of a set of sweeping reforms planned by the University Grants Commission (UGC).

UGC Chairman, Mr. Jagadesh Kumar told the Indian Express on Monday that the proposed changes are aimed at encouraging greater flexibility for colleges and universities and harnessing the technological tools available with the tech industry. growing information.

“Through changes to the UGC (Open and Distance Learning Programs and Online Programs) Regulations 2020, universities and colleges offering online UG and PG programs will be allowed to collaborate with ed-tech platforms to develop course content and financial rules,” Kumar said. .

The draft amended regulations will likely be released to the public domain for suggestions and comments during the first week of March.

Kumar said the regulator also plans to allow top-rated autonomous colleges to offer online degrees starting in the 2022-23 academic session. Autonomous colleges that have been in the top 100 rank holders in the National Institute Ranking Framework (NIRF) twice in the last three cycles or have an NAAC ranking of at least 3.26 will be covered by the easings.

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

The initiative to formalize the involvement of the ed-tech sector in digital education comes at a time when the government is urging players in the sector to conduct their activities with more transparency.