Panel suggests independent authority for higher education standards
New Delhi – A committee named to draft rules on distance education on Thursday suggested setting up of an independent authority through an act of Parliament to regulate the standards of higher education.
It is likely to be called the Distance Education Council of India (DECI), which could eventually subsume with the Higher Education and Research Bill when it is passed.
However, as the enactment of the legislation could take some time, it has suggested that DECI could be set up as an interim body through necessary directions.
“First of all, the interim authority shall evolve systems related to development of programme specific quality benchmarks in respect of all relevant parameters, system for on line application and processing, and disclosure of relevant information on the website of the institution and development of quality self learning material etc,” the committee said.
It should also evolve a credible system of counseling, evaluation of assignments and examination.
Once the systems are in position, DECI and UGC may start the recognition of open and distance learning institutions according to the newly developed system and enforce norms and standards laid by it in the recognised institutions, it suggested.
Contribution of open distance learning to Gross Enrolment Ratio in higher education is about 22 per cent at present.
The committee was set up under the chairmanship of N R Madhava Menon against the backdrop of the distance education council coming under the purview of UGC from IGNOU through an execute order of the government.