Millennium Post

RBU in fix over UGC directive on distance education, to seek one-year extension

Kolkata: A recent directive of the University Grants Commission (UGC) that examination for 50 percent of the subjects taught in distance mode should be conducted along with the examination for regular subjects from this year, has landed Rabindra Bharati University (RBU) in a spot of bother.

The varsity will write to the UGC, seeking extension for setting up infrastructure to conduct examinations in regular and distance mode together.

"We have no affiliated colleges, so there is always a space crunch. The examinations for our distance mode are held during holidays in the varsity or on Sundays. The admission process in distance mode has already been completed for this year and it is nearly impossible for us to make arrangements for holding examinations of regular subjects and 50 percent of the subjects in distance mode at the same time. We will write to UGC to consider their directive and give us at least a year more for setting up this infrastructure," said RBU Vice-Chancellor Sabyasachi Basu Ray Chaudhury.

RBU has as many as 44 study centres in the state, from Alipurduar in North Bengal to the Sunderbans in South 24-Parganas and every year, nearly 20,000 students seek admission in distance mode.

It may be mentioned that new regulations of UGC's Distance Education Bureau will not come into effect for Bengal before the academic session 2019-20, for which the universities need to be accredited by NAAC.

However, NAAC is yet to finalise the guidelines for universities that offer dual mode education.

"We are still not aware whether we will have to submit our self study report for NAAC accreditation separately for regular and distance mode or together," a senior official of Vidyasagar University said.

Apart from RBU, Kalyani University (KU) and Vidyasagar University (VU) also offer education in regular as well as in distance mode.

UGC's regulation in the month of February 2018 had stated that only institutions with NAAC grade A plus (score of 3.26 or above on a scale of 4), would be permitted to offer programmes through distance mode.

However, after the intervention of state Education minister Partha Chatterjee, the UGC in April 2018 extended its regulation for distance education in Bengal till the academic year 2019-20.

"We are preparing ourselves for improving academic standards and infrastructure and are hopeful of getting NAAC nod for distance mode studies," a senior RBU official said.

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