In a crucial decision that might impact thousands of working professionals and current students pursuing technical education through correspondence course, Supreme Court has banned distance education in in technical education with immediate effect.
The Apex Court, however, also directed All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) to re-conduct test to validate the degree for all such students who pursued technical education through correspondence course till 2005. There is no respite for students who pursued technical programmes beyond 2005 and their degree will stand cancelled.
The order brings deemed Universities under lens as they offer Engineering courses to diploma holders.
The SC agreed with Punjab and Haryana High Court order that set aside Odisha High Court order which allowed deemed universities to offer technical education through correspondence mode.
After the SC order on banning technical courses through correspondence, the engineering degrees of students of four deemed universities — JRN Rajasthan Vidyapeeth, Institute of Advanced Studies in Education (IASE), Rajasthan, Allahabad Agricultural Institute (AAI) and Vinayaka Mission’s Research Foundation, Tamil Nadu, stand suspended.
The Court directed the AICTE to conduct test to validate such degrees obtained prior to 2005 by January 15, 2017. The affected students and professionals will get maximum of two chances to clear the test to save their degrees.
Candidates/ students will have the ‘choice’ of not writing the examination. These students would then be eligible to claim a full refund of the tuition fee from these institutes within a month of such claim. However, the degrees of these students would be summarily canceled and all benefits withdrawn.
In the meanwhile, the apex court has directed University Grants Commission – UGC to restrain such institutions from using the word ‘university’ within a month from now stating that this commercialization has seriously hampered the quality of education and it must be stopped.
Now onwards, any of the Deemed to be Universities cannot offer any distance education courses from Academic session 2018-19 until and unless they have specific permission to do so from the concerned statutory/ regulatory authorities in respect of each of those courses.
As per the experts, AICTE may come with GATE type of test to validate the degree of those who pursued such courses before 2005.