Degrees obtained through online examinations conducted by universities offering open or distance learning will not be considered valid, as India’s higher education regulator says rules don’t allow such tests.
The University Grants Commission’s (UGC) distance education bureau has found several distance learning institutions and universities approved by the regulator are breaching rules by offering online examinations.
These institutions had agreed to conditions such as “no online programme leading to award of degree/certification … until a policy is framed and approved by the UGC”, says a commission’s letter to all open universities.
The country has tens of thousands of students studying various courses through open universities and institutes.
But the UGC doesn’t approve online examinations, contending that tests for a large group involves a host of complexities such as managing a foolproof system with a reliable network connecting the exam centres, and preparing question banks.
“UGC has not laid down any standard parameters,” the letters says, barring universities from conducting online examinations.
The Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), the country’s popular and pioneer institute in distance education, believes it is time to move towards online examinations.
“Regulations for conducting programmes online should be considered on a priority basis. A lot has changed in the past many years and we need to embrace technology in education too,” vice chancellor (in charge) Ravindra Kumar said.
“We can use our study centres where online exams can be conducted, which will bring in greater transparency too. UGC should come out with regulations for online exams soon.”
The vice chancellor said IGNOU has never conducted any online examination.