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Educational institutions can no longer partner with EdTech platforms to offer online degrees and diplomas

The UGC and AICTE reiterated the ground rules for offering online programmes, amid rising scrutiny of EdTech platforms.

The University Grants Commission (UGC) and the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) have both issued notices ordering higher educational institutions to stop offering online diplomas and degrees in partnership with EdTech companies. This is the latest attempt to rebuke the EdTech industry after Congress MP Karti Chidambaram brought up the predatory practices of EdTech companies in the Parliament in December, which was quickly followed by the Education Ministry issuing an advisory warning citizens to be careful while availing services of these companies. This reproach by the two top governing bodies of higher education harms the reputation of the programmes offered by edtech companies, which derive authenticity through partnerships with recognised institutions. "Some universities and institutes are running programmes through edtech companies. Using a particular platform or a learning management system is different but many higher education institutes in India are outsourcing the running of their online courses to edtech firms. That kind of outsourcing or franchising is definitely not permitted," an officer from AICTE told Economic Times. What did UGC and AICTE say? UGC approval required for offering online programmes: Both the notices pointed out that Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs) must first and foremost get UGC approval for offering Open and Distance Learning (ODL) programmes and online programmes. The approval comes with the stipulation that institutions do not enter into a franchise agreement: Secondly, the UGC grants approval for ODL and online programmes according to the UGC (Open and Distance Learning Programmes and Online Programmes) Regulations, 2020, which mandates that institutes should…

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