and running of ODL programmes by deemed universities. It has been observed that the concern for quality has to be addressed through a comprehensive and effective regulatory mechanism and not by imposing bans. However, MHRD has not clarified its stand on these issues.
The government has also missed this golden opportunity to clarify certain other critical issues pertaining to the regulation of the ODL system, viz regulation of ‘non-technical’ institutes which are not regulated by UGC and AICTE, the legality of state universities offering ODL courses outside the state territory, the legality of franchising of education, etc.
Given the above, this regulatory overhaul appears inadequate. The dissolution of DEC is not the complete solution. The fate of millions of students using the ODL system is uncertain unless immediate sustainable reforms are carried out in the ODL system.
What is required is an ‘independent’ and ‘effective’ regulator, strengthening of the implementation and enforcement mechanism and a more efficient bureaucracy. The need of the hour is better coordination and consensus on major policy issues and not conflict among the regulators.
Rajat Mukherjee is a partner and Rupesh Mishra is a senior associate at Khaitan & Co in New Delhi. Views are personal