Sam higginbottom distance education
PANAJI: University Grants Commission (UGC), in a circular issued on April 24, has announced that it has debarred the Sam Higginbottom Institute of Agriculture, Technology and Science (SHIATS), Allahabad, from offering open and distance learning programmes. Goa too had a study centre for SHIATS.
The circular states that SHIATS "has continuously violated the norms/guidelines/directives and UGC (Institutions Deemed to be Universities) Regulations, 2016, framed by UGC particularly on adherence of territorial jurisdiction policy".
"UGC has decided to debar SHIATS, Allahabad, from offering any programme through open and distance learning mode for a period of four years, from 2016-17 to 2019-20, " the circular stated.
The commission has also directed SHIATS not to admit any student in any of its distance education programmes during the debarred period.UGC has also warned students, "It is advised not to take admission in any course/programme of SHIATS, Allahabad, through distance education mode from the academic period of 2016-17 to 2019-20."
In October last year, a list released by UGC's distance education bureau revealed that there isn't a single institute in Goa authorized to run distance education programmes. In the UGC list, Goa is among the few states such as Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Himachal Pradesh and Jharkhand, where there are no institutes of higher education that have the permission to offer distance education courses.
This makes the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), headquartered in Goa, at Porvorim, the only authorized body to offer courses of higher education through distance mode in the state. IGNOU is an university set up through an Act passed by parliament.
Goa government has received several complaints in the past from students who have been duped by such 'institutes of higher education' in Goa, but authorities have been hiding behind the premise that they don't have a legislation in place to penalize such institutes.