Recently Professor NR Madhava Menon, the founding Vice-Chancellor (VC) of my alma mater, the National University of Juridical Sciences (NUJS), Kolkata and one of the founders of the national law college (NLU) venture, surpassed away.
Few remember the fact that Professor Menon turned into also the writer of present-day rules governing open and distance studying (ODL) in India. Tragically, this legacy is being tarnished at NUJS, which has been a continual violator of ODL regulations of the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) and University Grants Commission (UGC) since 2008.
The regulatory framework
ODL in India acquired impetus with the status quo of IGNOU in 1985.
For nearly 3 a long time thereafter, IGNOU had the dual position of functioning as an Open University and additionally discharging the position of the countrywide regulator of ODL publications through its Distance Education Council (DEC).
Under the ‘Guidelines of DEC on Minimum Requirements for Recognition of ODL Institutions’ (DEC Guidelines), first posted in 2006, universities were required to comfy mandatory approvals to provide ODL and for each of the ODL courses that had been to be run. These DEC Guidelines were compulsorily applicable on all Universities, in terms of the Supreme Court’s 2009 judgment in Annamalai.
Following the Supreme Court’s judgments in Yashpal and Annamalai, the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) in August 2010 constituted the Professor NR Madhava Menon Committee to propose measures for sturdy law of ODL.
In December 2012, UGC became appointed the countrywide regulator of ODL (nontechnical guides). To effectuate this, IGNOU’s DEC becomes dissolved and its regulatory functions have been transferred to UGC’s Distance Education Bureau (DEB). The DEB adopted the DEC Guidelines to keep away from disruptions at some point of the transition section.
In 2016, the DEB advised that all on-line ODL courses were being run without its permission and those guides cannot be run till new rules are formulated. Later, the UGC notified the UGC (Open and Distance Learning) Regulations, 2017, and the UGC (Online Courses or Programmes) Regulations, 2018 (Online Regulations).
Recently, DEB’s Right to Information (RTI) response dated 16.04.2019 confirmed that no universities have been granted permission to run any online publications till the Online Regulations got here into effect in July 2018.
ODL courses run through NUJS
NUJS never had any approvals from the erstwhile IGNOU DEC or the UGC DEB for any of the ODL publications, but it persisted to run each offline (lacking approval) and online (blanketly prohibited) ones in view that 2008.
When NUJS’ apolitical student body, the Student Juridical Association (SJA) produced damning evidence before the 32nd NUJS Academic Council (AC), the individuals resolved to straightaway droop all such publications. This became subsequently ratified by way of the 61st NUJS Executive Council (EC), which had Justice Arun Mishra because of the then Chancellor’s nominee.
At the 61st EC, the gap training mess has become the commonplace topic for three separate inquiries; and the 62nd EC reiterated the ban following the SJA’s intervention and constituted a fourth, committed inquiry into the gap education mess, which NUJS is but to even convene.
There is likewise evidence to suggest that one of these allegedly worried, Ms. Vaneeta Patnaik is a founding Director in Effulgent Educators LLP, which sought to run a certificate direction in affiliation with NUJS. Interestingly, Ms. Patnaik made no disclosures concerning her affiliation with Effulgent Educators LLP to the University at any factor in time regardless of being a member (both gift and vote casting) of the twenty-ninth AC and the fifty-fifth EC conferences – whilst the difficulty of her Effulgent Educators LLP became mentioned.
This is to be mainly investigated via one of the aforesaid inquiries, as in line with the 61st EC.
Subsequent (In)action
Based on the evidence offered by way of the SJA, the sixtieth and 61st ECs affected an administrative rinse that added in a brand new Vice-Chancellor (Acting), Registrar (Acting) and Assistant Registrar (Administration).
To the scholars, it regarded that the Augean stables of NUJS could eventually get wiped clean underneath the watch of a venerable, retired decide of Calcutta High Court, Justice (Retd) Amit Talukdar. However, it is now an open secret that the aforesaid EC-instituted inquiries have long past nowhere.
While NUJS tiptoes round the gap schooling imbroglio, it faces numerous civil and arbitration suits inside the Calcutta and Delhi High Courts. Despite orders from the EC, Professor Anirban Mazumdar, Director, School of Distance and Mass Education (SDME), fobbed off the duty to correspond with distance education students on spurious “non-public” grounds.


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