Apex Court’s decision to invalidate technical degrees obtained via correspondence education has raised some very serious questions about the modus operandi of country’s education system and the authorities meant to regulate & flourish it.

Cancellation of Technical Degrees via correspondence by Supreme Court

Last week Supreme Court of India has cancelled the technical degrees (Engineering, Information Technology etc) obtained via correspondence or distance education mode by the students of few Deemed universities obtained between the years 2001-2016. Batches enrolled between years 2001 to 2005 have been considered to write a special aptitude test (on the lines of GATE) to be conducted by All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) to redeem the qualification / degree obtained while students from 2006 batch onwards are now as good as school pass outs.

Court’s decision is on the ground that technical degrees can’t be offered / obtained through distance education mode and also not without the prior approval of higher education watchdogs like UGC & AICTE; which may be a valid point. But, this issue is not simple as just a case of teaching pedagogy or some approval conflict. The bigger question is why the statutory authorities meant to regulate & promote country’s higher education (UGC, AICTE and State Education Departments) remained deaf for so many years when this so called “illegal” distance education market was flourishing, why the Apex Court not these authorities took any decision at the right time to shut down such courses. Answer is as clear as that these authorities were very much part of the fraternity which had encouraged & approved this entire system.

Consider a class 12th passed student aspiring for higher education, is it the responsibility of the student to check whether courses run by the universities (setup through state legislatures or awarded “deemed to be university” status) are in sync with the vision & futuristic approval of regulatory bodies. No, it is the sole accountability of these regulators to see that no university can offer anything which is illegal & against the interest of the students.

Now, since apex court has given re-testing opportunity to the students of few pass-out batches to redeem their qualification but there may be many graduates those might have changed their streams in higher education or many are in different professions. In such a scenario, it is worth to consider that how the students will pass the proposed GATE like AICTE re-test. Forget such degree holders, even an IIT graduate after doing MBA from IIM & few years of job, can pass any re-test to redeem / validate his / her IIT engineering degree, may or may be not. Therefore such an arrangement for distance education students can be a disaster.

Appeal to the Honorable Supreme Court

Considering the confusion of statutory rights among regulatory bodies and universities that were offering such courses and also lack of clear guidelines about the distance education system during the years, students should be given protection along with at par validity to their degrees / qualifications obtained without any re-test.

With this move let us re-validate our philosophy of

“Let a hundred guilty be acquitted, but one innocent should not be convicted”

 

Update-1

In continuation to the above development, AICTE on 02nd December 2017 has advertised for the re-testing of all the engineering degrees, diplomas awarded to the students by the mentioned deemed universities via distance / correspondence mode. Last date to apply for this “special” test is 15.01.2018

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