Thiruvananthapuram: With the UGC insisting a National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) score of 3.26, not a single university from the state can run distance education courses.
As per the norms instituted by the Distance Education Bureau (DEB) of the UGC which came into effect recently, higher educational institutions which have valid accreditation of NAAC with minimum cumulative grade points average (CGPA) of 3.26 on a 4 point scale and have completed five years of existence are eligible to run.
However, this clause will not apply to open universities till the time they become eligible for NAAC accreditation, and it will be mandatory for them to get accreditation within a year.
In Kerala, even the Mahatma Gandhi University, which has the highest CGPA could only manage to secure 3.24 points or A grade. Others with A grade are Kerala University (3.03 CGPA), CUSAT (3.06), and Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit, Kalady, (3.03).
At present, Kerala University, Calicut University and Kannur University have been recognised by DEB to run distance education courses.
Under the grading system, institutions with CGPA 3.01 to 3.25 will get A grade, CGPA 3.26 to 3.50 A+, and 3.50 and above receive an A++ grade, sources said.
However, the new norms would not have an immediate effect as higher educational institutions which were given permission by the UGC to offer programmes in open and distance learning (ODL) mode for the academic session 2017-18 will be allowed to impart ODL education till the academic session 2019-20 to enable them to reach the prescribed quality NAAC benchmark.
However, as per regulations, all such higher educational institutions are required to apply again to UGC to seek recognition for offering ODL programmes from the academic session 2O18-19.