The University Grants Commission and the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) on Friday issued a joint advisory against online PhD programmes offered by education technology (EdTech) companies in collaboration with foreign educational institutions.
The online PhD programmes are not recognised according to guidelines, as per a public notice issued by these controllers of technical and higher education.
The notice said, "In order to maintain the standards for awarding PhD degrees, the UGC has notified the UGC (Minimum Standards and Procedure for Award of MPhil, PhD degrees) Regulation 2016. It is mandatory for all higher educational institutions (HEIs) to follow UGC Regulations and its amendments for awarding PhD degrees.”
Instructing students not to be misled by the advertisements for online PhD programmes provided by EdTech firms in partnership with foreign educational institutions, the notice further stated, “Such online PhD programmes are not recognised by the UGC. Aspiring students and the public at large, are requested to verify the authenticity of PhD programmes as per UGC Regulation 2016 before taking admission.”
Officials at AICTE and UGC stated that various cases of students taking admissions in online PhD courses offered by EdTech companies in association with the foreign universities have come to their notice of late. “Therefore, a fresh notification has been issued to apprise students that neither UGC or AICTE recognise online PhD courses,” informed a senior official of AICTE.
Earlier in the year, both the AICTE and UGC issued a joint notice asking their recognised institutions and universities against offering courses in distance learning and online mode in collaboration with EdTech companies, saying no 'franchise' agreement is permissible according to norms earlier this year.
UGC has also exempted students pursuing PhD programmes from taking two academic degrees simultaneously as per its new regulation. Whereas, students from all other courses, including diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, will be allowed to pursue two academic programmes either in physical mode, open or distance mode as per guidelines issued in April.