The government is not against Ed-Tech companies; however, they can’t be allowed to delve into areas that aren’t their domain like providing degree courses and diplomas, according to All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) Chairman Anil Sahasrabudhe.
The feedback from AICTE chairman comes after the technical education regulator and University Grants Commission (UGC) warned universities and faculties towards providing programs in distance learning and on-line mode in affiliation with Ed-Tech companies, saying no “franchise” agreement is permissible as per norms.
“We are not against Ed-Tech companies, but they cannot be allowed to delve into areas that are not their domain. Norms are norms.”
“We have given approvals to universities and colleges to offer degree and diploma programmes but they are supposed to offer it on their own and not piggyback on private companies or outsource their job to any third party,” Sahasrabudhe told PTI in an interview.
He mentioned that after intently observing the companies, it was discovered that they had been instantly releasing commercials and had been providing programmes like MBA and MCA.
“These are postgraduate programmes in management and computer applications that can only be offered by universities and approved colleges. Top institutions in the country like the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) are also not allowed to offer management degrees, they offer diploma in management. How can we allow ed-tech companies to do so?” he mentioned.
The UGC and AICTE have also advised students and parents to check the recognition status of any programme on their websites before enrolling in any course.
“I am not undermining the importance of Ed-Tech companies which have emerged, especially start-ups from our approved colleges and universities. All of them have their own significance in terms of skilling and training and they can also issue certificates for the same but not degrees and diplomas.
“As far as universities are concerned, it is perfectly fine if they are using the platform of Ed-Tech companies for conducting classes or online exams but it cannot be beyond that and cannot be franchise agreement,” he explained.
The Education Ministry had earlier this month also issued an elaborate advisory to parents and students dealing with ed-tech firms asking them, among other things, to exercise caution while making payments.
The ministry had said that parents, students and all stakeholders in education have to be careful while deciding on opting for online content and coaching being offered by a host of Ed-Tech companies.