New Delhi: Open and Distance Learning (ODL) is passing through a difficult phase and Indian universities need to establish their credibility in the area, Rash Bihari Prasad Singh, Vice Chancellor, Nalanda Open University said here today.

“ODL is passing through a difficult phase and we (Indian universities) need to establish our outstanding credibility in the area. ODL should provide more choices and besides, academic focus, sports and cultural activities should also be promoted,” he said at the 5th conference of Vice Chancellors of Open Universities at IGNOU.

Nageshwar Rao, Vice Chancellor, IGNOU said at the conference, “we are working hard to increase the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in Indian open universities by improving the quality of education. We are reaching out to the marginalized and weaker sections of the society at a very low cost”.

During the conference, the Vice Chancellors pondered over the pressing issues faced by ODL, like autonomy of distance learning institutions, the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) and assessment and accreditation system of ODL in Higher Education and Choice Based Credit System (CBCS).

“Unlike conventional universities, ODL institutions are restricted to start new courses and to offer professional programmes in engineering, law, education. This is in spite of MHRD categorically stating that degrees from ODL and classroom study have equal value,” Rao said.

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