The fate of tens of thousands of students who have earned their degrees through the Distance Education Council (DEC), seems to be at stake. Ever since the University Grants Commission (UGC) replaced the DEC – erstwhile regulator of distance learning programmes in India, such courses from institutes outside their states have been declared invalid. This move has led to a growing number of students seeking justice from various courses in an attempt to bag jobs and promotions.
The Subordinate Service Selection Board (SSSB), Punjab has recently advertised for vacancies to various posts. But, the Board confirmed that the appointments of more than 200 candidates were on hold till their graduation scores were approved by the UGC. It seems that most of the candidates have earned their graduation from various state and private universities outside their state. The degrees are mostly through the distance learning programmes that previously had the DEC approval.
The candidates eagerly waited for several months for a response from the SSSB. After the Board failed to come up with a valid response, five out of the total of 200 candidates moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court on July 02, 2014.
On August 07, 2014, the court issued a notice to the Punjab Government as well as the SSSB stating that the selection/appointment of less meritorious students of the petitioners would be at their own risk and responsibility and subject to the outcome of the writ petition.
In a similar case in Assam, the Guwahati High Court granted permission to six students to sit for a Cotton College State University exam conducted for a Masters Programme in Computer Application. Initially, the university had refused to honor their previous degrees in B. Sc. Information Technology through distance mode.
There is yet another case related to the status of distance learning course. This time, the fate of 30 junior assistants in the excise and taxation department in Punjab is on hold. Their promotions are at stake as they have bagged their graduation degrees from various institutes affiliated to state and private universities of other states.