However, this just reinstates Centre's rules for distance education

Supreme Court's decision to bar technical education through distance mode will not affect a large number of institutions as the number of institutions that run such courses is already miniscule, officials in the Ministry of Human Resource Development said.

SC on Friday ruled that technical education cannot be provided via correspondence courses. However, this just reinstates Centre's rules for distance education. As per Centre's rules, courses like Engineering, Medicine, Dental, Pharmacy, Nursing, Architecture, Physiotherapy, which fall under the category of technical courses are not allowed to be run through distance education mode.

Some institutions, however were still running the courses, which has now been barred by the SC with its latest ruling.

"Technical courses were already not being run through distance mode by institutions that are recognised by the regulatory authorities, the ones that had made a mistake and still offered those courses have also now been corrected by the Apex Court," said Chairman All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) Anil Sahasrabuddhe.

AICTE has proposed to run full-time technical courses in blended-learning mode under which theory could be offered through distance mode and when practicals have to be taken, the student would visit the campus. However, it is yet to be granted approval and whether this will be affected by SC's order or not will be seen only once the regulations are approved.

"Our plan to run these courses in blended model has not started yet, when regulations are framed for it, we will have to see if falls under the purview of those courses which are not allowed by the SC," added Sahasrabuddhe.

"The Supreme Court decision is not going to affect a large number of institutions as those who offer technical courses through distance mode are already very less. The number should be just one to two percent as University Grants Commission goes after such institutions from time to time," said a senior official in the Ministry of HRD.

The 'technical education' as defined under AICTE Act 1987, includes programme of education, research and training, engineering, technology, architecture, town planning, management, pharmacy and applied arts & crafts. The technical education system in the country, at present, offers technical education programs through conventional face to face mode of education.