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Hyderabad Urdu varsity chancellor protests UGC 'blocking' distance learning course

By Our Representative 

Known to be close to BJP and dubbed Modi man, Firoz Bakht Ahmed, chancellor, Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU), Hyderabad, has strongly protested against the University Grants Commission (UGC), a Government of India body responsible for coordinating, determining and maintaining of standards of higher education, for blocking MAANU’s Directorate of Distance Education (DDE) from applying for the recognition of its courses.
In a letter to UGC, Ahmed said, “DDE at MANUU is the flagship department of the university and was created at the time of the inception of the university after its blue print was given by Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee -- the doyen of communal concord”, adding, “The university is recognised through this particular unit which has always been catering to thousands of students in remote areas all over the country.”
Ahmed said, as per the UGC notification dated September 04, 2020, open distance learning (ODL) courses require a minimum National Assessment And Accreditation Council (NAAC) rating of 3.01 to run the distance education courses. “MANUU had secured a decent grade of 3.09 when it was accredited by NAAC in 2016 which was based on its good performance in the previous five years corresponding to the 2010-15 phase in particular. As per the new parameters, this score is sufficient to run the ODL courses”, Ahmed said.
Asking UGC to allow MANUU to apply for recognition of ODL courses “for the sake of the cause of the nation and education and the well-being of the university” for 2021-22 “so that the main stakeholders, the students do not face any hardship or loss of time in their academic schedule and career in life” Ahmed said, “The institution caters to students from the humbler cross sections of our social strata”. He added, if the recognition is not granted, “it might mean devastation and disaster for thousands of lives of the budding citizens of India.”
Ahmed happens to be grand nephew of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, well-known freedom fighter close to Gandhi and Nehru and India’s first education minister. He was appointed MANUU chancellor under controversial circumstances in 2018.

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