Times of India
07 June 2010
By Manash Pratim Gohain
New Delhi, India
Physiotherapy courses, a major component of which is practical training and handson experience, will no longer be conducted through the distant mode of education. The University Grants Commission (UGC) in May banned all such professional programmes offered through the open and distance learning (ODL) mode.
The directive followed a Delhi high court ruling in April 2010 that correspondence/distance education programmes in physiotherapy should not be conducted by the institutions (against whom a case had been filed by the Indian Association of Physiotherapists (IAP) in 2004) except with prior consent of the approved statutory bodies.
On May 14, UGC deputy secretary V K Jaiswal wrote to the registrar of Amity University, Noida, that "further, Delhi high court in the matter IAP vs Union of India and others and vide orders dated January 3, 2007 prima facie opined that a professional course must also impart practical training and, therefore, professional courses should not be allowed to be imparted through the distance education system. Accordingly, UGC has decided that courses in physiotherapy at any level should not be conducted through distance education mode."
IAP general secretary Dr Sanjiv Jha said the association had filed the case primarily against three ‘erring’ universities – Allahabad Agricultural University, Allahabad; Janardan Rai Nagar University, Udaipur, and Sikkim Manipal University, Sikkim – in 2004. "In the US and UK, such courses have stringent norms. But institutes in India have started offering these without approval and through distance mode, thereby diluting the standards.
India has around 26,000 practicing physiotherapists. Although the HC order was specific to the three universities concerned, UGC issued a blanket ban on such courses through OLD mode.