Following directions from the University Grants Commission (UGC), Himachal Pradesh University (HPU) will now have to close all its study centres for distance learning outside the state.

UGC has prohibited state and private universities from establishing centres outside their territorial jurisdiction. This will not only mean loss of enrolment for various courses offered by the International Centre for Distance Education and Open Learning (ICDEOL) of the HPU but also leave students harried.

Every year, over 1,000 students from outside HP seek education through the ICDEOL for which the HPU has centres primarily in Delhi, Noida and Chandigarh. Now, those students will have to come to Shimla for the personal contact programme (PCP) classes and exams, as the centres will not be able to conduct any academic activities.

This will also mean monetary loss — for instance, HPU had in 2008 constructed a building at Rs 8 crore for a Learning Resource Centre, ICDEOL, at Noida, and also hired staff.

“We are bound by the directions of the UGC,” said ICDEOL director PK Vaid said, “However, there is no binding on admissions to ICDEOL courses from any part of the country, provided they take their exams and PCP classes at the study centre in Shimla or other centres within Himachal Pradesh.”