For the second year in a row, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has not recognised courses run by the Karnataka State Open University, one of the largest distance learning institutions in the State.
The UGC de-recognised courses run by the KSOU in June 2015 saying the varsity had violated the commission’s territorial jurisdiction. It had also signed memorandums of understanding with institutions outside Karnataka.
Bharath Lal Meena, Additional Chief Secretary, Higher Education, told The Hindu that he would meet UGC officials next week to request them to recognise courses as the future of lakhs of students were at stake. “Many students in the State, particularly those who are not able to pursue formal education, are unable to continue higher studies as the distance education programmes have been stopped,” he said.
This development has come as a bitter disappointment to the KSOU and the State government, who had initiated several “corrective” measures to ensure that the varsity get recognition this year.
In September, KSOU Vice-Chancellor D. Shivalingaiah had written to the UGC saying that all the issues raised by the UGC expert committee had been addressed. The State government had even amended the KSOU Act, 1996, to ensure that the varsity adhered to its territorial jurisdiction while running courses. Prof. Shivalingaiah was hoping that the UGC would grant recognition for the 2016-2017 academic year. “If they give us permission, we can conduct admissions even in November,” he said.
Vivek S., who works in a pharmacy and completed his II PU a decade ago, is hoping to pursue his under graduation through a distance education programme. “It is a pity that the university authorities are not acting quickly to get recognition for the courses. We are losing out on precious time as there is no other open university in the State,” he said.
The institutions that have been recognised by the Distance Education Bureau of the UGC to conduct distance education programmes for the 2016-2017 academic year in the State are IFIM Business School, Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana and National Law School of India University.