Patna varsity distance education courses stand derecognised

Representative imagePATNA: Patna University (PU)’s directorate of distance education (DDE), one of the oldest centres of distance learning in the country, is facing rough weather these days. All the courses being run by it stands derecognized by the Distance Education Bureau(DEB) of the UGC for the last one year.

PU vice-chancellor Ras Bihari Singh, who has earlier served as the VC of Nalanda Open University and gained considerable experience of distance education, has asked the DDE authorities not to admit fresh students in any course for the next batch until the courses were recognized by the competent authority once again.

“The DEB had not renewed its recognition to the PU’s distance education courses in view of certain shortcomings in course materials and also due to delay in submission of its application for the renewal,” said sources.

DDE director A K Singh is reportedly leaving for New Delhi in a day or two to meet the DEB officials and plead for restoring its recognition to the courses.

The VC regretted that PU’s DDE has become a victim of gross neglect over the years. Once it used to function as a parallel university, having over 25,000 students, but over the years its number of students has come down to less than 8000. No new job-oriented courses have been introduced by DDE in recent years, he said.

Singh pointed out that PU would soon have a separate examination cell to conduct the examinations of DDE students. Presently, DDE students are being allowed to take PU examinations along with regular students and they were getting the same degrees awarded by the university.

Singh said, “If properly managed, DDE can play a crucial role in augmenting the gross enrolment ratio in higher education which is much below the national average.”

He said once DEB restores its recognition to the DDE, several new courses would be introduced keeping in view their local relevance and job potential. The quality of study materials would be improved and the printed lessons would be given to students at the time of their admission itself. DDE’s lessons would not be printed outside in any private press, but the PU printing press would be revamped and strengthened to be able to print the study materials.

The DDE would also have its own building on Saidpur complex soon, he said.

Established as the Institute of Correspondence Courses in 1974, the DDE offers three-year degree courses in arts and commerce, besides postgraduate diploma courses in library and information science, journalism and mass communication, financial management, operations management and marketing management. Surprisingly, all the activities of DDE are being managed with less than 50 employees. The DDE is not only completely self-dependent, but also extends financial help to the fund-starved PU at the time of crisis.

This ‘milch cow’ of PU, however, faces an acute shortage of space for running its show smoothly. At present, located in a cramped portion of the old library building of PU, the DDE has hardly got any space to accommodate the huge rush of admission seekers.


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