Team to assess possibility of regranting recognition to SDE
A University Grants Commission (UGC) team will hold a three-day inspection at the School of Distance Education (SDE) of the University of Kerala from Wednesday. The inspection is held to assess the possibility of reinstating the recognition for the SDE.
The team will be led by former Vice Chancellor of Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) H.P. Dikshit and will include UGC Additional Secretary P. Prakash, and Professors A.S. Narang and Jagat Bhushan. Besides the headquarters of the SDE at Palayam, the team will also visit the sub-centres in Kollam and Alappuzha.
The UGC had withdrawn recognition for the SDE during the 2015-16 academic year as the university failed to comply with a directive to shut down its learner-support centres.
The UGC directive had instructed universities in the country to refrain from offering programmes through the open and distance learning mode. The university, instead of submitting a mandatory affidavit, offered to furnish an undertaking that the directive would be implemented at the earliest. However, the proposal was turned down and the recognition for the SDE was annulled.
According to official sources, the SDE received over 1.5 lakh applications for its various programmes during the 2015-16 and 2016-17 academic years. The university admitted around 60,000 of them in the regular stream during the period. The remaining applicants, however, had to apply to self-financing colleges or private tutorial institutes.
The situation, which was seen as “an academic and a social setback,” had caused loss of revenue to the university, which stood to gain around Rs.18 crore a year by way of admission and course fees for around 25 SDE programmes.
In a bid to resolve the issue, A. Sampath, MP, and Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran, who was then a member of the Syndicate, had held talks with the officials of the UGC in February. A month ago, a team led by university Registrar M. Jayaprakas had delivered a presentation at the headquarters of the Distance Education Council, which regulates distance education programmes undertaken with UGC recognition. The university had withdrawn the recognition granted to around 110 learner support centres across the State, sources said.