Scores of graduates lose a year as KSOU delays marks cards

Scores of graduates lose a year as KSOU delays marks cards

It has been over 10 months since the Karnataka State Open University (KSOU) conducted examinations for undergraduate courses, but scores of students who passed the exam have lost a precious academic year as they have not yet received the marks cards.

The university, which spent crores of rupees on the examination and admission process, has claimed that marks cards of “only 4,000” students were delayed because of problems in valuation of Sociology and Hindi papers.

Students say they could not secure postgraduate admissions as they did not have the marks cards. The problem is, however, not limited to non-receipt of marks cards. Students complain they faced problems at every juncture of the examination process during the academic year 2013-14 — right from getting the hall tickets.

Sashikumar T S, a primary schoolteacher from Kushalnagar taluk in Kodagu district, was among students who wrote the BA exams in March 2013. The results were announced in July, 2013, but marks cards are yet to arrive.

Sashikumar said he struggled to get admission for MA even at the KSOU. “The university itself rejected my application as I didn’t produce the marks card. I had to make a complaint that it is the university’s fault. Only then could I complete the admission process,” he told Deccan Herald.

He said he was also unable to enrol in the service registry. “This year, not only has the admission fee gone up, getting an acknowledgment for the same has also become tedious. It’s nothing but a money-making scam,” he said.

A BA student from Bangalore, who took up the distance education course, said she missed the BEd exams in December as she did not have marks cards. Veena J T, another teacher, said she was “forced” to enrol in MA at the KSOU, although she preferred another university. “No other university will admit you to a postgraduate course without the marks card,” she said. “But the admission process at the KSOU was equally harrowing.”

‘Irrevocable’ MoU

The problems surfaced after KSOU outsourced the process, in a conflict of interest.
The university floated an e-tender on August 28, 2012, and awarded the work order for ‘Integrated Web Based System’ to one of its collaborative institutes, the Institute of Engineering and Management (IEM), Thane, Maharashtra.

On October 31, 2012, under the chairmanship of the then vice-chancellor, the admission and examination fee was fixed at Rs 270 per student. Earlier, the examination fee was Rs 30. An “irrevocable” Memorandum of Understanding was signed with the firm in this regard for three years. The firm was assigned the complete responsibility of examination and admission procedure, including development of software, printing of admission forms, answer books, and question papers.
The varsity paid IEM Rs one crore as ‘Mobilisation Fund’ on November 28, 2012. Annually, the KSOU will end up paying IEM over Rs seven crore.

These decisions were taken by the then V-C towards the end of his tenure, which is in violation of the State government order that no financial or policy decisions should be taken by the outgoing V-C during the last six months of his/her tenure.

Interestingly, despite outsourcing the examination procedure, the KSOU again invited tenders on September 27, 2013, from “reputed printers” for supply of marks cards for 2013-14 examinations at Rs one crore. The varsity’s board of management, however, spiked the proposal, said K J Suresh, Registrar (Evaluation), KSOU. “We wanted non-tearable, fire-resistant quality marks cards. But since IEM was already in the picture, the proposal was withdrawn.”

Suresh claimed the varsity had despatched marks cards to all students. “There were some teething problems with IEM, but everything has been streamlined now. The valuation of sociology and Hindi papers was delayed, and only these students have been affected. Of the 1.25 lakh students who wrote the exams in March-April, marks cards to about 4,000 students were delayed because of various reasons,” he claimed.

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