KSOU 'tweaked' rule for VIPs to write PhD entrance

Umashree, Ravi allowed to write test despite not fulfilling criteria

KSOU 'tweaked' rule for VIPs  to write PhD entrance

A decision by the Karnataka State Open University (KSOU) to accommodate candidates who haven’t completed their graduation for PhD entrance has given rise to suspicions that it was aimed at accommodating a few influential persons.

During the 26th Academic Council meeting of the KSOU, on November 25, 2013, it was decided to select candidates who have directly completed their post-graduation, without doing graduation, for PhD entrance, ‘only for 2013-14’.

Sources said that the decision was made for the benefit of a few individuals, including Kannada and Culture Minister Umashree and former higher education minister C T Ravi, who had applied for the PhD programme in political science during the same year.

Both graduation and post-graduation were mandatory for a candidate to appear for PhD entrance, as per recent regulations of the University Grants Commission (UGC).It is said that both Umashree and Ravi have not completed their graduation, but completed their postgraduation in 2011 and 2012, respectively, in KSOU.

Another lapse

In another lapse by the Karnataka State Open University, question papers for PhD entrance examination were framed without constituting a Department Council. The lapse was taken cognisance of during the 26th Academic Council meeting, months after the entrance examination was held.

When contacted, KSOU Vice-Chancellor M G Krishnan said, such decisions have been made in other universities too. To a question on why the decision was made only for 2013-14, he said, he did not recall the decisions taken in the meeting and asked to contact the Registrar (Evaluation), K J Suresh.

However, despite repeated attempts, Suresh was not available for comment.

‘Unprecedented’

Former vice-chancellor of Bangalore University M S Thimmappa said such decisions are ‘unprecedented’.

“Universities cannot frame laws to be applicable for the current academic year. A law is framed for a particular period, which is amended when changes are required,” he said.

‘Strange’ laws

He said that it was likely that the UGC or the Distance Education Council might object to such ‘strange’ laws.

The KSOU had reduced the percentage of marks required to qualify for viva-voce in PhD entrance test from 50 to 40, which had helped Umashree who had scored only 43 marks in the entrance examination.

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