SOL changing course

The year-long row between University Grants Commission (UGC) and Delhi University over the ‘different’ three-year degree being offered by DU’s School of Open Learning (SOL) is now threatening to take a new turn.

SOL, which offers honours degrees in both Arts and Commerce, may now be reduced to an institution giving diplomas and certificates only if sources are to be believed.

Apparently, DU authorities are doing this to justify SOL’s three-year deg­r­ee in annual mode, as oppo­sed to DU’s four-year degree in semester mode, to which UGC has repeatedly raised objections.

SOL is Delhi University’s distance education branch and takes in over 3.5 lakh students every year.

Even as DU changed its course structure and duration in the past few years, SOL managed to resist it citing shortage of staff and the vast number of students.

UGC’s Distance Education Bureau (DEB), which gives accreditation to SOL, however, has taken exception to this. As per DEB rules, the distance education branch of a varsity cannot offer a ‘different’ degree compared to its parent organisation.

UGC, sources say, had written to DU authorities as early as last year pointing out the discrepancy but no agreement could be arrived at.

As a result admissions in SOL have been deferred indefinitely. Sale of forms started on May 27 last year, but when Metrolife called up the director, SOL, Professor CS Dubey, enquiring about admissions, he replied, “We are still exploring (the dates).”

Information regarding secret meetings between DU officials and plans to change the nature of SOL itself seems to have leaked

out now that teachers in SOL are threatening to write tothe Ministry of Human Resource Development and even the PM.

A professor here, who did not wish to be named, said, “We are surprised that DU authorities can go to such extents to cover up their administrative lapses without even consulting us once.

SOL has been offering degrees equivalent to DU’s regular colleges for over 50 years now. SOL is half of DU in terms of our student intake. They are murdering an institution.”

Another teacher informed us on the condition of anonymity that “DU is soon planning an emergency meeting of its Academic Council to formally pass a proposal to change the nature of SOL’s degree offering.

This is so that nobody can object to DU’s justification to UGC when the news becomes public.”

“We are going to approach Smriti Irani who was a student of School of Open Learning and is tipped to be the next MHRD minister,” he threatened.

Another teacher comp­lained, “When I was appointed 30 years back, I was taken in as a teacher of a degree programme, not a diploma course. How can somebody change the terms of my appointment and tenure on the basis of a whim?”

When Metrolife contacted the Joint Dean of Students’ Welfare and Media Coordinator of Delhi University, Malay Neerav, he said, “These are all unconfirmed rumours. I have no information in this regard. I am in no position to either confirm or deny these.”
Metrolife called and texted several senior officials of the University Grants

Commission repeatedly but they chose not to respond.

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