UGC derecognises KSOU courses over violation of norms

UGC derecognises KSOU courses over violation of norms

The fate of more than 4 lakh students pursuing various courses at the Karnataka State Open University (KSOU), Mysuru, is at stake with the University Grants Commission (UGC) on Thursday discontinuing recognition of all the courses offered by the varsity from the year 2012-13.

The UGC issued a public notice in this regard on Thursday. Students pursuing in-house courses like BA, BCom, MA, MCom and others will also be affected as their degrees will not be recognised by other universities. The action will also hit job seekers.

The varsity has come under the scanner for offering professional and technical courses like BE, BTech, MTech, diploma in engineering, apart from several medical and paramedical courses, despite not being permitted to do so. A CID probe had also been initiated for offering medical and paramedical courses through distance mode during the BJP tenure.

This is the third such public notice by the UGC in the recent past. It had issued a similar notice on June 27, 2013, and on March 11 this year. The commission, which has put up the notice on its website, has contended that despite clear directions from the Ministry of Human Resource Development, dated July 29, 2009, Distance Education Council’s notice dated August 13, 2009, and its own notices, the varsity has continued offering the programmes, including engineering courses.

“The general public, students and other stakeholders are cautioned through the public notice against the wrong publicity by the university about its territorial jurisdiction and about the validity of the recognition of its programmes, including technical/professional programmes. Taking admission to such programmes may jeopardise the career of the students in view of the absence of recognition of the programmes by UGC,” the notice reads.

The varsity is offering close to 500 courses (including in-house), in collaboration with institutions, entities, coaching centres spread across the country and abroad through distance mode. Stating that it had first issued a show-cause notice to the KSOU on June 10, 2011, UGC states that the varsity has “blatantly violated” norms, guidelines and directives issued by it and the Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi.

“The varsity has remained undeterred and continues offering the programmes, in violation of the territorial jurisdiction,” it added.
When contacted, KSOU Vice-Chancellor M G Krishnan said he would file an appeal against the UGC notice either in the High Court or the Supreme Court, based on the legal advice. He said that as per the Sikkim High Court judgment, the UGC had no power to intervene in the affairs of any university. “Including Kuvempu university, varsities like Annamalai, Sikkim-Manipal, GITAM, Bharathidasan, have transgressed the component of territorial jurisdiction. It looks like the KSOU is being singled out and targeted,” he added.

Higher Education Minister R V Deshpande said the UGC has not discontinued recognition to the courses offered by the KSOU, and that it had merely served a notice. “Open universities can’t offer technical or professional courses, nor can they open study centres outside the State. I have raised this matter in the KSOU board meetings, but the varsity had defended its move,” he added.

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