'Whims of fancies of KSOU authorities cause for crisis'

MLC alleges varsity ignored all guidelines and notices of UGC

'Whims of fancies of KSOU authorities cause for crisis'

The nonchalant attitude of the authorities concerned at the Karnataka State Open University (KSOU), here, during the last three years, is the reason that compelled the University Grants Commission (UGC) to discontinue recognition of programmes through open and distance learning (ODL).

According to MLC G Madhusudhan, who claimed to have collated the substantiating documents in a day, on June 19, the authorities concerned preferred to go ahead, according to their whims and fancies, even as the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development and State Higher Education department reminded them of the action needed on their part on several occasions.

In a last such letter (dated August 2, 2014) to Vice-Chancellor of KSOU M G Krishnan, Principal Secretary for State Higher Education Rajanish Goel had categorically instructed to file a detailed and succinct report within three days to the financial advisor of the UGC.

Goel had also asked Krishnan to take personal interest in sorting out the issue as the future of the students would be at stake. Moreover, it is s serious issue and may bring disrepute to the government.

According to Madhusudhan, who briefed media person, on Saturday, when Krishnan failed to clarify, death knell came in the form of a public notice served on June 16, 2015.

Three point notice

The three point notice under the heading ‘Karnataka State Open University, Mysore — Discontinuation of recognition of programmes through ODL mode’, gives a detailed account of reasons behind the action taken. It includes: The programmes offered by KSOU, Mysuru, has not been recognised by UGC beyond 2012-13.

This (notice) has been done after issue of a show cause notice on June 10, 2011, and after considering the response, including personal hearing of officials of the university. Moreover, the university has been offering engineering and programmes, despite clear directions of the Ministry of HRD, dated July 29, 2009, and Distance Education Council (DEC) letter dated August 13, 2009, and recent UGC public notice dated March 11, 2015.

Prior to this, Goel was compelled to write to the VC (as mentioned above), as the financial adviser to UGC, Upamanya Basu, had written to Chief Secretary Kaushik Mukherjee on May 21, 2014, itself. 

In his two page letter, with four points, Basu had drew his attention towards the series of correspondences between DEC and KSOU related to the alleged violation by the university on various counts. Basu had also cited that ‘offering MPhil and PhD programmes in distance mode is in violation of the UGC regulations of 2009 and franchising of study centres is not permitted’.

Corrective steps

Basu had concluded, “In the light of the above, I shall appreciate if the State government could intervene and prevail upon the university to take immediate corrective steps.... Accordingly, the degrees offered in distance mode by the university, pursuant to admission it has made in academic session 2013-14, cannot be treated as valid...”

So, the chief secretary had made a note on the letter, referred to HE (his excellency, the Governor), saying, “The matter is extremely serious and deserves immediate attention. If the department feels that HE (Chancellor) should be informed, it may do so”.

Moreover, in the year 2011, when the principal secretary to the governor sought legal opinion on the issues related to the university, the additional secretary to the government (opinion), Law, Justice and Human Rights department, Bengaluru, K D Deshpande, had observed as follows: “The matters involved in various provisions of the proposed statute viz, Karnataka State Open University (Academic Collaboration) Statutes, 2011, resolved by the Board of Management of the KSOU on April 21, 2011, cannot be said to be legal, valid and justifiable. Something more is required legally. The issue here was statutes related to giving permission to any institution of higher learning or studies.

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