We'll shut down KSOU if UGC doesn't renew its recognition: Rayareddy

Says 'unjust' derecognition imperilled students' fate, hints at new varsity

We'll shut down KSOU if UGC doesn't renew its recognition: Rayareddy

The state government will be forced to shut down the Karnataka State Open University (KSOU) and establish a new varsity in its place if the University Grants Commission (UGC) refuses to renew its recognition, Higher Education Minister Basavaraj Rayareddy said on Monday.

Speaking to journalists here, he said the government had appealed to the UGC to reconsider the decision but to no avail. He asserted that the withdrawal of the university’s recognition was “unjustified” as the fate of thousands of students was jeopardised, and blamed the UGC for the fiasco. The commission derecognised the KSOU retrospectively from 2013-14 by issuing a public notice on June 16, 2015.

Rayareddy said Karnataka had complied with all the recommendations of the UGC. Though Chief Minister Siddaramaiah wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 21, 2017, about the derecognition, Rayareddy said the Union Human Resource Development Minister, Prakash Javadekar, and the UGC chairman had refused to give him an appointment to set right the matter.

Karnataka is, however, undeterred and is making yet another effort, he said and added that he wrote to Javadekar again on October 4, requesting him to call a meeting with KSOU and UGC representatives under his chairmanship at the earliest.

“We have to find a solution. If the UGC continues to remain obstinate, we will have no other option but to close down the KSOU and create another university. It is the UGC’s fault that we are facing this problem,” he said.

According to Rayareddy, 15 KSOU buildings across Karnataka are lying vacant and around 900 employees are being paid salaries for the past three years though they do not have any work. The university is losing Rs 50 crore every year because of the derecognition, he said.

The minister further said that the committee under Additional Chief Secretary Ratna Prabha, which was looking into alternative options pertaining to the KSOU, would submit its report on November 15. Rayareddy expressed helplessness when asked about the steps taken by the government to tackle irregularities, corruption, nepotism and the deteriorating quality of education in all state universities.

He said he would try to push the Karnataka State Universities Bill, 2017, during the winter session of the legislature. Once enacted, it would give the government more powers over the universities, he added.

Rayareddy also attacked the Centre for not naming the Central University of Karnataka, Kalaburgi, after Dr B R Ambedkar despite repeated requests.

DH News Service

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