KSOU fears technical panel report may affect recognition process

KSOU fears technical panel report may affect recognition process

As its fate hangs in balance, the Karnataka State Open University (KSOU) has decided to appeal to the K Ratna Prabha-headed technical committee to reserve its recommendations, until the University Grants Commission (UGC) takes a call on renewing recognition to the university.

The government’s recent move to set up the six-member committee headed by the senior IAS officer to explore the possibility of diverting KSOU’s funds of Rs 550 crore, aside from repatriating its faculty, has fuelled speculations that the university might face closure. “Constitution of the panel has become detrimental to KSOU’s recognition procedure, hampering its future prospects with the UGC,” KSOU sources said on the condition of anonymity.

While KSOU has been repeatedly seeking recognition for the year 2017-18, it has also applied before the UGC for grant of recognition for 2018-19. This comes amidst accusations that the cash-strapped government is trying to grab funds from cash rich varsities such as KSOU, Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences and Visvesvaraya Technical University.

KSOU Registrar K N Chandrashekar said that when the UGC was yet to announce its decision, it would be discriminatory on part of the committee to submit its report.

“The committee’s recommendations will definitely affect our recognition procedure. We will try and convince the committee to reserve its recommendations, and submit its report only after taking into consideration the UGC’s decision. As the UGC is still in the process of granting recognition, it would be unfair to arrive at a conclusion on whether or not to divert KSOU’s funds. If in case the committee recommends that the funds should be diverted, it is sure to influence the UGC’s decision,” he said.

Autonomous body

Chandrashekar also said that the transfer of funds would not be technically viable given that the university was an autonomous body. Also, the ultimate decision vested with the board of management and the Chancellor (governor).

KSOU has accrued the corpus fund over a period of two decades, which is utilised for payment of salaries, pensions and day-to-day functioning of the varsity.

On October 12, the government constituted the committee and asked it to submit a report in one month’s time.

As per the terms of reference outlined, the committee has been asked to examine: whether it is viable to depute the teaching and non-teaching faculty to other varsities temporarily; to terminate the contract of temporary employees; and to divert KSOU funds towards the construction of government engineering, diploma, polytechnic and other university buildings.

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