Open varsity in Mysore winds up 'illegal' courses

 Admitting that the technical, paramedical, GATE, degree bridge, and bridge courses being offered by it are “illegal” and “invalid,” Karnataka State Open University (KSOU), Mysore, at its Academic Council and Board of Management meetings, held on August 2, decided to wind up these courses.

KSOU had been rapped by Distance Education Council (now dissolved), AICTE, University Grants Commission, Paramedical Board, State government, and other regulatory bodies, ever since it started signing MoUs illegally with collaborative/partnership institutions from 2010-11.

A CID probe was also ordered into the matter.

Courses including BE/BTech, MTech, MBA, nursing, radiation, aviation engineering (to name a few), and bridge courses (marketed as equivalent to SSLC and PUC/10th and 10+2) were being offered by KSOU, through 202 collaborative/partnership institutions across the country.

Students who obtained certificates in technical and paramedical courses have not been getting jobs or admissions for higher studies.

Likewise, students who completed bridge courses are not getting admissions in colleges, as both SSLC and PU Board have refused to recognise these courses.

Conceding that students have been “deceived” and “victimised,” KSOU Vice-Chancellor M G Krishnan told Deccan Herald that the varsity will not be renewing MoUs that have ended, and no fresh admissions will be made to these courses henceforth.

Students victimised

“I have been against offering these courses even before I became V-C. We have not been able to terminate these MoUs for fear of being dragged to court. I belief that these courses are illegal. Students and job seekers have been victimised,” he added.

“I have personally received around dozen complaints. My own relatives’ children who took up bridge courses have been victimised. In another instance, a student’s fashion designing degree obtained from M S Ramaiah after paying Rs 85,000 was not approved by Bangalore University. The dejected student was on the verge of committing suicide. After due consideration, we have decided not to continue these courses,” he said.

KSOU will not renew MoUs that have ended. However, only 10 per cent of 202 MoUs have ended so far, with many agreements stretching between five and ten years.

“It will be difficult to end all these courses at once. But, we will stop them immediately, if there are no legal hurdles. The varsity has sought legal opinion,” he said.

Rising admissions

In addition to offering in-house courses (approved by regulatory bodies), KSOU started offering  technical, paramedical, professional and bridge courses.

In 2009-10, there were around 23,000 admissions, which rose to around 30,000 admissions in 2010-11.

However by 2011, it went up to over one lakh, with the varsity signing MoUs with any institution that came forward. 

Of these, major partners are — Mindtrek Edutech, Gurgaon (offering 390 courses); ShirdiSai College of Professional Eduction (SCOPE), Odisha; Sharada Vikas Trust, Bangalore; Algol Business Systems; Virtual Education Trust. A majority are from North India, with study centers across India.

KSOU gets only 25 per cent of fees from each student enrolling in these courses.
During Krishnan’s period, 27 MoUs have been signed. “Of these only two or three of them are offering technical courses,” defended Krishnan.

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