KSOU gets exclusive rights  over distance education
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KSOU gets exclusive rights over distance education

June 12, 2020
  • State Cabinet takes significant decision to boost Mysuru-based Open University’s prospects
  • University of Mysore to stop distance courses from next academic year

Bengaluru/Mysuru: In a major policy decision, the Karnataka Cabinet yesterday resolved to have Mysuru-based Karnataka State Open University (KSOU) as the only and exclusive distance education provider among State-run Universities.

The KSOU has always claimed the exclusive rights for offering courses under Open and Distance Learning (ODL) mode and as the State’s only Open University. It had even approached the University Grants Commission (UGC) seeking the reining in of conventional Universities offering Correspondence Courses additionally, beyond their territorial jurisdiction.

KSOU had also raised the issue with the Department of Higher Education and sought exclusive rights for offering ODL programmes, considering the purpose of its establishment. The KSOU had accused the other Universities of breaching their territorial jurisdictions for offering ODL courses beyond their territory with mutual NoCs availed for running the Correspondence Courses.

Other Universities offering distance education is causing huge financial loss to the KSOU that has been set up exclusively for the purpose. Now with the Cabinet taking a decision in this regard, KSOU becomes the only Distance Education University. The Government will ask all other State-run Universities to stop distance education courses offered by them, announced Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister J.C. Madhuswamy after the Cabinet meeting yesterday.

Affiliation in limbo

In the past, KSOU’s affiliation was in limbo during 2015 to 2018. The UGC had de-recognised several courses of the Open University in 2012-2013 and the KSOU itself was de-recognised in 2015 after it was found violating several norms of UGC and Distance Education Council.

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The Open University had violated the norms related to territorial jurisdiction by establishing study centres all over India and also offered courses violating all the regulations. UGC had issued a show cause notice but the then University authorities did not mend their errant ways. The UGC was finally compelled to de-recognise KSOU in 2015. After a long drawn and relentless court battle and many interventions by the KSOU and State Government, UGC relented and re-recognised the Open University in 2018.

Lakhs of students were put into severe hardships due to de-recognition. Later, the KSOU filed Police complaints against its two previous Vice-Chancellors, Finance Officer, Registrar and Registrar (Evaluation) in connection with various irregularities that led to the UGC derecognising the University. Probe is underway.

Elated with decision: KSOU VC

Speaking to ‘Star of Mysore’ this morning, KSOU Vice-Chancellor Prof. S. Vidyashankar said that he welcomed the Cabinet decision that was taken in the interests of KSOU.

He said that the KSOU has the entire infrastructure, staff, teaching and non-teaching staff, syllabus and examination conducting facilities for distance education. In this scenario, if the regular Universities are accorded permission to offer distance education courses, it will not only be a financial loss to KSOU but also lead to unhealthy competition.

“There are dedicated Universities for Technical, Medical, Agriculture, Veterinary Science, Horticulture, Kannada, Sanskrit, Music and Folklore education. Likewise, it is pertinent to have an exclusive University for Distance Education and KSOU was set up solely for this purpose,” he added.

UoM VC reacts

University of Mysore (UoM) Vice-Chancellor Prof. G. Hemantha Kumar, who had set up the Directorate of Distance Education in the University for providing education through Correspondence and Distance Learning programmes, reacting to the Cabinet’s decision, said that UoM is committed to the Government’s decision.

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“The Mysore University will complete the distance learning courses already started by it with the admission of students last year. As per the Government’s decision, there will be no fresh admissions for distance education courses from the forthcoming academic year. We will take note of the Government Order once we receive it and act accordingly,” he said.

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