KSOU to have exclusive rights over distance education soon
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KSOU to have exclusive rights over distance education soon

December 19, 2019

Mysuru: The Karnataka State Open University (KSOU) will be the sole University to offer courses through distance mode, as the State Government is looking to restructure the distance education system in Karnataka. 

The decision to make distance education the sole preserve of the Mysuru-based KSOU was taken on Tuesday at the General Council meeting of Karnataka State Higher Education Council at Bangalore University Auditorium. The Vice-Chancellors  (VCs) of 24 Universities in Karnataka, education experts, academicians and retired VCs attended.  

At the meeting, KSOU VC Prof. S. Vidyashankar had raised objection over other Universities offering distance education, causing huge financial loss to the KSOU that has been set up exclusively for the purpose. The meeting was chaired by Deputy Chief Minister and Minister for Higher Education Dr. Ashwath Narayan.

Arguing KSOU’s case, Prof. Vidyashankar said that in 2005, the Karnataka Governor, who is the Chancellor of Universities, had directed the Universities that have been established under Karnataka State Universities Act to desist from offering distance education courses. 

In his communication to the Universities, the Chancellor had stated that under the Act, there is no provision for the regular Universities to offer distance education courses and granting degrees. Prof. Vidyashankar pointed out that only KSOU that has been formed specially to offer distance education courses has the exclusive right to offer correspondence courses. 

Prof. Vidyashankar said that the KSOU has the entire infrastructure, staff, teaching and non-teaching staff, syllabus and examination conducting facilities for distance education. In his 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, he argued. The meeting discussed the topic for more than an hour. 

After listening to all the VCs, Minister Dr. Ashwath Narayan directed officials of the Higher Education Department to take necessary measures and issue an order in this regard. 

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As of now, University of Mysore, Bangalore University, Kuvempu University-Shivamogga, Mangalore University and Karnatak University, Dharwad, are offering distance education.

Interestingly, these Universities have obtained permission to offer courses through distance mode from the UGC for the next three to five years. “As a few of the Universities have obtained permission for the next few years, we need to check on how to communicate about the discontinuation of the same with UGC,” an official from the Department said.

‘Regular Varsities must not offer distance education’

Meanwhile, former KSOU Vice-Chancellor Prof. N.S. Ramegowda has stated that the regular Universities must desist from offering distance education courses. In a letter to the State Government, he has opined that traditional Universities offering distance education courses were threatening the very existence of KSOU. 

He has urged the Government to declare that only KSOU has the exclusive right to offer distance education courses. Prof. Ramegowda opined that the move to permit other Universities established under Karnataka State Universities Act to offer distance education courses was wrong and illogical.

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