SOS to Prakash Javadekar: To save Karnataka State Open University (KSOU)
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SOS to Prakash Javadekar: To save Karnataka State Open University (KSOU)

October 13, 2017

Bengaluru/Mysuru: The dubious imbroglio that has been haunting the Karnataka State Open University (KSOU) in Mysuru, which was derecognised by the University Grants Commission (UGC) retrospectively from 2012-13 in  June 2015 citing blatant violation of norms, seems to have found some light at the end of the dark tunnel following a meeting with  Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar in Bengaluru this morning.

Javadekar, who was at the BJP office at Malleswaram this morning for a party core-committee meeting, was flooded with petitions from students, parents and employees of KSOU, demanding speedy resolution to the stalemate surrounding the State’s only Open University.

Over 1,500 students and KSOU employees met the Minister who told them that his Ministry has called for a meeting in New Delhi on Oct. 17 where UGC officials, representatives from the State Government and the Ministry will sit across the table to find an amicable solution.

Over three lakh students from outside Karnataka and 94,000 students from Karnataka had taken admission to various courses at the time of derecognition. Since 2015, no admissions have taken place in KSOU.

Karnataka Minister blamed

Terming the statement of Karnataka Higher Education Minister Basavaraja Rayareddy that the KSOU will be closed as “untenable” and “confusing,” Javadekar said that the University will not be closed and all efforts will be made to save the future of lakhs of students. He allayed fears and assured parents and students that he will leave no stone unturned to keep the University up and running.

Dropping a bombshell, the Union Minister said that there has been misappropriation to the tune of Rs. 560 crore at KSOU by people at the helm and the UGC was probing the case. Without taking any names, the Minister said that the UGC was probing the irregularities under four heads including infrastructure, out-station centres and two others.

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Explaining the reasons behind derecognition, the Minister said that the UGC had found that territorial jurisdiction has been violated where the KSOU opened study centres outside the State and signed MoUs with private institutions for conducting programmes and technical courses. “We will look into the violations and workable solutions at the Oct. 17 meeting. But the State government must stop giving confusing and conflicting statements,” he said.

The student delegation was led by former Minister S.A. Ramdas. State BJP leaders including Party President and former CM B.S. Yeddyurappa, Jagadish Shettar, D.V. Sadananda Gowda, Prahlad Joshi, State BJP in-charge Muralidhar Rao, R. Ashoka, Aravinda Limbavali and Union Minister H.N. Ananthkumar also met the students and assured them all possible help.

Why closure? Is it ego?

If sources at KSOU are to be believed, it is a matter of ego rather than anything else that made Basavaraja Rayareddy to announce that the KSOU might be closed. Sources told Star of Mysore that Rayareddy was miffed as his recommendations were not considered while making some appointments.

Sources said that Rayareddy wanted his candidates to occupy the posts of Registrar and Registrar (Evaluation) at KSOU. However, the names were rejected. Likewise, he had recommended five names to the KSOU Board of Management and that too was not accepted.

Upset by this, Rayareddy went on to constitute a committee to study and find alternatives to keep alive the KSOU or recommend its closure.

Meeting of former Vice-Chancellors

Even as the aggrieved students met Union HRD Minster in Bengaluru, MLA Vasu hurriedly called a meeting of former Vice-Chancellors of University of Mysore and KSOU at a private hotel in Mysuru this noon. The meeting was attended by Prof. S.N. Hegde, Prof. J. Shashidhara Prasad, Prof. N.S. Ramegowda, Prof. M.G. Krishnan, Prof. Madaiah, Prof. Indumathi and others.  The meeting discussed the possibilities of exerting political pressure on the UGC to relax norms in the interests of lakhs of students and conduct a proficiency test for those who have passed out of KSOU and have not been able to gain employment.

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