Mysuru: Even as the University of Mysore (UoM), the century-old University awaits for the appointment of a regular Vice-Chancellor (VC), it is faced with more challenges. The University Grants Commission (UGC) has cautioned the University of action against the continued grant of affiliation to private institutes in the name of outreach centres and for franchising higher education.
The UGC, in a letter to the UoM dated Oct.27, asked the University to immediately withdraw the affiliation and submit an action taken report before Nov.10. If the University does not submit the compliance report, action will be taken, warned the UGC.
Speaking to Star of Mysore here this morning, acting VC Prof. Dayananda Mane said, “The UGC has written two letters earlier to us regarding this issue. However, the outreach programmes have been going on for a long time. We just cannot stop it in the middle of the year and inconvenience the students.”
According to Prof. Mane, the outreach programmes are earning a revenue of Rs.15 crore and out of this, the salaries of the non-teaching staff are being paid. The Government’s funds to the UoM is dwindling and it is being asked to become self-sufficient. “Hence, we had to find new ways to earn the revenue and support ourselves. I have written both to the UGC and the State Government and am awaiting a reply from them,” he said.
However, when SOM spoke to a Professor in the University who is closely associated with the outreach and specialised courses, he said speaking on condition of anonymity, “UoM has stopped the outreach and specialised programmes outside its jurisdiction from 2015 itself.”
“We run both the outreach and specialised programmes. Both have separate Statutes. The outreach programmes are run just like the programmes run in the University, whereas in case of specialised programmes we give recognition to the courses not run by the University. For instance, Cancer Biology is not offered in the University and if an institute comes forward to offer it, then we recognise it,” he said.
“Outreach programmes began almost 15 years ago when Prof. S.N. Hegde was the VC. He started it as the Government was forcing the Universities to become self-sufficient and the only option left was to start programmes where revenue to the University is generated,” he said.
Then it was during the time of Prof. J. Shashidhar Prasad that it got a boost. But the then Registrar A.B. Ibrahim had taken objection to this kind of activity and it was during Prof. V.G. Talwar’s time as the VC in 2008 that the then Higher Education Minister wanted new Statutes, which was done and the Governor’s approval was also given, he recalled.
He pointed out that under the Karnataka State Universities Act provision no. (66), these programmes are being carried out. It has the approval of the Academic Council and once it was approved here, the Syndicate of the University had also passed it.
Since there were nearly 30 to 40 Centres opened in Delhi and Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) was opposing this, the then VC Prof. K.S. Rangappa and a few other University officials, after visiting Delhi and holding consultation with UGC, asked them to close it down as the UGC had asked the University to withdraw the affiliation, he said.
With regard to Sampoorna International Institute of Agri Science and Horticulture Technology, no one is clear about whether it is within the jurisdiction of the University or outside it, as the UoM can operate its programmes anywhere in Karnataka but not within its jurisdiction of four districts of Mysuru, Mandya, Hassan and Kodagu, he said.