The Salem-based Periyar University has cracked whip on its study centres located at different places in the country where examination malpractices were detected.
In the last few months, 151 study centres of the University, which were found to be either unviable/not functioning actively or against whom complaints were received from students, have been shut down.
“We are streamlining our distance education set up. The Periyar Institute of Distance Education (PRIDE) will not tolerate any sort of indiscipline or malpractice in our study centres anywhere,” K. Muthuchelian, Vice-Chancellor, Periyar University, told TheHindu on Sunday.
He stressed that stringent action is being initiated against the study centres getting involved in examination malpractices. Also, the centres where enrolment is less than 50 students for the varsity's distance education courses, were cancelled and official orders for closure have been issued.
Dr. Muthuchelian said that the university is not interested in having study centres for namesake but will have them on the basis of viability and credibility.
“Our inspection teams were visiting the study centres at various places to monitor their functioning. Maintaining the required quality is very important,” he said. The Periyar University totally has 525 study centres in India and abroad of which 151 were closed down recently. “We are now receiving fresh proposals from private parties expressing interest to have our study centres. Madurai is also under consideration.”
Requirements for sanctioning study centres are adequate space, teaching infrastructure and facilities to conduct weekend contact classes for distance education students.
In Tamil Nadu alone, the varsity has nearly 200 centres and the list of inactive/problematic centres is being prepared to make a complete overhaul. There is very good demand for the University's courses such as English literature, computer programmes and management courses, he said. Students enrolled in the study centres which were closed down recently have been attached to the nearby centres.
“More complaints were received against our study centres in Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, West Bengal, Maharashtra and the North Eastern States. Immediate action was taken in the interest of students and our University's image,” Dr. Muthuchelian informed.
The University is now planning to open at least 75 new study centres during the next one or two academic years by inviting fresh proposals. “We have to compensate for the closed ones. Distance education is a prime revenue earner for our University and Periyar University gets over Rs.10 crore per year through distance education courses,” he said.
Also, expression of interest was received for opening varsity's study centres in Thailand, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and a few African countries.