Varsity gets UGC nod for offering 14 correspondence courses this year

With the University Grants Commission (UGC) giving its approval to start distance education courses, the Karnataka State Women’s University (KSWU), Bijapur, is all set to commence 14 courses in various disciplines.

The UGC has approved these courses for this academic year; however the University is hoping get permission for more courses in the coming days, says Meena Chandavarkar, Vice-Chancellor of the lone women’s university of the State and sixth in the country.

She said that the correspondence courses approved included B.A. (Regular), B.A. English, B.Com, Bachelor in Social Work, B.Sc, BBA, Kannada, Sociology, Political Science, Economics, M.A. in Women Studies, M.Com, MBA in Marketing, Finance and HRD. The University will soon set up a separate Directorate of Distance Education for the correspondence courses.

Helping rural students

Prof. Chandavarkar feels that this is a major milestone that the University has achieved as it will now cater to the needs of rural students as they often face difficulty in pursuing regular courses owing to financial constraints. “Students from rural areas of North Karnataka that are socio-economically backward face hardship in pursuing higher education. We see many girls discontinuing their education after Pre-University. Distance education courses being offered by our University will act as catalyst to help them continue their studies,” she asserted.

Mentioning one more advantage, Prof. Chandavarkar said that the University has the syllabus for correspondence courses in Kannada as rural girls are not always good at English. She said that many institutions that offer distance education have the syllabus in English, thus acting as hurdle for rural students to pursue higher education.

Asked how distance education will be brought on a par with regular courses as correspondence courses are undermined and not given the same weightage as regular courses, Prof. Chandavarkar asserted that their course will be oriented to application and practice of the knowledge.

“One of the reasons why distance education is undermined is because it does not have enough practical aspects. To overcome this, the University will hold more contact programmes and practical classes in order to empower students with the same experience and knowledge that students of regular classes gain,” she said.

The University has also gone a step ahead in ensuring employment to the students of correspondence courses; they too will be allowed to participate in campus interviews and job fairs organised by the University. “This will dispel the notion that only students who have completed courses though regular classes will get a job as we are determined to ensure jobs even for students of distance education.”

With regard to the fee structure, Prof. Chandavarkar said that the University is already charging less compared to other Universities in the State, and the policy will be continued even for distance education.

She said that for the first year, the University has set a target to admit at least 2,000 students, which will be extended to 5,000 in next years.

Internship

The Vice-Chancellor said that many students of journalism who have completed the course through distance education do not get the opportunity for internship in media houses, thus they do not get practical experience.

“We will allow any such student to come to our University and undergo internship by using our state-of-the-art studio, library facility and contribute to our in-house magazine and newspaper,” she added.