Shastry V. Mallady

MADURAI: The distance education wing of the Madurai Kamaraj University is set to experience the throes of a severe financial crunch with the withdrawal of M. Phil. courses.

If the admission figures of year 2006 are taken into consideration, the Directorate of Distance Education (DDE) stands to straight away lose Rs.19 crore annually from this year.

Besides, the Tamil Nadu Government's decision asking the regular universities to do away with open university courses has also made a dent in the coffers of MKU.

"If M. Phil. and open university course admissions are put together, we lose not less than Rs. 20 crore a year.

And, even if a conservative figure of 10,000 M. Phil. admissions each year is taken, the financial loss could be around Rs. 10 crore," a senior DDE official said.

The State Government has directed all the regular universities to withdraw M. Phil. from the correspondence mode "with a view to maintaining quality of the research programme" from January 1 this year.

According to MKU authorities, the M. Phil. programme, a major revenue earner, was offered in 22 disciplines.

Officials at the DDE are now preparing an`internal report' on the financial loss. Stating that a similar situation was expected in other varsities also, the MKU officials maintained that enough steps were taken to maintain quality checks in distance education also like compulsory contact classes for candidates, double evaluation, attendance etc for M. Phil. candidates.

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