Laiqh A Khan

UGC direction ignored, DEC threatens to derecognise correspondence courses

University to consider 11 institutions for grant of study centre status

Syndicate member sees ‘major scam’ in the university’s decision

BANGALORE: Bangalore University, which has come under flak for its failure to begin admission process for its distance education courses for the year 2009-10 even two months after the stipulated date, is believed to be busy with a proposal to establish study centres outside Karnataka through franchisees in gross violation of the University Grants Commission’s (UGC) directions.

During a meeting of the university’s high-power advisory committee of the Directorate of Correspondence Courses and Distance Education held about two weeks back, the university decided to consider 11 institutions situated outside the State for grant of study centre status, disregarding even a recent threat held out by the Distance Education Council to derecognise its distance education programmes.

The institutions seeking Bangalore University’s study centre status are located in Patna, Gurgaon, Noida, Ahmedabad, Kolkata and New Delhi among other places. The university’s move to start study centres outside Karnataka comes at a time when the State Government has decided to check the menace of off campus centres of universities outside the State by issuing notices to wind up operations after receiving complaints of irregularities from students.

Awaiting approval

Bangalore University Registrar M.G. Krishnan said the university had decided to go ahead with its proposal to establish study centres outside the State. “The matter will be placed before the University Syndicate for approval,” he added.

The university’s decision to go ahead with its proposal to establish study centres outside Karnataka comes even as the UGC, in a communication to the Vice-Chancellor in June 2009, made it clear that “no off-campus centres/study centre/affiliating college” operating through franchises should be opened outside the territorial jurisdiction of the State. The UGC also sought for immediate closure of such centres, if already started, by the university.

The Distance Education Council (DEC), in a communication to the University in September 2009, referred to the UGC notification and said a State university can offer programmes only within the State.

“Thus you are requested to strictly follow the above UGC notification and kindly limit the operations of the distance education programmes of your university to avoid any de-recognition from the DEC,” the communication added.

When Prof. Krishnan’s attention was drawn to the UGC and DEC’s directions, he said the questions should be best answered by Vice-Chancellor N. Prabhu Dev, who chaired the high-power committee meeting. However, Dr. Prabhu Dev was not available for comment.

Bangalore University Syndicate member Ranganath has smelt a “major scam” in the university’s decision to start study centres outside the State. He said the university had entered into an “illegal” MoU with a private company called Bangalore Education Resources Private Limited to identify study centres outside Karnataka. The private company will act as a nodal agency and scout for prospective study centres.

Meanwhile, the former Dean (Academic) Karnataka State Open University (KSOU) Chambi Puranik said the Karnataka State Universities Act 2000 provides for setting up of study centres outside Karnataka. He quoted Section 5 of the KSU Act that stated “…. the benefit of correspondence courses or external degree courses may be extended by the university to students outside the university area”. He referred to the presence of more than 200 study centres of universities outside Karnataka. “Several universities from outside Karnataka have also established their study centres here”, he reasoned.