KSOU to approach UGC seeking ‘exclusive’ rights on ODL courses

KSOU has accused the other varsities of breaching territorial jurisdiction by offering ODL courses using mutual NOCs.

KSOU has accused the other varsities of breaching territorial jurisdiction by offering ODL courses using mutual NOCs.   | Photo Credit: M.A. SRIRAM

Even as Karnataka State Open University (KSOU) is claiming exclusive rights for offering courses under Open and Distance Learning (ODL) mode as the State’s only open university, it is planning to approach the University Grants Commission (UGC) seeking the reining in of conventional universities offering correspondence courses additionally, beyond their territorial jurisdiction.

Already, KSOU has raised the issue with the Department of Higher Education and sought exclusive rights for offering ODL programmes, considering the purpose of its establishment. The issue had figured prominently at the recent meeting of the Karnataka State Higher Education Council in Bengaluru, chaired by Deputy Chief Minister and Minister for Higher Education, IT and BT C.N. Ashwath Narayan.

KSOU Vice-Chancellor Vidyashankar S. raised the topic at the meeting after conventional universities, including the University of Mysore (UoM), introduced courses under ODL mode. The issue was debated at length by the V-Cs and other participants. A final decision on the matter is awaited.

Prof. Vidyashankar accused the other universities of breaching their territorial jurisdictions for offering ODL courses beyond their territory with mutual NoCs availed for running the correspondence courses.

“We have sought exclusive rights for ODL courses. It is also acceptable if the universities stick to their jurisdiction instead of offering courses throughout the State. UGC has been clear in its guideline on territorial jurisdictions and all of us should comply with it,” he argued.

If the conventional universities don’t stick to their territories, KSOU may be forced to seek UGC intervention. “We have no other choice but to approach the UGC for upholding our sole rights,” said Prof. Vidyashankar. A decision on approaching the UGC will be taken after placing the issue at the Board of Management meeting, he added. The Vice-Chancellor also claimed that the “no objection” letters that the universities had been mutually availing for running ODL courses were not right as per the principles. “This is in contravention of the existing rules. This matter will also be raised with the UGC,” he said.

Claiming that only open universities were allowed to offer ODL courses in Maharashtra following an apparent notification by the government there, Prof. Vidyashankar said such an amendment to the Acts should be enforced in Karnataka too for ensuring the rights of KSOU.

He, however, claimed that there was no threat whatsoever from universities offering distance education courses since KSOU has vast expertise in running such courses.

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 10:54:37 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/ksou-to-approach-ugc-seeking-exclusive-rights-on-odl-courses/article30464049.ece

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