ODL students already enrolled in various universities can complete courses

Students admitted to open distance learning (ODL) courses in conventional universities in the State will be permitted to complete their academic programmes as scheduled, even though the universities have no option but to discontinue the courses, with the Mysuru-based Karnataka State Open University (KSOU) getting the exclusive right to offer distance education courses hereafter.

Many State universities, including the University of Mysore (UoM), had introduced ODL courses. But KSOU took objection and urged the government to stop them from doing so for its continued existence.

The State Cabinet recently decided to confine ODL courses to the State’s lone open university. The decision will see conventional universities withdraw their courses and no admissions can happen from the next academic year.

KSOU had questioned the legality of conventional universities offering ODL courses when there is a university whose sole purpose is distance education. “When regular universities run ODL courses, what is the point in running an open university?” experts associated with ODL had asked.

University of Mysore Vice-Chancellor G. Hemantha Kumar told The Hindu, “We will comply with the government’s decision. Those who enrolled in programmes this year and in previous years will be allowed to complete them. We may not be allowed to go for admissions from next year.”

UoM currently has 11 ODL courses and had plans to establish 20 study centres in colleges coming under its jurisdiction to facilitate admissions. This way, it wanted to attract more students. The ODL courses were introduced two years ago.

KSOU’s woes

KSOU, which had a vast student base before its de-recognition by the University Grants Commission (UGC) in 2015, started a new inning after its recognition was restored in 2018. But it did not attract the kind of admissions it used to draw in the past.

An anxious KSOU management sought the government’s intervention for retaining its identity and purpose.

Sources told The Hindu that conventional universities such as UoM had introduced ODL programmes after getting the UGC nod. “We did not flout any rule…started admissions with due clearances,” a university official said.

At present, about 33,000 students pursue 36 or so courses at KSOU, which has set up 90 study centres and 19 regional centres across the State. KSOU has set a vision of attracting a large number of students like it used to by introducing new courses and laying emphasis on quality education and inclusive self-learning material.

KSOU Vice-Chancellor S. Vidyashankar said the Cabinet decision would protect KSOU’s identity, besides expanding its student base and providing all-encompassing self-learning material. “The sole right on ODL in the State rests with KSOU now. This will help us grow further, especially after the de-recognition episode,” he said.

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Printable version | Jul 7, 2020 10:19:49 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/odl-students-already-enrolled-in-various-universities-can-complete-courses/article31828904.ece

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