Karnataka State Open University(KSOU) was formally established on June 1, 1996 under the Karnataka State Open University Act of 1992, with the objectives of introducing and promoting the system of open university and distance learning in the state of Karnataka, and coordinating and determining the standard of such a system in the state. The University has its headquarters in Mysore.
The distance education programmes of Karnataka State Open University provided opportunities to working professionals who cannot afford full-time education to earn degrees or diplomas. But in June 2015 the dreams of students getting degrees through KSOU were dashed when the University Grants Commission (UGC) derecognised Karnataka State Open University (KSOU) at Mysore for flouting its norms, directives and guidelines on distance learning programmes.
The programmes offered by KSOU, Mysuru, have not been recognised by UGC beyond 2012-13. This has been done after issue of show-cause notice to the varsity on June 10, 2011, and subsequent responses from officials which clearly means that the students who got degrees after 2012-13 are no more valid. The future of students close to a million, who aspired to pursue higher studies and take up competitive entrance exams are left in jeopardy and it has remained so till date.
The question is why did the University continue to offer the courses to students even after the issue of show-cause notice to the varsity on June 10, 2011 without any notification to students and from 2011 to 2015 when UGC officially derecognised all the programmes offered beyond 2012-13, University hardly made any efforts to correct its mistakes despite clear directives from UGC, instead it blatantly flouted norms, guidelines and directives of UGC.
University hardly made any efforts to correct its mistakes despite clear directives from UGC, instead it blatantly flouted norms, guidelines and directives of UGC.
But yes, the University did request for re-establishing its recognition but it was turned down by UGC. Reasons the UGC cited for declining recognition is territorial jurisdiction, opening of study centres outside the Karnataka state and foreign counties too, MoU with private institutions for conducting various programmes and technical courses. The KSOU has also been accused of offering professional/technical programmes, which were again in violation of norms of the regulatory bodies concerned and without their approval. Moreover, the KSOU was offering engineering programmes, despite clear directives from the Ministry of Human Resources Development. The KSOU had also started offering online programmes, which are not recognised by the UGC, as an exclusive method of distance education.
Amidst all these developments University and Government has taken few steps to get the recognition back:
- Prof D. Shivalingaiah was appointed as the Vice-Chancellor of Karnataka State Open University (KSOU). He visited the UGC top brass in Delhi. The VC has said he is hoping that the recognition will be granted by July. He has also requested the UGC to consider recognition from 2013 onwards.
- University has said that it has terminated its technical programmes, stopped programmes outside the State and also closed down its study centres. They have snapped their ties with the collaborators by issuing a general notification. But UGC wants evidence of termination of MoU with every institute.
- The State government has taken the major step for restoring the lost pride of the Karnataka State Open University (KSOU) with the Cabinet on 20th April 2016 resolving to amend the KSOU Act, 1996, for restricting the University to stick to its territorial jurisdiction while running its courses.
With the de-recognition episode nearing a year, we hope that the Government and University considers this as a serious issue and ends this shameful episode in the varsity’s history and it should also make a fresh appeal to the UGC to review its decision and consider granting recognition from 2013 onwards so that the future of students is not impeded.