Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Distance education needs reality check

When educational institutions lose sight of students and, instead, fall prey to profit, it means something is seriously rotten within the system. The derecognition of courses run by the Karnataka State Open University (KSOU) for flouting various norms and guidelines is appalling, to say the least. The derecognition by the University Grants Commission (UGC) means that thousands of students who enrolled for these courses are now left in the lurch. After spending valuable time, hard-earned money and immense effort, each affected student is back to square one and needs to start all over again. Who is to compensate the students? That the KSOU is mired in this controversy is not a surprise given that its management is facing various charges of irregularities. Since December 2014, Justice Bhakthavatsala, a former judge of the Karnataka High Court, has been inquiring into these accusations. Virtually, the entire gamut of operations of the university is under cloud.
These include suspected fraud in construction projects, questionable agreements with private educational institutions, the issue of recruitments, promotions and the opening up of 21 regional centres, tampering of marks cards and much more. The list of suspected irregularities has the potential to destroy the credibility of the open university education system itself. It is incredulous that the KSOU had offered medical and engineering-related courses through the distance education system as these require practical work in college laboratories and in hospitals. Reports also point out how marks were given without evaluating answer sheets. The KSOU appears to have been completely unmindful of any repercussions of its actions.
If the UGC derecognition stays, the KSOU experience will drive away students from the distance learning programme. This will be extremely unfortunate as the open university method of learning has a huge potential to give students access to a high quality of education even while pursuing jobs or other vocations. Across the world, some of the open universities are rated so highly that they are routinely accessed by academics and students for reference material and getting doubts cleared. The Karnataka government has woken up to the potential damage caused by the derecognition and has promised to bring in amendments to the law on distance education. But, more needs to be done to prevent the subversion of the open university system and restore it to the position it deserves to occupy, which is that of a premier institution that students can depend on for quality education. The issue goes beyond the KSOU. The government in consultation with educationists must come up with a comprehensive strategy to tighten the open university system across the country.

Source :- http://www.deccanherald.com/content/487299/distance-education-needs-reality-check.html

For a perfect college search visit http://www.vidyasarathi.com