2 Kerala varsities allowed to conduct distant education courses declined by Open University

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Thiruvananthapuram: Major universities in Kerala which were earlier barred by the State Department of Higher Education from conducting distance education courses for bachelors and post-graduate programmes this year have now been allowed to inviting applications for a few programmes that don't require the nod of the University Grants Commission (UGC). This follows an earlier High Court that instructed the government to issue an order in this regard.

The Sreenarayanaguru Open University (SOU) in Kerala is awaiting approval from the UGC for conducting courses in the distant education mode. Pursuant to the HC order, the state government has now issued the order allowing other universities to conduct distant education for courses that don’t require UGC’s approval.

As per this order, the distant education departments at the University of Kerala and University of Calicut cannot conduct the 17 courses that the open university had applied for approval. This includes subjects like Economics, English, Malayalam and degree and PG courses in History that are mostly sought by students.

Courses allowed for Kerala, Calicut varsities
The University of Kerala and University of Calicut can conduct 7 PG courses and 2 degree courses now. Until last year, University of Kerala could conduct up to 32 courses. Now, the University can only admit students to degree courses in Political Science and Library Science and PG courses in Economics, Hindi, Political Science, Public Administration, Computer Science, Maths and Library Science.

Meanwhile, the University of Calicut can conduct degree courses in Political Science and Afsal-ul-Ulama and PG courses in Maths, Economics, Political Science, Philosophy, Hindi, Arabic and Sanskrit.

If the Open University doesn’t get the approval for the courses that has been applied, then these universities can conduct distant courses in those subjects too. This arrangement would be valid only throughout this year.

Courses sought by Open varsity
Meanwhile, the SOU has applied for degree courses in Arabic, Economics, English, Hindi, History, Malayalam, Philosophy with specialisation in Sreenarayana Guru studies, Sanskrit, Sociology, BBA, BCom, BCA and PG courses in Malayalam, English, Sociology, History and MCom.

Students approach court
Thenjipalam (Malappuram): Four students have approached the High Court alleging contempt of court against the state government in matters related to conducting distant education courses. The standing counsel for the Sreenarayanaguru Open University had convinced the court that the university has UGC’s approval for certain courses. However, KK Seithalavi, the counsel for the four students, claimed that during the sitting held by the Secretary of Higher Education, the documents submitted by the university were not certificates of approval for the courses but UGC’s approval for starting a university.  

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