Mysore varsity to reintroduce distance learning course


The century-old University of Mysore, which was accorded autonomous status along with 21 other State universities in the country by the University Grants Commission on Tuesday, is set to introduce an open distance learning programme in due course.

The decision to grant autonomy was taken by the government in its endeavour of liberalising the education sector, and has linked quality with autonomy and greater academic freedom.

With the new autonomous status, the university has the freedom to introduce new courses and skill-development programmes, it can hire foreign faculty, it can have academic collaborations, and also run open distance learning programme.

Welcoming the decision, the incharge Vice Chancellor Prof. C. Basavaraju told The Hindu that a meeting of the deans and heads of all departments would be convened in a few days to discuss in detail the future course of action.

“We have the academic freedom to devise our own syllabi and introduce new courses with thrust on research and development to meet the requirements of the society and the industry,” said Prof. Basavaraju.

He said all efforts will be made to make the best use of the academic freedom that has been accorded to the university, and it will strive hard to introduce a few new courses from the new academic year (2018-19) itself.

Correspondence courses

What has buoyed the varsity authorities is that the autonomous status has paved the way for introducing open learning or distance education courses.

The University of Mysore had a separate correspondence wing (Institute of Correspondence Course and Continuing Education) which was shut down in the 1990s and instead the Karnataka State Open University (KSOU) was started in 1996 that was independent of the UoM.

Though efforts were made by the UoM to reintroduce the distance education course subsequently, it did not materialize.

Prof. Basavaraju said as recently as last moth, the varsity had submitted an application to the UGC seeking permission to start the correspondence course but it was rejected on technical grounds. The UGC instead instructed the University of Mysore to apply afresh on fulfilling certain criteria.

“With the current development, we are free to launch the courses,” said Prof. Basavaraju, expressing confidence of meeting the expectations of the stakeholders. There are thousands of people keen on securing a degree from the UoM which has quality and expertise, he added.

Sights set high

The JSS Academy of Higher Education and Research (formerly JSS University) is the other institution in the city to be accorded autonomous status, and it also has set its sight high to make the best use of the new status.

“As a deemed university, we already had academic freedom but this further enhances the scope, and hence we look forward to introducing new courses and devising syllabi in tandem with the rapidly advancing technology,” according to Dr. C.G. Betsurmath, the Executive Secretary of the JSS Mahavidyapeetha.

The academy was recently conferred a 4-star rating by Quacquarelli Symonds, a UK-based company specialising in academic audit and ratings, and the new autonomous status would be further harnessed to ramp up the quality to match the best in international standards, he added.

By R. Krishna Kumar