Sunday, February 7, 2010

Karnataka State Open University imparts edn. to 1 lakh students

The Karnataka State Open University (KSOU), Mysore, was established on 1st June 1996. Its Distance Education System provides ample opportunities for higher education to all from their place of work or residence.
To achieve the objectives of Distance Education, the University has established Regional Centres / Study Centres in various parts of Karnataka State.
Good news for distant learners: KSOU which is in the process of establishing a “virtual university” has currently an enrolment of 1 lakh students. It is providing (selected courses) study materials in the form of softcopies (CDs) from the current academic year. SOM recently had a tête-à-tête with KSOU Academic Dean Prof. Jagadeesha. Excerpts:
What is the significance of Open Distance Learning (ODL) system in accelerating higher education?
Open Distance Learning system facilitates expansion of higher education in India. In 1998, 6.5% of the total population could get access to higher education. In 2005 the rate shot up to 9.5 % and at present it is 12%. The government of India has committed to increase it to 25% by 2015. A growth rate of 25% in higher education, apart from other factors, will help turning our country into a super power as envisaged by the former President of India Dr. A P J Kalam.
The higher education scenario in the USA is 75%, Japan 70% and China 69%. Comparatively, India, with its rich potential in terms of human resource, needs to accelerate the rate of higher education.
The genesis of ODL in India?
ODL system commenced way back in 1969. The erstwhile Institute of Correspondence Course and Continuous Education ICC & CE (now KSOU) was a pioneer institute in India. During the same period, British Open University also came into existence. Considering the paramount importance of ODL, the government of India started nourishing it through the New Education Policy during the regime of the then Prime Minister late Rajiv Gandhi.
The first Open University, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Open University, was established in the country in 1982. Central Open University, Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) was started in 1986. As on today there are 14 open Universities in the country including KSOU.
How imperative is the Dean Academic office in Open University?
Office of the Dean Academic plays a crucial role in maintaining the quality standards of academic programme launched by the open universities. This office is the brain of the university as it revises the syllabus and the study materials periodically as per the requirements of the society. At KSOU, all the programmes are credit based as prescribed by the Ministry of Human Resource Development and the academic programmes of Universities are acceptable all over.
How can the government increase the higher education percentage?
The grants by State and Central governments need to be given equal importance both for the conventional and the open universities.
Recently, there were confronting issues leading to unprecedented developments with regard to Open University degrees in the country?
ODL system has grown in India. Deemed, Private and Conventional universities are all in a race to launch distance mode of education. It is the foremost duty of all the institutes to ensure the quality standards. But few institutions have flouted the quality and standards hence the products of ODL system in general are given second rate. Ministry of Human Resource Development has taken serious note of it.
The Distance Education Council (DEC) prescribing quality and standards in the ODL system has sorted out many issues. As of now, there is no confusion. The students who seek to pursue higher education by distance mode need to ensure that whether the institute / University have the recognition of Distance Education Council, New Delhi.
The Karnataka Administrative Tribunal case no 1956 of 1999 in its ruling and the University Grants Commission circular N0.F.1-52/2000(CPP-11) have clearly stated that ODL degrees with DEC recognition are to be treated on par with Conventional degrees. KSOU is recognised by DEC for its entire academic programmes up to 2013.
The recent academic developments of KSOU
In the wake of globalization and keeping in view the fast changing environment, Open Universities, including KSOU, have accordingly started many professional and technical courses to cope with the challenges. In the beginning there were only 20 programmes with the total student strength of 15,000, today there are 46 in-house and total 162 academic programmes offered in collaboration with partnership institutions with the student enrolment increasing to one lakh.
MBA, MLiSc, MCJ, MEd, MCA, MScIT, are the programmes offered; besides the University is offering collaborative programmes. Programmes on Fire technology, Aviation, Carpentry, Weaving, Craft, Pottery, Diploma in fine arts, Diploma in Theatre offered by Rangayana, design and sculpture are also being offered. KSOU has signed MoU with the Agriculture University, Bangalore and is offering courses to farmers at a nominal fee. For students who are planning to make a career out of their creativity, these courses will help to enhance artisan’s knowledge by lending a professional touch.
How are study materials prepared?
Experts have been appointed to prepare study material. We are committed to conveying complex ideas clearly with well illustrated teaching material that excites the interest of students. The study materials which are created to help students are in the form of books. But, now to help the students the study materials of some courses are also provided in the form of CDs. These interactively designed CDs help the students by providing the total information that they need.
Whenever we launch new courses, we constitute a course team of experts with outside consultants and prepare the study materials with latest information. Our textbooks are widely used in teaching across the country and internationally and we pride our- selves in producing courses which are innovative and accessible.
[Monday 21st December 2009]

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