Open University set to become reality

Bringing an end to a decade-long delay, the State is set to have its own open university. The proposed university, named after social reformer Sree Narayana Guru, will be formally launched on October 2 to coincide with the Gandhi Jayanti observance.

Making the announcement as a mark of respect to the spiritual leader a day after Sree Narayana Guru Jayanti, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the university would come up in Kollam.

Modelled on the lines of the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), the university, tentatively named as Kerala Open University earlier, will subsume the distance education courses of four universities, viz., Kerala University, Mahatma Gandhi University, Calicut University and Kannur University.

While enabling people cutting across age groups to enrol for courses, students discontinuing courses midway will be provided diploma certificates. Academicians and subject experts of national and global repute will be roped in for conducting online classes.

The infrastructure facilities of government and aided colleges across the State will be utilised for its courses. In addition to the conventional courses, the university will also offer courses aimed at skill development.

Faced with the prospect of the existing universities falling short of the UGC criteria to offer distance learning programmes, the State had announced its intention to launch the proposed university back in 2009 following a report by a three-member committee headed by academician Ram G. Takwale, former Vice Chancellor of IGNOU. The proposal got a new lease of life after academician J. Prabhash, designated as the special officer for the endeavour, submitted a comprehensive report to the government in June last.

The university, which will have territorial jurisdiction spread across the State, will bring under one roof all distance education and private registration programmes. The report also recommended transferring all teaching and non-teaching posts in the schools of distance education of universities to the proposed university.

The open university will have a three-tier structure comprising an academic and research council, directors’ council and schools of studies. It is expected to adopt a decentralised system of governance having a headquarters, regional centres and study centres spread across the State.

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