Karnataka State Open University Mysore – Confusion, Chaos and Absolute Indifference
The question is does anyone in the government or the administration today care about the state of affairs in KSOU Mysore today?
KSOU was formally established on June 1, 1996, under the Karnataka State Open University Act of 1992, with the objectives of introducing and promoting the system of Open University and distance learning in the state of Karnataka.
Celebrities such as Jayamala, an actress and politician who is a minister in the present government and D. K. Shivakumar another minister are just a couple of the star-studded students who had enrolled in the university and apparently completed their courses. Over the years this, open university has helped lakhs of students pursue higher education. The intentions of starting this University was good but unfortunately in the years gone by this university has fallen into discredit and dilapidation due to the complete apathy and indifference of the administrators. Perhaps the celebrities may not require their marks cards or graduation certificates, but the other students are not so lucky and require the certificates to establish their academic credentials. It is an unending run from pillar to post for thousands of students to obtain their marks cards and convocation certificates.
Today, the careers of lakhs of students of Karnataka State Open University, Mysore, is in limbo. A great inconvenience for students who had completed their academic programs through distance mode from the University in the past and the affiliation of the university was in limbo during the period 2015-2018. The University Grants Commission had de-recognized several courses of the University in 2012-2013 and the University itself was de-recognized in 2015 after it was found violating several norms of UGC and Distance Education Council of IGNOU. The University had violated the norms related to territorial jurisdiction by establishing study centers all over India and also offered courses violating all the regulations. UGC had issued a show cause notice but the University did not mend its errant ways. The UGC was finally compelled to de-recognize KSOU in 2015. After a long drawn court battle, UGC relented and re-recognized the University in 2018.
Nothing much has changed today
There is no clarity on the status of the students from 2013 – 2016 when the University was de-recognized. D. K. Shivkumar was also a postgraduate MA student in this university during this period.. What makes matters worse is the abject indifference of the officials of this university. It is impossible for any student who had passed out before 2013 to get any information from the university officials. The website mentions the requirements to apply for a convocation certification for students who had passed out from this University earlier. Lakhs of students comply with the requirements, make the necessary payments, and post the documents to the university. It is a one-way dead end. No acknowledgment and no response to e-mails or phone calls.
A case in point
There are hundreds of grievances posted on the internet from past students. One thing common among them is that that it is a nightmare for the students. One such student is Ms. Dorothy (name changed at request) who successfully completed her Masters Program from the University in the year 2008-2009. She had applied for her convocation certificate in the month of December 2018 complying with all the requirements as mentioned on the website. Payment made at State Bank of India and application with challan sent by speed post and the proof of delivery obtained from Department of Posts. A month passed and there was no response. The KSOU website boasts of a student grievance redressal cell with the names and telephone numbers of 19 officials of officer’s cadre with their names and telephone numbers. Repeated attempts were made by the student to reach out to the officials on the numbers listed. NOT a single official received the call. Out of sheer frustration, the student reached out to this correspondent. We realized this is not an isolated case and there are thousands of students silently suffering and running from pillar to post for their certificates.
Our shock and dismay
In the last week of January, we tried for over a week to continuously reach out to any of the officials at KSOU. Not a single person received our calls. We persisted and finally, we were able to establish contact with official No. 12. Sri. M.V. NandishAsst Registrar on his official mobile number. We explained to him the details of the student and the year of passing out and that the student has applied for a convocation certificate and there is no information from the university. The instant reply from this officer was that the University was derecognized and convocation certificates are not issued as per the government order. When we mentioned that it was for the course year 2008-2009 and the de-recognition and re-recognition does not apply to this time period. We asked him for a copy of the government order. He had no answer and he took down the details. He told us to send a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with all the details. The aggrieved student promptly did that. We were given assurance that he will have an update when we call him the next time. The same information was also sent to the Vice-Chancellor KSOU at the e-mail provided on their website email@example.com . No reply from anyone. This makes one wonder why are the contact telephone numbers and e-mail IDs shared with the general public when the officials do not care to respond.
Officials remain incommunicado
Repeated attempts to re-establish Contact with the above-mentioned assistant registrar was futile. Persistence once again paid and the official had no justification. He said that he had passed on the information to the concerned official and suggested that the applicant pay a visit to the university to obtain the convocation certificate. He suggested that we speak to the Deputy Registrar Dr. M.S. Ramanand. We were lucky to reach Dr. Ramanandhim over the phone once. When confronted with the facts he too had no reasonable answer. He suggested that the candidate directly contact him and that he would help solve the problem. The number was shared with the student. As of this day, neither the student nor we have succeeded in contacting Dr. Ramanandagain as he does not accept the calls.
The lame excuses
Once again, we persisted to contact the officers with little luck. Today we were lucky to get the Assistant Registrar Nandish on the mobile. He gave us the mobile number of Dr. Krishnappa Deputy Registrar, special officer. Sl. No. 7 in the grievance redressal list. According to Dr Krishnappa, the entire University is busy preparing for the in-person convocation on March 5, 2019, and the student can collect the certificate on March 5, 2019. It was explained to him that this was a 2008-2009 batch student who had applied in December 2018 to receive the convocation certificate in absentia. When asked for the reasons for this inordinate delay. According to him, the printers are not working and the application that was received in December 2018 will be processed only after March 5, 2019, as all the officials are busy with the convocation ceremony scheduled for March 5, 2019. According to him, this delay is due to some “technical problems that cannot be shared with the outside world and unfortunately, this is how things happen”. With this response, one really wonders what the official do during the remainder of the year when the entire machinery in the university is geared up now for the convocation ceremony that happens once a year.
Who will answer and accept responsibility
These officials draw their salary from the budgetary allocation from the Government of Karnataka that is in turn from the tax payer’s money. It is imperative that they are held accountable to address the grievances of the students.
The government, the Vice-chancellor KSOU, and the officials in the students grievance redressal cell of the university will they continue to pass the buck or will someone take the responsibility and sort out this mess in the larger interest of thousands of students who are in a dilemma and are running from pillar to post to get the certificates. This indifferent attitude of the officials is not a good advertisement for KSOU.