Delinking of Open University from Calicut University would Lead to Fall in Revenue: CU Registrar
The proposed launch of the Open University in the state would make a significant contribution to revenues from the variations currently offered by distance education programmes. As of now, distance education at the University of Calicut fetches around INR 20 Cr annually.
For example, the annual income from the School of Remote Education (SDE) at the University of Calicut (CU) is around Rs 20 crore, making it the largest contributor to the varsity tax after the Government's State Plan grant contribution is around INR 25 Cr.
"The decoupling of SDE will definitely have an impact on Varsity revenue," said CU Registrar C L Joshy.
CU has approximately two lakh students registered under it with an annual attendance of approximately 60,000 students and approximately 150 employees are enrolled in the SDE section.
Another major concern raised by students and other organisations is that while varsities such as CU are currently issuing the same degree certificate to regular students and distance learning students, the start of Open University would put an end to this and they would have to settle for an Open and Distance Learning Certificate (ODL) that could have an impact on their job prospects.
"The variety has issued the same degree certificate to SDE students issued to regular students without any differentiation. As certificates from open universities are not normally considered on a regular basis, the job prospects of students could even be affected, "said Ugin Marolli, a union member and standing committee convenor for SDE.
CU union member Rasheed Ahammed P said that the main attraction for students to enrol in distance learning mode was that the varsity was following the same syllabi and mode of examination for regular and distance learning students.
With an increasing number of firms and employers in foreign countries, mainly in the Gulf, insisting on degrees in the 'regular' mode of study for employees and job seekers, the CU decided in 2018 to provide certificates that referred to the 'regular full-time' method of study, even to those who have obtained degrees in distance mode.
The Varsity had issued a 'Mode of Study' certificate to persons who had studied in parallel colleges or SDE, stating that they had begun a 'regular full-time study at the College' after receiving an affidavit from the student that he had undergone a regular full-time study at the institution.
Meanwhile, state higher education authorities said that currently, no university in the state can look forward to continuing distance education programmes because they do not have the prescribed NAAC score of 3.26 and above and that the launch of the Open University would put an end to the uncertainty over distance education courses offered by the varsities.
Currently, four varsities in the state, Calicut, Kerala, MG and Kannur, are conducting distance courses with UGC provisional registration.