Published: 17th August 2022
Examine if Sree Narayanaguru Open University has UGC approval for distance edu courses: Kerala HC directs state gov't
The court permitted the students plea with the directions that the Secretary, Higher Education Department will hear them and representatives of the open university on August 23
The Government of Kerala has been asked by the Kerala High Court to examine if Sree Narayanaguru Open University has received the necessary recognition from the University Grants Commission (UGC) for conducting distance education programmes. And if yes, for which courses exactly.
The Kerala High Court's direction to the Secretary, Higher Education came after a few petitions by students which challenged the Government of Kerala's order of June 9 that virtually injuncted all other varsities in the state, except the open university, from conducting distance education programmes, stated the report in PTI.
The students wished to be allowed to enroll in the distance education programmes to be conducted in other universities in Kerala.
It was their contention that the open university did not have the requisite approvals from the UGC and due to the June 9 order of the government, other universities were forbidden from offering such courses.
On its part, UGC had informed the court that it had not granted any approval this year either to the open university to start distance education programmes and that the other approved universities can continue with the same if they have been sanctioned to do so.
On the other hand, the open university had opposed the UGC contention and claimed that it had already obtained approval from the Commission with respect to certain courses under the distance education programme.
After hearing all sides, Justice Devan Ramachandran said, "I am, therefore, of the firm view that a decision in this regard will have to be taken by the Secretary, Department of Higher Education, after hearing the petitioners and the representatives of the Open University."
"This will have to be done quickly, since any further delay would certainly be detrimental to the interests of the students," he said.
Hence, the court permitted the students plea with the directions that the Secretary, Higher Education Department will hear them and representatives of the open university on August 23 and if the varsity is unable to show it has received UGC recognition, the government will issue orders allowing other approved universities in the state to conduct the distance education programmes.
If the open university has obtained recognition with respect to a few courses, then the government can issue appropriate orders confining conduct of the distance education programme by other universities to the other subjects, the court directed.
It also directed that the students would be at liberty to apply for and to be admitted by the various approved universities in their distance education programmes.
"The Secretary, Higher Education Department will ensure that the orders to be issued by him are communicated to the parties within 24 hours, including in the electronic mode, so as to enable them to invoke their remedies or liberties as may be available to them," the court added