By K V Ramanath
Mysuru, July 9:- Now that the Karnataka State Open University (KSOU) has been made the sole university to conduct “distance education” throughout Karnataka by a recent gazette notification of the state government, it has assumed the role of a central university with higher responsibility to educate those persons who are not able to attend classes in regular colleges due to their other obligations. The KSOU can now plan to expand the curriculum and courses to suit different types of job-oriented assignments, which I am sure will be in great demand in due course.
At the same time, the KSOU can also think of direct admissions to the degree courses based on the criteria of the minimum age of 18 years, without even basic qualifications on the lines of distance learning through National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) conducted by the HRD, Government of India where except the minimum age of 18 years, no other qualifications are insisted upon.
But to get to know the basic knowledge of an applicant, a preliminary test on general knowledge, English and basic science could be conducted to be eligible for admission to degree courses in KSOU. Such modalities are already followed in several universities in India. This method will not only liberalise the admissions to join the KSOU on par with students of other regular colleges, but also helps to carry forward their academic studies without affecting their occupations.
The KSOU, by doing so, will be helping the poorer classes, the journalists, businessmen, the rural poor who are busy with agriculture, and many more, who could not afford to attend schools and colleges in the past to join the mainstream.
The Government of Karnataka, which is the governing authority for improving education in the state, can make a study of all aspects of helping the poor and less educated and the downtrodden to improve their knowledge to come up in life. Though this requires a lot of efforts and additional exercise for KSOU, in the interest of the growth of education in the unorganised sector, by liberalising admissions at KSOU as explained above, the government would be providing more opportunities, more involvement and competitions to the lesser-educated, to impart better knowledge for a better standard of living and to improve their economic conditions.
KSOU, I am confident and hope that by achieving this, would do well to welcome people from all walks of life to its fold and take full credit for real development.
(The writer is a regular contributor to City Today).