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Residents form human chain demanding UGC approval for OSOU

Subrat Mohanty

Sambalpur: Members of various organisations of the city on Friday formed a human chain demanding resumption of PG and UG admissions in the Odisha State Open University (OSOU). The varsity has halted admissions into the 2 programs due to lack of the approval from the University Grants Commission (UGC).

The human chain was formed along the road in front of the office of the Sambalpur district collector under the aegis of the OSOU Banchaa Abhiyan. Holding placards and raising slogans, the participants also protested the negligence of the government towards varsity.

According to the agitators, OSOU received approval to offer 14 PG programmes and 11 UG programmes in 2018-19, valid for a period of 5 years. However, the 5 year approval period lapsed in 2022-23. And because of the lack of UGC approval, the varsity has stopped inviting applications from the aspirants for admission into PG and UG courses this academic session.

Co-convener of the OSOU Banchaa Abhiyan, Sudhir Bohidar said, we had submitted a memorandum to the Odisha chief minister over the issue and demanded the government to take the steps for the resumption of the UG and PG admission in the varsity. However, though more than 15 days have passed since we submitted the memorandum, the government has not taken any action in this regard. Hence, we resorted to this mode of agitation, he said.

Bohidar said, according to the rules, universities seeking fresh UGC approval must have at least 60% of self-learning materials, at least 3 teachers for each UG or PG programmes, or 5 teachers if both UG and PG programmes are offered, and NAAC accreditation if the varsity has completed 6 years, or has had two batches graduates. But unfortunately, the varsity does not have its own infrastructure. Moreover, though more than six years have passed since its inception, the state government has not sanctioned teaching posts for the open and distance learning university. This apart, the varsity does not have NAAC accreditation also, he said.

“Thousands of students, majority of whom are from rural areas, benefit from OSOU programmes. The study centers of the OSOU are functional in jails also giving the inmates an opportunity to pursue their study. However, the university is now facing closure threats. We demand the government to take steps to appoint teachers and provide required infrastructure so that the institution will be able to secure fresh UGC approval,” said another co-convener, Parvej Ali Khan.

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