Pvt colleges allege KU distance education degrees invalid

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Varsity says it has clearance

Irshad Khan

Srinagar: A private colleges’ association has alleged that Kashmir University is “illegally” running a Bachelors of Education (B.Ed) course through distance mode, even as the varsity says that it has the required permission from a statutory body to do so.
In 2012, under direction from the Indian Supreme Court, a high-powered commission was constituted to review teacher education, with the late Justice J S Verma as chairperson. Expressing displeasure over distance mode of learning in teacher education, the Justice Verma Commission (JVC) had said that “the first professional diploma/degree in teacher education should be offered in the face-to-face mode”.
While Jammu University and the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) had stopped running BEd and the MEd programmes through distance mode, President, Kashmir Private BEd Colleges Association, C L Vishen alleged that KU is “illegally” continuing the programme through distance mode.
Vishen said that KU had stopped its MEd programme through distance mode, but was still running the BEd programme. “If they have stopped the Master’s programme after the Verma Commission’s recommendations, why are they still running the Bachelor’s programme?” asked Vishen. Pointing out that Jammu University and IGNOU had also done away with teacher education programmes through distance mode, Vishen said that IGNOU, from which the School Education Department recently enrolled 20,000 untrained teachers, “asked for an undertaking from the teachers that they would not claim the validity of the programmes”.
“They (IGNOU) have told the teachers that the programmes through distance mode were invalid,” added Vishen. By running the BEd programme through correspondence, KU, Vishen alleged, “is deceiving students”.
“KU should tell students that the programme is invalid,” he said.
“The Verma Commission report is applicable to all the states. Why is just KU running the programme while Jammu University and IGNOU had stopped running them?”
Dean Academic Affairs, KU, Musadiq A Sahaf however told Kashmir Reader that the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE), a Government of India statutory body on teacher education, had allowed the varsity to run the BEd programme through distance mode after they approached the body.
The private BEd colleges in the Valley were objecting to the distance mode BEd at Kashmir University because “it affects their business”, a top KU official said.
“They take hefty amounts for the programmes, that is why they are objecting to the programme being run at KU,” added the official.