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CU opens doors to distance education

Calcutta University (CU) has finally decided to recognise courses taught through distance education. The CU Syndicate has decided, in principle, that students who pass out from open schools and universities in the state will be allowed to seek admission to all undergraduate and post-graduate courses under CU.

Students from open universities located outside Bengal will also be accommodated.

Sources in the university say the move will help the university reduce the student load on its affiliated undergraduate colleges and also attract more students seeking admissions in the state-run Netaji Subhas Open University, which has found very few takers till now. The decision is significant as the authorities, despite repeated requests from students, had refused to recognise distance-education courses on the grounds that the standards followed were “below par”.

Suranjan Das, CU pro vice-chancellor (academic), feels the university needed to change its policy regarding distance education, as most of the open institutes in the country have upgraded their courses. So, these students should be given an equal opportunity of education in mainstream universities.

Sources in the state higher education department, however, pointed out that that the CU decision was aimed at providing an opportunity for pass-outs of Netaji Subhas Open University.

Suravi Banerjee, vice-chancellor, Netaji Subhas Open University, said she was “happy” at the CU’s decision, as this would encourage meritorious students to study the various courses introduced in the university. The syllabi for these courses, she said, had been formulated to equip the students to pursue higher education in a “prestigious” institution like CU.

A study by a government-appointed committee has revealed that students avoid opting for an open university as they are not permitted to seek admission in the post-graduate courses of CU.

Suranjan Das, one of the members of the committee, however, said five per cent of seats in every CU course are reserved for students from other universities. The open university students will be accommodated in CU in this quota.

According to the Syndicate’s decision, going by the recommendation of the sub-committee, the students coming from the open institutes will have to appear for an entrance examination when seeking admission to any CU course.

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