Sunday, April 6, 2014

Courses on hold, Ignou students stare at bleak fate

The court case that led to violence at the Maidan Garhi campus of Indira Gandhi National Open University on Wednesday has also left hundreds of students in a fix. They are caught between the two parties — Ignou and the trust —that signed the memorandum of understanding (MOU), recently declared illegal by the high court.

"All classes have been suspended. We haven't got our results from the December semester exams and there's no news of the upcoming ones either," says a final-year student. The website of "Ignou vertically integrated engineering programme" (VIEP) is still up and displaying June 2013's examination schedule. 

There are, as per the students' own estimates, about 400—500 students from different batches whose courses have been put on hold. 

"These were regular classes. We did ask about a distance education university offering a regular 'face-to-face' course but were told the degrees were genuine. Also, Ignou is a government institution. We didn't have any reason to question," says another student. 

Mohammad Aslam, Ignou vice-chancellor, says the fate of these students will now be decided on May 1 - date for the next HC hearing. He had assumed office after the MoUs had been signed. 

In 2009, Ignou had signed MoU with Sri Angla Parmeshvari Educational Trust (SAPET) and Indian Institute of Aeronautical Engineering (AERO) to "launch programmes in India and abroad", Aslam had said in a statement. In 2012, Ignou's board of management noted that in numerous cases where such MoUs had been signed, the partners were running programmes without approval. They decided to keep activities under these MoUs in abeyance pending review by a committee; SAPET and AERO took Ignou to high court. A CBI inquiry is also in progress.

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