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IGNOU VC Decides To Scrap Regular Programs, Students Protest

New Delhi: Students of face to face program in IGNOU gathered in the Maidangarhi campus to protest against the decision to close down the regular programs by the Acting Vice Chancellor Prof. M. Aslam.

Two hundred students of 11 different disciplines got together and marched from the entrance of the college to the Vice Chancellor’s office. The students were demanding an official assurance that the regular courses not be discontinued from the coming academic year. The other demand was that the certificates that will be awarded to them have the title of ‘regular courses’ to distinguish them from the distance learning degree that the institution is famous for.

Shouting slogans like ‘save face to face save education’ the students braved the heat and cover two kilometers to place their demand before the Vice Chancellor.

After protesting for half an hour outside the Vice Chancellor’s office, the students stormed past the guards blocking the way to enter the Vice Chancellors office. After much deliberation, the VC agreed to give an ear to the student’s grievances.

Addressing the student’s questions, the Vice Chancellor promised that he would personally look into the demand of providing regular course certificates to the students. He remained nonchalant over the student’s plea that the discontinuation of the course would directly hamper their future prospects since the regular programs of IGNOU have only been in the public arena since little over two years. He refused to commit on this demand kept by the students.

Aslam said the regular courses were not permitted under the IGNOU Act and that he was in the ‘process’ to bring it under the law. Washing off hands from his powers, said it was now up to the ‘high powered committee’ to determine the future of these courses.

The students are fuming over the inconclusive developments. They say they never expected they would be taken for ride by such a premier institution of the country. Objections are being raised as to why this decision is being taken even after the Academic Council had deferred it citing it was beyond the jurisprudence of the acting VC. Students quote the IGNOU Act 1985 Clause 4 which says “encourage the Open University and distance education systems in the educational pattern of the country”.

A major section of the academicians in IGNOU too say the clause allows the use of communication technology to enable high education opportunities and promote educational well being of the community generally.

Furthermore, the very setting up of this ‘high powered committee’ is highly questionable as this committee was set up by the members handpicked by the VC himself. Even in the elaborate discussions with the students no written promises have been made. Students feel these ambivalence is ‘intolerable’ as it is poses a grave danger to their future.

The student demonstration was to register resentment over the closure of the regular face-to-face programs which have been receiving a great response in the academic and student circles and the fear that the certificates awarded will not indicate the course undertaken is regular. Over 500 students who are enrolled under IGNOU’s regular programs stand to be affected.

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