Kerala has announced its first Open University set up in Kollam and named after social reformer Sree Narayana Guru. The University will come into existence on October 2 — Gandhi Jayanthi. The Left government’s decision gains political significance in view of the local body elections just a couple of weeks away.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan announced the decision to set up the university as a fitting memorial to the social reformer who has been a proponent of informal education, a day after the state observed Sree Narayana Guru Jayanthi. The Open University is being launched by linking the distance education systems in the four universities in the state.
People of all age groups can study at the Open University. Those who leave the course halfway will be given a diploma certificate based on whatever studies they had completed till then. Classes by eminent experts and professors at the national and international levels would be the speciality of the new university.
The government is planning to use laboratories and other basic facilities of existing government and aided colleges for the new university. In addition to traditional courses, the university will offer skill development courses too.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan hoped that the new university will bring in major changes in higher education. Announcing the decision, Pinarayi said it’s the wish of each and every Keralite to have an appropriate memorial for Sree Narayana Guru, who has been the guiding light of Kerala’s renaissance and proponent of informal education.
With local body elections coming up in October, the government’s decision gains political significance. In fact, the CPM’s decision to observe a protest day on September 2, Sree Narayana Guru Jayanthi, had invited sharp criticism from SNDP Yogam leader Vellappally Natesan. The new decision would be a major political plank for the Left in the coming polls.