Irregularities alleged at Periyar University Study Centres

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Irregularities alleged at Periyar University Study Centres

The absence of a proper mechanism to monitor functioning of the study centres of the distant education mode of Salem Periyar University has resulted in many irregularities.

The university, which runs Periyar Institute of Distance Education (PRIDE), has received many complaints on irregularities in the functioning of study centres, student admissions and conduct of examinations, particularly in north India. PRIDE has over 400 study centres across the country and seven abroad.

According to the university sources, a few study centres were allegedly collecting exorbitant fees from students for admission to courses and contact classes were not being held as per the rules of the university.

Some of the study centres did not have the required infrastructure facilities. Malpractices in the distance education examinations came to light when an observer sent by the university was arrested in Sirsa in Haryana after he allegedly leaked question papers in connivance with a study centre official. The examination was cancelled.

Permission to copy

In many examination centres in North India, it is alleged, the candidates were allowed to copy with invigilators’ permission.

In a few centres, they were even allowed to take the answer sheets home and return them to the invigilators the next day, alleges a study centre official from North India, who recently visited the university with a load of complaints.

He alleged that the guides approved by the university for M.Phil were extorting money from the students.

Sources further said a few study centres had enrolled students, who studied first and second year of undergraduate courses in universities blacklisted by the University Grants Commission (UGC), in the third year under the lateral entry scheme of PRIDE.

Since the university does not verify certificates, the students from these universities of dubious distinction get a degree from a recognised university under the scheme, the sources say.

Accepting that there were malpractices in the conduct of examinations in distance education mode in a few examination centres, Vice-Chancellor M. Thangaraju told The Hindu that the university was seriously contemplating to take action against those responsible for the irregularities.

Selection of schools for holding examinations and appointment of school teachers as superintendents and invigilators were the major reasons for the malpractices creeping into the system.

Monitoring centres

The university is planning to open a regional office to monitor the study centres and the examination process. The distance education examinations would hereafter be held only in colleges, he said.

The university will shortly issue a circular to the study centres to send the certificates of candidates seeking lateral entry to the PRIDE for verification.

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