Calicut University is no longer Lakshadweep’s sole varsity

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Vice Chancellor asked to take steps to migrate students to Pondicherry University

Calicut University’s status as the sole institute of higher learning in Lakshadweep for the past 16 years has officially ended with the administration there asking its Vice Chancellor M.K. Jayaraj to take steps to migrate students to the undergraduate and postgraduate courses being offered by Pondicherry University.

A letter from Vishal Sah, Director (Education), Union Territory of Lakshadweep, says “no further memorandum of understanding will be executed with the University of Calicut for running CUCs [Calicut University Centres] on the islands”.

The university has been asked to provide records of the existing students who are pursuing their undergraduate and postgraduate courses, including B.Ed courses. Information on course curriculum and syllabus, database of exams, course-wise regulations, fee structure, and exam fee, has also been sought. The university is supposed to settle its financial commitments by March next year. The letter is dated November 6. The Department of Education, Lakshadweep, meanwhile, called for applications for admissions to degree and diploma courses for the 2021-22 academic year at the Government College for Higher Education, Kadmat Island.

The centres of Calicut University were set up on Kadmat, Kavaratti, and Andrott islands in 2005. The sudden move to migrate students has caught the Calicut University authorities off-guard as Mr. Jayaraj was planning to visit the islands and had sought an appointment for an online meeting with the island administration. The loss of Lakshadweep may also cost the university financially.

It was in August this year that the Calicut University Syndicate decided to stop some of the postgraduate courses and B.A. (Arabic), reportedly based on a request from the Lakshadweep Administration. It was claimed that the authorities there were not happy with the quality of the courses and the low intake. This was objected to by students’ organisations and a section of academics. Soon after, the island administration gave approval to the Pondicherry University to start a community college there.

It was pointed out that the post of dean of the university centres on the islands had been vacant for a year. Examinations were not being conducted properly and results of re-evaluation of answer scripts were kept pending. The university authorities, however, were planning to appoint a full-time dean there who is also a resident of Lakshadweep. There was also plan to start vocational undergraduate courses in fisheries, tourism, and other subjects. Meanwhile, the university is also exploring legal options on settling the financial commitments.

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