In a fresh trouble for Punjab school education board (PSEB) secretary Gurinder Singh Bath - who has an MTech degree from Karnataka State Open University (KSOU), Mysore, - the university grants commission (UGC) has said the engineering courses run by KSOU through distance learning were not recognised.
Bath is already facing a court case wherein the validity of his degree has been challenged.
The UGC had on June 15 issued a public notice discontinuing recognition to engineering courses being offered by KSOU through distance mode. "The varsity has been offering professional/technical and engineering programmes in violation of the norms of regulatory bodies concerned and without their approval," said the notice. It said the varsity had been given directions to stop the said courses through distance learning in 2009, but it has been ignoring the same.
Before the UGC, All India Council for Technial Education (AICTE) had said that the varsity has no mandatory recognition to run distance learning courses.
Bath was appointed as PSEB secretary in 2013 during then education minister Sikander Singh Maluka's tenure. Three petitions have been filed in the Punjab and Haryana high court, challenging his appointment on the ground that his masters degree was invalid.
Bath had enrolled himself in the MTech programme between 2011 and 2013 and got a provisional degree at an age of 51 through SAS Nagar-based Aggarwal College, which is affiliated to KSOU.
The UGC has now corroborated the inquiry report by then Punjab state education secretary Anjali Bhawra in August 2014.. Bhawra had mentioned that Bath had obtained an MTech degree in civil engineering through a distance learning programme by the said varsity and which is not recognised by the AICTE.
In a July2009 letter, joint secretary (distance learning), Government of India, had said that the distance education bureau should immediately withdraw permission given to varsities and institutes to run BTech courses through distance learning.
"It's office politics. In the past one-and- a-half years, I have unearthed many scams and those involved in these scandals are trying to get back at me. They want to malign my image," said Bath.
"KSOU is a government varsity and its chancellor is the governor of Karnataka. Why would a varsity with such a reputation hand out invalid degrees. All these letters and notices by the UGC are students who have passed out after 2013. I passed out in 2013," he said.
PSEB chairperson Tejinder Kaur Dhaliwal said: "The said university has very good reputation and since the matter is in court, there is no need for us to act till we get orders from the court."