Education is a backbone of a society. In common parlance education is any act or experience that has a formative effect on the mind, character or physical ability of an individual. In continuing with the aim of building a knowledge based society Krishna Kanta Handiqui State Open University was established to provide quality higher education through open and distance learning to reach the unreached of the society.
KKHSOU, established under the provision of the KKHSOU, Act 2005 enacted by the Govt. of Assam & published in the Assam Gazette (extraordinary) dt 29/9/05 has been recognized by the Distance Education Council, New Delhi vide letter no. DEC/Misc/07/5957 dated 03/10/07. The University Grants Commission vide its letter No. F.9-13/2008(CPP-I) dated 18th March, 2009 also has empowered the University to award degrees under Section 22 of UGC Act, 1956. It is the fourteenth of its kind along with IGNOU and the only state Open University in the whole of NE India. The university is recognized by the University Grants Commission and Distance Education Council, Govt. of India. The headquarters of the University is located at Housefed Complex, Last Gate, Dispur, Guwahati. The university started functioning with the joining of Prof. Srinath Baruah, former Professor, Deptt. of Economics, Gauhati University, as the Vice-Chancellor.
The main aim of the university to develop and provide easily accessible modes of quality higher education and training with the use of latest educational inputs and technology. Because of the inherent flexibility in terms of pace and place of learning, methods of evaluation etc., The university holds the promise of providing equality of opportunities for higher education and bringing into its fold the deprived and denied sections along with the fresh learners.The very purpose of the University is to promote education to reach the unreached through the Open and Distance Learning System and the motto of the University is ‘Education Beyond Barriers’ of age, academic background and geographical boundaries.
The course structures of the university have been designed at par with the national curriculum. Along with the traditional programmes the University offers various professional Certificate and Diploma programmes to enable the already enrolled students in various colleges and educational institutions of the state to pursue add-on studies simultaneously with their regular courses. The programmes of the University are so designed that it can spread education to all the learners of the region.The University has been offering several academic programmes. At present the university is offering around forty academic programmes in humanities, Science, Social sciences and professional areas, such as – Ph.D. Masters, bachelors’ degree, diploma and certificate programme.
From the year 2008, the Bachelor’s Degree Programmes are being offered by the university. The graduate level programme are B.A., Bachelor of Business Administration Bachelor of Mass Communication and Bachelor of Computer Application.
Apart from these degree programmes the university is offering some Post Graduate Diplomas in the area of Computer Application, Business Management, Tourism and Hospitality Management , Broadcast Journalism, Mass Communication and in Human Resource Management .
The university’s and under graduate Diploma prpgramme are Journalism & Mass Communication , Assamese Journalism , Tourism Management, Hotel Management, Creative writing in English and Computer Hardware Networking.To create entrepreneurs in the vocational areas the university has taken a step to make the learners trained in the specialized areas by introducing Certificate courses in Computer Application , Mobile Phone Repairing, Maintenance and Repairing of Audio Video Equipments, Maintenance and Repairing of Electronic Domestic Appliance, Scientific Piggery Farming , Scientific Goat Rearing, Scientific Broiler Farming, Scientific Duck Farming, Scientific Layer Farming etc.The Bachelor Preparatory Programme (BPP) is the first academic programme introduced by the university in 2008. This programme was introduced for those learners who could not pursue higher education for various reasons. The BPP course was initially of six month duration but now it has been made a one year programme, with a view to give more weitage to the programme along with better training scope to the learners to prepare themselves for degree level courses.To popularize these new programmes the university has been giving importance in advertisements and publicity. Along with the newspaper advertisements the university released a good number of Radio and Television advertisements.
The introduction of vocational training by an open university is in itself a contribution to the needs of the people. The main intention behind the introduction of the training programme is to meet the various needs of the people of the region and make them independent. The main aim of the university is to educate its learners as well as help them in becoming self dependent.Therefore, the University, has introduced some vocational training programmes with the help of the Polytechnics and Industrial Training Institute (I.T.I s.) of the state and some other specialized institutions.The different areas of programmes of training will be House wiring, repair of domestic electrical appliances, A/C motor rewinding, 4 wheeler servicing, 2/3 wheeler repairing and maintenance, electrical house wiring practice, welding practice, plumbing and pump installation, RCC masory practice and training for the security personnel.
The university since its inception has tried to bring about an all round development of the academicians, learners and non- academic staffs of the university by organizing various workshops and seminars. The university till date has organized around 40 workshops and seminars in different colleges, study centres and in the headquarter. It has also organized national level events like Indian Science Communication Congress 2009 (ISCC 2009).The 9th ISCC was organized for the first time in the entire north eastern region of India. Krishna Kanta Handiqui State Open University hosted this mega event in collaboration with the Ministry of Science and Technology, Govt. of India. Around 200 delegates and participants attended the congress from all over the country.Around 40 workshops and seminars is organized by the university from the time of its inception. The main areas of the workshop were development of road map, curriculum development, SLM preparation, counseling, supporting staff administration, management of study centre and so on.
The university, has registered a quantum increase in enrollment in the different academic programmes under various degree courses that are being offered by the university. As per the first enrollment of the university in 2008 a total number of 4200 learners were enrolled and it has been increased to over 24000 by the end of 2009 i.e. a period of two years only.The number of study centres under this university has witnessed a giant leap having the numbers increased to 220 from the time of its inception when the number of study centers was 79.
Considering its social responsibility, three study centres- Central Jail of Guwahati, Jorhat and Abhayapuri Jail are run by the University. Education is provided free of cost to the jail inmates by the university. The high walls of the jail should not be the barrier to education. This is a step taken by the university to fulfill its motto i.e., Education beyond barriers.
More than 300 self learning materials were prepared during this tenure. Self learning materials are specially designed by teams of subject experts from within and outside the state. These materials are prepared both in English and Assamese looking at the need of the learners.A multi media studio set up with the aim of producing audio as well as audio-visual programmes has become fully functional to meet any demand. The university got the SACFA clearance and frequency allotment of 90.4 MHz recently from the Govt. of India to operate a community radio station which is the first in entire North East. This frequency was used in experimental broadcast in January 2009.
The University has successfully completed two years of its radio phone-in programme recently. It first took on air through All India Radio, Guwahati on February 03,2008 for the month of January. It provides a common platform for the general people to understand the activities of the University and also to have a direct contact with the top brass of the University, as the queries of the phone callers are answered by the key officials of the University. The main objective of the phone-in programme has been to answer the queries of the distant learners as well as the general public with regard to the University’s activities and programmes. It is an innovative learner support service provided by the Krishna Kanta Handiqui State Open University for the better understanding of the issues related to the functioning of the University through its Study Centres. The phone-in programme is on air on every fourth Sunday of each month between 11.30 a.m. and 12.00 noon. It is broadcast by the All India Radio, Guwahati and relayed by the All India Radio, Dibrugarh.
The Govt. of Assam has allotted land for the permanent campus at Patgaon under Rani mauza, located near the Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport, Guwahati. The University has made a provision for its learners to get the news and announcement from KKHSOU on their mobile phone by subscribing through SMS. This is done by sending an SMS to a number and for e-mail and RSS subscription options the learners can visit the official website.The university community and the authorities of the university, such as the board of management, academic council, finance committee etc. are confident that Krishna Kanta Handiqui State Open University will be able to provide quality higher education through open and distance learning to every nook and corner of the region.