R Krishna Kumar, well-acclaimed academician and vice chancellor of Yashwantrao Chavan Maharashtra Open University (YCMOU, Nashik), who reformed open education in the state, passed away on Tuesday at a Nagpur hospital where he was admitted on Saturday night.
Fifty-two-year-old Krishnakumar was suffering from pancreatitis since past one and half year. A University official told dna, “He was performing his duties staying in the guest house next to Nahsik University campus to avoid exertion.” He couldn’t complete his term which was to be expired in 2015.
Sriniwas Belsare, ex-PRO of the University said, “He reached Nagpur on Saturday to be with his family which is based in Nagpur. His condition deteriorated suddenly. Sunday he was put on ventilator. He breathed his last Tuesday morning.”
In past three years, he reformed the open and distance education by designing and launching courses as per the need of the people. He launched BA courses especially made for maids, dabbawalas, auto and taxi-drivers, army-soldiers, cobblers etc. He also started BA in textiles in Urdu medium only to reach out to 12,000 mill workers of Malegaon.
“Most of them are now better paid workers which also prompted civic body of Malegaon to allot them cheaper land for housing,” says Belsare.
Describing his sensitivity, commitment and honesty, Belsare remembers, “Instead of a hotel, he used to stay in Mumbai University guest house whenever he used to land at Mumbai airport. During this stay only, he observed life of maids, taxi-drivers, dabbawalas who missed the formal education but have enough time to pursue if given a chance.”
From 3.12 lakh enrolment in 2010, the varsity is now proud of having 6.2 lakh students which is almost equal to Mumbai University.
Vaibhav Shinde, one of YCMOU student who suffers from blood cancer, said in choking voice,, “I was enrolled in BSc (IT) in Mangaon but couldn’t give exam due to my ill-health and prolonged admission in Tata hospital. Then I took admission in SIWS College but again couldn’t give exam. I was totally shattered that time as I had lost two years of education.He read my story in the newspaper and send his officials to Tata hospital with YCMOU admission form of BCA.”
When Vaibhav passed first semester in 2012, Krishnakumar personally went to Tata hospital to give him the certificate. “For me it was most encouraging and memorable moment of my life,” said Vaibhav whose disease is now almost cure.