Mukta Swadhyaya Peetham
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Mukta Swadhyaya Peetham

(Institute of Open and Distance Education)
Central Sanskrit University (केन्द्रीयसंस्कृतविश्वविद्यालयः), formerly known as Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan was initially established in October 1970, as an autonomous body for the promotion and propagation of Sanskrit in the country. It has been wholly funded by the Government of India. It has been working as the leading organization engaged in promotion, propagation and development of Sanskrit and helps the Ministry of Human Resource Development in preparation and implementation of various schemes and programmes for the development of Sanskrit learning. It has been functioning as a central nodal agency for the effective implementation of the various recommendations made by the First Sanskrit Commission which was set-up in 1956 by the Department of Education. Government of India, for preservation, promotion and development of Sanskrit.

Recognizing its contribution in the field of promotion and propagation of traditional Sanskrit learning and teaching, its excellent publications and its effective efforts in preservation and management of more than 58,000 rare Sanskrit manuscripts, the Government of India bestowed the status of Deemed University on Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan on May 7, 2002 vide Notification Number F. 9-28/2000 U 3 followed by the UGC Notification Number F.6- 31/2001(CPP-1) dated 13th June, 2002.

The institution played a leading role in the field of Sanskrit education in the last decades. Consequently, the Government of India approved the Rashtriya Sanskrit Sanshtna as the Central Sanskrit University by an act of parliament which was notified vide Government of India Gazette No. CG-DL-A-17042020-219068 dated 17th April 2020. Accordingly, the Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan was transformed as Central Sanskrit University (केन्द्रीयसंस्कृतविश्वविद्यालयः) w.e.f. April 30, 2020.

The potential of Open Distance Learning (ODL) for promoting and popularizing Sanskrit is well recognized by the Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan and it is having various projects in this direction. Establishing a centre for Distance education was discussed and approved by Shasi Parishad (executive council at that time) as well as by Board of Management (BOM) [Ref. Shasi Parishad meeting 4-8-2000 item No. 10; 1st BOM meeting on 5-01-2004 Item No. 13; 17th BOM meeting in 2008 item No. 23]. Since the first proposal for promoting Distance-Education in 2000, Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan started working in this direction by producing ‘self learning materials’. Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan proposed & established Mukta Swadhyaya Peetham (Institute of Open and Distance Education) following the guidelines of Distance Education Council. BOM had approved the same in its 23rd meeting (held on 31-5- 2010) vide item no. 23.7 taking into consideration the recommendations of DEC team.

Thus Mukta Swadhyaya Peetham (MSP) came into existence in 2010 and started planning and offering courses through distance mode.

National level importance of Sanskrit education mentioned by ‘Sanskrit Commission’ was considered while planning for offering ‘Sanskrit education through ODL mode’. One of the objectives of 2nd Sanskrit commission constituted by Government of India is to deliberate on Sanskrit education and promotion of Sanskrit-learning through Distance-Education. The team realized the potential of ODL mode for promoting, popularizing and expanding Sanskrit education not only in India but also outside India. The importance of developing Distance Education in general for higher education is reflected in the order of MHRD dated 29th December 2012. It states that “Every conventional University and institution, including technical and professional ones, to be encouraged to switch over to dual mode of education by offering ODL programmes ….”

One of the objectives of Sansthan (present Central Sanskrit University) as stated in its MoA/rules includes “To undertake extra mural studies, extension programmes and field outreach activities to contribute to the development of the society”.

Considering the general importance entrusted nationally on ODL programmes and also considering the potential of ODL for the expansion, development and promotion of Sanskrit education within and outside the country, it is necessary to give Mukta Swadhyaya Peetham a special centre status with functional autonomy as per the powers of BOM (MoA/rules of sansthan item no 47 - XXI) and the guidelines of UGC. This provides a base for Mukta Swadhyaya Peetham (MSP) to expand and set innovative ways of Sanskrit Education.