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Good news for all the deemed universities in the country as the government is planning to remove some of the norms regulating them and readying a plan to curtail the University Grants Commission’s (UGC) powers to regulate them.
It has come to the notice of the government that the higher education regulator has mishandled some of the matters that were related to deemed universities and also has not put in place a proper system for these institutions, two government officials said, requesting anonymity.
UGC has gotten into a legal tangle with some reputed deemed universities like the Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS), Pilani; Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai; and Tata Institute of Fundamental Research over their off-campus centres and expansion plans and therefore these decisions hold a significant importance.
“The HRD ministry believes that it is time to clear some the confusion created by the UGC,” said one of the officials cited above.
The second official pointed out that authorities were getting fewer complaints from deemed universities. While there were 268 complaints against them in 2014, the number declined to 112 in 2015, according to government data.
A special committee will examine the issue that was discussed between UGC and the higher education secretary and suggest the next course of action, said the official.
“The understanding is that let’s review the regulations of deemed universities. Every education provider should not be looked at with suspicion and those who are doing good work should be encouraged,” the second official said, without explaining what “encouragement” entails.
Some of UGC’s powers may go to the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), the first official said.
The thinking is that since accreditation of such educational institutions holds great significance, giving NAAC powers is logical “instead of sending an expert committee with little accountability”, the second official said.
“UGC is yet to put in place a mechanism on how it selects experts. Hence, there is always a possibility of wrongdoing or misrepresentation of facts,” the second official said.
Already the HRD ministry has asked UGC to get the names of people it nominates to various deemed universities as representatives of their finance committees vetted by it before final approval. A similar procedure will be followed for sending members to the management boards of these universities.