On concern of Indian Institutions not finding a place in the global, top ranking list, Smriti Irani has announced that ten educational institutions each in the public and private sectors would be supported to make them world-class. She also said that national ranking framework was being designed and some standards being set up for Indian institutions, with over 5,000 of them adding themselves to the framework.
Replying to a private member's bill seeking to regulate private professional educational institutions moved by CPI(M) member K K Ragesh, she said, "Unfortunately, many in this House and across the country will accept that education has become more or less a pursuit of certification and less about pursuit of excellence."
She also said that a regulatory mechanism was already in place to keep a check on private engineering and other colleges regarding the fees charged by such institutions from the students. Stating that regulatory powers for technical institutions rested with All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), she said the law had provisions to penalise those institutions that charge higher fees than permitted.
She further said that the recommendations of the national fee committee, headed by Justice Sri Krishna, has already been approved by the AICTE. Furthermore she mentioned about UGC identifying 21 fake universities in the country and a public notice was put up warning students about them.
"Irrespective of us giving strict guidelines, if any violation brought to our notice, the regulator in the state concerned does take action against those institutions. There is a measure already in place," Irani said. To ensure that technical courses are offered at lower fees for disadvantaged communities, she said the government would launch 'SWAYAM', a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) platform from the next academic year.
The Minister said the two regulators - AICTE and UGC, have started "Know Your College" initiative, a mobile app, giving details of registered academic institutions and professionals engaged. "If any institution is lying or misleading the public with regard to information, but they have registered with regulators, then the concerned student or citizen or parent can bring it to the notice of the regulator and the regulator takes the appropriate action," she added.
T Subbarami Raddy (Cong), Basawaraj Patil (BJP) and Bhupinder Singh (BJD) also participated in the debate.