The Telegraph | Tuesday | December 22 , 2015 |
New Delhi, Dec. 21: A parliamentary panel headed by former HRD minister Murli Manohar Joshi has “deprecated” the “indifferent attitude” of the government in safeguarding the interests of students at the hands of fake institutions. The committee on estimates, in its report on higher education tabled in the Lok Sabha today, expressed displeasure that the UGC and the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) were not going beyond uploading the names of fake institutions on their websites. Government sources said there were plans to amend the UGC and the AICTE laws to give the regulatory bodies more power to take “stringent action” against errant institutions. In a report in September 2013, the panel had recommended imposition of deterrent penalty on the management of fake institutions after disposing of complaints against them in a time-bound manner. The department of higher education under the HRD ministry sent its action taken report (ATR) to the committee in July this year. The committee found it to be “lacking”.
“The reply is further lacking on steps taken to safeguard the interest of gullible students at hands of such fake institutions as suggested by the committee. The committee deprecates such indifferent attitude of the government and reiterate their earlier recommendation,” the report said. The government has told the committee that the UGC has identified 21 fake universities. The UGC considers universities legal when they have been set up by an act of Parliament or legislature or through an order of the HRD ministry. The AICTE gives approval to technical programmes -engineering, management, architecture courses etc – run by professional colleges other than universities. It has put up a list of about 312 unapproved private institutions that fleece gullible students. There has been significant growth of private universities in the country. These institutions are facing allegations of resorting to unfair practices like offering courses without required facilities and faculty. In the Lok Sabha, HRD minister Smriti Irani today said the Meghalaya and Sikkim governments had dissolved two universities for alleged irregularities while Rajasthan has banned admission to the Jodhpur National University for 2015-16. The UGC is supposed to send expert committees to private institutions to assess the fulfilment of minimum criteria in terms of faculty, infrastructure, financial viability etc. The UGC has sent its expert committees to 100 out of 185 private universities. “The committee is dismayed to note that the expert committees of UGC has not yet visited 85 of the 185 state private universities,” said the report. Government sources said two panels had been set up to study and suggest how to revamp the UGC and the AICTE. Both the acts may be amended to “give them more teeth”, a senior official said. At present, the AICTE act does not allow the council to impose penalty on any unapproved institution. The UGC act says it can impose a penalty of Rs 1,000 on an errant institution. – Courtesy