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UGC has spoilt the Centre’s efforts to bring in new regulations for private universities, provisions of which sought to effectively maintain their standards and check irregularities in their functioning

Deccan Herald | New Delhi, November 21, 2015, DHNS |

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has spoilt the Centre’s efforts to bring in new regulations for private universities, provisions of which sought to effectively maintain their standards and check irregularities in their functioning.
After almost five years of consultation, the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry finalised the new regulations and sent it to the UGC for its drafting in a proper legal format earlier this year. The higher education regulator, however, sent the ministry a “completely new” set of regulations for establishing standards and maintenance of private universities only after getting it approved at the full commission meeting in September, official sources told Deccan Herald. For drafting the new regulations, the UGC had set up an expert committee, which not only amended certain provisions that were made in the original draft of the regulations but also “completely” changed language of other provisions made in the previous one. Interestingly, the original regulations, finalised by the ministry, had proposed restricting private universities from opening their off campus beyond the territorial jurisdiction of their states. The ministry had brought in this provision in view of various complaints about some of the private universities opening their campuses abroad and duping students, sources said.

The UGC, however, dropped this provision in the new draft of the regulations to allow private universities open their off campuses even abroad, with the permission of the government. “The commission has used its power, vested into it through the UGC Act, to thrust the new regulations on the ministry at a time when all the provisions made in the previous one was vetted by the law ministry and its notification was only left to happen. The ministry can not formulate any regulations,” official sources said.  The UGC, however, dropped this provision in the new draft of the regulations to allow private universities open their off campuses even abroad, with the permission of the government. “The commission has used its power, vested into it through the UGC Act, to thrust the new regulations on the ministry at a time when all the provisions made in the previous one was vetted by the law ministry and its notification was only left to happen. The ministry can not formulate any regulations,” official sources said. The original regulations, finalised by the ministry, were vetted by the law ministry thrice. “The ministry held several rounds of consultation, sent clarifications to the questions of the law ministry and gave a final shape to the original regulations, which was actually drafted by the UGC itself and sent to the ministry in 2010,” the sources said. Though the ministry would take up the matter with the UGC again for accepting its suggestions, the notification of the regulations for private universities would take more time, he added. – Courtesy

Academia Air Concern Over Kerala Private Universities

The New Indian Express | Sovi Vidyadharan | ENS | 15th August 2015 |

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:  With an expert committee tasked by the Kerala State Higher Education Council (KSHEC) favouring the setting up of private universities in the state, concerns are being raised by a section of the academia on whether adequate checks and balances would be in place to regulate such institutions. The committee, which was slated to submit its report about the feasibility of setting up of private universities before August 15, is currently engaged in the final round of consultations with top academics. Along with the report, the committee will also come up with a ‘model legislation’, as the establishment of each private university would require enactment of separate legislation by the Assembly. “Even though there are 207 private universities in the country, Kerala is the only state that does not have a single such institution. We are hopeful of submitting our report by the end of this month after final round of discussions,” committee chairman Cyriac Thomas told ‘Express’.

“At a time when the government is not in a position to make huge investments in the state’s higher education sector, the entry of private players is inevitable,” said Thomas, former Vice-Chancellor of MG University. However, senior academicians are not convinced. Former Kerala University Vice-Chancellor Dr B Ekbal  wondered why the government was showing such “urgency” in inviting private players to set up   universities. “Already, there are dozens of universities in the state adequate to cater to the needs of the students,” he said. “Everyone is aware of what had happened after the state’s engineering and medical education sector was thrown open to the private sector. The self-financing sector is now riddled with problems, including poor quality of education and abysmally low success rates. The government should learn lessons from the failure of the self-financing sector before exploring such proposals,” Ekbal added. Senior academic A Jayakrishnan is equally sceptical about the proposal.According to him, profiteering should not be the main agenda of private players who set up universities in the state. Also, there is a likelihood that such universities will tie up with sub-standard foreign universities to woo unsuspecting students,” he said. Sources in the Higher Education Council, which has come up with the proposal have dubbed such concerns as ‘unfounded’. They maintain that adequate checks and balances would be put in place to prevent profiteering and ensure quality of education and teaching. “All guidelines issued by the UGC, AICTE and MCI will be applicable to such universities. Also, only corporates with exemplary track record would be preferred to set up universities. Rules will be framed to ensure that the profit generated from such universities will be pumped back into the institution itself for its development,” said a top official of the Council. – Courtesy

Universities upset over UGC notice on distance education programmes

The Hindu | | R. Sujatha |

The University Grants Commission’s notice that all State and private universities should seek its approval before setting up off-campus/ study centres and outreach centres has confused higher education officials here. The notice, available on the UGC website, says the laws enacted by the State legislatures will apply to the Universities – State and private – have a limited jurisdiction within their respective states and only Parliament is competent to enact laws for the whole country. “No off-campus / study centre / outreach centre is established by your esteemed university outside the territorial jurisdiction of the state. If you are a private university, even within the state, the off-campus / study centre / outreach centre should be established with the prior approval of the UGC as mandated in the UGC (Establishment of and Maintenance of Standards in Private Universities) Regulations, 2003,” the notice states. The UGC has said that many private universities have not taken its permission prior to establishing study centres within and outside their respective States. .

Offshore campuses

The University of Madras, which has two academic admission seasons each year admits thousands of students in each season. It also has campuses in the West Asian and South East Asian countries. Officials here said they had expressed their worries to the government. Each year, around 10 lakh students graduate from Class XII but less than 3.5 lakh students go for higher education. The rest seek higher education through distance mode. “In a country which is looking for 100 per cent literacy we do not understand the need for such restrictions,” an official pointed out.

Money spinner

For the State universities, the open and distance education programme is a revenue generator. Each university also runs constituent colleges. The government provides grants for the first five years, after which they become the responsibility of the university. “The distance education programme generates revenue which we use to maintain the colleges. Such regressive measures do not auger well,” said a university official from down south. S.Manian, Vice Chancellor of Annamalai University, which has been running distance education programmes since 1979 when it was a private university, said the programme was “a mode of equipping a person after taking up a job.” The university has 30,459 candidates on campus, while as many as 2,84,061 candidates are enrolled through its distance education programme. “We have a strong infrastructure and faculty strength of around 4,000 to run these programmes,” Dr. Manian said, adding he had not yet received the notice.

Quality concerns

According to S.P. Thyagarajan, former VC of the University of Madras, the UGC’s distance education council was created to maintain standards. To regulate proliferation of such programmes, territorial jurisdiction for all State Universities was sought. Concern for quality led the UGC to debar conduct of the programmes in 2010. “In the new knowledge era what we need is quality benchmarks for universities to be allowed to conduct courses,” he says. “Quality dilution has warranted these stipulations. However, regular faculty and a network of training for candidates will prevent quality dilution.” He also suggests that the programmes are reviewed every five years. – Courtesy   /   12/08/2015UGC Letter reg.: Territorial Jurisdiction of Universities/State Private Universities

Amity named best private engineering university

The Times of India |

GURGAON: Amity University, Gurgaon, has been awarded the ‘Best Private Engineering University of 2015′ by the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The award was given by Nitin Gadkari, Union minister for road transport and highways, during a national summit on —Smart Transportation Infra Summit and Expo 2015’ held in Delhi on Saturday. Gadkari, while sharing his views during the occasion, urged the industry, to develop and promote eco-friendly alternative fuels like bio-diesel to make India less dependent on the import of petrol and diesel.

He added that increasing number of vehicles is adding to the congestion and called upon students to develop innovative solutions to combat this problem. PB Sharma, vice chancellor of Amity University, said the varsity has emerged as a hub for quality education and industry-centric research focusing on innovation and new product development. “We have done a lot of research in bio-fuels, intelligent transportation system, integral science, and particulate matter. This award was in recognition to our efforts. Our curriculum prepares students to be industry-ready professionals,” he said. Amity University was sent up in 2010 after an act passed by the state assembly and is spread across 110 acres. Of a total of 100 programmes across all streams, the university offers 17 B. Tech courses. – Courtesy

For Rs 25 lakh, you can get a degree from private institutes have collaborated with foreign universities that’s not valid in India

Jeevan Prakash Sharma | Hindustan Times | New Delhi |Jul 01, 2015 |

A number of private institutes have collaborated with foreign universities to offer joint degrees not recognised by India’s top educational regulatory bodies.

When Sarika (name changed) spent Rs. 25 lakh to complete a BA in fashion design in 2014 from Pearl Academy, little did she realise that the degree certificate she was awarded by the institute in collaboration with Nottingham Trent University (NTU) would not be formally recognised in India. She was made aware of the fact by the export house she was working in. Wanting to lay off staff, her manager showed her a letter from the Association of Indian Universities (AIU); questioning the validity of her degree, and terminated her services. The AIU, a body which has the mandate to issue equivalence certificates of foreign degrees to match them with  degrees awarded by Indian universities, refused to recognise Sarika’s degree as valid and also did not issue an equivalence certificate to her. “It has been observed from the papers that the candidate has passed her bachelor’s from Nottingham Trent University, UK, from their Indian centre through Pearl Academy, Delhi, in 2014. As per the matter of policy, AIU does not issue Equivalence Certificate for the degrees awarded by foreign universities in India,” reads the AIU letter.

AIU and UGC (University Grants Commission) norms require institutes to be affiliated to universities or follow Foreign Educational Institution Regulations 2012; many institutes are attracting applicants on the basis of their ‘international degree’ offers, and charging  fees ranging from `10 lakh to Rs. 25 lakh. Some of the Indian and international institutes’ collaborations include the Indian Institute of Art and Design with Kingston University (London); GD Goenka World Institute with Lancaster University; International Institute of Fashion Design with Istituto Di Moda Burgo (Milan, Italy); Mod’Art India with Mod’Art (Paris); Lisaa School of Design, Delhi,  with Lisaa School of Design (France); Raffles Millennium International, New Delhi, with Raffles (Singapore); IMS Design and Innovation Academy with Pearson Education, UK; Picasso Animation College with Centennial College, Toronto, Canada; among others. When HT Education sent emails and made phone calls to the Indian institutes and asked for clarity on the regulatory provisions under which they were offering degrees, no one except Pearl Academy responded. Admitting that the degree it offers in collaboration with NTU has no legal approval in India, Pearl Academy, however, claimed that it followed international standards and ensured quality assurance.

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When this correspondent visited Pearl Academy’s training centre in Naraina Industrial Area in Delhi and claimed to be the brother of a girl who wanted to join the institute, the counsellor asked him to pay 60% extra fee and get a recommendation from an export house as all the seats were filled up and admissions could only be done under a special category.  When asked if the degree would be valid in any university in India for postgraduation courses, the counsellor said, “These are international degrees. They may not be valid in India but they are valid worldwide. We have been offering these degrees for several years but no one has ever questioned their validity.”

Questioning validity

Any joint degree agreement between an Indian institute (not a university) and international university violates of UGC Act 1956, UGC’s Foreign Educational Institution Regulations 2012 and Assocation of Indian Universities provisions to collaborate with foreign universities and grant degrees. Section 22 (1) of UGC Act of 1956 states that degrees can only be awarded by a university established under a Central act, a state act or an institution deemed to be a university under section 3 or an institution especially empowered by an Act of Parliament. “These institutes (mentioned above) are not universities. Their collaboration with an international institute is in violation of UGC’s Foreign Educational Institution Regulations 2012 which makes it mandatory for any institute to affiliate with a university, have NAAC (National Assessment and Accreditation Council) accreditation and get MoUs signed with foreign institutions approved by UGC. Under whose permission have universities like NTU and Lancaster entered India?”asks a senior UGC official.  When asked about the process of acquiring an equivalence certificate for a degree awarded by a foreign university, Prof Furqan Qamar, secretary general, AIU says one of the conditions is that the “student should have pursued the programme of the study full time as a regular student on the campus of the foreign  university.” Students of many of these private Indian institutes were not full-time, regular students on the campus of the foreign university, “AIU shall not be able to accord equivalence to such qualifications,” says Prof Qamar.  Degrees granted for technical education would only be valid if “the institute (in question) collaborating with the foreign university is affiliated to an Indian university. Tripartite MoUs signed among three parties – the institute, the university it’s affiliated to and the foreign university – should have the AICTE’s nod,” says Avinash Pant, chairman (officiating), AICTE.

‘Pearl a leading institute’

When asked about the provision under which Pearl Academy was granting joint degrees to the students in India, Sharad Mehra, chief executive officer, agrees that as far as validity is concerned the Pearl-Nottingham Trent University degree is not  valid under the present regulatory framework for granting degrees in India. However, he says, “Pearl Academy strives to be amongst the leading global institutes in design, fashion and creative business education through continuous innovation, high quality standards and delightful experience to students, employees and industry partners. With a focus on student outcomes we have for the last 22 years trained over 6,000 students to become productive members of society.” The institute, Mehra says, has, “From 1993, developed our quality systems in accordance with the requirements of the British Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) and our Academic Standards and Quality Control team works across all campuses to ensure that.” Mehra adds that every course undergoes a rigorous curriculum approval process which engages industry, faculty, alumni and current students. – Courtesy

UGC gives a year to 7 ‘C’ category deemed universities to remove deficiencies

The Hindu |

: In a breather to seven ‘C’ category deemed universities, UGC has given them one more year to rectify their deficiencies failing which they could face the possibility of denotification. These universities were identified from among 41 ‘C’ category deemed universities by an expert panel as they lacked the requisite infrastructure and faculty strength. “After detailed deliberations, UGC decided to give them a final opportunity for rectifying their deficiencies within a maximum period of one year and submit the compliance report within that time, failing which recommendation for the denotification of their status would be made to HRD Ministry,” UGC resolved recently at a full meeting.

Supreme Court, which has been monitoring the case, had directed UGC to inspect eight such universities which were said to be lacking in terms of the criteria for deemed universities. The apex court had last year directed UGC to examine all the reports of the 41 deemed universities and advise the central government. These universities had gone to Supreme Court after they were put in the ‘C’ category in 2009 by the Tandon Committee. Upon Supreme Court’s direction, a committee was set up under UGC vice chairperson H. Devaraj which heard all the 41 deemed universities separately. The universities, which were examined on nine parameters, scored poorly in several of them. Some of the parameters were conformity to the provisions of the UGC Act and UGC guidelines, aspects of governance, quality of and innovation in teaching-learning process, research output, doctoral and other research degree programme, faculty resources, admission processes and award of degrees.

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Guidelines should be formed for recognition of private & deemed universities : Centre tells Supreme Court

First Post | Feb 23, 2015 | PTI |

New Delhi: The Centre on Monday told the Supreme Court that it has taken a decision to frame “criteria” for dealing with the issue of recognition of private universities across the country after consulting with all stakeholders, including UGC. “The Union of India has taken a decision that the proper criteria or guidelines should be laid down after consulting all the stakeholders so that the issue is settled once and for all,” the counsel, appearing for Ministry of Human Resources Development (HRD), told a bench of justices Dipak Misra and Vikramjit Sen. Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who represented the HRD Ministry, said that the Centre is planning to consult bodies like UGC and AICTE and the criteria can be laid down within three months.

Meanwhile, the bench asked the Centre to apprise it of steps taken on the UGC report relating to inspection carried out on 41 deemed universities. “The Centre is obliged to take a decision,” the bench said and allowed the counsel for deemed universities to respond to the report of the Centre after it is filed in the apex court registry. Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh, appearing for UGC, said eight deemed universities had been inspected. Out of the eight, seven, despite certain deficiencies, can be granted recognition for one more year, he said, adding that the eighth — Gurukul Kangra Vishwavidyalaya — lacks teaching and infrastructural facilities. Senior advocate PH Parekh, appearing for Gurukul Kangra Vishwavidyalaya, said that the government aid has been stopped and moreover, the institution neither has any management quota nor it levies any capitation fees.

“You cannot claim grant as a matter of right,” the bench said and asked the university to respond to the Centre’s report which would to be filed in the next three weeks. Senior advocates Rajeev Dhawan and Vikas Singh, appearing for some private universities, said that they are not opposed to the statutory physical verification of the universities by the authorities but the stigma of adverse grading like ‘B’ and ‘C’ should must go. Earlier, the court had rapped the University Grant Commission (UGC) for going into “slumber” over conducting physical verification of infrastructure and faculty strengt of deemed universities, which were black-listed by a committee appointed by the Centre. The remarks were made when ASG Maninder Singh, appearing for UGC, was trying to explain the circumstances for the delay by submitting that there was a need to modify the apex court order as the commission cannot go the way PN Tandon Committee made categorisation of the deemed universities like “A”, “B” and “C” depending on the fulfillment of criteria. UGC had said it can only do the inspection and after seeking response of such universities, place the report with the Centre which has to express its view before the apex court. The bench on 26 September had ruled out the suggestion of verification through photographs and videography, saying it was not an acceptable mode of determining the credentials.

It had asked UGC to complete within three months the physical verification of 41 deemed universities. It had said that after completing the procedure of verification and rectification of deficiencies, UGC will file its report both to the Centre and the apex court. The Supreme Court had earlier last year directed UGC to examine all the reports of the 41 deemed to-be universities and advise the central government. These universities had gone to the Supreme Court after they were put in the ‘C’ category in 2009 by P N Tandon Committee, a retired professor of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). After the apex court’s direction, UGC had set up a committee under its Vice Chairperson H Devaraj, which heard all the 41 deemed universities separately. A decision to issue show cause notice was taken for seven such deficient deemed universities by the Centre as to why they should not be denotified. But later it was left to the apex court. Earlier, 44 deemed universities were found to be unfit for the status by the Tandon committee. However, the number came down to 41 after two of them surrendered the deemed varsity tax, while the third one was converted into a centre of national importance. UGC on 17 October had set up a five-member committee to conduct physical verification of seven universities whose deemed category status has come under question.  Courtesy

Will frame criteria on recognition of private varsities: Centre to SC : Zee News India, Read more…

Fresh norms for private  universities in 3 months: Centre , Asian Age, Read More…

Why Private Universities Should be Rated and Ranked

Seasonal Magazine | Wednesday, February 11, 2015 |

After almost a decade of limitless growth, private universities and deemed universities are facing stricter regulation by various state governments and central agencies like UGC as they move into academic year 2015-16.  Academic year 2014-15 is destined to end on a tumultuous note for these self-financing universities. Unbridled growth during the past few years was sure to attract stricter regulation, and it is finally arriving. What it calls for is not only stricter regulation from the government side, but independent ratings and rankings from various agencies including media houses.
What started off as a simple move by Himachal government, to set up a regulator for the sector, has been adopted by a few other state governments too. West Bengal was next in line to appoint a Monitoring Cell for assuring that private universities are keeping their words to both the students as well as the Government.  Now, the need for such a regulator is being felt in Punjab too, with legislators, cutting across party lines, clamouring for a powerful regulator to rein in private universities as well as private colleges. The State’s Chief Minister has already responded by introducing the Punjab Educational Institute Regulatory Authority Bill in the State Assembly.  Legislators were apparently alarmed at the situation in Punjab, where there are already 22 Private Universities, and 2 more are all set to come up soon.

Meanwhile, in the state where the regulatory action started, the regulator, the Himachal Pradesh Private Educational Institutions Regulatory Commission has recently cancelled 1,000 seats of various streams in several private universities working in the state. These seats were created by flouting the norms of UGC, AICTE, & NCTE, but not the state government nor these central agencies acted against these universities, until the regulator was set up with enough teeth to take action based on these same central norms.  This is not to mean that private universities haven’t done their designated social role entirely. One hint for their effectiveness comes from the dramatic shift in demand for research grants received by Central Government’s Department of Science & Technology (DST).  While, even a few years earlier, the proposals were dominated by the likes of IITs, IISc, NITs etc, now around 50% of the proposals are from private institutes. Though private or self-financing colleges too are included in this 50%, there is no doubt that it is the advent of high-profile  private universities that have changed the research landscape.

Many private universities want to prove a point about their quality, and what best way than research to do it? DST research grants are quite generous, at least according to Indian standards, ranging from Rs. 30 lakh to Rs. 30 crore for a single approved project.  The focus and competition on research activities are definitely improving in the country, but the sad part is that Indian higher education is still no match for even BRICS standards, let alone developed countries’ standards. In the recently published study, The Times Higher Education BRICS and Emerging Economies Rankings 2015, which gives comprehensive data and analyses on 100 universities in 18 emerging economies of the world, Indian universities and colleges are nowhere. The results have shown that out of the top 10 universities, 3 are from China, 3 are from Turkey, 1 is from Taiwan, 1 is from Russia, 1 from Brazil, and 1 from South Africa. There is not a single Indian university in even the top 20 universities. Only the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, ranks 25 on the list.

With the state of our premier institutes being such, one can imagine the research standards at private universities and colleges, and how much they have to improve. One positive development for private universities during the past year has been the setting up of a dedicated fund for financing them by a listed company. More NBFCs are expected to follow suit eyeing this emerging lucrative opportunity, bringing relief to the cash-strapped self-financing sector. Those eligible for premium subsidized education are highly unlikely to consider either private universities or private colleges as a first choice, leaving self-financing colleges and universities to compete with each other for the remaining large pool of students. Both private colleges and private universities have their respective pros & cons. While private colleges boast about affiliation to a reputed public university and the resultant higher academic benchmarking, private universities stake their main claims on newer and better infrastructure as well as on academic autonomy resulting in updated curricula. Amidst such confusing claims and counter-claims, the students are the real losers. What it calls for is not only stricter regulation from the government side, but independent ratings and rankings from various agencies including media houses. India’s young and dynamic HRD Minister, Smriti Irani, can potentially lead this change by encouraging such efforts.

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Regulate private universities

The Tribune | Monday, December 27, 2014 | Editorials |

Make sure students are not short-changed.

With 22 private universities already functioning in Punjab and two more proposed, it seems setting up a university is easier (and more profitable) than setting up an industry.  When the Sant Baba Bhag Singh University Bill 2014 was presented in the Punjab Assembly, many legislators voiced their concern about lack of a regulatory body to monitor the mushrooming private universities and eliminate chances of student exploitation.  The announcement that soon a regulatory body, the Punjab Educational Institute Regulatory Authority, will be set up is welcome, although belated. It should have been set up before the proliferation of private universities. Even in the past decisions to allow private universities were often rushed through without a considered debate. Universities by their very nature, role and function cannot be set up in an arbitrary manner without doing a financial audit, a cost-benefit analysis and ensuring balanced locational spread so as to cater to the maximum number of students. Even the source of finances of the promoters need to be examined.  The State cannot abdicate its social responsibility to ensure quality higher education. Students can be short-changed by exorbitant fee structures in the race to notch up profits, with little or no accountability. Besides flawed admission procedures, infrastructure offered is usually inadequate and, citing autonomy, huge donations are charged. Lack of focus on job-readiness makes employability a casualty in these “graduate-creating” conveyor belts. If it does not have resources for setting up quality higher education institutes, the least it can do is to ensure that checks and balances are in place. If it is profitable to tap education as the sunshine sector, the government must ensure students get value for money. Most importantly, why not focus on the base of the pyramid, that is, primary education which is a casualty of the government’s cavalier attitude and skewed priorities.

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Enhance higher technical education quality: President Pranab Mukherjee tells private sector

The Hindu | | Shoumojit Banerjee |

Leading global universities like Harvard, Yale and Stanford had evolved out of private sector initiative, he pointed out.

Calling attention to the poor quality of Indian technical education, President Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday urged the private sector to strive for enhancing higher technical education standards in the country in a changing global milieu. Noting that while a formidable educational infrastructure was in place to cater to students, Mr. Mukherjee said the country was deficient in terms of institutions imparting quality education. “No Indian institution is ranked amongst the top 200 universities in the world as per reputed surveys. While ancient Indian universities attracted scholars from the world over, today, lakhs of bright Indian students go abroad seeking higher education,” said Mr. Mukherjee, while addressing the convocation ceremony of Symbiosis International University in Pune.

Remarking that leading global universities like Harvard, Yale and Stanford had evolved out of private sector initiative, he called for a deepening of private sector involvement in Indian education. Exhorting institutes to engage deeply with social issues, Mr. Mukherjee said that major initiatives aimed at inclusive development like the Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana envisaged the adoption of villages for holistic development and their transformation into model villages for wider replication. “I have urged Central higher educational institutes to work with at least five villages each by identifying problems in the villages,” he said. Mr. Mukherjee further pointed to faculty development as a critical component towards achieving high educational standards. “To keep pace with the information boom as well as continual refinements in disciplines, the faculty have to be trained in content and modern pedagogies,” he said, urging resort to technology tools like e-classrooms and knowledge networks. Spiritual guru Dada J. P. Vaswani and academician Haresh Shah, professor emeritus at the Stanford University in the US, were awarded honorary D.Litt degrees on the occasion.

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