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‘Muslim’ from AMU, ‘Hindu’ from BHU should be dropped, says UGC

India Today | New Delhi, October 9, 2017 |

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has recommended to drop words such as ‘Hindu’ and ‘Muslim’ in names of universities–Banaras Hindu University and Aligarh Muslim University.

Banaras Hindu University and Aligarh Muslim University

In a major announcement, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has recommended to drop words such as ‘Hindu’ and ‘Muslim’ in names of universities–Banaras Hindu University and Aligarh Muslim University. The UGC panel suggested that these words do not reflect their secular character.

Reasons behind recommendation:

As reported by PTI, the panel was formed to probe the alleged irregularities in 10 central universities and the recommendations have been made in the audit report of AMU.

Here’s what the panel said:

While speaking on the condition of anonymity, one of the panel members said centrally funded universities are secular institutions but such words related to religion in their names do not reflect that character.

Besides AMU and BHU, other universities that were audited by the panel are the following:

  • Pondicherry University
  • Allahabad University
  • Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna Garhwal University in Uttarakhand
  • Central University of Jharkhand
  • Central University of Rajasthan
  • Central University of Jammu
  • Mahatma Gandhi Antarrashtriya Hindi Vishwavidyalaya in Wardha
  • University of Tripura
  • Hari Singh Gour University in Madhya Pradesh

Furthermore, panel said, the universities can be simply called Aligarh University and Banaras University or be renamed after their founders. – Courtesy

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UGC’s approved journal list has 111 more predatory journals

The Hindu | Srinivasan Ramani |  R. Prasad  |  Chennai, September 14 |

Directory of Open Access Journals flags them “for suspected editorial misconduct”

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The University Grants Commission’s (UGC) approved list of journals or white list appears more grey than white. In June this year, the UGC released a revised list of 33,112 approved journals in which university/college faculty and students may publish papers. It has now come to light that UGC’s revised list contains 111 potential predatory or fraudulent journals. Last week, The Hindu reported that the revised list contains 84 predatory journals that are found in librarian Jeffrey Beall’s (University of Colorado, Denver) list of “potential, possible, or probable” predatory journals, bringing the total to 195. The journals from the UGC white list (45,925, including inactive journals at ugc.ac.in) were “web-scraped” and individually “string-matched” with the list of journals in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) flagged as “suspected editorial misconduct by publisher”.

Earlier, the same list was compared with Mr. Beall’s list. An exact string match between the names of journals in the lists was taken as the criteria to flag the journal as predatory. Of the 586 journals that the DOAJ had recently removed from its directory on grounds of “suspected editorial misconduct by publisher”, the UGC list contains 114. Three of the 114 journals have an overlap with Mr. Beall’s list. By all accounts, the probability of the revised list containing more predatory journals cannot be ruled out. For instance, the UGC list has included some journals, which have all the tell-tale signs of predatory journals. They are neither found in Mr. Beall’s list nor are they among the DOAJ’s rejected journals.

 Malpractices aplenty

A few of the predatory journals that have been removed from the DOAJ database want the authors to assign copyright to the journals, which goes against the grain of open access, while a few others offer an e-certificate to authors of published papers and a hard copy of the certificate for a fee. One journal also offers authors a unique payment option — by paying a registration fee of ₹3,000, authors will be allowed to publish multiple articles without paying any article processing charge. Most journals have fake impact factors (an indicator of importance of the journal in the field). In a sting operation in late 2012, a “mundane paper with grave errors” was sent to 167 journals included in the DOAJ database and 121 from Mr. Beall’s list. While 82% publishers in Mr. Beall’s list accepted the questionable paper, nearly 45% of DOAJ publishers did not reject the paper. About six months after the results of the sting operation were published in October 2013 in the journal Science, the DOAJ began its mammoth exercise of removing the bad apples. The DOAJ has cleaned up its database by removing nearly 3,800 journals. Following the introduction of new criteria for listing in March 2014, DOAJ has received 1,600 applications from Open Access journal publishers in India, which is the “highest number” in the world. But of the 1,600, only 4% (74) were from genuine journal publishers and accepted for inclusion in the DOAJ directory. – Courtesy

UGC Invites proposal for Institutions of Eminence (IOEs)

ND TV | Education | Pres Trust of India |  September 12, 2017 |

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has rolled out an application process for varsities and institutes seeking the “eminence” tag.

New Delhi: The University Grants Commission (UGC) has rolled out an application process for varsities and institutes seeking the “eminence” tag. The establishment of 20 world-class institutions, 10 public and the rest private, is one of the flagship projects of the Ministry of Human Resource Development for internationalisation of Indian campuses and creating world class universities. The government will invest Rs. 10,000 crore in 10 public higher education institutions to be shortlisted with a mission to make them “world-class” and the investment will be done over a period of 10 years, which is over and above the regular grants. The UGC today announced the initiation of the 90 days application process from interested public and private institutions. By March-April 2018, 20 (10 each from public and private category) institutions will be according the status of “Institutions of Eminence” with a mandate to achieve world- class status over a period of 10 years.

“The process for setting up of Institutions of Eminence gets underway from September 13 with the invitation for applications. “The institutions which can apply are divided into three categories – existing government educational institutions, existing private higher educational institutions and sponsoring organization for setting up of private institutions,” Kewal Kumar Sharma, Secretary, Ministry of HRD told reporters. As per the guidelines issued by the UGC, institutions in the top 50 of the National Institute Ranking Framework (NIRF) rankings or those who have secured ranking among top 500 of the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, QS University Rankings or Shanghai Ranking Academic Ranking of World Universities are eligible to apply. New institutions need to submit a 15-year vision plan to be among the top 500 globally ranked institutions, while existing institutions among the top 500 would have to offer a plan to improve their ranking to be among the top 100 in the next 10 years.

“The mission is to set up universities with all India character and with international standards. For a large country like India the possibility of providing globally recognized best education is what we are trying to create,” said Mr Sharma. The institutions declared as Institutions of Eminence will be free from the usual regulatory mechanism to choose their path to become institutions of global repute with emphasis on multi-disciplinary initiatives, high quality research, global best practices and international collaborations. Unlike the other institutions in the country, these institutions will have the liberty to enroll upto 30 per cent foreign students. Moreover, selected public institutions will be able to recruit upto 25 per cent foreign faculty, while there will be no such limit for selected private institutions. “The universities will have the freedom of devising their own courses, create centres without coming to UGC, fix their own fee structure, but with a need blind mechanism so that the best students are not denied education for fund crunch,” a senior UGC official said. The HRD Ministry will set up an empowered expert committee which will process the application and the process of shortlisting the institutions is likely to be completed by March-April 2018. – Courtesy   /   UGC Circular – Published on 12/09/2017 : UGC Invites proposal for Institutions of Eminence (IOEs) 

UGC Drafts New Policy to Check Plagiarism in Academic Research

ND TV | Education | Anisha Singh | September 07, 2017 |

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has released the Draft UGC (Promotion of Academic Integrity and Prevention of Plagiarism in Higher Education Institutions) Regulations, 2017. As the name suggests, the aim of the draft is to create academic awareness about responsible conduct of research and prevention of misconduct including plagiarism in academic writing.

New Delhi: The University Grants Commission (UGC) has released the Draft UGC (Promotion of Academic Integrity and Prevention of Plagiarism in Higher Education Institutions) Regulations, 2017. As the name suggests, the aim of the draft is to create academic awareness about responsible conduct of research and prevention of misconduct including plagiarism in academic writing. The draft also seeks to establish institutional mechanism for promotion of academic integrity and develop systems to detect and prevent plagiarism. The draft directs every Higher Education Institute to instruct students, faculty, and staff about proper attribution, seeking permission of the author wherever necessary, acknowledgement of source compatible with the needs and specificities of disciplines and in accordance with rules and regulations governing the source. The Higher Education Institutes are also required to conduct sensitization seminars and awareness programmes on responsible conduct of research, project work, assignment, thesis, dissertation, promotion of academic integrity and ethics in education for students, faculty and other members of academic staff.

The institutes have also been instructed to implement adequate software and other mechanisms which would ensure that thesis, dissertation or any other such documents submitted are free of plagiarism. Students in their turn are also required to submit an undertaking that the document has been prepared by him/her and is an original work free of any plagiarism. Institutes are also required to develop a policy on plagiarism and get it approved by the relevant statutory body of the University. The Institutes are also required to submit soft copies of all M.Phil. and PhD dissertations on INFLIBNET. The Institutes have also been asked to form an Academic Misconduct Panel (AMP) to investigate any allegation of plagiarism and submit report to the Plagiarism Disciplinary Authority (PDA) of the concerned institute. The detailed draft is available on the UGC website and stakeholders can submit a feedback on the same to UGC on pgmhei.2017@gmail.com on or before 30 September 2017. – Courtesy –  Published on 01/09/2017 – UGC Public Notice reg.: Draft UGC ( Promotion of Academic Integrity and Prevention of Plagiarism in Higher Educational Institutions ) Regulations, 2017

84 black sheep in UGC’s white list : Predatory publications persist even in the revised list of 33,112 ‘approved’ journals

The Hindu |  R. Prasad | CHENNAI, September 05, 2017 |

Predatory publications persist even in the revised list of 33,112 ‘approved’ journals

For the University Grants Commission, the problem of dubious journals is proving to be tough to crack. In June, it published a revised list of 33,112 ‘approved journals’, in which academics may publish papers. But The Hindu has found that even the new list contains 84 predatory (sub-standard or fraudulent) journals, of which 71 are still active. The revised list follows a white list of ‘approved journals’ published in January, which had 38,653 titles. In response to complaints, the UGC published a revised list in June, including social science journals. The Hindu compared this revised list with librarian Jeffrey Beal’s (University of Colorado, Denver) list of 1,310 “potential, possible, or probable” predatory journals, and found that even the revised list contained 84 predatory journals, of which 71 are still active.

Predatory journals most often do not peer-review manuscripts and are more focussed on article fees. As a result, even sub-standard manuscripts get published. Scopus is one of the main bibliographic databases from which the UGC has chosen the journals for its ‘approved’ list. According to a 2017 Institute for Democracy and Economic Analysis study, Scopus also contains many papers published in predatory journals. Based on an analysis of the papers published between 2013 and 2015, the study found that 10% or more of the papers from India and Nigeria were from predatory journals. Between 2004 and 2015, the Scopus database included over 3,00,000 papers published in predatory journals. “Scopus is therefore surely not resistant to penetration by predatory journals,” it had concluded.

 ‘Not an easy task’

“[Compiling the list] is not easy… We are aware of predatory journals and will remove them from the list if we are provided with details,” said V.S. Chauhan, head of the UGC committee that prepared the revised list. Indian researchers rush to publish in predatory journals as only papers published in the UGC-approved journals will be recognised at the time of recruitment and promotions, potentially undermining the process. – Courtesy

Mixed reaction to MHRD move on Ph.D. doctorate rule

The Hindu | R. Krishnamoorthy |  TIRUCHI, August 17, 2017 | Tamil Nadu | Opinion |

Ph.D. may become optional at UG level to gain promotions

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There is mixed opinion among the academic community here on the move by Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry to make changes in the Academic Performance Index (API) to make Ph.D. optional for college teachers at the undergraduate level to gain promotions, and to increase their involvement in community activities instead. One section emphasises that Ph.D. as an entry level requirement was a must to retain and improve quality of education, while another section strongly believes that the quality of Ph.D. has taken a beating due to the stipulation. “Deterioration of the standards of higher education must not be permitted. Relaxation of the Ph.D. requirement for college teachers would be a retrograde step,” K. Anbarasu, Director of National College, said.

The reasoning of the other section of the academic community is that a college teacher should be mainly engaged in teaching, and that the quality of research has been diluted due to the Ph.D. compulsion. This section of academics cite the acknowledgement made by the Central Government during 2015 in Parliament that no dedicated study for assessing the quality of Ph.D research in the country has been undertaken under the purview of University Grants Commission. The former HRD Minister, Smriti Irani, had gone on record with her statement that there was a mushroom growth of substandard Ph.D. degrees, as it was a necessity for recruitment at entry level and for promotions. Though the UGC had framed the Minimum Standard and Procedure for the awards of M.Phil/Ph.D. Degree, Regulation 2009, to bring about uniformity in the procedure of award of M.Phil / Ph.D. Degree with a view to maintaining standards of higher education, the MHRD had come across instances of universities hiring services of supervisors who were not regular teachers on its rolls or in affiliated post-graduate colleges, in violation of the regulation. Unlike in universities, teachers in colleges are required to spend more time in teaching. “The move to make Ph.D. optional was a step in right direction. In most of the developed countries, there are teaching colleges and universities with varied objectives essential for the overall improvement of higher educational quality,” M. Selvam, Professor and Head, Department of Commerce and Financial Studies, Bharathidasan University, said. – Courtesy

No plans to replace UGC, AICTE with single regulator: Govt

The Hindu Business Line | New Delhi, 10 Aug 2017 | PTI |

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In the response, the HRD Minister said that the idea of establishing a single regulator for higher education is not new and various committees on h igher education have earlier recommended a single body. “The National Knowledge Commission (2006) recommended an independent regulatory authority for higher education, the Committee on Renovation and Rejuvenation of Higher Education (2009) advocated an apex regulatory body by converging multiple regulatory agencies in the field of higher education,” he said. “The UGC Review Committee in 2014 had also recommended that the commission should be replaced by an apex institution titled National Higher Education Authority,” Pandey said. – Courtesy

Colleges and universities asked to adopt ‘flipped’ model using swayam e-content

Deccan Herald | DH News Service | New Delhi | Aug 10 2017 |

In Flipped model , students view short videos at home before attending classes, prompting them to focus on various exercises, projects and discussions relating to the topic.

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Colleges and universities must adopt the ‘flipped’ teaching-learning model and use the e-contents prepared for various courses in the massive open and online courses Platform swayam, the Centre has said. In Flipped model , students view short videos at home before attending classes, prompting them to focus on various exercises, projects and discussions relating to the topic. “The flipped model –where students watch swayam videos and discuss it in class- will improve the quality of learning,” a HRD Ministry official said. “Vice Chancellors of varsities have been asked to encourage their faculties to use Swayam courses during their own teaching so that we can have a blended teaching process.” Varsities have also been asked to set up a digital learning monitoring cell to ask faculties to review the current digital content, including Swayam, and suggest ways of utilising them better in universities and affiliates.

Both the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) have asked varsities to “immediately” join the National Digital Library (NDL), a repository of books and learning resources created by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Kharagpur. “This will help students access more than 80 lakh digital resources at no cost,” the official added. Swayam, made operational by the HRD Ministry last month, offers virtual classes for 29 secondary and senior secondary school subjects, 210 undergraduate courses and 192 post-graduate courses in various streams including Engineering and Management. It will also offer 14 certificate courses for free in a virtual classroom environment. Though the content is free, those needing certificate, diploma or degree through Swayam will have to register in its portal for a ‘little fee’. There will be an assessment at the end of each course through proctored examination. The mark secured will be transferred to the student’s academic record. If the student is enrolled in a college or university for higher education, the marks will be transferred to the parent institution. – Courtesy

College teachers may skip research, Research not be mandatory for college teachers’ promotions

The Hindu | Vikas Pathak |   NEW DELHI, July 29, 2017 |

They may no longer be required to take up such projects for getting promotions.

Teachers in colleges will soon no longer require mandatory research output for promotions, with the Ministry of Human Resource Development setting the ball rolling to change the guidelines for Academic Performance Indicators (API). However, the research requirement will continue to be mandatory for teachers in university departments for promotions. Laying out the new guidelines, Minister of Human Resource Development Prakash Javadekar said, “Making research compulsory for college teachers [has] harmed research. Thirteen thousand UGC magazines came up. Many colleges made their annual magazines into quarterlies and added them. I said there are so many journals here: do you have Champak too?” The Minister was addressing a conference on “Higher Education Perspectives in India” at the Deen Dayal Upadhyay College here on Saturday.

 Relief for teachers

The change is expected come as a relief for college teachers, as their teaching load is generally higher than university faculty and many have been apprehensive that promotions would become tough as they would not have time to present well-researched publications for quality, peer-reviewed journals. “College and universities teachers are two different kinds of categories with different expectations. College teachers’ primary responsibility should be to teach well. That accountability is required,” Mr. Javadekar said. “We will not make research compulsory for them. We will say, ‘It is your choice’,” he added. – Courtesy

Research not be mandatory for college teachers’ promotions: HRD – Deccan Herald, Press Trust of India, New Delhi, Jul 29 2017

College teachers will no longer be mandated to conduct research to be eligible for promotions but would be required to be engaged more in community activities with students. This announcement was made by Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar today at a two-day national conference on higher education perspective in India. “We are going to do away with the mandatory clause of research for college teachers to get their promotions. An official announcement in this regard will follow soon. “Instead of that, I want teachers to be engaged in student activity. We will make one community activity or student activity mandatory and teachers will be given their scores on basis of that,” Javadekar said. Making changes in the Academic Performance Index (API), a criterion on which teachers get their promotions, the HRD Ministry is working on a plan to make research optional for college teachers.

“Currently college teachers are also required to do research activity to get their promotions, just like university professors. But we must understand that both of them belong to completely different category of teachers. “A college teacher should be mainly engaged in teaching. When we made research compulsory, research stopped completely. Conducting research just for the sake (of it) is taking down the quality of research,” Javadekar said. University teachers who are supposed to teach the post graduate students or guide M Phil and PhD scholars will be required to engage in research, he said. – Courtesy

UGC asks educational institutions to upload clear, accurate accurate data of institute on ‘Know Your College’ (KYC) portal

 

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has asked all colleges and universities to upload the accurate data of institute on ‘Know Your College’ (KYC) portal and update the same periodically. In a letter dated July 21, Jaspal Sandhu, Secretary of the UGC stated that the KYC is a long term vision of the Government of India for creating an appropriate framework for the students seeking various information about the educational institutions from a single window instead of looking for different websites. Accordingly, Ministry of Human Resource Development has launched the ‘Know Your College (KYC)’ portal which will act as one-stop shop for students and their parents across the country to help them make an informed decision on the choice of institutions and the courses. The portal was officially launched by the President of India on November 11, 2014. A PIB release said that the portal covers almost 10,500 colleges which conduct about 14,000 programs in Technical Education and 35000 colleges conducting at least 20,000 programs in Non-Technical education.  It is a repository of information pertaining to colleges and information related to its faculty, labs, library, infrastructure, and availability of hostel facilities etc.

Students are encouraged to send their complaints on discrepancies of information provided by colleges through this portal. In the letter addressed to the Vice-Chancellors (VCs) of all the universities in India, the UGC Secretary however noted that “many institutions have not uploaded the data about their respective institutions on the portal.” The data uploaded on the portal need to be clear and accurate, it said. In this connection, keeping in view the importance of the KYC portal, the Secretary sought the personal intervention of all the respective VCs in the matter and requested them to “upload the accurate data” about their Institution on the KYC portal, which should be updated periodically.  This portal is being maintained by AICTE and is available to the public at http://www.knowyourcollege-gov.in/–       UGC Circular – Published on 21/07/2017 :  UGC Letter reg.: Know Your College portal