Kapil Sibal

Sibal orders review of all deemed-to-be universities

New Delhi, June 4 .New Delhi, June 4 (IANS) The government Thursday issued show-cause notices to two institutions in Tamil Nadu after media reports said their officials were seeking Rs.20-40 lakh for admission. The government also put in abeyance all proposals from private institutions seeking the status of “deemed-to-be” universities.
The human resource development (HRD) ministry issued show-cause notices to the Ramachandra University and Shree Balaji Medical College of Tamil Nadu, whose officials were caught on camera by the Times Now television channel asking for ‘capitation fees’ of Rs.2-4 million in violation of laws. 

Deficiencies with regard to the availability of qualified faculty and infrastructure have prompted the Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister, Mr Kapil Sibal, on Thursday to order the UGC to take up a review of the functioning of all the ‘deemed-to-be’ universities and give a report in the next three months. 

He also asked UGC to review the admission and enrolling process of the universities. 

This comes in the wake of a UGC meeting held on Thursday evening where concerns from various quarters regarding the institutions were discussed.
The minister has also ordered that all other pending requests for deemed university status across the country should be kept in abeyance. 
Show-cause notice 
Besides, a show-cause notice has been issued by the Government to two Chennai-based institutions, Sri Ramachandra University and The Bharath University (of which Balaji Medical College is a constituent unit) as to why deemed-to-be university status should not be withdrawn and appropriate action under law not be initiated against them. The two institutions are in the public eye after a capitation fee controversy broke out in the media. 

The review order is the first step taken by the newly appointed HRD Minister, Mr Sibal, towards reforms in education. Around 125 universities were accorded with the ‘deemed university’ status during the previous government. 

This is a large number considering between 1956 and 1990 only 29 institutions were granted such a status. In Tamil Nadu, the number of private universities has increased from 17 in 2007 to 35 in 2008. 

According to reports, there are many other institutions in line to be granted the ‘deemed university’ status. 

Deemed universities have faced criticisms on various counts. Improper admission procedure, lack of qualified staff, poor infrastructure standards are some of the allegations. 

Scrapping mooted 

The National Knowledge Commission (NKC) and the Professor Yashpal-led Higher Education Committee have both recommended that the ‘deemed university’ concept be scrapped. The Higher Education Committee has suggested that the ‘deemed university’ status holders should prove their credentials within the next three years, failing which their status should be done away with.

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