Affiliation a must for universities stripped of deemed status

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New Delhi: Hardening its stand against universities stripped off their deemed status by HRD ministry's Tandon committee, the Centre on Wednesday stood by the expert body's recommendation that these institutions must revert to old status and be asked to seek fresh affiliation from nearby universities.

Students studying in these institutions would have to migrate to other colleges if the faulted institution failed to get fresh affiliation, it said and added that the cost of migration and fresh enrolment in the new college would have to be borne by the one stripped of its deemed university status.

But before taking a final decision on the fate of the 44 educational institutions recommended by the expert committee for being stripped of deemed status, the Centre said one final opportunity would be given to them to show cause why they be not treated as per the recommendations of the Tandon committee. The Centre will take a final decision after receiving their response, the HRD ministry said in its affidavit filed in the Supreme Court on Wednesday.

The ministry had faced serious questioning from a vociferous lot of senior advocates on the ability and legality of the Tandon committee to pass judgment on the deemed university status of educational institutions conferred by the statutory body -- University Grants Commission (UGC).

Quoting the status report, the Centre said, "Medical colleges and dental colleges not found suitable to continue as institutions deemed to be universities should also revert to status quo ante and should seek affiliation to the appropriate statutory State University or State Medical University to enable students to complete their courses."

It added, "Where an institution is unable to obtain affiliation, every effort should be made to facilitate migration/re-enrolment of students to equivalent or similar courses in other institutions. Students in doctoral programmes would need to re-register in affiliating universities."

All distance education programmes run by these faulty universities have to immediately discontinue the programme and those enrolled have to be shifted to IGNOU or State Open Universities, it said.

"The entire cost of migration and rehabilitation of students should be at the expense of the managements of the failed institutions from out of the corpus fund which was required to be maintained in respect of each under the extant UGC guidelines," the ministry said.

Defending the findings and mode of scrutiny adopted by the committee to review the deemed status of educational institutions, the ministry said it was concerned, not so much with the availability of land, buildings, other infrastructure, institutional finance, but primarily with issues relating to academic and research excellence, innovation, emerging areas of knowledge, post-graduate education, governance structures and an overall milieu conducive to the concept of a university.

Among the major aberrations that the Review Committee came across were:

* undesirable management architecture where families, rather than professional academics, controlled the institutions.
* thoughtless introduction of unrelated programmes and proliferation of degrees beyond the mandate of the original terms of grant of deemed university status.
* very few institutions could produce evidence of quality research.
* many institutions on attaining deemed university status increased their intake capacity disproportionately.
* several institutions deemed to be universities, undergraduate and post-graduate programmes had been fragmented with concocted nomenclatures.
* several institutions prescribed fee structures considerably higher than those recommended by the official fee-structure committees.

source: TOI

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