Policy violations, inadequacies in planning, lowering of standards come to light

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, in its performance audit of Anna University-Chennai, has found deviance from norms on many counts compromising the quality of education.

In its report on the functioning of Anna University, the State's premier technical university, the CAG has disclosed policy violations in admissions, inadequacies in planning and financial management, lowering of standards of laboratories to facilitate affiliation to number of colleges and inadequate research programmes during 2005-10.

As per the report, the reduction of the minimum score from 85 to 50 by the Syndicate without giving any reasons facilitated grant of provisional affiliation to 509 courses in 111 colleges during 2009-10 which were hitherto ineligible for such affiliations.

Further, minimum marks were not prescribed for four parameters.

The university also failed to ensure rectification of deficiencies by 96 colleges in running 448 programmes with conditional provisional affiliation for more than a year during 2006-09.

The university had approved admission of students and affiliation of courses to two colleges without the mandatory approval of the AICTE. Moreover, laboratory facilities for 21 UG courses in eight of the 14 inspected affiliated colleges were highly inadequate.

During the audit period, 149 colleges were affiliated to the university.

Faculty-student ratio

While the AICTE stipulated faculty-student ratio was 1:15 for each course, the audit findings revealed that the ratio was in the range of 1:16 to 1:60 in 49 out of 71 courses in the 14 test-checked affiliated colleges in 2009-10.

Overall, the total availability of faculty members in respect of all the courses offered in the university constituent colleges was 490 for the total student strength of 18,728 which worked out to a faculty-student ratio of 1:38.

Quality of education

A poor faculty-student ratio was bound to impact the quality of education offered, the report noted.

With affordable higher education as its policy, the State converted all self-supporting courses run by government engineering colleges into regular courses.

Anna University, however, conducted 32 UG and 48 PG courses on self-supporting basis in 2009-10 in its constituent colleges.

These self-supporting courses, the fee structure of which was nearly double that of the regular courses, kept on increasing during 2005-10 against the government's declared policy, the audit report said.