Deemed universities in the State affected by the Centre’s move to derecognise them have sought a review of the Tandon committee report placed before the Supreme Court.
M.K. Padmanabhan, Vice-Chancellor, Dr. MGR Educational and Research Institute, one of the affected institutions, said on Wednesday that the Centre had constituted the UGC committee and the Tandon committee to look into the functioning of the universities.
While the UGC committee had teams of specialists visiting the institutions, the Tandon panel relied only on short presentations made by the universities, he said.
The UGC committee, after assessing the institutes, had sent detailed recommendations to them pointing out their strengths and weaknesses. The Tandon committee did not communicate its assessment to the universities. “It is unfair to rely only on the short presentations and suggest derecognition without giving weightage to the UGC committee reports or another chance to correct our problems,” Mr. Padmanabhan said. He accepted that there were deficiencies in some institutions. But, the universities had discussions among themselves and agreed to share their resources. “We have to make sure that the students are not affected and we are willing to take all necessary measures to become better.”
Apart from a few aberrations, there was no interference by the founders in the academic functioning of the universities. Some of them were being run by trusts, which ploughed back the money earned into the institutions, he said.
R.M. Vasagam, former vice-chancellor, Anna University, said it was impossible to build universities in a short span of time. While there were limitations, this was a chance for the government to make higher education accessible.
M.K. Rajagopalan, Chancellor, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth, said that a few institutions, his included, were granted deemed university status only a year or so ago. When the UGC had given them five years to establish themselves, he asked whether it was right to judge them before that.
Earlier chancellors of the 16 affected private deemed universities [the Rajiv Gandhi National Institute for Youth Development did not participate] discussed the steps to be taken. Mr. Padmanabhan said the universities were not even sure of what legal action should be taken. They would go in appeal to the Chief Minister, the Prime Minister and the Minister for Human Resource Development.
Ishari K. Ganesh, Chancellor, Vel’s University, later said that two associations, one for south Indian deemed universities and the other for Tamil Nadu deemed universities would be registered soon. They would be impleading themselves in the Supreme Court case based on the advice of lawyers.