Only three of the State’s 29 deemed universities managed to get upgradation as per the recommendations of a Union Ministry for Human Resources Development (MHRD) review committee.
However, academics say this process did not involve any inspection of facilities on campus or interaction with students and faculty; instead, the upgradation was based on presentations by university officials before the committee in New Delhi.
While SRM University, VIT University and Sathyabama University have been awarded A grade, others, including Sri Ramachandra University, Karunya University and Hindustan University, are waiting for a response.
Nearly 44 of the 128 deemed universities across the country were given B grade by the committee a few years back, which meant that the status could be reviewed after three years. Many of the nearly 40 who were awarded C grade challenged the recommendations in court and a verdict is expected this November. Some universities given B grade sought judicial intervention contesting UGC regulations issued in 2010 that bar presidents of sponsoring organisations from serving as chancellors of deemed-to-be universities established by them.
“Universities who got B then approached the MHRD for a review of the evaluation. Some of them improved their facilities and were upgraded. We are processing the applications in batches,” said M. Anandakrishnan, former Anna University Vice-Chancellor and member of the review committee. P.N. Tandon, professor emeritus, department of neurosurgery, AIIMS, headed the committee and the other members were Goverdhan Mehta, national research professor and former chairman, NAAC, Mrinal Miri, chancellor of the Rajiv Gandhi University in Arunachal Pradesh, and Mr. Anandakrishnan.
The universities were evaluated in nine areas, including research output, courses, admission procedures, faculty resources and governance.
“The UGC evaluation in 2009 was exhaustive and saw former V-Cs and senior IIT professors visiting the deemed universities for three days and interacting with management, faculty and students and validating their claims. It is unfortunate that statutory powers are being outsourced to a committee,” said the administrator of another university.
Prof Anandakrishnan said the committee did verify the claims made by universities from online resources and from the UGC reports.He added that in the case of universities that had approached the court regarding governance issues, the committee retained the earlier grades in that area but evaluated them in other areas.
Sri Ramachandra University, one of the few universities to get an international accreditation, is yet to hear from the committee.
“The UGC and all statutory bodies have given us high grades. We are awaiting this committee’s report,” said J.S.N. Murthy Chairman, Vice-Chancellor, Sri Ramachandra University.
Others such as Sastra University, have not participated in this review exercise till now as the Tandon Committee’s power to review and the process adopted is a subject matter of litigation before the Supreme Court.
“There are deemed universities in B category that have scored better than those placed in A on various parameters. Besides, this periodic comparative exercise is already done by NAAC; thus the process of the committee is redundant, said R. Sethuraman, Vice-Chancellor, Sastra University.