The new University Grants Commission (UGC) guidelines, which bar the presidents of sponsoring organisations from chancellorship of the deemed-to-be universities established by them, have drawn flak from educational trusts and societies.

As per the new UGC (Institutions Deemed-to-be Universities) Regulations 2010, notified on May 21, the chancellor of a deemed university, appointed by the sponsoring society or trust, will have to be an eminent educationalist or a distinguished public figure other than the president of the sponsoring society or his/her relative. The chancellor can be a member of neither the society nor the trust.

Conveying their reservations over this provision to Union Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal, the managements of several private institutions run by registered societies and trusts and granted the ‘deemed-to-be university' status by the UGC pointed out that it would be a disincentive to philanthropic groups interested in setting up new educational institutions when the country actually needed more.

Among those who have voiced their concern are the Birla Institute of Technology and Sciences (BITS), Pilani; Manipal University; Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT); and Symbiosis University, Pune — all deemed universities under Section 3 of the UGC Act.

While Symbiosis University, a registered society, has written to Mr. Sibal, VIT and Manipal University, both registered as trusts, and BITS, also a registered society, have conveyed their reservations.

The new guidelines were issued with a view to plugging deficiencies detected in the recent review of deemed universities, which indicated that such institutions functioned as family ‘fiefdoms.'

These institutions will not be granted the deemed university status under the fresh guidelines, while the position of pro-chancellors has been abolished.

The proposed deemed-to-be university will have to be registered either as a non-profit society under the Societies Registration Act or as a non-profit trust under the Public Trust Act.

The new guidelines also make it mandatory for an institution to be in existence for at least 15 years before seeking deemed university status, against the earlier 10 years, except under the category of ‘De-novo Institutions' or Innovative Universities.

To discourage single discipline colleges seeking deemed university status in order to escape regulatory councils, the diversity of programmes has been insisted upon. There is also emphasis on the quality of research activity, publications and scholarly works of a high standard as evidenced by inclusions in an internationally recognised database.