It will have experts from both public and private sectors

With the mushrooming of private universities in the country, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has constituted an expert committee to revisit the clauses in the UGC (Establishment of and Maintenance of Standards in Private Universities) Regulations, 2003.

This was revealed by UGC Chairman Ved Prakash when asked about the steps being taken to address the steady stream of private varsities being accorded permission in States such as Karnataka.

Members

During an informal chat with reporters after the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) Accreditation Awards ceremony here on Sunday, he said the committee would be headed by academician P.N. Tandon, and will consist of M. Anandakrishnan, chairman of the board of governors of the Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur, along with experts from both the private and public sector.

Contesting the criticism against private varsities that no regulations have been laid down for their establishment, he said, “We are not for controlling, we are for facilitating. The regulations should be only to ensure quality.”

Speaking about a time-frame that had been introduced for the inspection of private universities, Mr. Prakash said: “A system has been established where universities’ information is furnished on their and the UGC’s websites within 10 days. Stakeholders are given 30 days to file objections while the information is on the website. An expert group inspects the university within 90 days of this, after which the report is submitted to the varsities, which in turn will give their observations within 10 days before a report is finally placed before the commission.”

12 Plan

Mr. Prakash also spoke about the 12th Five Year Plan, which he said would have an outlay of Rs. 1,10,000-crore, as against the Rs. 85,000 crore for the last plan. As for the Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA), which is one of the centrally-sponsored schemes under the plan, he said academic reforms were being undertaken, including introducing the semester system for all undergraduate and postgraduate courses, choice-based credit system, grading system instead of the present numerical one, organising capacity development programmes for teachers, among others.

Mr. Prakash conceded that there was a rethink on the dropping of clause 7.3.0 from the Regulations (Minimum Qualifications for Appointment of Teachers, Other Academic Staff in Universities and Colleges and Other Measures for the Maintenance of Standards in Higher Education), 2010.

VC appointment

The clause prescribes minimum qualifications for Vice Chancellors — a minimum of 10 years of experience as Professor in a university or 10 years experience in an equivalent position in a reputed research and/or academic administrative organisation.

NET

About the committee looking into revamping the National Eligibility Test (NET) for lecturership, he said, “The committee under Yogendra Yadav is revisiting the NET completely. It will be made student-friendly and the curricula will be such that it does not find favour with any university. But it will take some time.”