The Association of University Teachers (AUT) has welcomed the decision of the Central Government to withdraw ‘Deemed University’ status to 44 institutions in the country, including 16 in Tamil Nadu, through its affidavit in the Supreme Court.

In a press release, P. Jaya Gandhi, State President of AUT and National Secretary All India Federation of University and College Teachers’ Organisations said that the stand of AUT and the academic community that the Governments, Universities and University Grants Commission have been conferring autonomy and deemed university statuses to institutions with a "cavalier attitude" has been vindicated.

The release pointed out that private players were quick to take advantage of any new proposal of the UGC to exploit unwary parents and gullible students, and faulted the UGC for trying out new academic experiments without consulting academic community and organisations. Dr. Jaya Gandhi expressed shock over the very large number of students in UG, PG and research programmes enrolled in these institutions being taken for a ride.

The exercise (to withdraw deemed university status) must be taken to logical conclusion without leaving any scope for intervention by these institutions that command "direct money power and covert political power". No heed must be paid to the "crocodile tears" that the promoters of these institutions will start shedding projecting the current predicament of students they have so far exploited as a fiat accompli to continue with their "nefarious" programmes. Before disbandment, these institutions must be made to cough up the collections for rehabilitation of students.

The sordid exposure reveals the Government’s apathy to higher education and failure to allocate six per cent of GDP to education. Urging the Ministry of Human Resource Development and UGC to do away with "pseudo-academic reforms" like creation of deemed universities, unitary universities, and the like as private profiteering enterprises, the release wanted the Government to take quick steps to get these institutions affiliated after due process.

The Government should rather consider establishing new smaller viable colleges catering to the deserving and needy, said Dr. Jaya Gandhi.