The government has converted the Tandon committee into a task force to prepare an action plan to protect students' interests during the process of de-recognition. The task force has divided the deemed universities broadly into six groups, based on the number of students studying in these institutions.

The Tandon Committee, which has recommended de-recognition of 44 deemed universities, has also drawn up a road map to safeguard the interests of the students of the institutions.

On submission of the Committee’s original report in October last, the Union government converted the committee into a task force to prepare an action plan to advise the Centre on the draft regulations of the University Grants Commission (UGC) on deemed universities.

The task force has divided the deemed universities broadly into six groups. The first group pertains to those institutions offering programmes only in engineering and technology disciplines. There are about 20,000 to 30,000 students belonging to this group.

These institutions, which can be re-designated as engineering or technical colleges first, can later be affiliated to the State Technical Universities or other State Universities having territorial jurisdiction. The affiliating universities will guide these institutions in correcting aberrations and deficiencies. Students already enrolled will continue their ongoing academic programmes and receive the degrees from the affiliating universities.

The second group deals with those running courses only in medical and allied fields. Approximately 5,000 to 10,000 students fall under this category. These institutions were originally established as medical or dental colleges. So, they can revert to their earlier status in their respective disciplines by seeking affiliation to the State Medical Universities.

The third group pertains to those which conduct arts, science, commerce, law and management courses alone and there are 2,000 to 3,000 students. These institutions can be affiliated to the State Universities having territorial jurisdiction after meeting the requisite norms and standards for affiliation.

The fourth group, which has the largest strength of students, represents those institutions which offer programmes in several disciplines such as engineering, medicine, arts and science. Around 60,000 to 1 lakh students belong to this group. The institutions can be affiliated to the respective State universities, depending upon disciplines.

The committee has made it clear that fresh admission of students in all these categories of institutions will have to be governed by the norms of the affiliating universities.

Some institutions, which originally started in one State but established “off-campus” centres in several locations within the State, in other States and even in foreign countries, belong to the fifth group. They have about 10,000 to 15,000 students. The institutions under this category should be reverted to their original status and affiliated to the corresponding technical, medical or general or open universities within the State concerned. Programmes run in foreign countries have to be affiliated to the respective State university, if permissible under the law governing that university or else, they have to be dealt with under the relevant laws of the host country.

The sixth category refers to those which were established primarily to preserve and promote special areas such as heritage, sports and youth development.

A few hundred students are pursuing courses in these institutions, which should seek recognition from an appropriate State or Central university. Alternatively, where publicly funded, the institutions could be considered by the Ministries concerned for turning them into statutory universities after providing help to them in overcoming inadequacies.