A committee will examine and make provisions for foreign universities ranked amongst the best in academia and intending to open campuses in India to be recognised as deemed-to-be universities.

Just two years after the University Grants Commission laid down stringent guidelines for granting deemed-to-be university status to educational institutions, the Human Resource Development Ministry has constituted a committee to review the UGC (Institutions Deemed to be Universities) Regulations, 2010. It will also make provision for foreign universities, ranked among the best in academia and intending to open campuses in India, to be recognised as deemed-to-be universities.

If the 2010 guidelines — strongly opposed by private institutions, seeking the deemed university status — are diluted, it will help the 44 deemed-to-be-universities escape de-recognition as recommended by the Tandon Committee in 2009 for their overall poor performance, and also facilitate the entry of foreign universities through the deemed universities route.

The new committee, set up on April 17, has at least four members who were part of the Professor P.N.Tandon Committee that had recommended de-recognition of the 44 universities. The universities facing the threat of de-recognition had moved the court and the matter is pending in the Supreme Court. The validity of the Tandon Committee itself has been challenged.

Earlier this month, the UGC shelved a move to allow foreign universities through the deemed university route, though the Commission came up with regulations allowing twinning programmes and joint degree programmes between the foreign and Indian institutions.

Panel to study UGC regulations

The committee formed by the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry to review the UGC (Institutions Deemed to be Universities) Regulations, 2010.will examine whether there are any anomalies or infirmities in the regulations vis-à-vis any other policy/rules/regulations applicable to the higher education sector and suggest amendments.

The panel will examine the provisions of the regulations with respect to the need to regulate institutions as deemed-to-be universities so that while institutions maintaining high academic standards are encouraged to expand and exercise autonomy, whereas those maintaining average academic standards are regulated and motivated to enhance academic standards to protect interests of students. It will suggest measures to ensure independent quality assurances of institutions, thereby reducing need for inspection-based approval regimes.

Further the committee will examine the difficulties encountered by niche institutions established by the Union government in the implementation of UGC (Institutions deemed to be Universities) Regulations, 2010 and suggest suitable modifications;

The committee met on May 28 and after detailed discussions decided to broaden the base consultation process by seeking feedback on the regulations from the stakeholders and those familiar with the implementation of the Regulations.

Professor Tandon, Professor Emeritus, Department of Neurosurgery in AIIMS, is a member of the committee that comprises Professor Goverdhan Mehta, National Research Professor, former Chairman of NAAC, and former Director of IISc Bangalore; Professor M. Anandakrishan, Chairman of IIT Kanpur; and Professor Mrinal Miri, former Vice Chancellor of North East Hill University and former Chairman of the Indian Council of Philosophical Research..

The panel also comprises the Director of the Tata Institute of Social Science, the Vice Chancellor of Manipal University, the Director of the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade and the Vice Chancellor of The Energy and Research Institute (all are deemed-to-be-universities) in addition to two government officials.