The Supreme Court’s order on maintaining status quo (Jan. 26) on de-recognition of 44 deemed universities has certainly provided a respite to students. However, now is the time to introspect on what led to the present situation. Why weren’t procedures followed scrupulously when these institutions were given the deemed university status? Why can’t accountability be fixed on those who were involved in the entire exercise? Can we improve the quality of our higher education merely by de-recognising 44 institutions?
It is inevitable that we make the working of governing bodies such as the UGC and the AICTE more transparent. There is need for an all-India accreditation system to rank institutions based on an objective criterion.
Surendra Kumar Adhana,
This refers to the Op-Ed Page article, “Overhaul, don’t scrap, deemed university system” (Jan. 26). The proposed National Commission for Higher Education and Research (NCHER) Bill is ill-conceived as it seeks to eliminate, once and for all, the concept of deemed university itself. It is tantamount to killing a sick person to cure him of his illness. The mushrooming growth of deemed universities is the result of not only the lackadaisical approach of the State governments, the Centre and the UGC while according sanction for the establishment of colleges, but also the failure to ensure the quality infrastructure every university-level institution demands. How many self-financing colleges are owned and run by educationists or academicians? If money power alone determines a person’s ability to start an educational institution, it will naturally suffer as pointed out by the P.N. Tandon Committee.
A majority of the dubious deemed universities had flagrantly misused their autonomous status and violated the norms laid down by the UGC right from the stage of admission to convocation. On the one hand, students with inadequate marks got admission and, on the other, the career of some brilliant students was stultified by the lack of adequate infrastructure and competent faculty.
Allowing 1,500 candidates to register for Ph.D. programmes against a faculty strength of just 200 is the height of misuse of functional autonomy. While the court’s order is sagacious in protecting the future of the students, it should be ensured that the universities do not exploit the ruling to their advantage.
Why is government recognition so important to us? Some of the best universities in the world are not recognised by any government. Instead, they have earned their reputation based on performance. Examples are aplenty: the MIT, Harvard and Stanford, to name a few.
The United States is a popular destination for higher education. How many of us question our students’ decision to register in an institution there even when it is not government-recognised? Truly good universities will stand the test of time, market forces and people’s choice. Let us look for quality, not a corrupt government’s seal of approval.
Rather than de-recognising private institutions and regulating their fee structure, why shouldn’t the government allocate more funding to and encourage them and help them cut costs? It does not have enough money to run many universities. Long-term, low-interest loans to students may solve the problem too.
Normally, the courts do not interfere with the orders of the government, unless they are found violative of Fundamental Rights. The court must also take into account the fact that not all deemed universities have been asked to close down. There are world-class deemed universities functioning in many parts of the country.
No doubt, deemed universities are funded with tax-payers’ money and it is the responsibility of the government to ensure that they impart quality education and research. But not at the expense of students and parents. The government should spell out a comprehensive set of guidelines before according new accreditation.