CHITRA V. RAMANI

Feasibility of scheme being studied, says UGC chief.

Sukhdeo Thorat is an economist and currently holds charge as chairman of the University Grants Commission (UGC). In the first part of the interview, published in these columns last week, he spoke to EducationPlus about various aspects of higher education, which included improvement of quality and excellence, increasing the enrolment ratio, expanding the reach and improving inclusiveness.

Here are excerpts of the concluding part of the interview with Prof. Thorat.

Is it true that the UGC is now going to allow sharing of credits between two universities that follow Cumulative Grade Point Average evaluation system for postgraduate courses?

It is a scheme that is still in the proposal stage. Under the scheme, a student from one university can take one or two courses in another university and the credits secured would be transferred to the parent university.

The Jawaharlal Nehru University already has the system. Right now, sharing of credits is possible only at the M.Phil. and Ph.D. levels.

We want to extend it to the postgraduate level as well, but we still need to work out the dimensions and financial feasibility.

It is said that the UGC has before it several applications for deemed universities pending. Could you throw some light on why it is so?

The UGC keeps getting applications for deemed universities. We have laid down a process that is elaborate, participatory and transparent. The applications that are sent to the UGC are first forwarded to the Ministry of Human Resource Development.

After scrutiny, the Ministry sends the applications back to UGC. This requires time. We framed these regulations to ensure that quality is maintained.

Recently, the UGC came out with the list of fake universities. What action is initiated against such institutions?

UGC remains very alert to the fake universities issue. We recently found that there were nine fake universities in Uttar Pradesh, six in Delhi, and once each in Bihar, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal. When such issues are brought to our notice, we inform the States concerned and direct them to initiate legal action immediately.

To ensure that students do not fall prey, the list of fake universities has been put up on the UGC website ( www.ugc.ac.in).

The UGC’s move to appoint and promote teachers based on the Assessment Performance Indicators System has received a lot of flak from the teaching community. What is your take on the issue?

The UGC Committee on educational qualifications, under the Sixth Pay Commission, has laid down some qualifications for appointment and career advancement. It is an interim report that has been submitted to the UGC, which has neither been finalised nor accepted.

We have put up the report on our website to invite the views of the academic community on the issue.

Recently, some teachers’ representatives met me and conveyed their opinions. I would have to say that the report will be finalised only after due consultation with all stakeholders from different parts of the country.