Today's Paper

State may regulate private varsities

Shastry V. Mallady and Priscilla Jebaraj

CHENNAI: The State government could soon have more of a role in the creation and functioning of deemed universities.

On Tuesday, the Tamil Nadu State Council for Higher Education (TANSCHE) discussed the recommendations of the M. Anandakrishnan Committee on deemed universities and forwarded them to the Higher Education Minister for a final decision, according to Council members.

Going by these recommendations, the State government would write to the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development, asking the University Grants Commission to get its views before conferring deemed university status on any institution within the State. It would also become mandatory for all such universities to include a government nominee on their management committees, said a TANSCHE member.

An expanded role for the State government in the functioning of these universities would be essential to maintain the fee structure and ensure social justice in the education system in the State, he added.

Deemed universities

Deemed universities come under the authority of the UGC, which confers the status and regulates their functioning. In February 2004, the Supreme Court ruled that State governments had no control over deemed universities. TANSCHE has also recommended that the deemed universities adhere to the guidelines of the State government when conducting convocations.

The guests and speakers on the dais should be chosen because of their eminence in their fields in accordance with university statutes and without personal considerations, it said.

TANSCHE also intends to conduct academic audits of colleges in the State to improve the quality of education.

“It would be similar to the NAAC,” said another TANSCHE member. The NAAC or the National Assessment and Accreditation Council is an autonomous body established by the UGC to assess and grade higher education institutions across the country.

A committee headed by T. Balakrishnan, former vice-chancellor of Periyar University, has recommended that TANSCHE constitute a team to visit colleges in the State to conduct comprehensive quality checks and monitoring reports.

It would also explore the methods adopted by successful institutions to spread awareness of the best practices. This would be the first state-level audit effort, said a TANSCHE member.

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