Friday, 21 February 2014

#Deemed_universities in a fix over stayed regulations

#Deemed_universities are in a fix over adhering to the provisions of the #UGC (Institutions Deemed to be Universities) Regulations 2010.

While the Madras High Court (HC) had stayed the operation of the Regulations last year, various regulatory agencies are insisting on strict compliance of the provisions. The Regulations were framed after a #HRD Ministry Review Committee (Tandon Committee) found that 44 #deemed_universities were unfit to qualify as universities.

Besides, it classified 44 other #deemed_universities as ‘B Category’ institutions and gave them three years time to meet certain conditions.

The Regulations mandated restructuring of the administrative set up in #deemed_universities and among others sought to place curbs on the fees collected.

However, seven #deemed_universities in Tamil Nadu challenged the Regulations before the HC. During the hearing of the petitions, the #UGC counsel submitted that it would not insist on complying with the regulations as related petitions were pending before the Supreme Court.

Taking this into account, in an order passed in September 2011, a bench comprising Chief Justice M Y Eqbal and Justice T S Sivagnanam held “Therefore, until further orders are passed, status-quo as exists today shall continue.”

However, both the #UGC and the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (#NAAC) have been repeatedly calling upon deemed universities to adhere to the 2010 Regulations. Even in late August, the #UGC has informed deemed universities that the Director General of Audit Central Revenue has taken serious note of the non-compliance and “directed the #UGC to take strict action” against erring institutions.

Similarly, the #NAAC too has asked for a ‘Statement of Compliance’ failing which institutions would not be accredited. “The #HRD Ministry has given an undertaking that nothing will be done till the Tandon Committee issue is settled in the SC. It has separately informed the #HC that a review committee has been constituted to review the 2010 Regulations. When there is a stay against the operation of the impugned Regulations, the #NAAC or any other agency cannot insist on compliance. This is legally untenable,” argued a spokesperson of a deemed university in Tamil Nadu.

S Vaidhyasubramaniam, dean (planning & development), SASTRA deemed university, contended that “at a time when foreign universities are set to enter India, the 2010 Regulation is nothing short of strangulation when actually deemed universities need oxygenation. Instead of taking action against erring deemed universities, the HRD Ministry’s move to hijack the entire DU concept envisaged by former President Radhakrishnan is a retrograde step.”

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