Tuesday, February 09, 2010

UGC and the Deemed University Fiasco

Recently, MHRD made a big bang announcement in the Supreme Court that it had decided to strip 44 institutions of the "Deemed University" status. The Supreme Court has ordered the government to wait until the affected institutions tell their side of the story.

Just what kind of universities were they? Media have gone to town over the fact that quite a few of them "belong to" politicians (both active and defunct), their cronies, thugs and muttheads. Here's Anubhuti Vishnoi in The Indian Express:

... Those with deemed varsity status ... included family-run institutes, either linked to politicians or business houses. Like the Jaypee Institute of Technology; Manav Rachna International University in Faridabad which was set up by a one time property dealer O P Bhalla; and Maharishi Markandeshwar University near Ambala which also has a property dealer for Chancellor. Several of the deemed varsities in Tamil Nadu, which have been now found unfit by the HRD Ministry, have linkages with prominent political parties in the state. Tripura Governor D Y Patil is the founder of the D Y Patil University which has also been found unfit. Santosh University is run by Chennai's Dr P Mahalingam who was a personal physician to BSP leader Kanshiram.

In this battle (and subsequent revelations), the University Grants Commission appears to be the main loser. After all, it is this organization that has the responsibility to ensure institutions possess certain minimum academic standards before conferring on them the "Deemed University" status. By dropping that bombshell in the courtroom, MHRD has essentially made a unilateral statement that the UGC has failed in this duty.

In a selective leak, some folks in the government have also pointed out that quite a few of these 44 universities had been given a clean bill of health by the UGC as recently as a few months ago! The implication is clear: UGC has lost its ability (or willingness!) to ensure academic integrity in the universities under its charge.

Bottomline: UGC is facing arguably its most serious threat. Mainly because its masters at MHRD appear to have given up on it.


  1. Anonymous said...

    UGC or MHRD, a common man looks at them as two hands belonging to the same brain: the government. Deemed universities are there to stay, as long as government has nothing to offer in their place for the ever-growing number of aspiring engineers. Let them treat the cause, not just the symptoms.