Friday, April 07, 2006

AICTE stabbed in the back

A quick follow-up to yesterday's post about the on-going legal battle between AICTE and the (private) deemed universities (DUs).

In a strange and absolutely atrocious move, AICTE's bosses in the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) have issued a notification, which takes away much of AICTE's power to regulate DUs. Here's the key paragraph, taken from V. Jayanth's report in the Hindu:

It is not a pre-requisite for an institution notified as a `Deemed-to-be-University' to obtain the approval of the AICTE to start any programme in technical or management education leading to an award, including degrees in disciplines covered under the AICTE Act 1987. However, institutions notified as `Deemed-to-be-University' are required to ensure the maintenance of the minimum standards prescribed by the AICTE for various courses that come under the jurisdiction of the said Council. It is expected that the institutions notified as `Deemed-to-be-University' maintain their standards of education higher than the minimum prescribed by the AICTE.

What the AICTE can do is to send an expert committee to check if all its norms are followed by the DU in question, and send its report to the University Grants Commission (UGC). It's upto UGC to punish the institution!

This is strange, because the Chennai High Court is in the middle of a court case that is meant to define the regulatory terrain of AICTE vis a vis the UGC.

What is the necessity for MHRD to issue this notification, which strengthens DUs (and inter alia, the UGC as well) at the expense of AICTE?

I wonder if the High Court can look into the legal validity of this notification as well. I hope they can, and I hope they quash it.

* * *

Update (Monday, 10 April 2006): The Chennai High Court has made some stinging observations about the new order. See this report in the Hindu.


  1. Anonymous said...

    At the risk of sounding immature, I would like to state here that the MHRD, by and large, has sux0rzed.

    It pains me to see how the govt mucks around with education with ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA of ANY of the issues involved, and with scant disregard for the repercussions their decisions have on the overall quality of education, at all levels.

    It's just sad :(

  2. Anonymous said...

    In reel life when the hero stabs the villain, you are maha thrilled but in real life you are saddened. when the villain starts behaving like the hero, the hero ensures that villain role is clipped.

  3. Anonymous said...

    Abi, that way I guess if you are an ISB no one gives a damn about AICTE and stuff. Most of the private institutes are pretty short sighted, want to make money in the short run, faculty and students be damned. Though AICTE is deifinitely not the solution. They work way to slowly and mysterisously!Though sometimes they do good work like in the case of Amity and IIPM.

  4. Anonymous said...

    Why anyway is AICTE at all necessary? I never really understood this.

  5. Abi said...

    Shrik, CamelPost, Mridula, Krishna: Thanks for your comments.

    Mridula, Krishna: AICTE may not be the greatest of regulators, but it's the only one we've got. In the current battle between the DUs and AICTE, it's the latter who is the 'good guy'.

    In any event, not all is lost, yet. The High Court in Chennai is pursuing the validity of the new notification as well. See the update.

  6. Anonymous said...

    Although legaly speaking every institution is under AICTE purview, AICTE has used discretion not to include IITs and IIMs which are institutions of the government, by the government and for the government. What a discrimination in a Law abiding Nation!! With the RESERVATION issue picking up for IITs and IIMs, they might as well be renamed as RIIT and RIIM.

    What did this government do to Sarath Babu who studied at BITS Pilani and then later at IIMA and has started a Food Catering unit of his own. He did not get admission by reservation.

    What is the great AICTE all about? If the deemed universities offering BE Computer Science change the nomenclature of the degree from BE Computer Science to MSC Computer Science by a move of their respective senates, AICTE can go hang or stand in a corner and suck thumb.

    Its a joke that you have AICTE standards if you run BE Computer Science but you need not bother about AICTE standards if your University deemed or otherwise is running MSc Compter Science.

    I think the lawyers and judges handling this case of Deemed Universities versus AICTE need some quick education on the realities.

  7. Anonymous said...

    Thanks for your response. I personally do not see the neccesity for a regulator of educational institutions. Regulators like AICTE serve more often to block and slow the growth of the educational sector than otherwise. I think that individuals are sufficiently competent to catch on regarding the quality or lack thereof of an educational institution.

  8. Abi said...

    Krishna: I wouldn't be too stand-offish about the role of regulators. AICTE may not be the best model (and I am convinced that it's not), but regulators can play a useful role of mandating voluntary disclosure of all kinds of information, which can be used by the 'competent individuals' you talk of. This is an idea that Satya has been blogging about for quite a while now.

  9. Anonymous said...

    There is a Dhyaneswar Vidyapeeth in Pune going about awarding degrees and what has UGC or AICTE done about it. Today many universities and colleges are offering MSc Computer Science for which AICTE has no say. Are standards to be maintained only if its BE or BTech Computer Science and no need for standards if the degree is named MSc? Society is obsessed with talking of standards only in Technical and Medical Education. Does not Science Arts curriculum require Standards to be maintained. After all let people realize that Society does not run only with Engineers, doctors and Pharmacists and requires all fields of knowledge. Let us talk of standards in education and not confine to only technical education.

  10. Anonymous said...

    IIMB will have a Singapore Shanty 4700 Sqft, 3 hour working day and just one faculty to conduct world class Management Education. I wonder if the above meets so called AICTE specifications. On the contrary ISB which has world class facilities at Hyderabad has been questioned by AICTE about maintaining standards. Its time the AICTE joke is called off. AICTE you stand exposed in your standards.

  11. Anonymous said...

    As per latest news: The Union Ministry for Human Resource Development proposes to hold a meeting of Vice-Chancellors of Deemed Universities (DUs) and representatives of University Grants Commission and All India Council of Technical Education in Delhi on May four.

    Let MHRD first decide if UGC is under AICTE or AICTE is under UGC or if UGC and AICTE are under MHRDor MHRD is under Conscience.

    A quick raid of those "CONCERNED" in UGC for granting deemed university status and those concerned in AICTE for granting so called "APPROVAL" will defintely result in handsome revenue for the finance ministry.

    Make Hay when the sun shines and its alraedy touching 40 degrees C.

  12. Anonymous said...

    The UGC and the AICTE “have no idea how to maintain standards”, says former IIT Madras director PV Indiresan. “Their culture is bureaucratic; they think that national accreditation will do. Even a simple observation of the number of responsible assessors needed to monitor 17,000 odd colleges will show that centralised accreditation is not the answer.”

    In a recent survey in Businessworld, 64 per cent of the recruiters surveyed said AICTE accreditation is not important. One of the top business schools in India — the Indian School of Business (ISB) — does not have AICTE accreditation.

  13. Anonymous said...

    The Madras High Court, in an interim direction relating to the regulatory jurisdiction of the AICTE and the UGC over deemed universities, has instructed the former to issue a public notice advising students to attend classes.

    Reserving its final order, a bench comprising Chief Justice A P Shah and Justice Prabha Sridevan said the AICTE in its advertisement should mention that students must return to their colleges, since failure to attend classes would result in their losing an academic year.

    It must be published in English and Indian language newspapers, the judges said.

    The bench indicated that orders would be pronounced in the third week of May and observed that all deemed universities must take prior permission from the UGC before starting new courses.

    The AICTE could be part of the inspection team mandated to visit deemed universities, the judges added.

  14. Abi said...

    Hi CamelPost: Thanks for all those updates. Just one request, though: can you also post the links to the original news stories? It will be very, very useful.

  15. Anonymous said...

    I found this poem of BR Natarajan BITS Pilani thought provoking: Hope you also like it.

    Future Shock for India

    Wisdomless Politicians
    Meritless Admissions

    Meaningless Curriculums
    Substance less Examinations

    Faculty less Departments
    Student less Colleges

    VC less Universities
    Knowledgeless Society

    Developmentless Nation
    Into that hell of gloomdom

    My Father,
    Let my country go to Sleep
    Let my country go to Sleep.....

  16. Anonymous said...

    AICTE cannot take action against Deemed Universities: HC
    The Madras High Court today ruled that the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) has the authority to inspect deemed universities but any action against them could be only taken by the University Grants Commission (UGC).

    A Division Bench of the High Court comprising Chief Justice A P Shah and Justice Prabha Sridevan made the observation while quashing a public notice issued by the AICTE in February last, warning of stringent legal action against Deemed Universities which conducted new courses and programmes, without its prior approval.

    Disposing of petitions filed by about 20 deemed universities in Tamil Nadu, the judges pointed out that according to a UGC communication, "the AICTE may visit the university department or constituent college and send its final report to the the UGC for final approval".

    Noting that the AICTE team conducting any inspection of deemed universities had the representation of the UGC, the bench said if the UGC did not depute such a member within a reasonable time, the AICTE could proceed to conduct the inspection and forward its report to the UGC for action.

    Referring to the notices sent by the AICTE and the UGC calling for information regarding the courses offered and those introduced after being declared Deemed Universities and whether UGC approval had been taken, the bench directed all universities to respond to the notices within four weeks if they had not done so.

  17. Anonymous said...

    what camelpost was saying all along about AICTE and Deemed universities has been given as judgement by the court and the only difference was the time gap