Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Deemed universities

This report in the Indian Express by Anubhuti Vishnoi offers a primer on India's "deemed" universities:

The UGC panel on higher education headed by eminent academician Prof Yashpal explains in its draft report submitted to the HRD Ministry that despite the lofty guidelines, an indiscriminate recognition of newly established educational institutes as deemed universities has become a trend. Many of these institutes come with poor infrastructure, substandard education, poor teacher-student ratio and steep fees. The ‘deemed to be university’ status only serves to mislead students and grants undue credibility to these institutes. While funds are available to these institutes through the UGC, their fees and other academic issues remain outside the purview of state legislatures. Also, though deemed universities do not have affiliating powers, “many of them have a number of campuses spread throughout the country,” says the report.

Over the last decade, many private medical, dental and engineering institutions have used financial and political clout to be notified as deemed universities. High-profile political leaders, in fact, are associated with a large number of these deemed university status holders. Over 20 applications for this status are still pending with the UGC, but have been put on hold by Sibal.