Tuesday, February 09, 2010

UGC to NSD: Have your faculty passed the NET exam?

Filed under: "It would be too funny if only it were not so appalling!"

Two recent news stories shine a spotlight on how UGC has treated some of India's top institutions [during a time when it was busy dishing out 'deemed university' status by the bundles to the moneyed and the unscrupulous].

Exhibit 1: NSD, the National School of Drama, New Delhi. This is already a deemed university (DU). It went through a UGC review recently, and it looks like it went through hell.

The NSD ... [was] hauled up recently by the UGC for not meeting requirements like stipulated number of professors and readers with mandatory teaching qualifications, [and] says culture cannot be straitjacketed to fit norms.

Director Anuradha Kapur said the NSD was a “practising arts institution” with acclaimed stage artistes, choreographers and dance gurus, and could not be treated like any other normal university. “Great kathakali gurus and exponents teach our students. You cannot ask them to go in for a NET examination,” she had said. [The Telegraph]

Exhibit 2. NID, the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, whose quest for a DU status has been futile -- so far.

The NID sought deemed university status in 2005, at a time when under Arjun Singh, the human resource development ministry had opened the floodgates for institutes desperate for the tag.

But while 55 other institutions, mostly run privately, won the UGC’s approval for deemed status between 2005 and 2009, the NID had to wait four years, only to be turned down. The institute did not have the minimum number of faculty with PhDs required under UGC guidelines for the deemed university status, the commission said in its response to the NID request. [...]

“Many of the best teachers of design need not be PhDs. We get grassroots people to come and teach here. That is the beauty of NID and its strength,” Vyas said. The UGC formulations on teacher standards do not match the requirements of NID, which needs autonomy to evolve its own standards, curricula and courses, he argued.

And then there are institutions that have not bothered to get an institutional recognition from our higher ed regulators. ISB is possibly the most important example. This top Indian private school has been ranked among the top 20 business schools in global rankings by the Financial Times; and, yet, it has not sought any official academic recognition.


  1. Rahul Siddharthan said...

    About ISB -- it's worth noting that the IIMs aren't deemed universities either (and don't grant degrees). But it is disgraceful that NID has trouble getting DU status and NSD is hassled in this way where there are so many shady deemed universities around. It shows institutions shouldn't be evaluated by bureaucrats. Unfortunately, most of our academic people are bureaucrats, and it is precisely the bureaucratic-minded ones that end up at places like UGC.