The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRDs) decision to move to the apex court for the derecognizing 44 deemed universities has sent shock waves in Tamil Nadu, which has a major share of 17 institutions. The MHRD had classified the deemed universities across the nation into 3 categories based on UGC’s ten point scale, of which the institutions that secured above 8 were placed under the Class A, institutions that secured more than 5 as Class B and the rest in Class C. The universities under the first category were declared fit to continue with their deemed status, those in Class B are given some time to rectify certain irregularities for retaining their status and the Class C institutions lacked basic amenities and were declared unfit to retain their status. One major cause for such an educational breakdown in TN is mainly due to the UGC’s silence to the state govt’s long term request for power to monitor these institutions as their number had increased sufficiently in the state.
When asked about the state govt’s stand on this issue, the educational minister, K Ponmudy, said that these deemed universities operated like petty shops with numerous branches in various states. He also stated that these institutions were not ready to admit at least 50 per cent of its students through the single window system, through which meritorious students can secure a seat. Apart from this these institutions did not follow a minimum cut off mark for admission to professional courses, and had also collected twice the govt regulated fees in the state. He remarked about the other irregularities and pointed out that in many institutions, the Chairman of the management trust often serves as the Chancellor of the universities and other honorary posts are awarded to their family friends and relatives irrespective of their academic experience. He mentioned these institutions as ‘autonomous bodies’ which did not abide by or adhere to the govt policies and also added that the state govt was in full support to the centre’s stand on derecognition and was also ready to express the state’s opinion in the apex court if needed.
The MHRD’s decision to move this issue to the apex court resulted in student protests against their managements in various institutions. The agitated students retaliated at their management and said that these institutions demanded a large capitation fee and their fee structure had touched nearly a lakh per year exclusive of their hostel and food charges. While the students were ready to pay the amount, they were frustrated with the poor infrastructure and facilities provided, which were not worth the fee paid by them. They also complained of sharing of labs between professional students and their arts & science counterparts. In another renowned institution the admission of Ph.D candidates had exceeded 1200 with faculty strength of just 200. These blacklisted universities management was family bounded rather than educational experts.
The concept of deemed university has thus redefined education as a commercial profit-minded business, degrading its quality. The move to derecognize these institutions has come at the right time, but what is the plight of the students admitted into these universities? Though the govt has promised the security of student’s future, this gives rise to a new issue. The rectification measures to transfer the student’s or affiliate the college to the state universities can happen only if the courses were approved or registered by the UGC. There are numerous institutions that have admitted students into an unregistered course and then waiting for an approval. What happens to the future of these students who have been admitted to such unapproved courses? What guarantee does their course work have? These implications can be solved only over a period of time and this indicates that the students will have to wait until a solution is sought. In this evergreen world of competition, a period of wait will cost them a lot. Now who are to blame for this? The root cause for this issue arises due to the approval given to these undeserved institutions by the UGC experts. The management of these institutions still rely on the UGC’s clean chit to implead themselves in the court. At the same time, they have also accepted the insufficiency of infrastructural facilities and have requested for a time period to rectify all these irregularities.
This two way statement by the college authorities is a clear evidence that the UGC approval hasn’t come the right way. So what is the punishment that these officials will face? They have been the cause for ruining the education of nearly 2 lakh students. If the weeds are doesn’t cut from the roots, there can never be a good agricultural growth. Hence its high time that the apex court look into this issue and identify the officials for giving such approvals to undeserving institutions. The ultimate victims are the next generation students who have to come with the poor educational quality. The nations high expectations on better educational quality now relies on the apex court’s decision. May an educational revolution happen.
By Rahul Chandran
Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.