Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Deemed Universities: make them a vehicle to achieve quality in education

The recent newspaper reports suggest that the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Government of India, has prepared a blueprint to reform the higher education. It is a overdue and welcome move. All reforms aim at improving the quality of higher education. It should be appreciated that academic autonomy is absolutely essential to quality improvement. The deemed university (DU)status given to some institutions under the UGC act was precisely for that purpose. However most deemed universities present an exactly opposite picture. The academicians and the stake holders watching the progress find that the academic standards have actually deteriorated and the malpractices increased. Whilst the Government should grant academic autonomy to these institutions, the following provisions are essential to ensure the quality.

(a) The entrance test for all DU should be conducted by UGC

(b) The tuition fees should be regulated by an independent body, similar to the Shikshan Shulka Samiti at the States level. The tuition fees must be linked to the actual expenditure on education, incurred by the institution.

(c) All DU must be asked to pay salaries, PF etc. according the AICTE/UGC guidelines

(d) All technical courses conducted by the DU should have approval of the AICTE/UGC

(d) The DU should not be automatically allowed to award MS (research) and Ph. D. degrees. A thorough assessment of the research facilities and faculty expertise should be carried out before that.

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