About two lakh students of 44 deemed universities, which face the prospect of derecognition, were today assured by the government that they would all get degrees.
The government, which accepted the findings of an expert committee on the functioning of deemed universities and submitted them to the Supreme Court yesterday, has left it to the court to take a decision on the issue.
"Not a single child, not a single student will be adversely affected. Students of that university will get a university degree," HRD Minister Kapil Sibal said addressing the Social Editors Conference here.
He was replying to a question as to what would happen to the future of students studying in 44 deemed universities that have been recommended for being stripped of the status by the expert committee.
Nearly two lakh students are pursuing higher studies in these 44 institutions in 13 states which have been recommended for non-continuation of the deemed status as neither on past performance nor on their promise for the future have the attributes to retain the deemed status.
"We are restructuring the higher education sector. Hopefully, the deemed university concept will go," he said adding not not a single deemed university has been derecognised so far.
"The Government has accepted the findings of the expert committee and submitted its findings to the Supreme Court which will decide the course of action to be taken," he said.
Sibal said the government has started the process of reforms in higher education. Under the reforms, it will create a National Council for Higher Education as an overarching body which will subsume existing regulatory institutions like UGC, AICTE, DEC and NCTE.
Under the new regime in higher education, the concept of deemed university could be abolished.
Sibal outlined the proposed bills for setting up of an accreditation body and having special tribunals for deciding matters related to disputes in campuses and having a law to check malpractices in institutes.
He said the country needs 30,000 to 40,000 more colleges and nearly 1,000 universities to achieve the target of 30 per cent enrolment rate in higher education by 2030. The present enrolment rate is 12.4 per cent.
Sibal harped on reforms of education at school level to ensure that education becomes child centric.
"The reforms will focus on making the education child centric. The child should be able to study as per his liking. The contents need change. Children should get high moral value," he said.
Sibal said the exam should test the real talent of the student rather than testing the memorising abilities.
Meanwhile, political parties in the state expressed concern over the future of the institutions' students.
CPI-M state secretary N Varadarajan said "The Centre and state government are duty-bound to ensure that they continue their education without any problems and action should be taken against those who had granted recognition to such institutions."
In a statement here he "regretted" that such institutions were being managed by persons with political background but welcomed the Centre's proposal to restore status quo and affiliate them with universities they were previously affiliated to.
State BJP president Pon Radhakrishnan said though the Centre had announced that students can continue their education in the respective institutions, "it has conveniently forgotten that quality will take a beating."
"The students and parents are worried about their future. The Centre should immediately make its stand on the Deemed universities clear and take steps to restore quality of education," he said in a statement.
Violence breaks out in a TN university over deemed status
Violence broke out today in one of the 17 educational institutions in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry set to lose their deemed university status, as panic gripped about 50,000 students studying in these colleges.
With the Centre deciding to strip 44 educational institutions countrywide of their deemed university status, the managements of some of such universities in Tamil Nadu--some of them which are just a year old-- are planning to move the court.
Students of Saveetha Institute of Medical and Technical Sciences, near here, damaged computers and boycotted classes, after their institution figured in the list.
As estimated 50,000 students are studying in 16 deemed universities in Tamil Nadu and one in Puducherry, mostly run by politicians. Bharat University, for example, is run by the children of Union Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting S Jagatratshagan.
"We would implead ourselves in the case", said Ishari K Ganesh, son of late Isari Velan, who was a Parliamentary Secretary during late M G R government and Chancellor of Vel's University.
The institutions were neither served any show cause notice nor were given any time to rectify alleged discrepancies, he said.
"Most of the universities are just about a year old and were given deemed university status after inspection of facilities and infrastructure by University Grants Commission panel," he said.
AIADMK MP M Thambidurai, patron of St. Peter's Institute of Higher Education Chennai, refused to comment on the institution figuring in the blacklist claiming he did not run any college.
Fake institutes getting deemed univ status cruel joke: BJP
Charging the Centre with "playing havoc" with higher education in the country, BJP today demanded that the government come clean on the issue of granting of deemed university status to some fake institutes.
"Our charge is that the government has played havoc with higher education in the country. It should strict action now and not handle higher education lightly," BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said.
Expressing the party's ire over granting of deemed university status in big numbers during UPA-I, Prasad said, "Why was (HRD Minister) Arjun Singh distributing deemed university status like a big largesse?"
Describing it as a "cruel joke" Prasad said that an institution has to meet set criteria for infrastructure and status before it could become a deemed university.
"During the NDA rule, HRD Minister Murli Manohar Joshi gave deemed university status to institutions like the IITs and IIMs," Prasad said. He further alleged that Singh had flouted the UGC regulations which apply in such cases.
He described Singh's tenure as HRD minister as "full of populism and opportunism".
Prasad said he wondered why Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, himself an educationist who taught in the Delhi School of Economics, allowed the "shady activities going on in Shastri Bhawan (HRD Ministry) over the years" to take place.
Government should now take the right decision in favour of the students who were studying in these fake deemed universities and ensure their future is secure, he demanded.
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