The university grants commission (UGC) has threatened to de-recognise IK Gujral Punjab Technical University (PTU) if it starts distance education through franchise mode. The key education regulator's tough warning has come after a contentious stand taken by Punjab's technical education minister Madan Mohan Mittal.
After a wait of about two years, the UGC on August 5 had accorded permission to the PTU --- located at Kapurthala -to run open and distance learning courses.
UGC secretary Dr Jaspal S Sandhu, however, on August 7 shot off a letter to Punjab chief secretary Sarvesh Kaushal, referring to a reported "press statement" of technical education minister Madan Mohan Mittal saying that it "gives an impression" that the PTU plans to run distance education through franchise mode," a functionary of the UGC said.
Mittal's reported statement, which the UGC secretary has quoted in his letter, says: "Owners of the open and distance learning centres of IK Gujral Punjab Technical University have been informed about this welcome development (UGC nod to PTU to run distance education courses) and they would soon start their operations."
Concerned over the statement, the commission decided to red-flag the issue with the state government.
Mittal, when contacted, said "everything will be done as per the UGC guidelines." The PTU will also provide books in Punjabi language to students to help them understand their subjects properly, he said.
The UGC, however, has reiterated its stand on two key issues - the PTU can only run its programme within territorial jurisdiction of Punjab and that no courses will be run under the franchise mode and the centres will be run as varsity's own centres.
Cautioning the Punjab government against violating the guidelines, the UGC said: "The two cardinal policy decisions of the UGC should not be violated by the IK Gujral Punjab Technical University, failing which the UGC will have no choice but to rescind the letter of recognition given to the university."
The UGC has further told the state government that the guidelines to run distance courses were also mentioned in the approval letter and that it was specifically written in the document that programmes in distance mode will not be offered through "franchising arrangement" and/or through any "private institution/college."
The PTU had given an affidavit agreeing to these conditions of the UGC which are binding on the PTU.