Finding its Unfair Practices Bill stuck in Rajya Sabha for almost a year, the HRD has found a way-out to deal with educational malpractices in majority of higher education institutes.
The ministry on Monday decided that every educational institution affiliated to a Central University and under control of a Central regulator such as University Grants Commission (UGC) and All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) to have an ombudsman to deal with grievances.
“The new system would be in place before the next academic year,” said HRD minister Kapil Sibal. Every institution would be required to have an ombudsman – a person with judicial or legal experience to be appointed from a panel suggested by the affiliating university for technical and management institutions, by the Central Government for deemed universities and by the regulator for non-degree granting institutions.
The new direction would cover over all educational institutions, except state universities and colleges affiliated to these universities. Sibal would soon be requesting the state governments to have a similar grievance redress mechanism for the state higher educational institutions.
The ombudsman will have power to instruction the institutions to take corrective measures on complaints regarding denial of admission, non-observance of declared merit in admission, with-holding of documents and non-refund of fees in case of withdrawal of admission.
“In case of matters concerning weaker sections such as SCs/STs/OBCs or minorities, the ombudsman can co-opt a person of eminence from the area coming from the weaker section to assist him/her in arriving at a decision,” Sibal said.
The ombudsman will have to issue an order within a month of receiving a complaint with specific direction to the concerns institution.
A Parliamentary Standing Committee, while examining the Bill to prohibit and punish unfair practices in higher education had recommended that pro-active steps be taken to constitute grievance redressal mechanisms in higher education institution. The bill, which envisages setting up of national and state level tribunals to hear complaint of unfair practices, is pending in Rajya Sabha.