The University Grants Commission's new draft regulation debarring undergraduate and distance-learning courses in deemed universities has caused panic among these institutions.
These universities have threatened to move court, if the draft regulations are notified in their present form. “The entire regulation is draconian. We will move court if this draft is notified,” said Dr MS Raste, vice-chancellor of Pune's Symbiosis International Educational Centre, a deemed university. Professor Milap Dugar, vice-chancellor at the Institute of Advance Studies in Education, Rajasthan, said the regulation put the future of thousands of students in jeopardy.
Last December, the UGC had issued the UGC (Institutions Deemed to be Universities) Regulations, 2007 prescribing courses only at the masters’ level as the eligibility criteria to get deemed university status. The body also wants to regulate their fees to prevent the commercialisation of education, an official said.
UGC chairperson Professor SK Thorat, however, told HT there was a need for regulation to maintain standards in higher education.
“The present guidelines are not statutory and therefore cannot be binding,” Thorat said. But he did not explain why undergraduate courses will not be allowed, saying the regulations were yet to be finalised.
Admission to professional courses like engineering, medical, management, pharmacy and law would be as per the commission's regulations, the guidelines state. The existing deemed universities would have to change their Memorandum of Association to meet the new eligibility criteria, the draft regulation implies.
Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies has alleged the UGC has nothing to do with regulations on distance learning. "Regulating distance learning education is the job of the Distance Education Council under IGNOU and the UGC is dragging its feet unnecessarily," the institute has told the commission. Thorat refuted the claim. He said, as the deemed universities are directly under the UGC, specific approval for distance education courses is necessary.
The deemed universities are also peeved at the commission's attempt to regulate all admissions through an All-India common entrance test, to be conducted either by the UGC or an agency approved by it.