The University Grants Commission has threatened to withdraw deemed university status of institutions found to be franchising higher education or affiliating colleges or running courses without the commission’s approval.
The warning has been issued at a time when UGC is under a cloud for giving de-novo approval to a number of deemed universities. The commission’s former secretary Raju Sharma had pointed out several irregularities in granting deemed university status to
In a communiqué to all deemed universities last month, the commission’s secretary R.K. Chauhan said that franchising of higher education is not allowed. This means that any institutions opened as a franchise of the deemed universities would have to close, a commission official said.
Chauhan also said that deemed universities are unitary institutions, and are not allowed to affiliate any colleges or institutions which universities are allowed to do. Even study centres are not allowed, the UGC has said.
The commission has also debarred deemed universities from running distance education or online courses unless cleared by the Joint Committee of UGC, All India Council for Technical Education and Distance Education Council. The Joint Committee was recently constituted for better coordination between different higher education regulatory bodies on distance education. Only a few courses of the deemed universities can be run as distance education programmes.
The letter also says opening or running offshore campuses without UGC approval is illegal.
The directive, which comes at a time when the UGC is finalising new guidelines for regulating deemed universities, points out that running courses not approved by the regulatory body is violation of the existing norms. The new guidelines are being finalised in consultation with HRD ministry officials.
Pointing out that there has been increasing violation of norms, the commission has asked the institutions to follow the rulebook or face cancellation of the deemed university status.