Amid opposition from private Deemed Universities, the University Grants Commission is set to regulate admissions and fees in all professional courses in these institutions from the next academic year.
"The new uniform fee and admission regulation will be implemented from next academic session,” UGC secretary R.K. Chauhan told Hindustan Times.
Top institutes like Symbiosis (Pune), Manipal University (Manipal), BITS (Pilani), Tata Institute of Social Sciences (Mumbai) and Bharatiya Vidyapeeth (Pune) are among the 125 instituted granted Deemed Universities status.
Admission procedure and fees vary in deemed universities, which attract more than one lakh students every year. The UGC had been receiving complaints of malpractices in admissions, leading to petitions in the Supreme Court.
Acting on assurance give by the Human Resource Development ministry to the Supreme Court to bring a policy to regulate Deemed Universities in July 2008, the UGC at its meeting last January approved new regulations, which gives the commission power to regulate fees and admissions and even introduce reservations in deemed universities.
Chauhan told HT that a committee has been constituted to finalise the UGC (Admission and Fee Structure in Professional Programmes of Study in Self-Financing Deemed to be Universities) Regulation within a month.
The draft regulations state that a retired Supreme Court judge to be nominated by the Chief Justice of India will head the National Fee Committee to decide fees of all Deemed Universities on the laid down criteria.
Before deciding the fees for the institutes, the committee would have to take into account salaries and allowances of faculty and staff, expenditure on running courses, cost of advance research, requirement of the institute to expand its activities and cost of providing scholarship to students from economically weaker sections.
Universities cannot charge other fees than what is decided by the committee, which will be valid for three years. At the time of admission, students will have to pay fees for one semester or maximum of one year.
The regulations also state admissions will be through a national level Common Entrance Test (CET) to be conducted by an association of Deemed Universities for the commission. Students will be admitted on basis of criteria fixed by the commission.
To oversee admissions, the UGC will constitute a national level admission monitoring committee headed by a former Vice-Chancellor of a Central University, the draft regulations state. Many deemed universities have termed the UGC’s proposed regulation as a retrograde step and said it would curb autonomy of the universities. Narsee Monjee Institute of Management and Higher Studies has told UGC that the guidelines will affect growth of technical education in the country. BITS, Pilani said uniformity of fees is not desirable and merit should be the only criteria for admission.
Rajiv Gandhi Poudyogiki Vishwavidyalaya, Bhopal and Sastra Deemed University, Thanjavur and Manipal University, have termed the proposed differential fee structure as violation of Supreme Court guidelines in T M Pai case. “Admission to private professional educational institutions cannot be nationalized,” Manipal University has told UGC.
A few Deemed Universities like Chaudhary Devi Lal University, Sirsa and Indian Law Institute, Delhi, have appreciated the proposed guidelines saying it will curb commercialisation of education.