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Students safe, not deemed universities

india Updated: Jun 11, 2009 01:46 IST
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The future of students in the 125 educational institutions, whose deemed-to-be-university status is being reviewed, will not be affected, assured human resources development minister Kapil Sibal.

The government had ordered a review of all existing deemed universities and frozen pending applications after complaints of widespread malpractices in conferring this status by the previous government.

Universities can be established only by legislation, but according to the law, “deemed-to-be university” status can be given to institutions that meet prescribed standards.

“Our intent is not punitive, but regulatory,” said Sibal. “We’ll have to ensure students are not harmed while we clean up the system.” The review will be completed in three months.

Sibal said the government would take the necessary steps to overcome the existing “judicial constraints” on encouraging private investment in education.

According to regulations, profits made from an educational institution must be invested back into it —a condition that discourages private investors who may want to enter the sector.

“There are constraints to private investment and the government will have to move towards removing them,” said the minister.

In another positive signal to the private sector, Sibal said the government would not force private higher educational institutions to reserve quotas.

“Such issues (as quotas) can be resolved only through consensus. The government will not force anything on anyone. All stakeholders will have to be taken into confidence before we do anything in education,” Sibal said. “Centuries of discrimination against lower castes will have to be addressed. At the same time, aspirations of contemporary India will have to be addressed too.”

He said his policies would specifically target the SCs, the STs and minorities. “For the minorities, we will do what the Sachar committee has recommended and more,” he said.