In stark violation of the Punjab Private Universities Policy-2010, the DAV University here has started admitting students without obtaining “mandatory” approval from the University Grants Commission (UGC) to run different courses while its academic session starts on August 1.
According to the policy, the university should seek formal UGC approval before starting academic operations such as admissions, commencement of programmes and teaching activities. It has not fully complied with the pre-conditions of raising requisite infrastructure and appointment of teachers till date.
The UGC (Establishment and Maintenance of Standards in Private Universities) Regulations, 2003, mandate that a private university will provide all relevant information relating to the first degree and post-graduate programmes, including the curriculum structure, contents, teaching and learning process, examination and evaluation system and the eligibility criteria for students’ admission, to the UGC prior to the starting of these programmes. The study programmes leading to a degree offered by a private university would conform to the relevant UGC regulations.
Admitting that the academic operations were started without such approval, chancellor Punam Suri said the university would obtain the UGC approval after three years, maintaining “it was required only before the awarding of degrees to the students”. On insistence why such delays on obtaining the “mandatory” approval, Suri said the UGC would seek information from them about details of faculty, students and infrastructure and other mandatory facilities available in the university before granting such approval, while such conditions were yet to be fulfilled. “These are teething problems and will be sorted out,” he said.
The UGC regulations mandate that a private university should seek formal approval of its board of studies or academic council before introducing study courses, but the DAV University is yet to constitute these bodies though the university was set up through an ordinance on October 25, 2012. “The interviews to hire teachers will conclude by July 22. Then, we will form the academic council and board of studies after joining of the teachers,” vice-chancellor RK Kohli said.
Despite being a pre-condition to be complied before issuance of letter of intent (LOI) by the state government, the university is yet to raise a library having books and journals, including digital versions worth Rs. 50 lakh as mandated under the state policy. “We have placed an order for buying books,” Kohli said.
The girls’ hostel was found being given finishing touches while the construction of boys’ hostel is yet to be started. The boundary wall on one of the sides was yet to be erected, thus, putting a question mark on safety of the girl students putting up in the hostel. “The DAV College hostel situated in the city will be used by the university’s hostellers. We will deploy 11 buses to ferry students from the hostel to the university and back every day,” Suri said.
The academic block-II was near completion while block-I was under construction. The construction of a cafeteria, residential accommodation for staffers (mandatory), indoor sports complex, youth hostel, yogyashala, examination and distance learning block was also not started. The workshops for engineering students were not operational.
Education minister Sikander Singh Maluka, when contacted, said it was wrong on the university’s part not to fulfil conditions notified in the policy before admitting students. “The law was passed after the sponsoring body of the DAV University submitted compliance of the pre-conditions. We will serve them show-cause notice for not adhering to the policy and requisite action will be initiated,” he said.
UGC chairman Ved Prakash was not available for comment. MM Ansari, commission member, said the Punjab government should immediately act since the university was established under the state act. UGC regulations, however, said the UGC might inform the general public that such degrees of the private university were not approved through a public notification and would impose prescribed penalty for such violations.