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HindustanTimes Mon,21 Apr 2014

'Quote rules on outsourcing exam work to private firm'

Jasdeep Singh Malhotra, Hindustan Times  Jalandhar, March 17, 2013
First Published: 18:44 IST(17/3/2013) | Last Updated: 20:15 IST(17/3/2013)

Punjab Technical University's (PTU's) decision to 'outsource' examination work related to distance education courses to a private firm has again come under scrutiny. The Delhi State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has directed its board of governors chairman Sunil Kant Munjal to furnish information on rules and regulations followed by the university in allotting contract to hold exams to a private firm.

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Earlier, a Delhi court had stayed the PTU from holding these exams, slated to begin from March 15, after a student alleged that the university did not have mandatory approval from Distance Education Council (DEC) to run these courses. Nearly 1.40 lakh students were scheduled to appear for the exams.

On the complaint of a Delhi-based student Jaipreet Singh that the varsity admitted students even as it did not have DEC approval, the Commission has directed PTU registrar HS Bains to furnish a copy of approval obtained from the DEC for academic year 2012-13.

"Besides, the registrar shall furnish the copy of the agreement signed with Delhi-based private firm, Future Educom, pertaining to allotment of contract to execute examination work," the commission ordered.

The panel also directed the university to submit list of students admitted for distance education courses from March 2012 to January 2013, with the details of pending results.

The varsity is to submit the information within seven weeks of receipt of the order, which was issued on March 14.

The complainant Singh had alleged that he got admission in MBA course last year after the PTU confirmed that it had requisite approvals and permissions of the statutory authorities to run such courses.

The PTU failed to declare the result of September 2012 examinations, while it had again directed him and other students to appear for second semester exams, he alleged.

"The PTU had also outsourced the entire examination to a private company namely Future Educom, Delhi and this has further created doubts in students' minds as the same is against the guidelines and circulars issued by the University Grants Commission (UGC). The whole examination process has been outsourced to private companies of dubious integrity. The learning centres are also asking students to pay Rs. 2,500-5,000 to enable them to copy. How can this be a fair exam?" questioned Singh.

He claimed that the PTU was playing with the future of students by not declaring the result of the first semester and running courses without mandatory approvals. Earlier, the Delhi High Court had restrained the PTU from admitting students under distance education mode till further orders for not obtaining DEC approval in this regard.

The complainant alleged that chairman Munjal was also not taking any steps to stop illegal and unlawful acts of the university officials.

"The university is deficient in service for its failure to declare the results and for offering courses without DEC approval," he alleged, demanding that Rs. 25 lakh be awarded to him for suffering acute mental pain, torture and harassment.

The Delhi police had registered an FIR against seven PTU functionaries, including the VC and the registrar for allegedly cheating the students by charging fee for distance courses without DEC approval to run such courses in the national capital. The next date of hearing is April 3.

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