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Universities grow in Uttarakhand, but education quality a concern

Uttarakhand, known for school education mostly imparted by public schools, has emerged as a hub of universities, but experts and activists have raised questions about the quality of education.

dehradun Updated: Feb 19, 2018 22:04 IST
Abhinav Madhwal
Abhinav Madhwal
Hindustan Times
Uttarakhand news,Universities,Education quality
Uttarakhand with a population of 1.1 crore has 20 universities – government and private – and another two with deemed status. (HT File Photo)

Uttarakhand, known for school education mostly imparted by public schools, has emerged as a hub of universities, but experts and activists have raised questions about the quality of education.

“The government must examine whether the new universities are increasing unemployment by giving useless degrees,” said Anil Joshi, a former reader of botany at Kotdwar Government Degree College.

“It would be better to provide soft skills to the individuals instead, so that they can get meaningful employment. Most of the students have taken bank loans and I don’t think many would get jobs that would help them in even repaying the loan on time.”

Uttarakhand with a population of 1.1 crore has 20 universities – government and private – and another two with deemed status. Most of them offer technical, medicine and management courses.

Chandrashekhar Kargeti, a lawyer-activist, said the quality of education was not up to the desired level in private universities, which were focusing on making money. “There are private universities that have 10,000 students on the rolls; you can imagine the quality of education there.”

Kargeti said the main reason for the establishment of a number of private universities was the availability of cheap land. Alleging a nexus among builders, bureaucrats and influential politicians, he said most of the private universities have been established with the money invested by politicians through proxy.

“One university in Dehradun has been accused of grabbing land on a riverside and the matter has been suppressed due to the intervention of politicians who have a stake in it,” said Kargeti.

Congress leader Manish Verma, who is fighting a legal battle against a private university set up in Dehradun, said, “The university did not have approval from the Medical Council of India, but was running courses, such as MBBS, and playing with the career of the students.”

Minister of state (higher education) Dhan Singh Rawat claimed that universities and the quality of education were being monitored. “A large number of students are studying in these universities that have well-maintained campuses and qualified teachers.”

The minister said all norms laid down for setting up a university were followed in the state, ruling out foul play or machinations. “If any wrongdoing or subverting of norms by universities is brought to our notice, then we will take action,” he said.

Retired IAS officer Surya Pratap Singh, who taught management in a college in the US, has a different take. Most universities, he said, are giving education without merit in India, particularly in Uttarakhand.

“Many universities are taking up to Rs 15 lakh for MBA. It is sometimes seen that the owners and family members are being made part of the teaching staff without merit, which is not justified,” he said, adding “There should be a state audit of the universities.”

Universities in Uttarakhand

University of Petroleum and Energy studies (UPES), Uttarakhand Open University, Graphic Era Deemed University, Graphic Era Hill University, Himgiri Nabh University, Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust University (HIHT), Doon University, Sridev Suman University, Uttarakhand Technical University, Dehradun Institute of Technology University, Uttaranchal institute of Technology University, ICFAI University, Uttarakhand Ayurvedic University, Dev Sanskriti University, Patanjali University and Residential University at Almora.

Shivalik University is set to come up at Thano in Dehradun.

First Published: Feb 19, 2018 22:04 IST