No ‘anti-national activity’ in private universities, says UP draft law
The state cabinet on Tuesday approved the draft Uttar Pradesh Private Universities Ordinance 2019 to bring private universities under the ambit of an umbrella act that provides for incorporating development of nationalism, social and international harmony, national integration, secularism and moral values among their objectives.
The draft ordinance also provides for the private universities to commit that they would not indulge in any anti-national activity and not associate or allow any such activity on its campus. It empowers the state government for action if a university was found involved in any such activity and violated the conditions for setting it up.
The draft ordinance further provides for reservation of 10 per cent seats with 50 per cent fee for economically weaker sections.
A provision for admission by rotation has been made for the courses having less than 1 per cent available seats.
Chief minister Yogi Adityanath presided over the cabinet meeting that also approved the draft bill to be tabled in the forthcoming session of state legislature to replace the proposed ordinance.
Briefing media persons, minister for medical and health Siddharth Nath Singh and minister for energy Shrikant Sharma said in all 27 private universities have been set up and are running in the state through separate laws. Existing private universities would have to incorporate or make necessary changes in accordance with the new law within one year.
The National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) evaluation has been made mandatory for all private universities.
Under the provisions of draft ordinance, recognition of a university will be withdrawn if there is gross misuse of funds or fraud. The state government has been empowered to de-notify the university and its assets and liabilities would be passed on to the sponsoring institution.
A provision for setting up a Rs 5-crore endowment fund has been made. The new provisions bar sale, transfer or leasing out of the university land. The university land can be mortgaged to banks and financial institutions and not to any individual. A minimum of 75 per cent regular appointments of teachers in different faculties should be made in private universities.
The Uttar Pradesh State Higher Education Board has been nominated as the nodal agency to implement and regulate the provisions of the ordinance and take action on failure of a university to provide required information or documents. A provision for inspection by the board once a year has been made to ensure the quality of higher education.
Although the Uttar Pradesh Private Universities Association (UPPUA) has not opposed the provisions of the ordinance, there are apprehensions about the intentions behind the move. “We have no problem with the new provisions as most of them already existed in some form or the other in the laws under which the private universities have been set up. As of now the intention of the government may be right. But in the long run such provisions may be misused against the universities,” said Pankaj Agarwal, secretary, UPPUA.
An official spokesman said at present there was no established procedure to implement the state government’s policy, collect information or documents, monitor and improve quality of education in private universities. An umbrella act would bring uniformity and set up such a procedure, he said.
A common academic calendar would be uniformly implemented in all universities to ensure same time frame for admissions, examinations and declaration of results.
Admission procedure, opening and last dates and prescribed fees would be displayed in public domain. The draft ordinance provides for an evaluation committee for setting up a university. It also incorporates the state government’s orders issued on February 6, 2008 and the norms decided by the state cabinet earlier to set up a private university.