UGC (University Grants Commission), the higher education authority, has asked around 123 deemed-to-be Universities to remove the word ‘University’ from their names. This news came in when a letter dated 10th November by UGC suggested dropping the name for such institutes. According to the order dated 3rd November, 2017, Supreme Court has announced the deemed universities not to use ‘University’ word and stop using the name within one month’s time. It is also said that it is in violation of Section 23 of the UGC Act. The court also announced that no deemed-to-be-university can run open and distant learning courses from the next academic year 2018-19 without prior approval of the regulatory authorities and ordered a CBI probe into granting of retrospective approvals to four of the below mentioned universities. Beside this, UGC has also directed to take proper steps for the implementation of Section 23 of the UGC Act, 1956. The students who have secured engineering degrees since 2001 via correspondence are also said to be invalid by the Supreme Court. These institutes include JRN Rajasthan Vidyapeeth, Institute of Advanced Studies in Education in Rajasthan, Allahabad Agricultural Institute and Vinayaka Mission Research Foundation, Tamil Nadu.
“We restrain all deemed-to-be-universities to carry on any courses in distance education mode from the Academic Session 2018-2019 onwards unless and until it is permissible to conduct such courses in distance education mode,” a bench of Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel and Justice Uday Umesh Lalit ruled.
As per the the Section 23 of the UGC Act, 1956, “No institution, whether a corporate body or not, other than a University established or incorporated by or under a Central Act, a Provincial Act or a State Act shall be entitled to have the word “University” associated with its name in any manner whatsoever.”
The institutes in India such as Indian Agricultural Research Institute (PUSA), Jamia Hamdard , National University of Educational Planning & Administration (NUEPA), Birla Institute of Technology (Mesra), Christ University, Chinmaya Vishwavidyapeeth, Gokhale Institute of Politics & Economics (Pune), SYMBIOSIS International University (Pune), Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (Mumbai), Tata Institute of Social Sciences (Mumbai), Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham (Coimbatore), NMIMS and Vellore Institute of Technology (Vellore) will now not use the ‘University’ in their names.
With this, the human resource development (HRD) ministry will order CBI to probe into UGC matter. This decision was taken on 6th November at a high-level meeting and asked the CBI to conduct a “thorough investigation”.
The degrees after the year 2005 have also been suspended as the deemed universities had no permission for offering the course. This will have an impact on degree holder in government service and might not be able to get promotions or other service-related benefits.
The UGC will announce a public notice for the suspension of such degrees and the All Indian Council for Technical Education (AICTE) will handle the case by setting up a web portal for these students who enrolled in courses between 2001 and 2005. The students will have the option to either appear for a special AICTE test or cancel their degrees and ask for fee refunds.
In July-August 2018, AICTE will be asked to declare results of the test, which will enable the revival of the suspended degrees for successful candidates and those students who fail the test in two attempts, their degrees will be withdrawn. All the degrees issued after 2005 will be withdrawn and a notification will be announced by the end of the year.
A three-member committee will also be set up by the ministry soon that will provide a roadmap to for deemed universities. The court has ordered the committee to submit the report by August 2018.
On 24th October UGC has asked 12 stand-alone institutions to get University status for offering Distance and Open Education which includes names like Symbiosis, MIT, Welingkar, IMT CDL, IIMT and few others.