Better Late Than Never

September 24, 2015, Chennai

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Kapil Sibal "The Review Committee came across several aberrations in the functioning of some of the institutions deemed to be universities.

It found undesirable management architecture where families rather than professional academics controlled the functioning of institutions," the HRD Ministry’s affidavit in the Supreme Court said.

We can heave a sigh of relief. The Centre has told the Supreme Court that it has decided to withdraw the "deemed" status to 44 universities in the country alleging these were being run as family fiefdoms rather than on academic considerations.  According to the Centre, most of the 44 erring deemed universities were offering post-graduate and undergraduate courses that are "fragmented with concocted nomenclatures" and seats "disproportionately" increased beyond the actual intake capacity.

The affidavit says the government has accepted the recommendations made in this regard by the high-powered P N Tandon committee and the Special Task Force set up to suggest measures to tackle the problem.

This action is long overdue. Better late than never. The writer had on an earlier occasion said that most of these ‘Universities’ are either damned or doomed and cannot by any stretch of imagination be called deemed. No credentials are required to start and run a University? This is atrocious. Kapil Sibal deserves our appreciation for initiating action in this regard.

Most of the deemed Universities whose status are to be withdrawn are in Tamil Nadu. This is an indication of the present state of education in this State.

In spite of the best of intentions of the HRD Ministry, I have a grouse. The Centre says they would be allowed to revert back as affiliated colleges of their original universities. They should have been asked to shut shop. Well, considering the future of thousands of innocent students, this decision might have been taken. Yet, a continuous monitoring of these institutions is called for if the aim is to ensure ‘quality education.’