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HRD in a fix over deemed universities

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NEW DELHI: The HRD ministry is in a bind as to what stand to take on UGC report on 41 deemed universities. With the Supreme Court having already ordered physical verification of infrastructure and academic quality of seven of the 41 universties, the ministry is weighing options before filing its affidavit in the apex court.

The first option is not to let 34 of the 41 deemed universities go off the hook. UGC report has recommended that only seven be stripped of deemed university status, while 34 others could continue. But the ministry is averse to this proposition. Since all 41 were found unfit to be deemed university by the Tandon Committee in 2009, it would be a big let down for the HRD ministry if majority of them continued to function.

Sources said a comprehensive view be taken on them based on what Tandon committee (2009), officers committee (2011) and latest UGC report say.

The second option under consideration is for the ministry to have some role in the formation of committees that will carry out physical verification of these universities and not let UGC have a free run.

“These deemed universities were created after physical verification and found lacking basic infrastructure, quality research and faculty within a few years. There must be something wrong with such verification. Allegations of corruption have been made against UGC committees in the past,” said a source.

The last option is to accept the UGC report. However, sources said it is the least favoured option for the university as it would allow 34 deemed universities to continue. “It will defeat the very purpose of Tandon committee and subsequent attempts to clean higher education. It will be back to square one,” said the source.

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