In a bold move, the Centre moved the Supreme Court to withdraw ‘deemed’ university status to 44 universites in the country. A look at the list clearly indicates that Tamil Nadu has the dubious distinction of leading this pack, having 16 in the list. Deccan Herald has also pointed this out in an article
” Almost a third of the deemed universities (DUs) that are to be derecognised by the Centre are from Tamil Nadu.”
A look at the complete list of Deemed universities all over the country in the UGC web-site also brings out the fact that TN also has the largest number of deemed universities. Out of a total of 130 “Deemed” universities, 29 universities are from TN. Whereas, the share of TN in ‘deemed’ universities is 22%, its share in the ‘doomed’ universities is disproportionately large at 35 %.
The neighbouring state of Karnataka is not much better. Karnataka which has the third-largest number of deemed universities at 15, comes second in the list of ‘doomed’ universities having six in the list.
Maharashtra comes out better than TN and Karnataka. Maharashtra has 21 (16%) deemed universities , out of which only 3 (6%) are in the ‘doomed’ list.
Deccan Herald has pointed out some of the reasons for the rot in TN universities.
In this backdrop, privatisation of higher education in TN began in a small way in the early 1980s. Interestingly, most of the private engineering colleges set up then were by well-to-do MPs from mainstream political parties including the Congress, the DMK and the AIADMK.
Several of the DUs facing derecognition are either owned or indirectly promoted by well-connected political personalities
“What matters is your political clout and hospitality-levels when UGC officials visit these campuses,”a professor at a women’s autonomous college here said.
Despite the ban on capitation fees and the DMK government fixing the fee structure for private engineering and medical colleges, there are fixers who sell management quota seats at hefty premiums. The administration in the DUs are packed with promoters, relatives or people from their own respective caste/community.
It is pertinent to point out here that the Tandon committee, has kept another 44 deemed universities in the watch-list. It is quite likely that many of the well-known ‘deemed universities’ who are also big advertisers like SRM and VIT University are in the watchlist because they also have some of the lacunas pointed out by the committee.
* Undesirable management structure where families rather than professional academics controlled the functioning
* Several institutions had violated the principles and guidelines prescribing excellence in teaching and research and were engaged in introduction of thoughtless programmes
* Little evidence of noticeable efforts in case of emerging areas of knowledge
* Little evidence of commitment towards research
* Institutions increased their intake capacity disproportionately
* Undergraduate and post-graduate courses were fragmented with concocted nomenclatures
* Higher fee structure than prescribed
UGC as a regulator of higher education has failed miserably. UGC needs to be scrapped and a new regulator needs to be put in place, before opening doors for private and foreign universities in higher education. Mr Sibal’s task is cut-out.