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Ban sought on dubious Chhattisgarh varsities

Students in Calcutta are complaining about the low standard of education at a dozen-odd, Chhattisgarh-based private universities operating in the city. Alarmed, the state government has decided to appeal to the Centre, demanding an immediate ban on these institutions.

State higher education department sources say a letter has been dashed off to the Chhattisgarh government, demanding immediate action against nearly a dozen private universities for offering courses of a poor standard, despite charging high fees.

“We are not just worried but also scared of the manner in which some of these institutions function here. We have contacted officials of the Chhattisgarh government, informing them about our problem. We will also write to the Centre seeking measures to ensure that private universities are not allowed to run without maintaining a proper infrastructure and academic standards,” said Jawhar Sarkar, principal secretary, state higher education department.

The mushrooming of private universities in Calcutta has caused concern to the state government because the ruling CPM is still undecided whether private bodies should be allowed to open universities in Bengal or not.

The Centre had proposed that all state governments consider opening such institutions in their states, given the increasing demand for higher education, as well as the policy to reduce allocation of funds in this sector.

Responding to the Centre’s proposal, a number of states, including Chhattisgarh, formulated an Act allowing private bodies to set up universities. The Bengal government, however, is still opposed to the idea, as it feels this will affect quality.

Government sources here say more than 50 private universities have come up in Chhattisgarh after formulation of the Act. Fifteen of them have opened centres in Calcutta. Investigations revealed that most of the private universities are being run without following the “basic” norms that they are required to follow.

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