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B-school clean-up with crack at Amity

New Delhi, Sept. 19: The Centre has started tightening the noose around private institutions of technical and higher education. It began today by making an example of the well-known Amity Business School in Noida.

The All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE), the apex body that regulates technical educational institutions, withdrew approval to two courses in Amity ' the full time postgraduate and part-time management courses.

The decision, to come into effect from this academic year, was taken after an expert committee of the council visited Amity on several occasions and found it violating the basic norms and guidelines.

“Amity Business School was found to conduct a large number of unapproved courses on the same premises, some even in collaboration with foreign universities that require the council’s mandatory sanction,” the technical education council said in a press statement.

Officials said this marked the beginning of a regular process of inspections by the council. The organisation, mired in bungling and controversies, now wants to clean up private technical institutions that have come up randomly in different parts of the country.

The council deliberately began by acting against a big player like Amity before bringing smaller players within its net. Today’s decision will affect 240-300 Amity business students. The council has asked the Delhi and central governments to accommodate students left in the lurch.

The list of complaints against Amity is substantive. “Their admission procedure was not transparent. The institute was involved in commercialisation of education and charged exorbitant fees,” said the council.

The Amity Business School charges Rs 4.1 lakh for two years from non-sponsored students and Rs 6.2 lakh from company-sponsored students. The institution claims that it invests the money in infrastructure.

The human resource development ministry and the council admit that private institutions of technical education have been allowed to run unregulated for years. A nexus between private education providers and MPs and MLAs has kept the system going. Each state has announced its own education act, facilitating private agencies to set up sub-standard institutions that often function from one room with less than skeletal staff.

Arjun Singh, after taking charge of the human resource development ministry, mandated the council to clean up the system. Earlier this year, the council slashed student intake in 742 technical institutions on the ground that they did not have the bare minimum faculty strength needed to give quality education.

In its order against the Amity Business School, the council said the institute was utilising its infrastructure for courses not approved by the council, “thus diluting the standards of education”.

The council said it had issued several warnings to Amity before withdrawing its approval to the courses.

The HRD ministry had set guidelines under which technical institutions have to keep the council informed on the designations, qualifications, mode of recruitment and date of appointment of faculty members. The rules apply to non-teaching staff as well.

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