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Sajal prod for private varsity rules

Lok Sabha elections being a washout for the ruling state government combine and Assembly poll by the year-end, education mandarins are waking up to the urgency of drafting rules to screen entry of private varsities to woo the youth and keep brain drain at bay.

At a meeting with state HRD officials on Wednesday, acting chief secretary Sajal Chakraborty asked education mandarins to work on screening criteria on priority basis.

“I am told many proposals of private varsities are pending. More higher education opportunities are the need of the hour but we also want quality. We have sought guidelines from personnel department in this regard and directed HRD officials to finalise screening criteria at the earliest,” said Chakraborty.

“The future of education depends on quality of universities but we don’t have parameters to rate or accommodate them,” he added.

Sources said some 35-40 institutions from across the country are willing to open in Jharkhand. Applications, including those of Amity University, Lovely Professional University have piled up at the state higher education directorate for over two years now.

However, the pace of proposal clearance is very slow. From 2000 to 2012, the state could clear proposals of about four varsities, including Sai University, Jharkhand Rai University, ICFAI and Usha Martin University.

Barring the one proposed by industry major Usha Martin, three others are functional.

ICFAI opened in 2008, while other two formally debuted in 2012.

In the 2012 winter Assembly, the state passed Usha Martin Universities Bill, 2012 but the varsity is stuck due to lack of clarity in rules and regulations and political instability.

An official of the proposed Usha Martin varsity said they had appointed a VC but the board of governors was not constituted. “We need to get a representative from the state government,” he said.

State higher education director D.N. Ojha said screening criteria for private varsities could be expected in a month. On why they blocked all applications so far, he said: “We wanted to be choosy. After getting the state nod, many private varsities end up looking like coaching centres.”

Highlighting vital screening clauses, Ojha said: “We are preparing a to-do list. It includes asking from applicant varsity details of land acquisition, academic record of past five years, achievements in higher education. Screening norms are at an evolving stage. But they have to be in sync with University Grants Commission (UGC) norms.”


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