The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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After bribe bomb, it’s bogus varsities
- Jogi and son in trouble with HRD ministry

New Delhi, Dec. 10: These are bad times for Ajit Jogi, and not just politically.

After losing face in the recent Assembly elections and allegedly being “caught red-handed” trying to bribe BJP legislators, the former Chhattisgarh chief minister and son Amit are in trouble with the human resource development ministry for allowing bogus private universities to mushroom in the state.

The ministry has threatened to de-recognise around 89 private universities set up in Chhattisgarh during Jogi’s tenure.

At a consultative committee meeting of the HRD ministry yesterday, a University Grants Commission (UGC) official said private universities would be de-recognised unless they complied with its regulations.

“These universities have no infrastructure, no proper faculties. In many cases, they are functioning from one or two rooms,” said an official.

The UGC has served a three-month ultimatum to these institutions to fulfil its norms. “Their degrees will not be recognised if they do not meet the guidelines by then,” an official said.

“Our problem is that education is on the Concurrent List and Ajit Jogi and his son Amit Jogi took full advantage of the executive powers they could exercise — favouring private institutions and individuals,” said an official.

Parliament is yet to pass the establishment of private universities bill, which has been pending since 1995.

Soon after Chhattisgarh came into being in 2000, the Jogi government allowed private institutions a free run. It passed its own private university act to allow private players mobility in higher education. Thirty universities came up in a span of six months. Later, more and more such institutions were set up in direct contravention of the UGC guidelines.

A concerned UGC tightened its rules and declared that all its guidelines would be binding on universities.

Private universities, the UGC said, must have “adequate teaching, research, examination facilities” which the commission would monitor. Students would have to be provided with the structure and content of the courses offered by the university. Fees and admission procedures would be fixed in accordance to UGC norms.

The UGC along with the All India Council for Technical Education will lay down the minimum criteria for faculty members, courses and infrastructure.

The Bar Council of India will frame guidelines for universities’ teaching law, the Indian Nursing Council for nursing courses, the Dental Council for dental colleges and the Medical Council of India for medical colleges.

“The guidelines are framed with an objective to safeguard the interest of students and maintain (the) quality of education,” wrote UGC chairperson Arun Nigavekar in a forwarding letter to the HRD ministry.

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