Supreme Court: Deemed Universities OK for now

Supreme Court: Deemed Universities OK for now

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New Delhi:  After the government, it's the turn of the Supreme Court to assure students that their universities will not be disqualified without a fair hearing and due consideration.

The Supreme Court is deciding on whether deemed universities maintain satisfactory academic standards. Last week, 44 deemed universities were blacklisted by the government after a committee said they function like "family fiefdoms."

Deemed universities are entitled to autonomy in deciding their fees, syllabus and other matters.  Many deemed universities are run by politicians and get the prized "deemed" status based on political connections rather than merit.

The court promised, "nothing will happen to students or the deemed universities in question without hearing them.''  So for now, these universities have not lost their status. They've also been asked to file their defence with the court. The government, meanwhile, has said it will file an affidavit in court explaining what action it suggests against these 44 universities. The case will be heard again on the 8th of March.

The concerned universities have objected to the committee's report. They say they were given only 3 minutes to present their cases to the committee instead of the 10 minute sessions they were promised. The universities also claim that the government's decision to blacklist these colleges has resulted in panic among students.

Seventeen of the 44 unfit universities are from Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. The government's blacklisting of these universities was followed by huge protests in Tamil Nadu. Minister for Human Resources Development, Kapil Sibal, had reassured students that they have nothing to worry about, and that their degrees will be valid, since they will be affiliated to state universities.  (Read: No student will suffer, Kapil Sibal on Your Call)

But over 2 lakh students enrolled in these universities are on edge. Here's why:

  • Students worried about how smooth the transition will be.
  • How they will be graded by the state universities.
  • What happens if the particular courses they are following are no longer taught by the state universities. No clarification on that.
The government is in the process of finalising a legislative proposal for regulating the entry and operations of foreign education providers in India.

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