MAINTENANCE OF QUALITY AND STANDARDS IN DEEMED UNIVERSITIES Dr K Dhamodharan

Visiting Professor in Management SHIATS Deemed University Centre,Neyveli drkdhamodharan@gmail.com Mobile 09486505595

Dr.D Raja Jebasingh
Bangalore

Assistant Professor St Joesph College of Commerce

Introduction

ABSTRACT

Maintenance of standards and quality through effective Governance in higher education refers to the means by which higher educational institutions are formally organized and managed. In India the organs of higher education system are complex blend of various players namely UGC, AICTE, DEC, BCI, MCI, PCI, DCI, ICAR, INC, NCTE, CCH, CCIM, etc. University Grants Commission (UGC) is responsible for coordination, determination and maintenance of standards, release of grants etc. Central Government is responsible for major policy relating to higher education in the country. The Central Government is also responsible for declaration of Educational Institutions as 'Deemed to be University' on the recommendation of the UGC under section 3 of the University Grants Commission Act, 1956. The standard and quality of Deemed Universities in India gripped the attention of the Government which appointed a committee under the chairman of Mr.P.N.Tandon that brought out the deplorable conditions of Governance and standards in Deemed Universities in India. In another major policy reform aimed at providing an independent governance structure in Deemed Universities, the UCG has made restriction through regulation to the owner/founder of an institution or his/her relative to be appointed as chancellor of the deemed university. “The chancellor shall be an eminent educationist or a distinguished public figure other than the president of the sponsoring society or his/her closes relatives.” Still many more reforms are to be made in Governance of Deemed Universities to improve the standard. Many of the Deemed Universities are now functioning on commercial basis just concerned the quantity and not quality. This paper examines the authors view and recommendations for improving the standard and quality of the Deemed Universities through a new model of Governance. Key words: Governance, determination, maintenance, gripped, educationalists.

INTRODUCTION Globalisation, which is said to have brought radical changes in the polity, economy and society in India, may have a similar profound effect on education, particularly the higher education, in the country. Globalisation has brought in new definitions not only for the world's economic and political systems, but also for higher education. It is certain that higher education can no longer be static and traditional as it receives acute competition from global universities and private educational institutions. The innovative forms of transnational education--such as liberal migration policy for education, internet-based distance learning, branch campuses, educational franchising--have greatly expanded opportunities for students to study and learn outside their country of origin .India's higher education system is the third largest in the world, after China and the United States. The main governing body at the tertiary level is the University Grants Commission (India), which enforces its standards, advises the government, and helps coordinate between the centre and the state. The concept of the Deemed University was the outcome of Radhakrishnan Commission set up on higher education in 1948 which later paved the way in UGC Act. However the Deemed University system in India is full of chaos and mystification. The UGC Act 1956 does not provide any clear definition of a Deemed University. “The Central Government may, on the advice of the Commission, declare by notification in the Official Gazette, that any institution for higher education, other than a University, shall be deemed to be a University for the purposes of this Act, and on such a declaration being made, all the provisions of this Act shall apply to such institution as if it were a University within the meaning of clause (f) of the Section 2.”.There are at present 130 deemed universities in India. There has been a rapid expansion in the number of deemed universities since 2005. Between 1956 and 1990, only 29 institutions were granted the deemed university status, while between 2000 and 2005, 26 private-sponsored institutions got the deemed university status. Since 2005, the number of private deemed universities has increased to 130 till July 2011. 21 Deemed Universities are getting the Plan grants from UGC. Only 4 Deemed Universities are getting one time special grants from UGC. Eight Deemed Universities in India are getting Non plan 100 % maintenance grants while two universities are getting fixed maintenance grants. The statistical analysis shows that the grants to the Deemed Universities are restricted and many Deemed Universities confine themselves with their own funds.

The government has started the process of reforms in higher education. Under the reforms, it is intending to create a National Council for Higher Education as an overarching body which will subsume existing regulatory institutions like UGC, AICTE, DEC and NCTE. Hon Union Minister Mr Kapil Sibal, through his statement in Newspaper had expressed his intention to abolish the concept of deemed university. Mr Sibal also outlined the proposed bills for setting up of an accreditation body and having special tribunals for deciding matters related to disputes in campuses and having a law to check malpractices in institutes. The country needs 30,000 to 40,000 more colleges and nearly 1,000 universities to achieve the target of 30 per cent enrolment rate in higher education by 2030. The present enrolment rate is 12.4 per cent. There is an imperative need for more Universities. It is the time to check the status of the Universities and ensure the effective quality improvements instead to abolish these Deemed Universities. Before the detailed analysis it is better to have an insight of various problems which lead to the decision of derecognition of Deemed Universities. PROBLEMS WITH DEEMED UNIVERSITIES Various problems with Deemed Universities attracted the attention of learned professors who are really concerned with quality of the degrees awarded by the Deemed Universities. A few malpractices and irregularities’ on the part of Deemed Universities brought repulsive image of the Deemed Universities. Some of the Deemed Universities have awarded the degrees through backdoors in the open market through many intermediaries. The Degrees of these cheap Deemed Universities though obtained through illegal means are perfectly valid in the eye of law as these Deemed Universities are empowered to award the Degrees under Section 22 of the UGC Act 1956. It was a sad state of affairs that the Deemed Universities not even left the professional degrees in engineering stream from its domain. Distance education study centers become a lucrative business. These Deemed Universities collect a huge amount from the small entrepreneurs and appoint them as its coordinators to market the distance education courses through the study centres. The infrastructure of the distance education study centres are pathetic and even a small kiosk of 10’.0”X10”.0 sizes can be seen as Distance Education Study Centre. The Deemed Universities began to violate the provisions of the UGC and which resulted in periodical caution of the UGC to the students and parents. All these problems and irregularities of the Deemed Universities invited the immediate attention of the Government of India. The Government appointed Prof Tandon to examine the conditions of Deemed Universities and based on the report the Government the MHRD had decided to de

recognize 44 Deemed Universities. In the pending case the Supreme Court asked the government if the country needs any deemed universities, which have mushroomed amid complaints that instead of imparting quality education many of them have been fleecing students.. Why deemed university at all? Don't you think the status of deemed university should be abolished in all the states?" asked a bench of Justice Dalveer Bhandari and Justice Mukundkam Sharma, while hearing a lawsuit of 2006 questioning the misuse of the Deemed University status by many institutes. It was argued that the government had significantly diluted the stipulations for giving Deemed University status to educational institutions, which have resulted in their mushrooming growth without any quality control. It is also very common a Deemed university, located in one part of the country, comes up with hundreds of off-campus institutions and study centers, virtually selling degrees to students for a price. Why all these malpractices penetrate in to the educational system is a perennial question of public at large. The principle of absolute freedom leads to anarchy becomes true in Deemed Universities in India. Lack of adequate infrastructure, gross violations of the UGC norms, substandard syllabus, bad governance, Poor research and Development are some of the virus which affected the functioning of Deemed Universities. The employers began to view the degrees awarded by the Deemed Universities as handicapped degrees and fails to recognize them for employment though the degrees are legally valid for such employments. The students with a valid degree face many problems because of the policies of the Government. QUALITY IMPROVEMENT THROUGH EFFECTIVE GOVERNANCE The time had come to condemn corruption in university appointments. ‘Academic corruption' is the latest one. We have seen ‘political corruption' and ‘bureaucratic corruption.' But, corruption in universities should not be allowed to happen as it affects quality of education and future of students, The UGC (Institutions Deemed to be Universities) Regulations, 2010 is an important legal framework to which is intended to introduce the quality improvements in Deemed Universities. The regulation however suffers as there are many items left untouched to make the Universities 100 % effective. Some of the inherent week provisions of the regulations still support the Deemed Universities to enjoy the absolute freedom which lead to anarchy in educational system. The present regulations (Section 5.2) provides for the appointment of Chancellor by the sponsoring society or Trust. The highest authority of the Deemed University is a person appointed by the society. So the Chancellor will be favoring the society or trust in all its decision and will be loyal and at the mercy of the apex body ie

trust / society for his continuance as chancellor. Also the Board of Management is headed by the VC who is appointed by the sponsoring trust. Hence the provision of section 5.2 is to be amended for automatic appointment of state Governor as the Chancellor of a Deemed University. The present regulation put an end to the provisions appointment of Pro Chancellor which is welcome move of the UGC as it’s is only a decorative post. Section 5.5 is a deceptive one as it claims the board of management is independent of the trust. It reads as” The Board of Management of the institution shall be independent of the Trust (or) Society with full autonomy to perform its academic and administrative responsibilities. The number of representative(s)/ nominee(s) of the trust (or) society on the Board of Management shall be limited to a maximum of two. But it is not the numbers but the powers which are vested with VC who is nothing but a rubber stamp of the trust/ society. Hence adequate attention is to be paid for the appointment of VC. Under no situations the sponsoring Trust / Societies of Deemed Universities have the chance to select their own candidates or loyal candidates for appointment as its VC. In India the nexus between academicians and politicians, tapping of political connections are cheap means adopted for Vice-Chancellors, appointments. It is the time for UGC to formulate a policy which ensures the Vice-Chancellor's appointment only on the basis of academic quality and moral integrity. Deterioration of quality in education owing to corrupt practices in university starts with VC’s appointment. Transparency in appointment could bring the desired results hence the provisions in the appointment of Chancellor /Vice Chancellor may be amended to empower the UGC to appoint the Vice Chancellors. The reports of the Radhakrishnan Commission (1948: 422-23), Kothari Commission (1964-1966: 334-35), Gnanam Committee (1990: 27-30) and Ramlal Parikh Committee (1993:15-17) have highlighted the importance of the role of VC in maintaining the quality. Despite everything the vice-chancellor remains the king-pin of the resilience of a university system as keeper of the university's conscience. (Radhakrishnan Commission – 1948: 422). Hence UGC shall formulate a uniform procedure for appointment of Vice Chancellor. The UGC shall formulate a procedure for appointment of VC in Deemed universities. For the purpose UGC shall maintain a panel of eligible professors and selection is to be made on the basis of performance and adequate transparency must be ensured in appointments of VC. The Registrar who is the member of the board of management of the Deemed University shall be a person deputed by the UGC from among the panel of professor who is eligible for such appointment and serving in the Government Universities of the states where in the Deemed University is situated. If no such member is available in the state then the UGC can nominate an eligible professor of a state University near to the Deemed University under its

discretionary power. Section 5.7 & 6.5 of the regulation is to be amended for such appointment and UGC shall maintain a complete transparency in appointment of Registrar. The period of deputation of Registrar shall be three years which can be renewed periodically to the maximum of five years on recommendations of the UGC. The present regulation suffers due to dominance of members of the sponsoring society/trust. Of the 10 members of the board of management, The Chancellor is appointed by the sponsoring society/Trust. The Vice Chancellor is also appointed by the Chancellor on recommendation of Search cum selection committee which is none loyal nominee of the trust. Two Deans of the faculties nominated by the sponsoring the trust/society. Three eminent academicians nominated by the VC (normally VC nominate these persons recommended by the trust/society). Two teachers by rotation on seniority from among the teaching personnel of the Deemed University (here also only the person close to the trust/society will have the chance of being selected as member). One member nominated by the trust/society. It is known to all that the Board of Management of the University is nothing but the Board of management of the Trust/Society. The section 5.0 is totally a hypocritical section to empower the Trust/ Society to have dominance. But this section claims that the Board of Management of the institution shall be independent of the Trust (or) Society with full autonomy to perform its academic and administrative responsibilities. The Board of Management cannot do anything contrary to the directions of the Trust. So the amendment to this regulation to grant full autonomy to the board is the absolute need of the hour to ensure good governance for effective quality control and standards. DISTANCE EDUCATION AND PRIVATE FRANCHISING Most of the Deemed Universities are offering many courses under distance education mode. Distance education becomes the lucrative business for the deemed Universities. Though UGC had expressly prohibited the Deemed Universities from offering the distance education courses many of the deemed universities through substandard private study centres conducts the traditional and professional courses. Contravening the conditions imposed by UGC some of the deemed Universities conducts even engineering degrees like BE and M.Tech under distance education mode without any infrastructure. The present regulations totally prohibit these Deemed Universities from offering the distance education courses. However it remains silent on Deemed Universities permitted by Distance Education Council. While the Government Universities stagger despite financial grants and support to succeed in Distance

Education, some the Deemed Universities had achieved remarkable success through record enrollment. The deemed Universities collect huge amount as Non refundable deposits from the private trust and societies and permit them as its authorized study centres which lacks basic infrastructures like class rooms and library. Hence the deemed Universities are to be barred from offering the distance education courses through private franchising mode to ensure the quality and standard. UNIFORM SYLLABUS AND EXAMINATIONS The Deemed universities follow its own syllabus and the examination question papers are set by the faculty member who teaches the concerned subjects in the class room. Many of the Universities employ the same faculty who teaches the concerned subjects in the class room which leads to corruption in examination. Often the internal marks are awarded without any yardstick. Often the powers of Controller of Examinations are controlled by the sponsoring trust/society of the Deemed University. The Controller of Examination shall have paramount powers in conducting the examinations in accordance with the principles of secrecy. Hence the government shall nominate an eligible academic person from Government institution and depute to the Deemed universities for a period of two years and tenure of the controller of examinations can be renewed after the completion of the first period for further periods under the discretion of the concerned state government wherein the deemed university is situated. The Controller shall arrange to set the question by the approved panel of professors and arrange for evaluation by the faculty other than the concerned Deemed to be University and declare the results. Under no circumstance the sponsoring trust/society shall be permitted to interfere with the examinations affairs of the Deemed University. The Board of studies shall in consultation with the experts frame uniform syllabus and curriculum which is followed in premier institutions /central universities which could pave the way for quality improvements PERIODICAL RETURNS TO UGC AND STATE GOVERNMENTS There are widespread criticisms that Deemed Universities are granting back date admissions and awarding degrees through backdoors. In order to put an end to these criticism, the UGC can insert a new section to the present regulation where in the following periodical returns are to be made compulsory.

1. Details of candidates (with full particulars) admitted to various courses run under regular mode & distance education mode. ( Session wise- Academic Year/Calendar year) 2. Details of Degrees awarded to the qualified candidates. 3. Details of Provisional Degrees / Diplomas awarded All the particulars are to be made available in the concerned University website and UGC website. There shall not any room for the back door admission at later date as the same will be closed on the prescribed cutoff date. The UGC shall prescribe the last date (cutoff date) for admission for the particular session and any admission after the statutory return to the UGC and State Government shall deemed to be illegal and adequate penal provisions are to be made in the regulations against the official who fails to comply with the provisions. FACULTY APPOINTMENTS Many Deemed Universities besides lack of basic infrastructure and equipment miserably failed in undertaking meaningful Research and Development activities. These Universities largely depends on services of visiting faculty to avoid payment in accordance with UGC guidelines/pay scales. Adequate numbers of qualified professors are not appointed. An instance of lower payment to the qualified faculty is also reported. The Deemed Universities for the purpose of UGC and other statutory committee inspection temporarily hire the services of the faculty members and make onetime payment for their presence during the inspection. To rectify these types of malpractices the UGC can assign a unique ID for all teaching faculty members at National level to ensure non employment of a person in more than one institution on regular basis. Teaching faculty in Deemed Universities is to be appointed in accordance with the UGC guidelines. Adequate numbers of qualified professors is to be made available in all Deemed Universities. CONCLUSION Deemed Universities in India need not be scrapped but restructured to cater the growing need of the country. The country needs more Universities. It is the responsibility of the UGC, and all academic fraternity to evolve strategy to standardize the quality of the Deemed Universities. Some Deemed Universities in India are shining as example to the state and

central Universities through their innovative services, standards and quality while a few suffers due to the bad governance. Appropriate enactment and enforcement of laws could certainly improve the standard and quality of the Deemed Universities and serve the purpose of establishment of such deemed University. REFERENCE Abdullah, F. (2006) Measuring Service Quality in Higher Education: HEdPERF versus SERVPERF. Marketing Intelligence and Planning, 24(1), 31-47. Becket, N. and Brookes, M. (2006) Evaluating Quality Management in University Departments. Quality Assurance in Education, 14(2), 123-142 Cullen, J., Joyce, J., Hassall, T. and Broadbent, M. (2003) Quality in Higher Education: from monitoring to management. Quality Assurance in Education, 11(1), 5-14. Markham, Lucy. (1996), Methods Used in the Appointment of Vice-Chancellors in Commonwealth Universities, Commonwealth Higher Education Management Service (CHEMS) Paper No 14. Merelman, Richard M. (2000). "Technological cultures and liberal democracy in the United States." Science, Technology & Human Values 25:167-194 Mwiria, K. (1992), University Governance: Problems and Prospects in Anglophone Africa. AFTED Technical Note No 3, the World Bank, Washington DC. Ramnath Sharma, Rajendra K Sharma, Problems of Education in India (2004) Atlantic Publishers and Distributors,Delhi Shaloo Sharma (2002) History and Development of Higher Education in India,Sarup & Sons,New Delhi-2 Sohail, M., Daud, S. and Rajadurai, J. (2006) Restructuring a Higher Education Institution: a case study from a developing country. International Journal of Educational Management, 20(4), 279-290. Srikanthan, G. and Dalrymple, J. (2004) A Synthesis of a Quality Management Model for Education in Universities. International Journal of Educational Management, 18(4), 266-279. Thakkar, J., Deshmukh, S. and Shastree, A. (2006) Total Quality Management (TQM) in Self-Financed Technical Institutions. Quality Assurance in Education, 14(1), 54-74. Wolf, Alison. (2002.) Does education matter? myths about education and economic growth. London: Penguin..

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful