Indian Computer Science (CS) & Information Technology (IT) Academic Reform Activism Consolidated Blog Document


Transparency is the way to differentiate between good and bad deemed universities



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Transparency is the way to differentiate between good and bad deemed universities


Net url: http://eklavyasai.blogspot.in/2014/03/transparency-is-way-to-differentiate.html



The term 'deemed university' seems to have acquired negative connotations in the media. Most of the reports one reads about deemed universities in the print media are about poor quality of teaching & research in such deemed universities. But the famous IISc. Bangalore, TIFR Mumbai, BITS Pilani and TISS Mumbai are deemed universities too! This aspect does not seem to be highlighted by the press media reports.

I think the reality is that like in the case of public universities (Central & State universities) and private universities in India, there are good deemed universities and bad deemed universities. But how do students, parents, academics and non-teaching staff who are considering joining/associating with a deemed university figure out whether it is good or bad? I think in the 21st century Internet connected academic world of India, transparency by means of suitable data being made available on key overseeing/regulatory agencies like MHRD, UGC and AICTE as well as national assessment/accreditation agencies like NAAC and NBA and international private accreditation agencies like ABET is the way to go. 

[From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Assessment_and_Accreditation_Council, "The National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) is an organization that assesses and accredits institutions of higher education in India. It is an autonomous body funded by University Grants Commission of Government of India headquartered in Bangalore."

From http://www.nbaind.org/views/Home.aspx, "The National Board of Accreditation (NBA), India was initially established by AICTE (All India Council of Technical Education) under section 10(u) of AICTE act, in the year 1987, for periodic evaluations of technical institutions & programmes basis according to specified norms and standards as recommended by AICTE council. 

       NBA in its present form came into existence as an autonomous body with effect from 7th January 2010, with the objective of Assurance of Quality and Relevance of Education, especially of the programmes in professional and technical disciplines, i.e., Engineering and Technology, Management, Architecture, Pharmacy and Hospitality, through the mechanism of accreditation of programs offered by technical institutions."

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ABET, "ABET, incorporated as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc., is a non-governmental organization that accredits post-secondary education programs in "applied science, computing, engineering, and engineering technology". The accreditation of these programs occurs mainly in the United States but also internationally. As of October 2012, around 3,278 programs are accredited, distributed over more than 670 universities and colleges in 23 countries."]

[Vellore Institute of Technology, a deemed university placed in Table II by the Tandon committee has received international accreditation (including from ABET) for some of its programs, http://www.vit.ac.in/AboutVIT/Accreditation.asp. I think this gives its internationally accredited programs a strong international credibility edge over others who have not sought international accreditation.]

I thought I should see how MHRD, UGC and AICTE fare in this matter of sharing suitable data about deemed universities on its web sites? 

MHRD: http://mhrd.gov.in/deemduniv has a short explanation about (its view of) deemed universities, "An Institution of Higher Education, other than universities, working at a very high standard in specific area of study, can be declared by the Central Govt on the advice of the UGC as an Institution ‘Deemed-to-be-university’. Institutions that are ‘deemed-to-be-university’ enjoy academic status and privileges of a university.

These ‘Deemed-to-be-University’ Institutions have expanded the base of higher education in the country and are offering education and research facilities in various disciplines such as Medical Education, Physical Education, Fisheries Education, Languages, Social Sciences, Population Sciences, Dairy Research, Forest Research, Armament Technology, Maritime Education, Yoga, Music and Information Technology, etc.

The Department is determined to introduce accountability and transparency in the processing of applications for grant of status of deemed-to-be-university under Section 3 of the UGC Act, 1956. The Department has therefore placed the information regarding status of such applications on its website and reviews the position periodically. The UGC also displays all information in the public domain."

The last paragraph above is heartening to note. Also interesting to note is how UGC plays the advisory role in creation of deemed university with actual creation being in the hands of the Central/Union government (with MHRD playing the key role in the central govt. for this matter.)

The site also has a link to the list of deemed universities.

UGC: http://www.ugc.ac.in/page/Deemed-Universities.aspx has a lot more info. than the MHRD web pages on deemed universities but perhaps that is to be expected as UGC seems to the main body responsible for deemed universities.

The link titled "Consolidated Reports of the UGC Visiting Committees on Deemed to be Universities", http://www.ugc.ac.in/subpage/Consolidated-Reports-UGC-Visiting-Committees-DU.aspx, seemed promising but the list has only 20 university visit reports! Further, at least some of these reports (I saw bits of 2 such reports) are rather old (2008 vintage).

The lists of deemed universities getting grant money from UGC are also put up. But one does not know how current the info. is. I saw two of these lists - both of them did not have any date on it!

I think UGC should put dates wherever required so that readers know the currency of the information. Further, UGC should put in all efforts to have information about all deemed universities made available on these web pages.

[BTW UGC has a list of fake universities, http://www.ugc.ac.in/page/Fake-Universities.aspx !]

AICTE: http://www.aicte-india.org/statisticuniversities.htm lists various type of universities and has a link for deemed universities which simply shows a list of deemed universities. I guess UGC has the statutory powers for deemed universities and so one cannot expect too much to be shown on AICTE website.

[BTW http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deemed_university has a list of deemed universities state-wise and year-of-creation-wise. An interesting statistic from it is that maximum number of deemed universities (25) were created in 2008, of which 10 were in Tamil Nadu, 7 were in Karnataka and 3 were in Andhra Pradesh. Overall from the 129 deemed universities (DU) the states with highest number of DUs are: 29 in Tamil Nadu, 21 in Maharashtra, 13 in Karnataka, 10 in Uttar Pradesh and 10 in Delhi. For Puttaparthi/AP folks: Andhra Pradesh has 7.]

Interestingly I did not come across the Tandon committee report in the main deemed university web pages of MHRD, UGC and AICTE! Perhaps they have put it up somewhere but I missed it. If they have not put it up then MHRD may not be walking its talk of "accountability and transparency" about deemed universities.

Friday, July 4, 2014




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