The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has rapped the Punjab government for not setting up a regulatory mechanism for private universities, besides finding deficiencies in establishing seven such varsities.
In a CAG report on non-public sector undertakings which was tabled on the last day of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha session here, the government auditor noted that a suitable regulatory mechanism is essential for safeguarding the interests of student community with adequate emphasis on quality of education as per UGC’s Establishment and Maintenance of Standards in Private Universities Regulations, 2003.
The audit observed from the records of February 2015 that the government of Punjab had granted approval to establish eight private universities based only on undertakings submitted by the promoters to comply with the norms.
However, no suitable regulatory mechanism was available at the state government level to monitor the compliance of norms. “None of the private universities (PUs) set up in the state had been re-inspected by the UGC after its initial inspection at the time of establishment. As a result, the function of PUs was bereft of any independent oversight.
“Thus the system was fraught with the risk of compromising the quality of education due to lack of monitoring of adherence to the conditions under which these PUs were allowed to be set up,” it said.
Interestingly, the higher education department admitted that there was a need for regulatory mechanism to keep a watch
on the working of PUs.
CAG also found deficiencies in establishing seven PUs in violation of Punjab Private University Policy, 2010.
It observed that the Punjab government had issued letter of intent to eight sponsoring bodies with certain conditions which were to be complied with within two years.
However, the approval for establishment of seven PUs were granted by government of Punjab only on the basis of compliance report submitted by sponsoring bodies.
No physical inspections were carried out by the department to ensure compliance of conditions.
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