The draft of a new Ordinance cleared by the Uttar Pradesh Cabinet Tuesday includes a provision which mandates an undertaking by new and existing universities that they will not be involved in or allow “anti-national activities” on campus.
The draft “Uttar Pradesh Private Universities Ordinance, 2019”, which aims to bring 27 private universities in the state under an umbrella law, also gives existing universities a period of one year to adopt all provisions of the proposed law. And universities found violating the provision on “Rashtra virodhi gatividhi (anti-national activities)” will face action.
In a statement, the UP government said that among the objectives for universities, “rashtriya ekikaran, dharma nirpekshata, samajik samrasta, antarashtriya sadbhav, naitika smekan evam desh bhakti ke samvardhan ke prayas ke udesh bhi sammalit kiye gaye hain.” (national integration, secularism, social harmony, international goodwill, ethics, as well as attempts to inculcate patriotism have also been included).
It further said, “Among the requirements, which are required to be fulfilled by the establishing institution, a provision has been made to give an undertaking that their university will not be involved in any anti-national activities and neither will they allow such activity inside their campus or in their name.”
UP Cabinet minister Sidharth Nath Singh called the draft a “very significant decision”. “The Cabinet has cleared the draft of the Uttar Pradesh Private Universities Ordinance 2019, which will serve as an umbrella act for 27 private universities in the state, which were running under separate acts so far,” he said.
According to Singh, existing universities will be given a “one year concession to adopt the provisions of the act once it comes into force”.
While the UP government has not specified the 27 universities that will be brought under the ambit of the proposed Ordinance, the UGC lists 29 private universities in the state as on November 2018. They include Amity University, Babu Banarasi Das University, Galgotias University, Sharda University, Shiv Nadar University, Manglayatan University and Mohammad Ali Jauhar University.
Singh also said that once notified, the Ordinance will serve as a controlling and monitoring body to regulate fee structure, call sessions, appointment teachers and follow UGC guidelines. He said that best practices adopted in international universities have also been included in the proposed law.
Under the proposed Ordinance, private universities will be required to hire at least 75 per cent of its teachers as permanent appointees; there will be a common academic calendar; results will be announced around the same time as will admissions and examinations.
The Cabinet also approved an endowment fund of Rs 5 crore, which can be used by students to complete degrees if the university they study in stops to function in the middle of the session. Singh said that apart from setting up the endowment fund, the state will take over the university’s property if its administration stops to function or abandons its functions.