Private universities: Govt tables Bill to set up regulatory body

The Himachal Pradesh government has finally set in motion the process to set up a regulatory body to oversee functioning of private universities...

Written by Ashwani Sharma | Chandigarh | Published: August 20, 2010 12:44:37 am

One more university gets House nod

The Himachal Pradesh government has finally set in motion the process to set up a regulatory body to oversee functioning of private universities that have mushroomed in the recent years — a few of them facing controversies due to lack of infrastructure and qualified teachers,

exorbitant fee and environmental degradation.

Education Minister Ishwar Dass Dhiman moved the Himachal Pradesh Private Educational Institutions ( Regulatory Commission) Bill in the Assembly on Thursday that envisages the creation of a regulatory mechanism to ensure appropriate standards of admission,teaching,examination and also to look into complaints relating to fee structure.

The regulatory commission to be headed by a person of high academic eminence,or an IAS officer upto the rank of principal secretary,will have powers to look into all sorts of complaints,summon records,witnesses and even have powers to impose penalty from Rs 50,000 to Rs 5 crore. It can even recommend closure of the erring universities.

“The commission will have powers to receive and redress in a time-bound manner the grievances and complaints that may be filed with the commission by students or parents in respect of the working of these institutions (universities and other private colleges),” reads the Bill .

The commission has been given powers to ensure that minimum standards of education are maintained,admissions are done on merit based on the National Commission Entrance Test or State Common Entrance Test results. It will also have power for inspections and even setting up expert committees to conduct such inspections and regulate the fee.

Even as the Bill was tabled in the House,the education minister piloted another Bill related to setting up of a new private university — the Maharishi Markandeshwar University — which,in fact,had already started functioning after the government got an ordinance issue by the governor .

Congress members criticised the move. Party leader Kuldeep Pathania said: “Congress is not opposed to expansion of the education sector,but it should not turn out to be business ventures.”

Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal dispelled fears of the Opposition and sought suggestions to devise a strict regulatory mechanism for the universities.

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