The University Grants Commission (UGC) has recommended to the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) that admissions to deemed universities should be based only on an entrance exam,and fees should be based on recommendations of fee fixation panels.
The UGC,under fire for giving deemed university status to a record number of institutes over the past five years,had set up a committee last year under Pondicherry University Vice-Chancellor Prof. J A K Tareen to study the admission process and fee structure in these institutions.
The UGC has accepted the changes recommended by the committee. The recommendations are learnt to have also found favour with the HRD Ministrys review committee on deemed universities. This latter committee of four members was set up after Kapil Sibal took over as HRD Minister,to study the functioning of all 127 deemed universities in the country.
The two major allegations against deemed universities concern admissions and high fees. The UGC committee has recommended that admissions should be based on all-India entrance exams,at least for courses like medicine and engineering. Alternatively,deemed universities can have their own entrance exams. The idea is to make the admission process transparent, said a top official.
It has also been recommended that fees should be fixed by either a national- or state-level fee fixation committee, the official added.
The Ministrys review committee which has recently finished its work but whose details are not yet public too is learnt to have recommended improved admission procedures. It has also recommended narrowing the difference in fees in government-aided institutes and deemed universities.
The HRD committee is learnt to have indicated that several of the 127 deemed universities may be below standard in their quality of education and faculty,and would need to upgrade in a big way to retain their deemed university status.
It has advised a focus less on business and more on academics,but has not,like the National Knowledge Commission and the Prof. Yashpal-led Committee to Advise on Renovation and Rejuvenation of Higher Education,recommended scrapping the deemed to be university system altogether.
A UGC committee separate from the Tareen committee which is simultaneously conducting an inspection-based review of the deemed universities has been less critical. This committee has submitted its report to the Ministry for 70-odd universities,and has found some general deficiencies in a few of them on compliance issues.