Indian universities: issues and trends

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This is a collection of articles archived for the excellence of their content.


Central universities

2014-16: Presidential inquiries against seven VCs

[ Akshaya Mukul, In less than 3 years, govt has started probes against 7 central univ VCs, Oct 19 2016 : The Times of India (Delhi)

In almost two and a half years of the NDA government, the HRD ministry has instituted Presidential inquiry against vice chancellors of seven central universities.

While some have been probed after credible evidence of financial irregularities and administrative malfeasance, a few are seen as `victims' of allegedly entrenched groups in universities not letting the new VC upset the existing order.

Inquiry against Sushanta Duttagupta, then VC of Visva Bharati University , was instituted after outcry against him by students and teachers. Allegations against him were proved after several inquiries. Similarly , inquiry against Dinesh Singh, then VC of Delhi University , was ordered after serious allegations were made, including the fact that he had disregarded well laid-out procedures before introducing the Four Year Undergraduate Programme (FYUP). Singh managed to remain in office.

Chandra Krishnamurthy, VC of Pondicherry University, was removed after an inquiry proved allegations of plagiarism.

Inquiry against AMU VC Zamiruddin Shah ordered on Monday has come at the fag end of his stint. CAG has severely indicted him for financial impropriety and faculty has been up in arms against him for more than two years.

In some cases despite inquiry, action has not been taken throwing the university out of gear like in the case of Indira Gandhi National Open University VC Mohammad Aslam.

The inquiry report has been forwarded to the President but action is yet to be taken. IGNOU is being run by officiating VC Ravindra Kumar. The recent case is of the President's permission to hold inquiry against RK Hangloo, VC of Allahabad University. An appointee of this government, allegations against Hangloo range from illegal appointments to excessive expenditure on his residence and security .

Deemed varsities

2016:Rules streamlined

The Times of India, Jun 17 2016

Rules for deemed varsities streamlined

HRD minister Smriti Irani on Thursday announced major changes brought about by the University Grants Commission (UGC) in deemed university regulations. The new regulations are more transparent and reduces government interference, she said, adding that the 2010 regulations choked deemed universities with a “lot of red tape.“

Under the new regime, deemed university applications will be processed within six-seven months, unlike the earlier trend of six years, Irani said. The expert committee's visit to a new institution will be videotaped and uploaded to the UGC website within 24 hours, leaving no chance for tampering.

Eighty-eight of the 123 deemed universities are privately managed, while only 35 are government-controlled .

The HRD minister said under the new regime to set up deemed university under de novo (new areas of learning), promoters will have to give a Letter of Intent (LoI).The promoter, be it private or government, will have to set up the varsity within three years of giving LoI. Earlier, deeemed status could be acquired only after setting up the institution. At the same time, subjectivity has been taken away by making it specific as to how many departments and number of teachers will be required to get the status.

Also, instead of land requirement, the built-up area has been specified. A deemed university will need 40% open area, 60% built-up area that gives 10-square-metre per student floor space. Earlier, a five-acre campus was mandatory in urban areas and seven-acre in urban nonmetropolitan areas.

Irani said all deemed varsities will have to be part of the National Institute Ranking Framework (NIRF) and make full dis closure. Also, mandatory payment of full fee at the time of counselling has been done away with.

Now institutions can charge only upto Rs 10,000

Deemed universities can have off-shore campuses after five years of existence if the mother institution has highest NAAC or NBA accreditation rating for three consecutive cycles and is among the top 20 institutions under NIRF. It also requires clearance from the ministries of external affairs and home.

UGC has also done away with restrictions on the appointment of deemed university chancellors.

HRD ministry launches Vidyanjali scheme to boost community participation in govt schools

The HRD ministry on Thursday launched Vidyanjali scheme to boost community participation in government schools and invited volunteers to hold public speaking, story telling and play acting sessions. HRD minister Smriti Irani said 21 states and 2,200 schools will participate in the pilot launch of the programme and hoped to expand it to every school in the country. Speaking at the launch, Irani said Vidyanjali aimed to convey to the children studying in government schools that “they are not alone but are a part of `Team India'.“

Recruitment of faculty

Recruiting from foreign campuses/ 2011-16

Indians recruited as faculy by Indian universities from foreign campuses, 2011-16

Adarsh Jain, Indian univs go headhunting abroad, Sep 28 2016 : The Times of India

In Last 5 Years, IIT-M Has Recruited 168 Profs, IIT-B 96 From Foreign Institutes

Dr Arvind Perathur was a successful physician at Albany Medical Centre, New York State University , until a couple of months ago. Last month, he returned to India to join Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi.

Like Arvind, many Indian academicians and professionals working abroad are returning to India to join as faculties in premier educational institutions. Given the increasing competency levels and stringent eligibility criteria, it has been tough for Indian institutions to find enough teaching talent within the country . So, they have now started hunting abroad.

“From a materialistic point of view, I had everything.However, deep within, there was a vacuum, which I realised could only be filled by something higher than all the material comforts. After hearing about Amrita's research work, I decided to move, and in the short span that I have spent here I have found my experience rewarding,“ Arvind said.

Public-funded institutions like IITs have been recruiting Indians settled abroad in big numbers. At IIT-Madras, a total of 168 professors were recruited from abroad in the past five years, while 96 joined IIT-Bombay during the period. Apart from newspaper and magazine advertisements, alumni networks come in handy while identifying potential recruits.

“We have a good alumni network in foreign universities and it helps us to connect with prospective candidates,“ dean of administration, IIT-Madras, P Sriram said.

“We advertise for faculty positions. We also meet Indi an students and post-doctoral fellows in the US and Canada and inform them about positions,“ said dean, faculty affairs at IIT-Bombay, J K Verma.

Deemed private varsities like Amrita University believe in meeting potential candidates during their chancellor's trips abroad. “A team of senior academicians accompany our chancellor for programmes abroad to scout for candidates,“ said the vicechancellor of Amrita University , Venkat Rangan.

When it comes to salary , most public institutions pay according to the UGC scale.Some deemed private universities follow a pay parity rule.At SRM University , Chennai, they follow the purchasing power parity model. “For example, if we are recruiting a faculty from the US, we will compare the salary heshe was receiving there and the standard of living in the US.We will rationalise it with Indian rupees and then to the standard of living in Chennai and fix their renumeration,“ said the vice-chancellor of the university , Prabir K Bagchi.

SASTRA University , Thanjavur, has created a special designation called assistant professor (research).The pay scale is higher than of an entry-level assistant professor but with reduced teaching responsibility , so as to facilitate research, said dean of planning and development, S Vaidhyasubramaniam.

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