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B-schools unhappy with UGC’s move to control tech education

Autonomy, Higher Education

Business Standard

Over 300 B-schools in the country are planning to protest against the University Grants Commission’s (UGC) plan to take over technical education. Last week, the UGC, in confirmation with the Supreme Court’s ruling, drafted guidelines for approval of new courses, setting up of new technical institutions and closure of the old ones and all other regulatory steps. This has not gone down well with B-schools. “We are autonomous institutions and we don’t want to go to the university system. Post Graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM) institutions cannot be handed over to the UGC, which has no experience of dealing with technical education,” said Harivansh Chaturvedi from the Birla Institute of Management Technology, Noida and alternate president Education promotion Society of India. For management education, the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) created two separate segments – masters and diploma. The masters degree is awarded by universities or institutes affiliated to universities, while an AICTE-recognised institute awards a PGDM. Thus, institutes not affiliated to universities are autonomous and need the AICTE’s permission for running and expansion. PGDM institutes do not fall under the state’s purview. According to Rahul Choudaha, director, World Education Services, New York, business education in India is already in a state of crisis. “With the UGC itself struggling in enforcing quality standards, the case of IIPM (Indian Institute of Planning and Management) has been constantly embarrassing the powers and the purview of UGC. Giving regulatory powers to the UGC and expecting universities to assure the quality of technical colleges for a highly fragmented system in terms of quality will make things worse,” adds Choudaha. B-schools said given the state of public universities which are unable to complete admissions or examinations on time, they do not want their future to be managed by the UGC. Besides, with the UGC in the picture, B-schools think there will be tremendous exploitation and unstructured growth in technical education. “Public universities are corrupt and inefficient. AICTE on the other hand, has been, over the past few years, doing well under its present chairman S S Mantha. We have seen the benefits of e-governance brought in by AICTE. We don’t want all the reform work done to go waste,” said the director of a B-school from New Delhi. Directors at B-schools said the Ministry of Human Resource Development could have avoided this situation by bringing in an ordinance or amending the AICTE Act. “But for its unwillingness, we have to go through all this now,” added Chaturvedi. This April, the Supreme Court allowed private colleges to conduct master’s in business administration or MBA and master’s in computer applications or MCA programmes without AICTE’s permission. Following the order, AICTE was only expected to play an advisory role and prescribe uniform standards of education for affiliated members of a university. On its website, UGC has made public the draft guidelines under the UGC (approval of colleges offering technical education by universities) regulation, 2013. The guidelines imply that a technical institute would need permission from the affiliating university and not the AICTE. It also lays down regulations for intake capacity of colleges, setting up of a new institution, adding integrated programmes, dual programmes etc. The UGC regulation lays down guidelines for all technical institutions offering courses in engineering and technology, management, pharmacy, architecture, hotel management and catering technology. According to the guidelines, universities are expected to maintain a list of unapproved colleges with them and also inform the UGC and the general public about the same. Violation of any rules or regulations will attract penal civil action, including withdrawal of approval. Colleges will not be allowed to start again before the completion of two years from the date of withdrawal. The UGC has sought suggestions by December 12 on the guidelines from universities/colleges and other stakeholders.

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