Wannabe private universities fail to look beyond Bangalore

Wannabe private universities fail to look beyond Bangalore

Most of them which got Assembly nod are concentrated in the City

The ruling BJP, in its hurry to sanction permission to establish new private universities in the State, has even bypassed the Karnataka State Higher Education Council by not getting the feasibility report from it to open certain universities.

In addition, Bangalore is getting the maximum number of universities against the much debated concept of
making available quality higher education in tier II and III cities.

Last December, the State Assembly session held in Belgaum passed 13 bills, paving the way for opening the private universities. Of them, eight are will be located in Bangalore when the bills become legislation, in case the Governor gives his assent. On December 11, the Law department forwarded the bills to the Governor. Bangalore becoming the top choice for private institutions reflects on the poor infrastructure facilities in cities outside Bangalore.

The Karnataka Higher Education Council (KHEC), which scrutinises applications of private educational institutions seeking permission to open universities, inspects and submits a preliminary report to the government expressing its views on the available infrastructure facilities. Though it is not mandatory to get KHEC’s feasibility report, it has become an accepted procedure ever since its establishment in July 2009. The inspection fee is Rs five lakh in cities, while those located in the Hyderabad-Karnataka areas have to pay half the fee. 

Recognition by the University Grants Commission (UGC) is mandatory for any university. But a university will come under the scanner of the UGC only after an year of its establishment.  

The applications of Sri Devaraj Urs Medical College (deemed university now) seeking to be a private university, Manipal Education Foundation Trust to have a university in Doddaballapur and Harsha Kriya Foundation Trust to open Amrutha Sinchana Spiritual University in Bangalore have not gone before the KHEC. However, for the other 10, the feasibility report by the KHEC has been submitted to the government, according to official sources.

On December 13, the day the legislature session was adjourned sine die, the treasury benchers rushed through the introduction and passage of five bills, the copies of which were not even distributed to the members. The Opposition parties had walked out of the House. There was no debate as such in the Assembly on any of the bills. The government was in such a hurry to push through the bills that it did not get the copies printed, which is normally done. The copies were ready only last week for distribution to the legislators and the media.

Interestingly, the statement of objects and reasons cited in all the bills, except the one on Amrutha Sinchana, is identical. Teaching, training, research, arts, science, commerce, law, engineering, humanities, medicine, pharmacy, allied health sciences, business administration, agriculture, education and allied sectors are common objects in all the bills. This also means that all the educational institutions will offer similar courses. In case of the Amrutha Sinchana, the objects cited are spiritual heritage and healing process.

Another common object quoted in the 13 bills is, “Establishment of a private university by a well-known organisation will certainly help in spreading quality education to the needy students. This also accelerates the enhancement of gross enrolment ratio in the higher education sector, which presently stands at 11.5 per cent in Karnataka.”

Though such a laudable aim is stated, the government has sanctioned 62 per cent of the total new universities to Bangalore. This is in addition to the already existing two private varsities – Azim Premji and Alliance. Four more educational institutions are awaiting approval to open varsities in Bangalore. Lack of infrastructure facilities and non-availability of quality teaching staff are the main reasons for private institutions to desist going out of Bangalore, sources said.

Of the 15 deemed universities, four are in Bangalore and of the 24 States universities, four are in Bangalore.

Though the government has been liberal in allowing private varsities to come up, it has fixed 40 per cent of the seats as its quota. The government itself will fix the fee for its 40 per cent seats in private universities.

On the roll

Proposed private varsities

* Presidency University (AH Memorial Trust)
* Vydehi University (Srinivasa Trust)
* New Baldwin University (Satyanarayana Education Trust)
* CMR University (CMR group)

Private universities okayed

* Sri Devaraj Urs University Bill, Kolar
* The Manipal University Bill, Doddaballapur
* The Amrutha Sinchana Spiritual University, Bangalore
* Dayananda Sagar University, Bangalore
* The PES University,  Bangalore
* M S Ramaiah University of Applied Sciences, Bangalore 
* Sharanabasava University, Gulbarga
* Adichunchanagiri University, Hassan
* The Vellore Institute of Technology, Bangalore 
* The Rai Technological University, Bangalore
* The KLE Technological University, Belgaum
* The Reva University, Bangalore 
* The Arka University, Bangalore