Educationists divided over Ministry's move

While they welcomed the government’s decision to recommend derecognition of the 44 universities, they are divided over the status of these universities if they are brought back under the system of affiliation to State universities.

HRD Minister Kapil Sibal announced on Tuesday that the government had made a “policy decision” to abolish all the deemed universities. Although, educationists supported the decision to recommend derecognition of some of the varsities, they believe that the government must have exercised its discretion when it came to some of the varsities.

Eminent educationist and former Vice-Chancellor of Bangalore University, Dr M S Thimmappa welcomed the decision but expressed surprise over the inclusion of the Christ and Jain Universities. “Several universities were given deemed status indiscriminately during the end of Arjun Singh’s tenure as HRD minister. It is good that their status is being examined but it is unfortunate that the government wants to abolish the concept,” he said.

Dr Thimmappa maintained that good deemed varsities were critical for educational excellence as conventional varsities had failed to keep up with the demands of society.
“The decision to abolish them is a dampener for people who want to promote excellence. Conventional varsities have killed creativity,” he said. However, M K Sridhar, Secretary of the Karnataka Knowledge Commission welcomed the decision and gave the example of the 108 dubious private universities which were derecognised in Chattisgarh.

Meanwhile, Bangalore University Vice-Chancellor Dr N Prabhu Dev too said that he was not against the concept of deemed universities in principle. “In most of these 44 cases, we have to examine why they were granted the status in the first place and now why they have been recommended for derecognition,” he said. Dr Prabhu Dev added that there must been some obvious lacunae for the government to pick these 44 universities out of the total of 126 deemed varsities.

But educationists are also divided over the status of the varsities in the event of de-recognition. While some maintained that the varsities will have to seek fresh autonomy under the varsity system, others said the varsities will revert to the position before they achieved deemed varsity status.

This is of particular importance to Christ University as it was recognised as an autonomous college under Bangalore University.  But the decision to remove deemed varsity status could result in Christ’s autonomy too being in the balance.

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