Aadhaar linking exposes scam in higher education

Aadhaar linking exposes scam in higher education

Aadhaar linking exposes scam in higher education

The Ministry of Human Resource Development's move to link Aadhaar data of faculty in higher educational institutions with a central database has exposed a scam.

About 80,000 teachers have been found to be on the payroll of more than one higher educational institution as their regular faculty members in a gross violation of the University Grants Commission's (UGC) regulations.

While it remains a matter of investigation as to how many teachers primarily employed with government institutions are working with other institutions too, discrepancies in the appointment of regular faculties have been found in private universities and colleges only.

Officials in the Ministry of Human Resource Development say that such private universities and colleges are operating in various states, including Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.

Over 90% of such private institutions are those offering various technical programmes, officials told DH.

They, however, refused to share the names of these institutions saying it will "jeopardise" the investigation.

The ministry is conducting "a thorough probe" into the irregularities on an instruction from HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar.

"On the basis of the probe, befitting action will be taken against such irregularity," Javadekar said.

The minister said 12.5 lakh of the 15 lakh teachers have submitted their Aadhaar details for seeding into the central database.

As per the rules, neither can an institution appoint a teacher as its regular faculty member when he/she is already working as a regular faculty elsewhere nor can such a teacher join another institute.

In case a regular faculty member has an offer of "a term-post" at some other institution, such a teacher will have to take permission from his parent institution.

Such a faculty member will have to resign from his parent institution if he/she wants to accept the offer to continue with his job there beyond the term he was earlier appointed for, a Delhi University professor said.

"It's fine if a teacher has been appointed as a visiting faculty member in more than one higher educational institution. But one cannot be on the pay role of more than two higher educational institutions as their regular faculty," Javadekar said.

It is not the first time that private institutions have been caught maintaining their records with "ghost" faculty members to obtain government approval for their programmes and retain their status as recognised institutions.

A few years ago, a CBI probe exposed how some medical colleges maintained ghost faculty members to retain their approval and obtain permission for increasing their intake.

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