Centre to streamline the functioning of private universities

The NIEPA will study the functioning of the private universities in the country, laws under which they have been set up and the level of autonomy they enjoy.

The Centre has turned its focus on private universities to streamline their functioning.

To set the move into motion, the Human Resource Development (HRD) ministry has recently asked the National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration (NIEPA) to constitute a working group comprising experts to study the functioning of the private universities in the country, laws under which they have been set up and the level of autonomy they enjoy.

The working group will also study the mechanism in place to monitor the functioning of the private universities in each state.

“The expert panel will also look into the fee regulation being adopted by the state governments with respect to private universities,” a ministry official told DH.

The move assumes significance as the ministry and the higher education regulators under it receive a large number of complaints against the private universities on various issues ranging from collection and fixing of tuition fee, admission process to the appointment of faculty and timely payment of their salaries.

“The working group will study the various Acts, under which private universities have been set up, to find out the salient (prominent) features of all these Acts, especially with respect to the autonomy provided to the private universities, existing regulatory and monitoring mechanism,” the official said.

Based on the report and recommendations of the working group, the ministry will decide the next course of action to revise the existing regulatory framework for the private universities.

“Streamlining of the functioning of the private universities in the country is the need of the hour for the growth of higher education in private sector under a robust regulatory mechanism so that it remains a win-win scenario for both the private universities and the students,” the official said.

The revised regulations will also seek to ensure that these students maintain the quality and standards of the education that they provide with an adequate mechanism for redressal of grievances of the students, teachers and other staff, the official added.

With the liberalisation of economic policy, there has been a surge in the private institutions offering higher education in India. Till 1980, higher education sector was controlled by the government.

From the modest number of 15 private universities in 2005, the number of self-financed higher education institutions has now reached 313. The number of private universities set up in the country under various state laws is 233.

India has as many as 864 universities, 40,026 colleges, 11,669 stand-alone institutions like teacher education institutes in the country.

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Centre to streamline the functioning of private universities

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