Monday, August 23, 2010

Deemed univs-like scam in teacher training institutes

It has the makings of another educational scam, almost like the one involving deemed universities. The only difference is that it relates to teacher education. The indictment comes from a high-powered committee of the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) that went into the functioning of Northern Regional Centre (NRC) of National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) and found massive irregularities in granting recognition to teacher training institutes and even disregard for the parent organization. Irregularities and corruption in NRC had its impact on teacher education in six states Haryana, Himachal, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Delhi and the union territory of Chandigarh all of whom fall under its jurisdiction. A similar situation prevails in other regional committees of NCTE and soon their functioning will also be reviewed, a source said.

The committee has recommended repatriation of the current regional director and action against errant officials.It has also said NRC be reconstituted and wide-ranging procedural changes be brought in. Even NCTE has been criticized for its failure to monitor the functioning of NRC. The committee, headed by a joint secretary of the MHRD,said NRC delayed issuing deficiency letters to institutions seeking NCTE approval. NCTE regulation of 2009 states that deficiency letter be issued within 45 days whereas in case of 20 institutions, such communication was sent after two-three months. NCR also delayed its communication to the state government seeking its clearance within a month.

This also happened in case of 20 institutions. In cases where deficiencies were pointed out, the review committee found that it was done without proper examination of fact on records. Even the NRC regional director has been blamed for failing to notice that deficiencies being pointed out were not correct. The NRC communicated deficiencies which were vague and did not specify the exact nature of deficiency, the report said,citing vague deficiencies like details in land document did not match with details in affidavit and so on.

In what indicates manipulation, the MHRD committee also found that as per NCTE norms, applications seeking clearance were not processed chronologically and even the well-laid out system of preparing comprehensive agenda notes highlighting the proposal, comments of the visiting team, recommendation of state governments were not followed.

Almost like UGC's role in giving deemed university status to private institutions, the committee found lack of consistency in decision-making. The panel pointed out that in one meeting of NRC, it decided to refuse recognition to one institute for lacking infrastructure but in the same meeting, another institute with similar deficiencies was issued notice.

Source: The Times of India, August 23, 2010

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