Thursday, June 13, 2013

UGC Bars Affiliation to Technical Colleges

India’s higher education regulator, the University Grants Commission (UGC), has asked all 566 universities not to affiliate any technical or management colleges till guidelines and regulations for technical courses are put in place.

The UGC’s missive comes in the wake of the Supreme Court’s April 25 judgment, which put management, or MBA programmes, outside the pale of “technical” education. The top court was of the view that approval from the technical education regulator, All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), was not required for MBA programmes offered by private institutions.

The Supreme Court had said that AICTE's role vis-a-vis universities was “only advisory, recommendatory and one of providing guidance, and has no authority empowering it to issue or enforce any sanctions by itself ”. Citing its order in the Bharathidasan University and Parshvanath Charitable Trust case, the court said that AICTE norms could be applied through the UGC. As a result, the AICTE cannot directly “control” or “supervise” these affiliated colleges.

UGC will evolve a suitable methodology to ensure that the standards and quality in technical and engineering colleges affiliated to universities is not diluted. In his letter to vice-chancellors, UGC secretary Akhilesh Gupta wrote, “It is of utmost importance that universities having power of affiliation exercise take due care and diligence while granting permanent affiliation or affiliation to new technical colleges. Any dilution of standards of technical education at this juncture would also belie the trust reposed by the Supreme Court in the sanctity of the autonomy of the universities.”

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has been considering an ordinance to address the legal lacunae highlighted by the court, which made it possible to put management programmes outside the purview of the AICTE. The Supreme Court had pointed out that MBA and MCA courses were brought under AICTE and included in its function through an amendment of its regulations without placing them in Parliament, which was mandatory under Section 24 of the AICTE Act.

HRD minister Pallam Raju had also said that the ministry was considering moving a review petition of the SC order.

Source: The Economic Times, June 13, 2013

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