Private Universities under Scanner in Bengaluru

Private Universities under Scanner in Bengaluru

Private universities are under scanner in Bengaluru.  An Expert Committee will look into the functioning of private varsities.  The Committee is formed by the State Higher Education Department to study the functioning of private universities.

Meaning of Private universities :

Private universities or private colleges are typically not operated by governments, although many receive tax breaks, public student loans and grants.

Depending on their location, private universities may be subject to government regulation. This is in contrast to public universities and national universities. Many private universities are non-profit organizations.

State Private Universities :

A State Private University is a university established through a State/Central Act by a sponsoring body viz. A Society registered under the Societies Registration Act 1860, or any other corresponding law for the time being in force in a State or a Public Trust or a Company registered under Section 25 of the Companies Act, 1956.

Difference between a public university and a private university :

The major difference between public universities and private colleges  lies in how they are funded. This affects students because funding is tied to tuition prices. Most public universities and colleges were founded by State Governments.

Today, State Governments pay for most of the cost of operating public universities. They also oversee these institutions through appointed boards and trustees.  This influx of public money is why tuition is lower at a public university. The real cost of an attendance is subsidized.

Meanwhile, private colleges don’t receive funds from state legislatures. They rely heavily on tuition and private contributions. This means tuition rates are generally higher.

Private colleges tend to be much smaller than public universities and may have only a few thousand students. Public universities and colleges can be big, and some are huge. 

University Grants Commission :

Universities in India are recognized by the University Grants Commission (UGC), which draws its power from the University Grants Commission Act, 1956. Private universities in India  are regulated under the UGC (Establishment and Maintenance of Standards in Private Universities) Regulations, 2003.   Per the UGC act and these regulations, private universities are established by an act of a local legislative assembly and listed by the UGC in the Gazette upon receiving the act.

As confirmed by ruling of the Supreme Court of India,  recognition by the UGC is required for the university to operate.  Also per the 2003 regulations, the UGC sends committees to inspect the private universities and publishes their inspection report.

The UGC publishes and regularly updates the lists of private universities.As of 18 September 2017, the UGC list of private universities lists 279 universities. The earliest date of notification is that o of Sikkim  Manipal University, 11 October 1995. The newest addition to this list of Universities approved by UGC is Quantum University.

Expert Committee :

The expert Committee will visit private universities and higher education institutions before submitting report.

The committee is been directed to look into infrastructural facilities like Laboratories, class room or library at academic buildings and the working of the administration.

The committee will also check whether private universities have adequate facilities for teaching, research, examination and extension services.

Terms of reference :

  1. Availability of infrastructure as per the Act
  2. Details of supporting the body and its activities before the establishment of the university and thereafter
  3. Various academic and administrative activities of the university
  4. Financial status of the university and its fiscal feasibility
  5. Appointment of teaching and non-teaching staff and their salaries
  6. Admission mechanism adopted by the university
  7. Fee regulation measures
  8. Conduct of examination, issuing of degrees
Four-member panel –  Private Universities :

A four member committee is headed by Dr.D.Ayyapa who is a former Vice-Chancellor of Alliance University.  The committee will be visiting all the 18 universities present in the State of Karnataka. 

The Committee will be looking into the administration, affiliations status from respective national agencies, academic standards, availability of infrastructure and in case any violations, a report will be submitted in 15 days.

The first phase covers 11 universities in the state. 

Alliance university –  an example of private university :

Alliance University is a private university that was established in 2010 in Bengaluru. Alliance University was one of the first private universities in the state of Karnataka along with Azim Premji  and was established under state legislation.

The sponsoring body of the university is Alliance Business School Pvt. Ltd, run by the Angur family, and until 2016 the university’s chancellor was Madhukar Angur.

As early as 2014 disputes within the Angur family began interrupting the management of the university. In 2015 Madhukar Angur removed his brother, sister and other family members from the board and filed police charges that they had stolen money and mismanaged the university. In February 2016 Madhukar Angur was arrested on charges of raping his niece, then released, and further rape allegations were made the next month.

Around April 2016 Madhukar Angur was fired as chancellor and replaced by his brother, Sudhir Angur and by June the power struggle within the family for control led to the university being closed for two weeks and semester-end exams were indefinitely postponed.

The university went on holidays two more times in 2016,  in September Madhukar Angur forcibly took back the chancellorship, and the next month his brother forcibly took it back.

Alleged irregularities at private institutions:
  • Violations of UGC guidelines in admissions
  • Not maintaining quality for lack of qualified teachers
  • Salaries of teaching staff not as per the guidelines
  • Violation of UGC norms in the appointment of the Vice-Chancellor, registrar, finance officer etc.
  • The launch of unauthorized study centres and off-campuses
  • Introduction of courses which are not under Section 22 of UGC Act 1956
  • Not updating information about courses, facilities, faculties, the fee charged and research
  • Profile on their websites.

Constitution of committee was needed for monitoring of the private universities.

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