UGC, AICTE to have power to close down institutes soon

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Bhubaneswar/New Delhi: Close on the heels of Supreme Court’s recent order banning technical education through distance mode and cancellation of degrees of hundreds of students who passed out between 2001 and 2005, the central government is now mulling to strengthen regulators like UGC and AICTE by providing them power to close down an institution that isn’t abiding by its norms.

At present, the regulators for higher education — University Grants Commission (UGC) and All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) do not have any power to close down institution for not adhering to its norms. It can only notify and disaffiliate any such rule violating institutions and that too for a limited period of time after which the institute will have to reacquire a fresh affiliation.

Country’s apex court had on Friday suspended engineering degrees granted between 2001 and 2005 to all graduates through distance learning by JRN Rajasthan Vidyapeeth, Rajasthan, Institute of Advanced Studies in Education, Rajasthan (IASE), Allahabad Agricultural Institute, Allahabad, and Vinayak Mission Research Foundation (VMRF), Tamil Nadu, on charges of non-adherence to statutory guidelines/policies. This apart, the Supreme Court also ruled that no institution will be allowed to run technical courses through distance mode.

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Speaking in this connection, UGC had earlier said that inspite of its notices to stop running such technical course through distance modes, the colleges did not heed and ultimately students had to pay the price.

The apex court’s judgment had mentioned that the government should set up a committee to look into regulatory affairs in the field of higher education.

On these lines, the Centre may constitute a three-member committee comprising noted personalities from fields of education, investigation, administration, or law at national level within four weeks. The committee thus setup will suggest a road map for strengthening the regulatory mechanism within six months, official sources said.

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