Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry demands University Grants Commission (UGC) to strictly execute varsity laws. In a recent order released in the first week of November, HRD Ministry has urged UGC to file FIRs against the management of universities that have been offering correspondence courses to students outside their territorial jurisdiction.
Distance Learning Rule
By law, all state universities - private and government-funded - can offer distance learning programmes only within the state they are located in. In case, the rule is not implemented, the certificates, diplomas and degrees awarded to students outside the state are deemed invalid.
HRD has in this regard been continuously asking UGC to do the needful, it is learnt.
The order has been sent after five earlier letters, urging the UGC to initiate stern action against erring institutions, went unheeded.
Hence HRD resort to exercise its extraordinary powers under Section 20 of the UGC Act to order the higher education regulator to file FIRs against vice-chancellors, deans and registrars in order to "safeguard the interests of the thousands of gullible students who have been cheated by such universities and institutions". The UGC was asked to submit an action plan by November 15, sources said.
Some universities such as Sikkim Manipal University, Karnataka State Open University, Periyar University, Salem (Tamil Nadu), and Global Open University, Nagaland, which, according to HRD Ministry officials, have been violating UGC rules on territorial jurisdiction.
A letter written by Higher Education Secretary V S Oberoi to UGC chairman Prakash earlier this year had specified the above institutions as regular violators and urged the UGC to act against them.
Oberoi's allegation referred to advertisements released by Sikkim Manipal University in particular and stated that the advertisements were deliberately ambiguous and did not mention the institution's jurisdiction, which results in a lot of outstation students being misled into enrolling for the correspondence courses. According to inside sources, the Ministry did not receive any concrete reply to this and four other letters.