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Jammers to check cheating in exams
NEW DELHI : Low-powered jammers to block data connectivity can now be installed at examination centres to prevent students from using radio devices in cheating.

The Centre has granted permission to all statutory bodies which conduct examinations to use them in “sensitive centres”.

The Cabinet Secretariat, which released the policy on February 10, made it clear that organisers, however, can deploy the device only at “sensitive centres”.

For installation of the jammers, the examination bodies will have to seek prior approval of the Cabinet Secretariat.

“Only those jammers which have been produced by the approved vendors can be installed,” the secretariat said. Bharat Electronics of Bengaluru and Electronic Corporation of India of Hyderabad, have been approved for supplying the jammers.

In letters to vice-chancellors across the country, UGC secretary J.S. Sandhu referred to the jammer policy the Centre worked out last year to curb unfair means at exam centres.

"It may be noted that the statutory examination conducting bodies have been permitted to deploy low-powered jammers in examination halls in order to prevent unfair means used through radio frequency-based devices by examinees," Sandhu's letter said.

UGC seeks review of  DU's 4Y UG couse
The University Grants Commission (UGC) has expressed its dissatisfaction with Delhi University’s four year undergraduate programme and in a letter to the university's registrar Alka Sharma, has asked it to review and reconsider it immediately.

This development follows a meeting of UGC held on June 14 in which it was decided to ask the university to review the 4Y UG programme. But it was not clear when and what step UGC was going to take. “We’ve received a letter from the UGC and we are going through it. Our fitting response will be made public shortly,” said the DU spokesperson.

4-year UG course : circular to VCs
Spurred by Delhi University's four-year undergraduate programme, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has issued a notice to all vice-chancellors saying no university shall confer a degree in violation of the UGC Act.

According to a PTI report the UGC notice says that if a university wishes to award a degree other than the one specified by the UGC, it would have to approach the panel for its approval six months prior to starting the degree programme with full justification for the course to be started.

“It shall be mandatory for the universities to adhere to the approved nomenclature of degrees and ensure the observence of minimum standards of instruction before award of a degree,” the notice said.

The notice comes at a time when the UGC has asked DU to review the controversial four-year undergraduate programme.

New UGC course focuses on skill development
MUMBAI: The University Grants Commission (UGC) has proposed a three-year Bachelor of Vocation (B.Voc) degree course at recognised colleges and universities in the country.

The course will be different from the conventional arts, science and commerce disciplines for graduation.

The commission has issued a circular inviting proposals from colleges that are eligible for UGC grant (under 12 B) and have the required infrastructure to start the courses.

“At present, our graduate programmes do not offer skill development. To make students industry-ready with specialised skills, the vocation degree will be beneficial,” a senior UGC official said.

According to K P Singh, UGC joint secretary, the commission has made provisions for financial assistance up to Rs 1.85 crore for the first three years to the colleges selected for the B.Voc programme under the National Skill Qualification Framework (NSQF), a scheme which aims to organise qualifications based on levels of knowledge, skill and aptitude.

“Currently, there are different qualifications across institutions, each with its own duration, curriculum, entry requirement and title, which creates a problem in establishing the criteria and eligibility of the level of qualification. It hampers mobility and employability too,” Singh said.

While the University of Pune as already selected around 140 colleges to send in the proposals, Mumbai university colleges have not been informed about this development, claimed teachers.

“The notification seems to have come in late and will be considered for the plan for next year,” said MA Khan, registrar, Mumbai university.

Regulations to check deemed varsities
: On January 27, 2012 the University Grants Commission formally approved the
draft regulations that seek to tighten the noose around deemed universities.

The regulations would ensure government control on admissions, fee structure, job recruitment, curriculum and maintenance of academic standards in deemed universities, according to Prof K Ramamurthy Naidu, Chairman of the UGC committee  constituted to frame the regulations.

According to the regulations approved by the UGC the admission of students "shall be made strictly on merit, on an all-India basis, in all the deemed universities through a common entrance test conduced either by the UGC or by an institution or agency identified and approved by it." This, experts say, will take the lusture away from a deemed university and put the new aspirants off.

Similarly the admission of NRIs/ persons of Indian origin/ foreign students to deemed universities shall also be governed by these UGC regulations, the regulations said adding that the records of admission shall be preserved at least till the time of the passing out of the respective student.

The regulations do not specify any quantum for the fee but say that the "fee structure for various programmes...shall also be fixed in accordance with the Regulations framed by the Commission."

The expert committee was appointed by the University Grants Commission in mid 2007. On November 30, 2007, the UGC decided to send a copy of
draft regulations to vice-chancellors of all deemed universities, asking for comments and suggestions within 15 days. In December 2007 the Ministry of Human Resource Development sent a circular numbered F. 6-1(11)/2006(CPP-I) to all the stake-holders seeking their opinion on the proposed regulations.

The process took place over a year to finalise things and finally on January 27, 2009 the UGC approved the regulations and sent it to the HRD Ministry for the final seal of the union government.

The committee has provided for punitive action involving withdrawal of the deemed university status. It has also asked the institutions to implement the reservation policy in admission and recruitment as per directives of the Union government, Dr Naidu said.

According to the regulations the deemed universities should maintain the prescribed standards of instruction, academic and physical infrastructure, qualification of teachers, pay scales etc as mentioned by the UGC and it should have a valid accreditation from the National Accreditation and Assessment Council (NAAC) with at least B or equivalent grade.

“The Central Government/ UGC shall have the right to cause an inspection of the institution deemed to be university, its buildings, labs, examinations, teaching and other work conducted or done by the institution and to cause an enquiry to be made, if considered necessary, by the Centre/UGC, in respect of any matter of the institution deemed to be university,” the regulations said.

“If the commission is satisfied that the institution deemed to be university has violated any of the provisions of these regulations or any directives issued by the commission, the UGC may direct the concerned institution not to admit new students for the period to be decided by the commission and in case of deliberate and continuous violation of these regulations, may advise the Centre for withdrawal of the declaration notifying the institution as an institution deemed to be university, "it said.

For the first violation, the withdrawal might be restricted to one academic session which could be extended up to five academic sessions for repeated violations.

However, for serious and debate violations, the status will be withdrawn permanently.

Ved Prakash, officiating chief of UGC University Grants Commission
Bahadurshah Zafar Marg
New Delhi - 110002



If PhD before 2009, no need to clear NET
NEW DELHI : The Central government gave a major relief to researchers. It decided to exempt pre-2009 Ph.D holders from clearing the mandatory National Eligibility Test (NET) to get teaching jobs. A notification in this regard will be issued soon.

The information was given in the Lok Sabha on May 9 by HRD Minister Smriti Irani, who said the BJP government had decided to undo the “injustice” the Congress-led UPA government had meted out to research scholars by mandating NET even for pre-2009 PhD holders.

Prior to 2009, there was no requirement for PhD holders to clear NET or State Level Eligibility Test to become assistant professors. This regulation was brought by the UGC after reports of educational institutions lowering the bar for teaching.

Subsequently, the UGC issued “Minimum Qualifications for Appointment of Teachers and Other Academic Staff in Universities and Colleges” during the UPA tenure, making it mandatory for PhD holders (pre and post-2009) to clear NET for jobs.

UGC turns down KSOU request for recognition

NEW DELHI : The University Grants Commission (UGC) has rejected the request of the Karnataka State Open University (KSOU), Mysuru to grant recognitionKarnataka State Open University (KSOU), Mysuru afresh.

Rejecting the request the UGC cited reasons like disputed territorial jurisdiction, opening of study centres outside the State, MoU with private institutions for conducting programme and technical courses.

The KSOU had requested for recognition on the ground that the future of thousands of students was at stake and hence the UGC ought to re-recognise the university.

Based on a report from an expert committee set up by the UGC, which inspected the university a few months ago, the UGC, in its recent letter to KSOU, declined to consider its request for recognition and take up admissions for 2015-16 citing that the university had not fulfilled its “conditions”.

Officiating KSOU vice-chancellor P.S. Naik on February 27 confirmed having received the UGC letter rejecting recognition. With this, the university’s hopes of resuming admissions for 2015-16 have been dashed.

Prof. Naik, however, said the university had terminated its technical programme, stopped programmes outside the State and also closed down its study centres.

“The UGC wants us to terminate our agreements with the collaborators. When we have snapped our ties with the collaborators by issuing a general notification, it should be deemed as withdrawal of collaborations. But the UGC wants evidence of termination of MoU with every institute,” Prof. Naik said.

On the next plan of action, he said: “Any decision on the UGC’s move has to be taken only after the appointment of the Vice-Chancellor. The matter will be placed before the Board of Management.”

“At the maximum, we will make a fresh appeal to the UGC to review its decision and consider granting recognition from 2013 onwards so that the future of students was not impeded,” he said.

The UGC had de-recognised the KSOU, Mysore,  in June 2015 for offering programmes through distance learning mode by "blatantly flouting the norms".

KSOU, in collaboration with private institutions/ entities/coaching centres spread all over the country and even abroad, has been offering programmes through distance learning mode by blatantly flouting the norms, guidelines and directives of UGC and erstwhile Distance Education Council (DEC) of Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi, according to a UGC public notice.

The June 16 notice said that taking cognisance of this fact, the programme offered by KSOU, Mysore had not been recognised by UGC beyond 2012-13.

The UGC notice said that the action was taken after issuing a show cause notice to KSOU on June 10, 2011 and after considering their response including personal hearing of the officials of the University. The university remained undeterred and continued to offer programme through distance learning mode in violation of the UGC policy on territorial jurisdiction vide UGC public notice dated 27th June, 2013, the notice said.

It has also been offering professional/technical programme in violation of the norms of the concerned regulatory bodies and without their approval.

The university has also started offering online programme, which are not recognised by UGC, as an exclusive method of distance education, it added.

No engg, tech courses in distance mode
NEW DELHI : The University Grants Commission (UGC) has banned universities and institutes from offering diploma and post graduate courses in engineering and technology through distance learning mode until further orders.

In its notification dated March 11, the regulator has warned that it would take action against institutions violating the ban.

The Commission, in the process of finalising regulations for open and distant learning mode, has also said it will not give retrospective approval to distant learning programmes by institutes "at this stage".

The institutions have been barred from offering BE and B.Tech through distant education mode following a ban in 2009-10 by the former distance education council on the orders of the Human Resource Development Ministry.

Referring to the government's previous decision, the Commission, in its notice, directed universities and higher educational institutions not to offer degrees in engineering and technology programmes.

"No university/institution deemed to be university/institution should offer diploma, bachelors and masters level programme in engineering and technology other than MBA and MCA till the finalisation of the UGC (open and distance learning) regulations, 2014 or notification of relevant regulations by an independent regulatory authority established by the central government, whichever is earlier," the commission said in its public notice.

"UGC has also decided not to consider any request for ex-post facto approval for the ODL programmes offered by any university or other higher educational institutions at this stage," it added.

The notification did not mention names of the institutions that offer such courses.

"The UGC has been issuing guidelines and notifications from time to time to regulate courses being offered, but it does not have legal backing to enforce its guidelines, particularly over two thirds of the universities and colleges which are not under the grant list of the higher education regulator," UGC member M M Ansari said when contacted.

He also wondered why the Commission has to issue a notification when it did not have a comprehensive list of institutions violating the ban.

"Issuing such notifications without identifying the institutions has no meaning," he said adding that there were many private universities, deemed to be universities and state universities offering such programmes in distance learning mode but the UGC did not have the authority to stop them.

UGC move to boost biotechnology research

CHENNAI : In an effort to give thrust to biotechnology research, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has planned to set up four new inter-university centres across the country, UGC Vice-Chairman H. Devaraj said on June 16.

One of the centres would be dedicated to stem cell research. All the centres would have resources that could be shared by research scholars of various universities. “We have submitted the recommendations to the Government and are presently waiting for approval,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the inauguration of a workshop on handling reconstructed 3D models

The UGC would also insist that law be a component of all courses, where sections relevant to the subject were taught to the student at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels, he said.

To encourage students from the North East to pursue higher education, the UGC had approved 10,000 fellowships for students from North Eastern states. These students should have passed Class XII and their families’ annual income must be less than Rs. 4.5 lakh.

These students could accept admissions in any college across the country and would receive a monthly stipend of Rs. 5,000 for professional courses and Rs. 3,500 for all other courses. For this, the UGC had set aside Rs. 180 crore, he said.

On June 16, the University of Madras along with the Mahatma Gandhi-Doerenkamp Centre for Alternative Use of Animals in Life Science Education, Bharathidasan University and the SkinEthic Academy from Lyon France started a four-day workshop on ‘Handling of Reconstructed 3D Tissue Models’ in order to educate the academia and industry stakeholders on the
alternatives to animal testing.

UGC makes affiliation rules tough for tech colleges

NEW DELHI : The technical education institutions in the country will now have to face relatively tougher rules for university affiliation.

This follows the Supreme Court decision in Association of Management of Private Colleges vs All India Council for Technical Education & others delivered on April 25, 2013.

According to the new affiliation rules -- UGC Regulations 2014 -- finalized by the University Grants Commission (UGC) recently both the old and the new engineering colleges would have to produce complete information about building and staff on the affidavit to be considered for an affiliation.

Called as the UGC [Affiliation of colleges offering technical education by universities] Regulations, 2014 the new rules make it mandatory for the new colleges to deposit Rs 1 crore for 10 years in the university account and Rs 30 lakh as ‘security fund’.

The UGC [Affiliation of colleges offering technical education by universities] Regulations, 2014 would be effective from the 2014-15 academic session.

The universities would have to ensure compulsory accreditation from the NSC and its programmes from NBA to the colleges, according to the UGC Regulations 2014 to be notified soon.

According to the UGC, the university has to be most cautious and vigilant while giving affiliation. A new college can be given affiliation with a condition that it has committed to give related application for NBA evaluation within six months.

Old colleges should also submit application for accreditation from the NASE or the NBA within six months to six years. The Commission said that a university should have to submit a compliance report every year to it regarding all affiliated colleges. The report would be uploaded on the website of the university. The UGC will take action against universities for non-compliance of its rules.

The Vivekananda Technical University has asked all the institutions, which have applied for affiliation for the year 2014-15, to submit their reports regarding building, infrastructure and human resources by April 4 compulsorily.

The affiliation fee has also been fixed for the colleges. The fee for minority institutions will be Rs 2 lakh and for other institutions Rs 3 lakh. For extension of affiliation, the fee will be Rs 75,000 for minority institutions and for other institutions Rs 1 lakh. The late fee will be Rs 2 lakh.

Technical and engineering colleges have to deposit Rs 1 crore fund for affiliation, whereas, for pharmacy, architecture and MCA, the amount would Rs 50 lakh each. Besides, the engineering colleges have to deposit Rs 30 lakh as security fund, whereas, it would be Rs 15 lakh each for others.

The University Executive Council will take decision regarding affiliation. The new rules have caused a flutter among the operators of old and new colleges. Many old colleges neither have sufficient building, nor staff. Now, as all information has to be given in the affidavit, the danger of action is looming large on giving wrong information.

Beware of teaching shops, UGC warns students

From Sanjiv Dube
With no hope in sight for the passage of the National Commission for Higher Education and Research Bill, the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) have started an exercise to make their presence felt.

On June 27 the UGC issued a circular signed by UGC secretary Akhilesh Gupta warning students about the ‘misleading’ publicity campaigns by many private universities. At the same time, the AICTE has taken a vow to undo the damage done to it by the startling judgement in the Association of Management of Private Colleges vs AICTE case (Civil Appeal No. 1145 of 2004).

The UGC circular issued to all universities and state governments warns students not to get influenced by glossy, attractive advertisements in newspapers and catchy puffs on the electronic channels. It has advised students to keep away from unapproved study centres, off-campus centres, franchisee institutions, colleges/institutions claiming to be affiliated to private universities or deemed universities.

“The private and deemed universities cannot affiliate any college or institution for conducting courses leading to award of diplomas, degrees or other qualifications,” the UGC circular warns.

“The students are advised not to take admission in these unapproved study centres, off campus centres, franchise institutions, colleges/institutions claiming to be affiliated with private universities or deemed universities,” the circular added.

The UGC has observed that these private establishments, claiming to be study centres or learning centres of different universities, enroll students for various degree programme and also claim to be responsible for teaching and conducting examinations.

“The faculty and the infrastructure belong to these private agencies and the concerned university, except providing syllabus and teaching materials, has no mechanism to monitor and maintain the academic standards of teaching being imparted at these centres. This blatant compromise with the standards of education has led to widespread criticism,” the circular says.

The UGC has also clarified that a central or state government university can conduct courses through its own departments, its constituent colleges and/or through its affiliate colleges. A university established or incorporated by or under the State Act should operate only within the territorial jurisdiction allotted to it under the Act.

“No university - whether central, state, private or deemed - can offer its courses through franchising arrangement with private coaching institutions, even for the purpose of conducting courses through long distance. All universities have been authorised to award only such degrees as are specified by the UGC,” the circular says.

Similarly, private universities and deemed universities could not affiliate any college or institution for conducting courses leading to the award of its diploma, degree or other qualifications.

All universities have been authorised to award only such degrees as are specified by the UGC. Importantly, the M.Phil/Ph.D course could not be run under distance mode and had to be conducted on only regular mode by any university, including private or deemed universities, and as specified under the Minimum Standards and Procedure for Award of M.Phil/Ph.D Degree, Regulations 2009.

Deemed universities that have been offering courses in distance mode before the UGC implemented its Regulation on Deemed Universities, 2010, can continue to offer such programmes. But no new deemed university will be permitted to offer courses in distance mode, the UGC said.

The UGC is essentially a toothless body as it cannot award punishment to the defiant institution, says a seasoned UGC member. “As per the UGC Act, it can only impose a fine of Rs 1,000 and issue a public notice against an errant institute. This penalty is not sufficient,” he said.

There are 158 private universities and 130 deemed universities, including about 90 private deemed universities. The ministry has identified 38 private universities that offer courses in distance mode without permission from regulatory bodies.

Accreditation must for higher edu institutions

By Sanjiv Dube
NEW DELHI : All higher educational institutions in the country, except technical education one, will now have to get accredited under law.

The law, called the UGC (Mandatory Assessment and Accreditation of Higher Education Institutions) Regulations 2012, were notified in the official gazette on February 19, and come into force with immediate effect.

The UGC Regulations 2012 say that all higher education institutions who fail to comply with the assessment and accreditation clause will be barred from financial aid granted by the UGC or the Ministry of Human Resource Development but says nothing of the private institutions who do not take or aspire to take any financial aid from the government. Nor do the Regulations say anything about institutions like the Indian Institute of Planning and Management (IIPM) who blatantly defy the UGC and the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE).

The Regulation require that all higher education institutions (expect technical education colleges governed by the AICTE) apply for accreditation within a period of six months to the accreditation agencies namely the National Assessment and Accreditation Council, the National Board of Accreditation, and the National Accreditation Board currently recognised by the UGC.

The Regulations say that all institutions which have been in existence for six years or from where two batches of students have passed out (whichever is earlier) will need to seek accreditation within this stipulated time. Those that haven’t yet completed these criteria must apply within six months of completing six years of operation or passing out of two batches apply for accreditation.

The Regulations, says the notification, seeks to ensure that students can make informed choices about academic courses, institutions can raise quality and seek international recognition for which benchmarking is necessary. Hitherto, accreditation was voluntary in India and less than 10 per cent of all institutions are accredited.

The regulations will be applicable to all 44 Central universities,; about 300 state universities, over 100 deemed universities and over 33,000 colleges of which 6,000 are UGC funded.

UGC sets norms for tie-ups with foreign varsities

NEW DELHI : The University Grants Commission (Promotion and Maintenance of Standards of Academic Collaboration between Indian and Foreign educational Institutions) Regulations, 2012 approved in June will ensure that academic collaboration between Indian and foreign educational institutes followed the highest standards.

The regulations mandate that only institutes graded ‘A’ by the National Board of Accreditation or the National Assessment and Accreditation Council can
collaborate with foreign institutes, which, in turn, must figure in the list of top 500 global educational institutes, as ranked by the Times Higher
Rankings or the Shanghai Rankings.

Students will not only get a degree from the Indian institute where they are enrolled but also from the collaborating foreign institute, if it is inclined to
give one. No programme of study and research shall be offered which is against national security and territorial integrity of India.

The two institutions (Indian and its foreign collaborator) will have to enter into an agreement which will have to be approved by the UGC before it is
implemented. The approval will be valid for 5 years and the Commission may review the progress made and periodically inform the agencies concerned about the results of such a review. After the expiry of this period, the UGC may extend or withdraw the approval or impose such other conditions for extension, as may deem fit. The regulations make clear that no franchise arrangement will be allowed.

Existing tie-ups through the Indian institutions will have six months to meet the new eligibility criteria. In case they fail to do so, they will have to
terminate the agreements. Institutions that refuse to comply with the new regulations can lose UGC funding, de-recognition in case of a deemed university, and public notices announcing the ineligibility of the institution to enter into collaborations with foreign partners.

Disputes arising in relation to collaboration will be settled as per Indian laws.

As per a 2006 study by the Association of Indian Universities, over 340 institutes were offering courses in collaboration with foreign institutes. The UGC regulations seek to bring some order in area to protect students by ensuring that only genuine academic collaborations are encouraged.


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