A government panel reviewing functioning of deemed universities has found some institutions running distance mode courses without approval and has recommended discontinuation of such programmes and initiation of legal action against them.
The committee, which was asked by the HRD Ministry to suggest action plan for implementation of its recommendations on the deemed universities, has suggested that those institutions, which were running courses without approval of the appropriate bodies, be proceeded against.
According to norms, an institute needs to take prior approval of Distance Education Council, All India Council of Technical Education and University Grants Commission for offering courses in distant mode.
Distance education programmes are run by many deemed universities, enrolling thousands of students. Many of the distance education programmes do not have approval of these regulatory bodies.
"If the courses are run without the approval of appropriate Regulatory Authorities, the concerned deemed university should be proceeded against under the relevant laws for misleading students and harming their interests," the task force, headed by P N Tandon, said.
"All those courses in the distance mode which do not comply with the requirements of the tripartite agreement between UGC, AICTE and DEC must be discontinued forthwith," the task force said. The committee has found 44 deemed universities unfit for the status in view of poor academic achievement.
It has put another 44 institutions in the deficient category and has recommended that they be given three years time to comply or else their status should be withdrawn. It found 38 other institutions up to mark.
Nearly two lakh students are studying in these 44 unworthy deemed universities which are facing the prospects of withdrawal of their status. The matter is pending before the Supreme Court.
An estimated 74,808 students are pursuing distance education programmes in these deemed universities. As the panel has suggested withdrawal of deemed university status from such institutions, it has prepared a multi-pronged strategy for reverting of such institutions to the status of colleges.
Such institutions should be again affiliated to a nearby state university, it has said. In the event of state universities declining to give them affiliation, the students of such institutions should be assigned to other affiliated institutions under the State University.
In case of migration of specialised courses like medicine, the students of the unfit deemed universities should be migrated to such institution to validly operating deemed university's medical college.
Where there is no such scope, the affected students should be moved to any other state medical college, the committee said.
Other diginatories which are attending the meeting include heads of the PSUs and state energy secretaries
The jail term for first-time offenders would be between one year to seven years and a fine of Rs 20,000