MHRD constitutes committee to deliberate on setting up Yoga Department and start courses in Yoga in Universities

MHRD after deciding to set up Department of Yogic Art and Science in the Universities during a consultative meeting with Vice Chancellors in Bangalore on 2nd January 2016, has now constituted a Committee under the Chairmanship of Prof. H.R. Nagendra. Chancellor, Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana, Samsthana, Bengaluru to look into the various aspects pertaining to setting up of Departments of Yogic Art and Science.

The Committee will deliberate on other pertinent issues including starting courses and programmes like Certificate, Diploma, Degree, Post Graduate Degree/ Diploma and Research in Yoga and the levels at which they can be offered. This will also mean that the Committee will have to determine eligibility qualifications for students joining Yoga and faculty teaching Yoga.

Infact things come out as expected then Yoga will part of NET Examination which is conducted by UGC every year. The Committee has also been asked to see whether existing departments of yoga in Universities can be upgraded to be developed as Departments Yogic Art and Science.

The Committee also consists of Prof. Suresh Lai Barnwal, Prof. Ishwar Bhardwaj, Prof. Neel Kamal, Swami Atmapriyananda, Pandit Radhey Shyam, Prof. O.P.Tiwari Kaivalayadhama, Prof. Subramanayam, Prof. P.Venkat Rangan and Sri Rupen Bhowmik.

The Committee has been asked to submit its Report within 45 days.

UGC directs Deemed Universities / Institutions not to pay sitting fees to Govt. Nominees

UGC in its recent circular issued on 05th January 2016 has brought a sweeping change in age old system in Higher Educational Institutions of giving sitting fee allowance to the officials of the Ministry or attached institutions who are nominated as Government representatives in the institutions in various capacities and directed that Government Nominees on various board of Educational Institutions shall not be paid any sitting fees allowances directly.

MHRD realised that the nominated officers are attending these meetings only in their official capacity as Government nominee/nominee of Secretary or on. Ex-officio basis and it may not be appropriate to receive sitting fee for doing routine official work and directed UGC to issue necessary instructions.

Acting on the instructions of MHRD, UGC has issued this circular and asked all its Bureau Heads to communicate to the Institutions, which come within its purview that not to pay any sitting fee allowance to the officials of the Ministry or attached institutions who are nominated as government representatives in the Governance structure of these institutions such as board of management, board of Governors, Syndicate, Executive Council Finance Committee etc.

Further for Government nominees attending meetings in private institutions (such as deemed universities) UGC has directed the Deemed Universities to remit the sitting fee amount (due to govt. nominees) in the Consolidated Funds of India.

It is notable that by virtue of Clause 5.7 of the UGC [Institutions Deemed to be Universities] Regulations, 2010, there is a Nominee of Central Government on the Board of Management of a Deemed University. Similarly, there is a representative of a Central Government on Finance Committee of a Deemed University.

EduLegaL View:

This is a welcome move by UGC. Payment of “Sitting Allowance” to Government Officials for being nominee on Government Institutions was against the principles of “Office of Profit” for a Public Servant.

On the same lines, even if the Government Officials were functioning as “Nominee” for Private Institutions, then also they were discharging Government functions only and hence paying them for discharging government functions was amounting to “financial benefit”, which is not permissible. Therefore asking the Deemed Universities to deposit the sitting fees in Consolidated Funds of India is certainly an appropriate step.

You can read the Notification here.

Ravi Bhardwaj | mail@edulegal.in

Ranking Framework for Universities released under NIRF

Ranking Framework for Universities released under NIRF

After releasing the Framework for Engineering Institutions on the day of launch of National Institutional Framework by MHRD, followed by Ranking Framework for Pharmacy and Architecture Institutions, MHRD has now released the framework for Universities and colleges.

India has a complex University / College Structure. Though UGC Act, 1956 defines University, as one established and incorporated under Central / State law, however it also empowers MHRD to recognize certain Institutions as Deemed University. This legislative provisions has ensured that we have Central and State Universities, which are funded / aided by Government. India also has Private and Deemed-to-be-Universities. The Central, Private and Deemed Universities are generally Unitary in character with schools in many disciplines, each of which individually offers all levels of degree programs: from Bachelor’s to the Doctoral. The State Universities are “affiliating” in character where there are several colleges, both undergraduate and post graduate colleges leading to a Bachelor’s / Master’s degrees (and some times Diplomas) in a variety of disciplines like Sciences, Arts, Engineering and others.

UGC, which is the regulator for Universities with a larger objective to improve ranking of Indian universities in World University Rankings appointed Expert Committee for developing a ranking system for colleges and universities based on National Institutional Ranking Framework developed by the Core Committee appointed by the Ministry of Human Resource Development.

UGC in recent communication to the Educational Institutions had urged the Vice Chancellors for personal indulgence and asked them to register their universities on NIRF portal and provide data as per the instructions. Universities were also requested to direct the colleges affiliated to the University to register, so that the national ranking could be made available to the students from the next academic session.

UGC highlighting the importance of participation in the Ranking Framework process said, “You may agree that providing the best learning experience in the ideal environment is the ultimate objective of every higher learning institution. The objective becomes all the more highlighted when institutions are constantly adjudged on the basis of excellence in teaching and learning, excellence in research, innovations and excellence in management. With regards to this, Ministry of Human Resource Development has come up with National Institute Ranking Framework for universities and colleges, which will evaluate them on quantifiable parameters leading to ranking of institutions”.

The National Institutional Ranking Framework [NIRF] outlines a methodology to rank institutions across the country. The methodology draws from the overall recommendations broad understanding arrived at by a Core Committee set up by MHRD, to identify the broad parameters for ranking various universities and institutions. The parameters broadly cover “Teaching, Learning and Resources,” “Research and Professional Practices,” “Graduation Outcomes,” “Outreach and Inclusivity,” and “Perception”.

NIRF is projected to enable parents, students, teachers, educational institutions and other stakeholders to rank institutions on basis of set objectives, in a transparent process.

EduLegaL View:

The Framework has come with clarification by way of statement, “ Thousands of institutions would volunteer themselves to the ranking exercise with an aim to assess themselves on the qualitative parameters…”

This is good, as till now it was appearing, as it was another mandatory participating process, burdening the Institutions. Now the Institutions can take a long breath. But the question is, will any Institutions even dare to ignore this “voluntary” request.

Ravi Bhardwaj | mail@edulegal.in

 

From old NAAC to new NIRF – Warning to avoid fraudsters continues

Earlier, it was NAAC which had issued warning / caution notice cautioning the Institutions, from getting trapped by unauthorized agencies, which claim to impart tricks for getting A grade, preparing SSRs and also making up deficiencies.

The newly launched National Institutional Ranking Framework [NIRF] it seems has also met the same fate. MHRD within few weeks of its launch has issued a strong caution notice to the Institution to avoid tricksters.

MHRD in its release has mentioned that it has received information that some private companies have started conducting training programmes and workshops on NIRF charging exorbitant amount as registration fee.

MHRD has clarified that NIRF has no association with any of these private companies. It has also informed the stake holders that NIRF portal hosts detailed documentation consisting of NIRF reports on various categories of institutions, help manuals, FAQ, etc. that would help institutions and organisations to understand methodologies for providing data required for ranking of universities.

Amidst ongoing Fellowship controversy, Govt. increases Fellowship of ST Students

Last 2-3 weeks has seen unprecedented scenes in student v/s regulator faceoff on account of discontinuation of Non-NET Fellowship. It seems wisdom prevailed on MHRD and it decided to stay the decision of discontinuation and also appoint Committee to look into the matter holistically.

But there is some news pouring in for our Scheduled Tribe Students. UGC has now announced that Ministry of Tribal Affairs has enhanced the fellowship amount under Scheme “National Fellowship for Higher Education of ST Students”.

In the initial two year Junior Research Fellowship Term, a ST Students will now be paid Rs. 25,000/- instead of Rs. 16,000/-. For the remaining terms, the student will be paid Rs. 28,000/- instead of
Rs. 18,000/- .

 

 

“HOW TO GET GRADE “A” in NAAC WORKSHOPS”, NAAC cautions Institutions

National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) has warned the academic community to be cautious about the false and misleading advertisements by some agencies / organizations, who are organizing and also publicizing many such workshop, with the headline “HOW TO GET GRADE “A” in NAAC”.

NAAC has also come to learn that in these workshops, the agencies promise to render services / expertise in SSR preparations to be submitted to NAAC, useful tips to achieve goods, making up some deficiencies by ad-hoc arrangements. Their claim reaches optimum when they say they will facilitate NAAC Visits and interaction with NAAC Officials.

NAAC Director has come out with strong clarification and has requested Institutions from entering into any transaction with such persons or attend their workshops / programmes. Director, NAAC has further clarified that NAAC has not authorized any agency / organization to conduct such workshop. It has also given any consent to any organization to provide services for preparing SSR and presentations during NAAC visit.

He has further clarified that NAAC Assessment and Accreditation process is completely transparent and assessment is purely based on performance of the Institution on the Seven Criteria.

NAAC is an autonomous Institutions of University Grants Commission (UGC), to assess and accredit institutions of higher education in the country.

Assessment and Accreditation is broadly used for understanding the “Quality Status” of an institution. In the context of Higher Education, the accreditation status indicates that the particular Higher Educational Institutions (HEI) – meets the standards of quality, in terms of its performance, related to the educational processes and outcomes, covering the curriculum, teaching-learning, evaluation, faculty, research, infrastructure, learning resources, organisation, governance, financial well being and student services.

EduLegal View:

In the year 2012, UGC has notified UGC (Mandatory Assessment and accreditation of Higher Educational Institutions) Regulations, 2012, which makes it mandatory for educational institutions to participate in accreditation process. It also provides for punitive measures if the Institutions fail to participate in the process, like withholding of grant, revocation of affiliation.

In our country, with “compulsion” comes the “corruption” and such activities are routine. False and Misleading Advertisement is really hitting the education sector and it is high time that regulators should frame strict laws to deal with such situation. These advertisements are actually killing the system.

Ravi Bhardwaj | mail@edulegal.in