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Parliamentary panel suggests to let ‘deemed universities’ be known as ‘universities’

A Parliamentary committee has urged the government to “actively consider” allowing deemed universities in the country to allow the term ‘university’ to avoid confusion abroad as most foreign countries do not use such a nomenclature.

In its report, the Department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Education, Women, Children, Youth and Sports has recommended an amendment of clause 23 of the UGC Act, 1956 to let the deemed universities shed the prefix.

“The Committee recommends that the Government give an active consideration to the demand that deemed universities be allowed to use the term ‘university’ by amending Clause 23 of the UGC Act, 1956 which states that no institution, other than a university established or incorporated by a Central Act, a Provincial Act or a State Act is entitled to use the word ‘University’, as the term ‘deemed university’ creates a lot of confusion in foreign countries as there is no concept of deemed university in many parts of the world,” the committee has said in its report.

Incidentally, this is also one of the recommendations made in the National Education Policy, 2020. The report – “Review of education standards, accreditation process, research, examination reforms and academic environment in Deemed/Private Universities/other Higher Education Institutions” – also makes a strong pitch for streamlining the accreditation process of higher education institutions.

The committee, chaired by BJP Rajya Sabha MP Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, has observed that only 30 per cent of the universities and 20 per cent of the colleges are accredited in India. “There is a long way to go as, out of 50,000 colleges, there were less than 9,000 colleges who are accredited,” it noted.

In his submission before the committee, Higher Education Secretary K Sanjay Murthy said that the proposed Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) will have a vertical on accreditation. “Thus the roadmap is clearly defined and they will be going towards that procedure,” he told the committee, according to the report.