New Delhi: Ignoring opposition from some quarters, HRD Ministry has asked all central universities to complete their National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) accreditation as per UGC regulations.
"UGC will take up the matter with NAAC for opening the Regional Centers to expedite the process of accreditation," said a government statement on Saturday. So far only 10-12 of the 39 central universities are accredited.
Older universities like Delhi University and new varsities have till now shied away from going through the process due to several reasons. UGC, governing higher education in the country, had in March, 2013 come out with a notification making it mandatory for all universities to get letters of accreditation within six months from NAAC.
The NAAC is an autonomous body established by the UGC to assess and accredit institutions of higher education in the country. A working group of vice chancellors has also been constituted to frame guidelines on common admission, common curriculum, student mobility, faculty mobility and a national system of credit transfer.
On the last day of the two-day vice chancellors retreat in Chandigarh, HRD Minister Smriti Irani today exhorted all VCs -- in wake of sexual harassment of a student in Viswa Bharati University -- to ensure prevention of sexual harassment of students and staff at all costs.
It was also decided to form another working Group for developing a framework for the National Ranking System and submit its report within one month. The issue of holding a common admission and following a common curriculum was discussed, following which it was decided to set up a working group comprising of some VCs to frame guidelines.
Older Universities such as DU and JNU, who hold their exams separately, are reported to be against a common admission programme. Officials said the issue would be taken up further after the guidelines are framed.
On Friday, HRD Minister Smriti Irani has discussed a single legislation proposal with the vice-chancellors of 39 central universities to govern all the central varsities and their comments have been sought on the issue.
The Chandigarh meeting came after Irani had held similar interactions with directors of IITs and IIMs. At the end of the vice chancellors meet, it was decided to set up Council of Industry Higher Education Collaboration.
(CIHEC) is being operationalised to identify initiatives to promote research, mobilise resources, develop market ready manpower and enhance employability. The council will collaborate with placement cells of central universities for identification of the emerging areas as per the requirement of the neighbouring industries to make the students employment ready.
The CIHEC will also help train counsellors at all Placement Cells for better counselling and placements. Concerns were also raised about the incidents of sexual harassments against girl students in campuses at the meet, following which Irani "exhorted" all VCs to ensure prevention of sexual harassment of students and staff at all costs.
"All Central Universities should ensure proper facilities and infrastructure for disabled students", she added. Her assertion came against the backdrop of the alleged sexual harassment of a Sikkimese girl in Visa Bharati University recently. The girl quit the varsity on Friday. Focusing on the skilling initiatives, it was decided to set up 100 Centres of skilling excellence called 'Knowledge Upgradation centre for Skilled Human Action and Learning' (KUSHAL) within a year.
These centres will coordinate the entire skill development efforts of higher educational institutions. Enhanced funding shall be provided by the UGC and it will frame guidelines on the scheme within a month. The VCs were requested to encourage the faculty in central universities to offer free online courses to citizens under the digital India initiative.
The universities were also asked to identify 40 great personalities and locate the school, colleges and universities which had the proud privilege of teaching these great personalities and take action to develop and improve the facilities and infrastructure in these institutions. Every central university was also asked to display on its website, within a month, all relevant information including profile of teachers, calendar of activity of university, academic calendar, names of members of all statutory bodies along with their tenure, research output, information on budget, vacancy, tenure of Registrar and Finance officer.
UGC was also requested to formulate regulations where in the students coming out of vocational stream are not discriminated against vis-a vis the students coming out of general streams.
Under the campus connect programme, all the central universities were asked to ensure that their campuses/constituent colleges become fully wi-fi enabled as
soon as possible. Besides, under the 'global initiative for academic networks programme', the universities were told to provide a list of eminent scholars and researchers within a month, both from within the country and outside, who they would like to invite in their universities as guest speakers.