Education

November 22, 2013

U-turn? UGC May Clear 6 Institutes in Mauritius

NEW DELHI: HRD minister M M Pallam Raju and UGC chairperson Ved Prakash's trip to Mauritius is not as innocuous as it may seem. The visit could result in regularization of six higher educational institutes who have set up off-shore campus without seeking clearance of the University Grants Commission (UGC).

The act would be a volte-face by the UGC that has all along been in favour of strict action against Indian institutes, which have set up off-shore campuses without its clearance.

Off-shore campus of at least one of the six institutes — Eastern Institute for Integrated Learning in Management (EIILM) — is owned by Sunil Jeetah. Sunil is the brother of Rajesh Jeetah, minister of tertiary education, science research in Mauritius. All six institutes have been set up without the mandatory UGC clearance.

The Commission has been at the forefront of taking action against them and even issuing public notice that no private varsity can be permitted to open off campus centres, offshore campuses and study centres until it has been in existence for five years and fulfills the conditions laid down by the UGC. After issuing the public notice in June, the UGC wrote a separate letter to EIILM vice-chancellor in September stating that the Commission has taken a "serious view of the complete violation of UGC (establishment of and maintenance of standards in private universities) Regulations, 2003 by the EIILM University. UGC asked the EIILM to close down its campus immediately.

However, in Mauritius, Ved Prakash, while admitting that the UGC never authorized EIILM to operate in that country, said a solution should be found. He argued that quality of higher education is a matter of concern but expressed hope that it will be resolved soon as certain requirements need to be fulfilled. A senior UGC official associated with the framing of regulations said, "Stage is set for regularizing EIILM and others. It could be embarrassing but students cannot be left in the lurch."

EIILM issue has already rocked Mauritian Parliament. On November 12, Rajesh Jeetah was subjected to an intense scrutiny by Opposition members. Replying to a question by N Bodha on whether EIILM University (Sikkim) applied for recognition by the UGC in India and declared that it had an off-shore campus in Mauritius, Jeetah said "it was not a requirement." Jeetah maintains that the EIILM's Mauritius campus is managed by a locally registered company EIILM Ltd, which was earlier registered as Cyber Academy and later changed its name. The role of EIILM University Sikkim, he said, is only to provide academic support.

 

Text by The Times Of India
 

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