Shimla: CPI(M) has expressed deep anguish at yesterday`s High Court judgement quashing the Himachal Pradesh Private Education Institution (Regulatory Commission) Act and said with the commission ceasing to exist, some alternative mechanism must be put in place.
CPI(M) state secretariat member and Deputy Mayor of Shimla Municipal Corporation Takinder Panwar said the judgement would have "widespread horrendous" implications in higher education in private sector and put a big question mark on the credibility of the education system in the state.
"Recently, Union HRD Secretary at a function here admired the state regulatory body and advised other states to set up similar bodies as well to follow guidelines," he said.
"CPI (M) strongly feels in the absence of any regulatory mechanism, it would amount to invitation to disaster," he said.
Alleging that "private institutions, especially private universities, blatantly violate the norms," he said with University Grants Commission (UGC) in no position to enforce the norms, the entire higher education system was "on the path of degeneration".
He claimed that private universities were being run on the whims and fancies of individual owners who have placed themselves either as pro-chancellors or even chancellors.
The party said the UGC should be taken to task for failing to ensure that "a fair and transparent process is followed to maintain the quality of education".
It said after quashing of the commission, it would be a "free-for-all" for unregulated private universities.
Panwar claimed students were admitted in private universities after class X in open defiance of the UGC norms and admissions of ineligible students continued throughout the year through the back door.
The government cannot be reduced to a facilitator for sale of fake degrees as there would be no mechanism to check the malpractices, it said.
The party questioned why the UGC was asked to explain its
position when it is not only toothless but also has no clause for punishment in case there is a gross violation of norms.
The CPI (M) has asked the state government to take the issue seriously and suggested that since there is no control over these private universities, they should be dissolved and the acts by which they have come into being should be scrapped immediately.
It has asked the Congress government to take up the matter with the UPA government at the Centre to bring an ordinance to empower the states to set up a regulatory commission to enforce UGC norms and protect innocent students against exploitations by private institutions.
The ordinance should be very explicit, explaining the importance of these regulatory bodies and the need for having such bodies with punitive powers in the states.
The party called upon the people, particularly the students and teacher bodies, to build pressure on the government to bring an ordinance to nullify the impact of the judicial order and "save higher education from being ruined".