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Par panel wants Centre to avoid Tri Valley repeat in India

Citing the Tri Valley University fraud in the US, a Parliamentary panel on Monday quizzed HRD ministry officials.

New Delhi: Citing the Tri Valley University
fraud in the US, a Parliamentary panel on Monday quizzed HRD
ministry officials on measures to ensure that foreign
varsities entering India do not dupe students.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on HRD, chaired by
Oscar Fernandes, began examination of the Foreign Educational
Institutions (Regulation of Entry and Operations) Bill
introduced in the Lok Sabha in the Budget Session of
Parliament last year.

HRD ministry officials faced some tough questions on the
steps taken in the legislation to ensure protection against
fly-by-night institutes that could set shop in the country.

"We want stringent measures to ensure that a Tri Valley
University-like situation does not recur here," a member of
the Committee said.

He said that there have been reports of some foreign
universities shutting down operations abruptly in some
countries like the UAE.

The HRD ministry officials sought to assure members that
the Bill has enough provisions in place to ensure that
institutions of repute are given clearance for operations in
the country.

Another member said while there was a general agreement
on the need to allow entry to foreign universities in the
country, there were issues like availability of faculty and
reservation for the backward class to ensure social justice.

Concerns were also raised on teachers and professors
from IITs, IIMs and Central Universities taking up lucrative
offers from foreign institutions which could put up an
undesirable situation.

There are 22,000 colleges and 450 universities in the
country and HRD ministry plans to double the figure in the
next ten years as it focusses on increasing the Gross
Enrolment Ratio for the higher education sector from the
current 13 per cent to 34 per cent.

Congress MP Rahul Gandhi, who is a member of the HRD
panel, sat through the two-and-a-half hour meeting is
understood to have spoken in favour of the legislation.

Another member expressed concern over the lack of
adequate consultations with stakeholders while preparing
"badly drafted" Bill.

HRD ministry has sought one week time to respond to
various queries raised by the members.

Some 1,555 students of Tri-Valley University, 90 per
cent of them from India, face the prospect of deportation
following the closure of the varsity in Pleasanton, California
on charges of selling student visas.


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