Traditionally, Gujarat has been regarded as a trade hub and hive of commercial activities. Now, it has taken a huge stride forward in the stream of education, becoming the state with the maximum number of universities.
The state government had consented to five new universities from this academic year, making Gujarat’s tally of private universities 65, the highest in the country as per University Grants Commission (UGC) statistics. Rajasthan is second on the list with 52 private universities, followed by Madhya Pradesh (41).
However, a tabloid has claimed that there’s no check on the fee for non-professional courses and PhD programmes, a marker for success of education models. Private universities, the report pointed out, may charge Rs roughly 3 lakh as an annual fee for bachelor courses. For professional technical courses, which qualify under the Fee Regulatory Committee (FRC), the fee might come down to a little more than half of the bachelor course fees. What’s discouraging is the fact that many private universities still have a high fee structure.
Kamlesh Joshipura, former vice-chancellor of Saurashtra University, was quoted as saying in the report, “If more universities offering generalised programmes like BA, BCom, BSc and Law are allowed, it is not going to add any value to Gujarat’s education sector. These varieties have to be non-compromising as far as academics is concerned or else the quality of education is at stake.”
The report also published a remark by the director general of Nirma University AK Singh that the state government must step in to monitor the quality of education since many universities have become “degree-granting profiteering hubs.”
Gujarat Pradesh Congress spokesperson and Gujarat University’s former executive council member Manish Doshi was however critical of the emerging private universities. He remarked that promoting private universities was aimed at pleasing the business class. He questioned the declining standard of education, quality of teachers and the culture of poor research prevalent in the system.
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