The University Grants Commission is working on a plan to give recognition to private universities set up through Acts of Parliament for the first time under new regulations that remove a statutory obstruction to setting up private varsities nationally.
According to government sources, private universities can be established either by an Act of Parliament or by a State legislation under the new regulations for private varsities finalised by the UGC.
The move assumes more importance at a time when HRD Ministry has declared to meet its ambitious target of 30% Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in higher education by 2020 which currently stands at 12.4%.
Current UGC regulations on private universities, brought in 2003, specify that “each private university shall be established by a separate State Act” and shall “operate ordinarily within the boundary of the state” though in exceptional cases additional campuses can be allowed. The new regulations allow the establishment of private universities through Acts of Parliament too.
“The requirement of a State Act was in tune with the policy at the time which did not encourage private players to set up national universities. That perspective has changed and our rule books must reflect the change,” a senior HRD ministry official said.
HRD minister Kapil Sibal has publicly stated that the government wants increased private participation in establishing 14 Innovation Universities proposed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh focused on cutting-edge research to help India emerge a global knowledge hub.[Source: Hindustan Times]