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"Mounting grievances, little regulation"

The Hindu Editorial


Date- 30/1/2016

The suspected suicide last week of three women students, who wereMONETARILY EXPLOITED by the management of an  ILL-EQUIPPED private NATUROPATHYand yoga college in Tamil Nadu, is a dark reminder of the absence of an effective regulatory or grievance-redress mechanism in the higher education sector. Similar tragic episodes have PLAYED OUT in other parts of the country as well. Yet, regulatory authorities have displayed little urgency in trying to rescue students trapped in VICIOUSenvironments that put their families in financial HARDSHIP and DEPRIVEthem of a meaningful academic life. There is no DEARTH OF regulatory agencies governing colleges. A private institution can be established only after multiple clearances — ‘no objection’ and essentiality certificates from the State governments, approval from APEX BODIES such as the AICTE and the MCI, and AFFILIATION from the respective regional universities. What is lacking is honest and METICULOUS SCRUTINY of an institution’s real strengths by academics, officials and experts VESTED with the responsibility of inspecting and certifying colleges. In a context where colleges have PROLIFERATED, regulatory agencies that lack the WHEREWITHAL to physically inspect institutions grant approval mainly based on documents submitted by them. They undertake only random on-site inspections. Many universities grant affiliation if a college fulfils even 60 per cent of theSTIPULATED requirements. Such POROUS systems are exploited by UNSCRUPULOUS colleges to submit FABRICATED records and obtain approvals. There have been numerous cases of medical and engineering colleges employing ghost faculty members, or ‘renting’ teachers, laboratory equipment, furniture and books for libraries during inspections. No concrete steps have been taken to plug the loopholes in the enforcement of regulations. A simple proposal to assign unique identification numbers to teachers of professional colleges to prevent duplication in faculty rolls has been pending for years.
In another unhealthy trend in the pre-approval stage, courts often step
in in favour of colleges after regulatory agencies reject approval or universities refuse to grant affiliation CITING infrastructure and academic deficiencies. This despite the Supreme Court ruling in AICTE vs. Surinder Kumar Dhawan (2009) that “the courts are neither equipped nor have the academic or technical background to substitute themselves in place of statutory professional technical bodies and take decisions in academic matters involving standards and quality of technical education.” Post-approval, there is no enabling environment to encourage students to raise grievances relating to over-charging and academic deprivation. Universities and many State governments have conveniently adopted a hands-off approach, leaving students in IRREDEEMABLE distress. Such a LACKADAISICAL approach to regulating higher education is equally responsible for colleges producing unemployable graduates. What is needed is not only the strengthening of regulatory systems but also the appointment of academicians with uncompromising INTEGRITY to head regulatory bodies and universities.

Important Words with their meaning

  • Mounting - gradually increasing ; बढ़ते

  • Grievances - complaints ; शिकायत

  • Monetarily - related to money ; पैसों से सम्बंधित

  • Exploit - to use someone or something unfairly for your own advantage ; शोषण

  • Ill-equipped - without the ability, qualities, or equipment to do something ;  अनुपयुक्त

  • Naturopathy - a system of treating diseases using natural methods such as controlling what a person eats, exercise, and treatments such as homeopathy and acupuncture ; प्राकृतिक चिकित्सा

  • Played out -  completely exhausted ; नि:शक्त होना

  • Vicious - cruel or violent ; शातिर

  • Hardship - something that causes difficult or unpleasant conditions ; कष्ट

  • Deprive - not having the things that are necessary for a pleasant life (money, food etc) ; वंचित

  • Dearth of something - not enough of something (insufficient quantity) ; की कमी

  • Apex Bodies - higher authorities ; शीर्ष निकाय

  • Affiliation -  a connection with a larger organization (here universities) ; संबंधन

  • Meticulous - very careful and with great attention to every detail ; सूक्ष्म

  • Scrutiny - examining something closely (for mistakes) ;समीक्षा

  • Vested - Having full ownership rights ; निहित

  • Proliferate - increase rapidly in number ; संख्या में बढ़ना

  • Wherewithal - the money necessary for a particular purpose ; साधन

  • Stipulate - to say exactly how something must be or must be done ; निर्धारित

  • Porous - not secured ; झरझरा

  • Unscrupulous - behaving in dishonest way in order to get what you want ; बेशरम

  • Fabricate - to make something false in order to cheat someone ; गढ़ना

  • Citing - to mention / say something ; हवाला

  •  Irredeemable - not able to be saved / improved / corrected ;  कभी न सुधर सकने योग्य

  • Lackadaisical - lacking enthusiasm and determination (carelessly lazy) ; छुईमुई

  • Integrity -  the quality of being honest and having strong moral  principles ; ईमानदारी


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