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Private Universities In India: Are They Successful?

In this article we will learn about the concept of private universities, especially in context of India. Education is a must for the growth and development of any society and more-so for countries which are in the developing phase such as India. Please note that some terms and definitions might have slightly different interpretations in different nations, so this article basically is written keeping in mind the Indian education system.

Definition of Private University in India

First of all let us define what does a private university mean? Many people are under the misconception that a private university is something like a private company where anyone can pay a fee and register a pvt ltd company. Well it could be done but that would be illegal. The government of India has stipulated that only its legislative branch has the power to open any new university. Moreover these universities would be approved by the statutory body of the central government namely the UGC

Types of Universities

A university can be born in different ways such as by an act of parliament, act of state legislature or the conference of “deemed university” status on any institute which seems to be performing well in its sphere of activity related to education. Based on this fact a university could fall under these categories

  • Central University
  • State University
  • State Private University (also simply called Private University)
  • Deemed University

The third item in this list, namely the state private university or simply known as private universities of India are the ones under consideration. This is basically a concept which has been in existence since Independence and some of the oldest private institutions which have now become deemed universities.

Some of these names of (previously private, now deemed) universities include

  • Indian School of Mines (1926)
  • R.M.V. University (1897)
  • S.H.I.A.T.S. University (1910)
  • D.C.P. Research Institute (1821)

Of course this list is pretty long but is only an indication that non-public education system has been in India since long. Of course most other universities which fall in the category of private universities of India (not Deemed) have come into existence mostly in the 21st century, hence this can be said to be a new concept from that perspective.

Quality vs Quantity

Many people are of the opinion that private universities have lowered the standards of education and should be debarred. First it must be noted that this could be true to a certain degree as money does play an important role in any private setup, still it is not good to throw the wheat with the chaff. The irregularities are not associated with the private sector alone but there are many shortcomings in the public universities too. A current example of problems even in state run universities has come to light recently when a reputed and authentic state technical university is having problems regarding its distance learning program.

Regulations Should be Improved

Instead better regulatory mechanisms, better governing and stricter rules would ensure that whatever universities exist either in the public or private domain should offer good quality education. The education system is governed through bodies such as the University Grants Commission, Distance Education Council (it was dissolved recently and its function temporarily taken over by UGC for the time being) and many other bodies which cater to different areas of education such as technical (AICTE), medicine (MCI), dentistry (DCI), law (BCI) to name a few.

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It is true that opening more institutions and universities could make governance and regulation a bit more challenging, yet given the size of the country and the rate at which education is required, it is imperative that private players play their role in aiding the government and that they do it well.

Now and Then

Earlier there were very few colleges and universities, one could get admission by great effort and one would feel proud of getting admission in any good institute. Yet this cannot be a criteria for reducing the number of colleges for education should be available to everyone who wants to study.

There should be sufficient number of seats for everyone who want to take admission. Of course it is upto the students to perform well, learn and study hard to gain real knowledge which would help them later in their lives in their jobs or even if they become self employed.

Is it Legal to Study in Private Universities in India?

Many students and parents keep sending queries to us as to whether it is legal to take admission in a private university or whether their children will have an invalid degree.

To such people our advice is that as long as the university is approved by UGC and has the requisite affiliation/approvals from the concerned statutory bodies for the type of course/s they are providing, it is perfectly valid and legal to obtain education from such institutes.

There is one point to be mentioned here that private universities by law can run courses ONLY within their main campus even if they are not approved by bodies like the AICTE, but such a course run outside their campus (off campus) is invalid.

Rest each college has a different atmosphere which depends on the teachers, current set of students, management, the environment of the city/state where they are located and so forth. That is something you would need to see and decide for yourself and no general advice can be given for that.

It is true that some of the private universities do indulge in several malpractices and one such example is the university which is now under the process of dissolution namely the CMJ University, but that is an extreme case. There is also an example where another private university, JNU-Jaipur, recently came in the top 50 universities of India in a ranking done recently by the India Today group.

CheckList

  • Is the university listed at the UGC list of private universities
  • Is the university present in the UGC list of fake universities
  • Does it have necessary approvals in case of distance learning etc
  • Is it recognized by professional bodies, associations
  • Is the university new or existing since long
  • Does it have the proper infrastructure
  • How are the teachers over there
  • Which group is promoting it, does it have good record
  • What is the placement record

In case of any queries or concerns just feel free to comment here or contact us.

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