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Madras HC Orders over Quality of Education System

Author-Shreya Kalyani, [Chanakya National Law University, Patna]

Madras HC expressed anguish over poor quality of education in Tamil Nadu and has observed that the quality of education should be taken seriously and those educational institutions which violate the regulations should be dealt firmly, otherwise our future generation will not excuse us.

After the Madras High Court summoned higher education secretary Mangat Ram Sharma, Bharathiar University Registrar and eight other syndicate members in contempt of court proceedings, governor-chancellor Banwarilal Purohit had sought a report from the university. When a case filed by Association of self financing arts, science and management colleges came up for hearing at the madras HC on December 8, last year, Bharathiar University registrar (in charge) filed an affidavit stating that it will not operate distance education study centers and will not grant affiliation and recognition relating to distance education to be conducted outside Tamil Nadu from 2018-19 academic year. Based on that, the HC had prohibited the university authorities from running study centers outside Tamil Nadu. Meanwhile, the university after a meeting in Chennai on November 28, passed a resolution allowing study centers to function for 2018-19 academic year. Challenging this move, private colleges association filed a contempt petition in the HC. When the case came up for hearing, Justice N Kirubakaran who stayed the operation of the university’s recent resolution asked if the court orders are so ineffective to be violated.

He also summoned higher education secretary Mangat Ram Sharma, who was also the convener of university’s VC committee, Registrar B Vanitha and syndicate members who approved the resolution to appear in court on January 7. Following the Madras High Court’s strong observation, Governor Banwarilal Purohit sought a report from the university. Association of university teachers(AUT) former general secretary C Pichandy pointed out that the Bharathiar university did not have any right to run distance education courses under franchise mode; not only outside Tamil Nadu but within too. UGC secretary Rajnish Jain in a letter to the higher education secretary Sunil Paliwal had said that a UGC circular had asked all universities to stop franchising their degree education through private agencies or establishments with immediate effect. He also mentioned erstwhile distance education council notification dated January 31, 2012, which also prohibited franchising of study centers by any institution or university.

The observation was made by Justice N.Kirubakaran while hearing the contempt petition which was filed by Association of Self Financing Arts and Science and Management Colleges. Counsel of the petitioner submitted that Bharthiyar University clearly violated the order of court by permitting the study centers to admit students. Counsel for UGC submitted that UGC regulations prohibits running of distance education study centers outside the jurisdiction of University. The judge opined that university cannot permit the study centers to admit the students in the middle of academic year and to give the examination without conducting any classes and if the students are permitted to give the exam without attending classes and imparting education to them that would degrade the quality of education. The judge further stated that the university is spoiling the name of the great poet Bharathiyar by violating the UGC regulations through their wrong actions.

As far as quality of education is concerned, the Madras High Court had also ordered Law University to remove teachers appointed by violating UGC Rules. Madras High Court had directed the University to identify and remove certain teaching staff posts who were appointed in violation of UGC regulations. The court observed that if unqualified persons are allowed to continue in the posts, this would be detrimental to the interests of public at large. Enquiry in respect of unqualified teachers is to be conducted without any delay. In case of identification of appointments made on favoritism and nepotism, suitable action is to be taken against all persons involved in it. The court also stated that the Universities must ensure that the quality of legal education is maintained as per UGC regulations and Rules of the Bar Council of India. Also, in an earlier case Justice N.Kirubakaran passed an order regarding quality of teaching in Tami Nadu where teachers had received their degrees and diplomas from the letter pad teacher training institutes. Justice N.Kirubakaran calling it a bitter reality directed the National Council for Teacher Education to submit details like number of teacher training institutes, the size of unemployed teacher training institutes and diploma holders and specify whether the nation needed so many teacher training institutes.

In this case Madras HC expressed anguish over poor quality of education in Tamil Nadu and has observed that the quality of education should be taken seriously and those educational institutions which violate the regulations should be dealt firmly, otherwise our future generation will not excuse us.

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