A welcome HC ruling
THE High Court’s directive for the education ministry to frame a rule under section 39 of the Private University Act 2010 in two months so as to bring private educational institutions that provide coaching or tuition for degrees of foreign universities under the government’s control is indeed welcome. According to a report published in New Age on Tuesday, the court directed the ministry to take appropriate steps in 60 days in accordance with the law and in pursuant to the University Grants Commission’s findings that ‘a number of [such] institutions [...] are completely fake.’ The ministry was also asked to form an appropriate committee to monitor the activities of such private educational institutions so that innocent students do not get defrauded by unscrupulous individuals. The directives are part of the court’s judgement, pronounced on May 24, 2012 and the full text of which was released on December 30, 2012, on a writ petition filed by a student who claimed to have lost several years of her life studying for a degree from a British university that does not exist.
Ever since the enactment of the Private University Act in 1992, allowing private universities to offer higher education, there has been a mushroom growth of private educational institutions. A number of these universities have earned reputation, at home and abroad, for their overall performance; however, the same cannot be said about the rest. In fact, allegations have been raised against some of these universities of failing to comply with the act and, most importantly, to impart quality education to the students. Moreover, there have been reports in the media about certain malpractices by these institutions. As such, different quarters in different forums at different times have sought effective measures from the grants commission in particular and the government in general. Such pleas, however, cannot be said to have prompted adequate measures from the authorities concerned.
Meanwhile, to add to the chaos and confusion, several institutions have started offering coaching and tuitions for degrees from one university or the other in the United Kingdom, claiming affiliation or agreement with these universities. The case in question, suffice it to say, proves that not all of these have told the truth. While the court has asked the particular institution to pay the petitioner of the case Tk 1.5 lakh in compensation for her ordeal, and rightly so, there is a greater issue involved here; after all, no amount of money can bring back the years lost for the petitioner. It is important thus for the authorities to make sure that no one else falls prey to such fraudulent practices.
While it is expected that the education ministry will be prompt and positive in its compliance with the court’s directives, the highest judiciary needs to monitor progress in this regard. Such monitoring, suffice it to say, has become imperative given that the incumbents have, on more occasions than one, dithered in implementing rules and directives from the apex court.
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