A spate of newly promoted globally-benchmarked private universities are set to highlight the severe inadequacies of government colleges and universities. Promoted through specially enacted legislation of state governments (education is a concurrent subject under the Constitution) which tend to be less nitpicking and fault-finding than the mandarins of the Union HRD ministry and its handmaiden regulatory agencies (UGC, AICTE, NAAC), this new genre of private universities is stealing the thunder from vintage colleges such as St. Stephen’s and Shri Ram College of Commerce, Delhi, St. Xavier’s, Mumbai, MCC, Chennai. In particular, they are bad news for state government arts, science and commerce colleges that constitute the majority of the country’s 39,000 undergrad colleges dispensing reckless, untrustworthy certification.
Admittedly these contemporary residential private universities — Ashoka and Jindal Global in Delhi NCR, Ahmedabad University, Bennett, Noida (Uttar Pradesh) and Plaksha University, Mohali (Punjab) among others, levy tuition and residence fees which are sky-high by India standards, but way lower than demanded by even third rung American and British universities. Moreover, being well endowed ab initio, they tend to be generous with scholarships and freeships.
And although their arrival on the higher education scene has prompted much head-shaking and disapproval (“commercialisation of education”) within the tenured closet communist professariat which continues to dominate academia, these privately promoted universities are here to stay. Ambitious school-leavers are delighted as testified by the scramble for admissions.
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