Published: 09th June 2019
Will Vigilance probe into claims that Anna University is concealing the names of 92 erring colleges?
The University said that they are just sticking to procedure and don't want to inconvenience the students already studying in these institutions.
The All India Private Colleges Employees Union has filed a complaint with the Directorate of Vigilance and anti-corruption against Anna University for alleged malpractice. The petitioner had previously filed an RTI demanding that the University release the names of the 92 colleges it had found guilty of deficiencies. Since they did not oblige, the petitioner has filed the complaint accusing the University of trying to conceal the information of the 92 colleges.
KM Karthik, the founder of AIPCEU stated in his petition that he had found out from a news article that out of 537 self-financing private colleges, the University had found 92 guilty of deficiencies.He said that concealing the name of institutions is unfair to the 1.33 lakh students who have applied for engineering admissions this year. "Only if they know the names will students be able to determine where the institute is suitable for their education or not," the petitioner said.
In response, the authorities have said that they were just sticking to procedures and were also considerate of the fact that students who are studying and teachers in these institutions currently might be impacted by this news.
The University has penalized the colleges with 25%, 50% and 100% deduction intake of students this year. These deficiencies include lack of minimum faculties, laboratories, infrastructure and other amenities. "Students' Right to Information and Right to Education are being compromised by the concealment of the names. It is mandatory to disclose details before public and ensure the basic right of transparency," he stated.
Karthik said his RTI yielded no response and his request to publish the news on the website or provide a web-link also failed to get a response from the University. He said with the counselling numbers already being assigned to the students, it is ridiculous that the students haven't been told the names of the Universities they should be vary of. "It should most probably be a matter involving corruption, bribe, black money, nexus, if officials with private colleges trustees and several official misconduct," he said accusing the University.
In his RTI, Karthik also asked the University to provide the names of the IIT, IISc and NIT members who were part of the inspection committee. He also asks - "Provide information about the special skills if any that was expected from the IIT, IISc and NIT professors when the inspection process is simple and required only basic skills and general experiences as a faculty. Please also provide the name of the analytical tool used by University to evaluate the credibility of the professors in the inspection teams."
Speaking about the penalisation, the petitioner said that while complete removal of the university will affect the teachers, the partial removal will affect both the teachers and the students at large. He has also asked if the University had provided for the forthcoming loss of teachers in the intake reduced courses.
Anna University has stated that they have all the documents needed to prove their investigation but that they were following the rules that are in place currently. And this does not allow them to reveal the names right away. He also said that the colleges had the chance to make changes and cannot be dismissed, "If a student is not performing well, the college doesn't throw him out, the same way we cannot just dismiss the college. We believe they will take steps to rectify their mistakes," they said. "We can also reveal the names after we hold a thorough discussion with our team and decide if it is something we can do," he added.
While agreeing that there are some serious problematic issues in colleges he said that they cannot take the risk of spreading any false news, "It is our duty to conduct checks properly and find out if anything wrong is happening in their colleges but revealing their names to the public is not our duty. But we are doing our jobs well but we will have to stick to procedure," he said. Restating the fact that they do not want students and teachers to suffer, he said, "It is unnecessarily impact their mental health if we reveal this to them now. But since the college does have the chance to make amends and we don't want to worry anyone."