Arjun Alerts Students To Dubious 'Campuses'

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New Delhi, Jun 17 (UNI) Grappling with admission hassles and competition, students were given today something else to worry about-- substandard or dubious ''institutions.'' ''They should satisfy themselves that such institutions are recognised under the relevant laws and are of quality and repute,'' Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh advised.

The word of advice was part of an appeal seen by critics as an acknowledgement of government failure to deal with such ''institutions''.

Singh invited students to obtain relevant information ''in this connection'' from such statutory bodies as the University Grants Commission and the All India Council for Technical Education.

The Commission has for years circulated a list of ''fake'' universities and colleges-- a score of them or so-- some of which only show up around admission time while others give degrees.

Students who find these degrees do not open doors to further studies or jobs end up in courts where the UGC, one source said, has been engaged in ''a large number of cases.'' Commission chairman Sukhadeo Thorat was not immeditely available for comment.

But the source said although some of these institutions are fined, the amounts are a pittance and evidently not prohibitive.

The source could not explain why such dubious institutions are not shut down by law enforcement authorities and allowed to do business.

One factor cited was the weakness in law. Efforts to amend the UGC Act have been underway for decades-- without avail.

Apparently recognising the authorities' helplessness to deal with the problem, experts have recommended that the Commission prepare a comprehensive list of fake universities or institutions and circulate it to the public.

Media contributes by carrying advertisements intended to attract students.

Singh said various statutory agencies have been directed to campaign effectively against ''institutions which are unrecognised, unauthorised or of dubious quality.

''These agencies have also been asked that they should keep an alert eye on misleading advertisements in the news media so as to ensure that the veracity of any tall claims which are not based on reality could be enquired into.'' He asked students not to ''go by the advertisements issued in the media by higher educational institutions, but satisfy yourselves by all counts in respect of quality and statutory recognition.'' UNI MJ RR KN1953

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