Par panel wants Centre to avoid Tri Valley repeat in India

New Delhi, Jan 31 (PTI) Citing the Tri Valley Universityfraud in the US, a Parliamentary panel today quizzed HRDministry officials on measures to ensure that foreignvarsities entering India do not dupe students.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on HRD, chaired byOscar Fernandes, began examination of the Foreign EducationalInstitutions (Regulation of Entry and Operations) Billintroduced in the Lok Sabha in the Budget Session ofParliament last year.

HRD ministry officials faced some tough questions on thesteps taken in the legislation to ensure protection againstfly-by-night institutes that could set shop in the country.

"We want stringent measures to ensure that a Tri ValleyUniversity-like situation does not recur here," a member ofthe Committee said.

He said that there have been reports of some foreignuniversities shutting down operations abruptly in somecountries like the UAE.

The HRD ministry officials sought to assure members thatthe Bill has enough provisions in place to ensure thatinstitutions of repute are given clearance for operations inthe country.

Another member said while there was a general agreementon the need to allow entry to foreign universities in thecountry, there were issues like availability of faculty andreservation for the backward class to ensure social justice.

Concerns were also raised on teachers and professorsfrom IITs, IIMs and Central Universities taking up lucrativeoffers from foreign institutions which could put up anundesirable situation.

There are 22,000 colleges and 450 universities in thecountry and HRD ministry plans to double the figure in thenext ten years as it focusses on increasing the GrossEnrolment Ratio for the higher education sector from thecurrent 13 per cent to 34 per cent.

Congress MP Rahul Gandhi, who is a member of the HRDpanel, sat through the two-and-a-half hour meeting isunderstood to have spoken in favour of the legislation.

Another member expressed concern over the lack ofadequate consultations with stakeholders while preparing"badly drafted" Bill.

HRD ministry has sought one week time to respond tovarious queries raised by the members.

Some 1,555 students of Tri-Valley University, 90 percent of them from India, face the prospect of deportationfollowing the closure of the varsity in Pleasanton, Californiaon charges of selling student visas.

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