India may regularize six higher education institutes in Mauritius soon
The island economy, which recently had its higher education sector taken for a ride by unauthorized off-shore campuses of Indian educational institutions, may be headed for a much-needed respite. (Source: EIILM, Mauritius)
Mauritius, which found its higher education sector shaken up recently by unauthorized off-shore campuses of Indian educational institutions, may be about to get a break.
The Mauritius visit of India’s Human Resource Development (HRD) minister M M Pallam Raju and the University Grants Commission (UGC) chairperson Ved Prakash might result in regularization of six such higher educational institutes – the Eastern Institute for Integrated Learning in Management (EIILM), the JSS Academy, Arya Sabha, Global Business, Amity and Mauras.
A senior UGC official associated with the framing of regulations admitted that the stage is set for regularizing these institutions. While it could prove cause for embarrassment, the official emphasized that students could not be left in the lurch.
One of these institutions in particular, EIILM, has found itself caught in the headlights as its owner Sunil Jeetah is the brother of Rajesh Jeetah, minister of tertiary education, science research in Mauritius.
The EIILM issue has already erupted in the Mauritian Parliament with Rajesh Jeetah being subjected to a barrage of questions by the Opposition on November 12. In reply to N Bodha who asked if EIILM University (Sikkim) had declared it had an off-shore campus in Mauritius, Jeetah said “it was not a requirement.” Instead, he maintains that the EIILM Mauritius campus is managed by a locally registered company EIILM Ltd while EIILM University Sikkim is only expected to provide academic support.
Earlier this year, the UGC had written a separate letter to EIILM vice-chancellor in September stating that the Commission has taken a “serious view of the complete violation of UGC (establishment of and maintenance of standards in private universities) Regulations, 2003” by the EIILM University. UGC then went ahead and asked the EIILM to close down its campus immediately.
However, UGC chariman Ved Prakash, seems to have had a change of heart in Mauritius. While admitting that the UGC never authorized EIILM to operate in that country, Prakash said a solution should be found. He agreed that quality of higher education is a matter of concern but expressed hope that the issue would be resolved as soon as certain requirements were fulfilled.
All in all, the move to regularize the six institutes is a big U-turn for the UGC. The commission has so far been going, all guns blazing, against unauthorized off-shore campuses. It even issued public notices declaring that no private varsity can be permitted to open off campus centres, offshore campuses and study centres until it has been in existence for five years and fulfills the conditions laid down by the UGC.
Source: Times of India