In a shocking revelation, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has released a list of 23 universities and 279 educational institutions that are not recognised by the UGC and continue to dupe students. The degrees issued by them are not recognised by the UGC or the Government of India, and thus have no credibility or value.
In a belated move, the Minister of State for Human Resource Development, MN Pandey informed members of Rajya Sabha that he had written to state governments asking them to look into these universities and take immediate action against such institutions. Students have also been asked to come forward and register FIRs against these fake establishments.
What is surprising is that the nation’s capital tops the list with 66 fake-degree colleges that continue to ply their illegal business with impunity.
The fact that 66 such colleges are operating right under the nose of the central and state governments in Delhi, reeks of corruption and complete abdication of responsibility by the authorities. The picture runs similar at the state level as well.
India Not Alone
In 2011, Tri-Valley University in Northern California was reported as fake. It was set up with the purpose of bringing foreign workers into the United States, under the garb of education. The university offered degrees that were unrecognised, for classes in ‘Medicine’ and ‘Engineering’ that never took place. The students who enrolled essentially arrived for work, and not education, and paid big money to brokers for arranging fake educational visas. Many were offered fake H1b visas as well.
Indian and Chinese “students” were the largest patrons of this university. The founder, Susan Xiao-Ping Su was arrested and is currently serving a 16-year jail sentence.
A similar case was reported in 2016, when University of Northern New Jersey was discovered to be operating illegally. Twenty-one persons had been subsequently arrested and sentenced.
In India, however, no such action is ever taken, at least in this particular case. It could be due to direct or indirect political patronage of the persons at fault; what else can justify ‘inaction’ in academic fraud in the country? It is simply impossible to run such an institution in the national capital, or any state capital without the authorities objecting.
Caught up in the middle are unsuspecting students whose parents pull out their life savings in order to get their children enrolled in a college or university.
The question is, why should the authorities not be made criminally liable for abdication of their duties, especially since this involves the future of our youth?
Is it not time to jail these criminals, who promote such institutions, along with corrupt or inept administrators and politicians?
Students and Parents Must Take Their Share of the Blame
Parents and their wards do extensive research and product analysis before buying a car, scooter, or even a mobile, but completely fail to undertake the requisite background check on the institution that will affect their career prospects. They must also accept a good portion of the blame for the present situation.
Here are some of the checks that they must carry out before applying to ANY educational institution:
- Find out which is the recognising institution that the school, college or university is claiming to be affiliated to.
- Check with that authority and re-confirm if the recognition is still valid and for what period.
- Check on the background of the institution’s promoter and principal, to see if there is any criminal background. Very often, the principal may be qualified and free of any criminal liability, but the promoters have a suspect or criminal background. Avoid such institutions. And, if you suspect any wrong-doing or illegal activity, please bring it to the notice of the recognising institution.
- Confirm the infrastructure for quality and quantity against what is claimed in their website and brochure. The website might offer beautiful pictures of classrooms, labs, playgrounds and other facilities, but reality may well be otherwise. See it for yourself before paying the admission fee.
- Do NOT go through a broker or pay your way into the student’s admission. You will weaken your own case in case any wrong-doing or illegality is discovered at a later stage. Patronising a broker is illegal.
Expectations from the Modi Government
The Modi government has come to power on the mandate of clean governance and they must demonstrate their intent by taking swift action against these 23 fake universities and 279 fake colleges.
Laws already exist to address such fake institutions, but there is a need to plug loopholes. More stringent punishment and fines are needed to deter people indulging in similar activities. Unless punishment is meted out swiftly and given adequate publicity, the message would not drive home and such fake businesses will continue to thrive.
It is time to stop playing with students’ lives. Let us all speak out.
The details of fake universities are available on the UGC website www.ugc.ac.in.
List of Fake Universities in India – State wise
Maithili University/Vishwavidyalaya, Darbhanga, Bihar
- Commercial University Ltd., Daryaganj, Delhi.
- United Nations University, Delhi.
- Vocational University, Delhi.
- ADR-Centric Juridical University, ADR House, 8J, Gopala Tower, 25 Rajendra Place, New Delhi – 110 008.
- Indian Institute of Science and Engineering, New Delhi.
- Viswakarma Open University for Self-Employment, Rozgar Sewasadan, 672, Sanjay Enclave, Opp. GTK Depot, Delhi-110033.
Badaganvi Sarkar World Open University Education Society, Gokak, Belgaum, Karnataka
St. John’s University, Kishanattam, Kerala
Raja Arabic University, Nagpur, Maharashtra
- Indian Institute of Alternative Medicine, Kolkatta.
- Institute of Alternative Medicine and Research,8-A, Diamond Harbour Road, Builtech inn, 2nd Floor, Thakurpurkur, Kolkatta – 700063
- Varanaseya Sanskrit Vishwavidyalaya, Varanasi (UP) Jagatpuri, Delhi.
- Mahila Gram Vidyapith/Vishwavidyalaya, (Women’s University) Prayag, Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh.
- Gandhi Hindi Vidyapith, Prayag, Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh.
- National University of Electro Complex Homeopathy, Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh.
- Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose University (Open University), Achaltal, Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh.
- Uttar Pradesh Vishwavidyalaya, Kosi Kalan, Mathura, Uttar Pradesh.
- Maharana Pratap Shiksha Niketan Vishwavidyalaya, Pratapgarh, Uttar Pradesh.
- Indraprastha Shiksha Parishad, Institutional Area,Khoda,Makanpur,Noida Phase-II, Uttar Pradesh.
- Gurukul Vishwavidyala, Vridanvan, Uttar Pradesh.
Nababharat Shiksha Parishad, Anupoorna Bhawan, Plot No. 242, Pani Tanki Road,Shaktinagar, Rourkela-769014.
North Orissa University of Agriculture & Technology, Odisha.
More Information on Education