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No solution in sight for IIT-UGC row on degrees

September 24, 2014


The IIT-UGC row over degrees may take longer than expected to get resolved. The IIT Council has decided to set up a three-member committee to look into the issue. It will consist of HRD secretary Ashok Thakur, UGC chairperson Ved Prakash and scientist Anil Kakodkar.

Earlier the HRD ministry was thinking of seeking the law ministry's opinion but it has been put on hold. One IIT director said, "A non-issue has been allowed to become a serious problem. It could have been resolved through talks earlier. Hope the committee finds a way out."

IITs continue to insist that UGC had no business to write to them to give degrees only approved by the Commission. They claim that IITs are governed by an act of Parliament not the UGC. IITs, one director said, are empowered to "institute courses of study" without UGC's approval. "UGC is confused about IITs' autonomy and powers. It is UGC that needs to understand both the acts," the IIT director said. On its part, UGC says Institutes of Technology Act, 1961 stipulates that IITs can institute courses of study, hold examinations and grant degrees/diplomas and other academic distinctions or titles.

 

UGC says 'courses of study' does not mean 'degrees' since the two phrases are used at different places in the IT Act, 1961. UGC says provisions of the UGC Act 1956 and IT Act should be understood in a harmonious manner rather than to the exclusion of the other. "It would be more appropriate if IITs list the various degrees which they feel are not in conformity with the list of UGC-specified degrees. The exact mismatch between IIT Kharagpur degrees and the UGC-specified degrees may have to be reviewed jointly and an appropriate solution worked out considering the students' interests at stake," UGC says.

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