In a controversial move, the Uttar Pradesh state cabinet, on Tuesday, has approved the draft Uttar Pradesh Private Universities Ordinance 2019 in which there is a clause where private universities are required to sign an undertaking that they will not undertake 'anti-national' activities. It gives the stategovernment to take action if a university is found involved in any such activity. The policy will be presented before the cabinet in the upcoming assembly session
Explaining the aim of the state government to introduce such a draft policy, UP minister of health Siddharth Nath Singh, on Wednesday, said that to regulate all universities under UGC guidelines and to streamline the eductional quality, such an act was passed.
"Should anti-national activities happen in universities or not? This is not just for this particular purpose. Previously there were individual acts for each university. As of tody there are no acts such that UGC guidelines and regulations are applicable to all universities equally. Fee structures, teaching guidelines and exam time tables were also different for each university. Hence there is no improvement in quality," he said.
Detailing how the draft policy will enable pushing government policies into the universities, he said:
" This is an enabling act which will push national and state educational policies into all universities. There is no common field in Uttar Pradesh to tie up international universities on the basis of merit."
Talking about the 'anti-national' crackdown clause he said that such activities are probited under this act.
" In this there is a clause prohibiting 'anti-national' activities like it happened in JNU where slogans like 'Bharat tere Tukde hoyenge' (India you will be broken into pieces). Such kind of sloganeering will not be allowed," he added.
The draft policy is an umbrella act to bring private universities under the government's authority so as to incorporate development of nationalism, social and international harmony, national integration, secularism and moral values.
With the UPPOU, all private universities in UP, including the 27 existing ones, would come under an umbrella act. Currently, the private universities in the State have been set up and are running through separate acts and sanctions. But this act would override all the acts as a “controlling body” to monitor and regulate the private universities. Among the proposals are that a minimum of 75% of teachers appointed to the private universities would be permanent and not contractual and their quality would be monitored online.
Space requirements too have been mentioned such as a university in a city would need to have a minimum land space of 20 acre while in rural areas they would need to be spread over 50 acre. The existing 27 universities have one year to implement the new changes.