NMIMS University’ 5 Campuses, Open Education Courses Lack NOD: UGC

The premier deemed-to-be-university headquartered in the city has also been running its open and distance learning (ODL) courses without UGC recognition.

SVKM’s NMIMS University started its sub-campuses in five different locations without requisite permissions from the University Grants Commission (UGC).

This is the content of a damning affidavit filed by the commission in court highlighting serious violations against the university in seeking permissions. The premier deemed-to-be-university headquartered in the city has also been running its open and distance learning (ODL) courses without UGC recognition.

In an April 17 public notice, the UGC barred NMIMS from admitting students to ODL courses for three intakes. NMIMS challenged it in court, and the UGC filed the affidavit in response to the petition. The university has been asked to respond in two weeks.

The UGC filed the affidavit opposing any grant of relief to the university, stating that admissions to ODL courses had been debarred as a punitive measure. The affidavit cites gross violation and disregard for regulations framed by the apex education body in the country. The UGC mentioned that the university started the Bengaluru and Shirpur off-campus without approval from the education ministry or the UGC and later sought ex post facto approval, when there was no provision for it.

After NMIMS was included as a Category I graded institution by the Centre, a fresh proposal was submitted for starting off-campuses in Bengaluru, Shirpur, Hyderabad, Navi Mumbai and Indore, stated the affidavit. While the UGC provided letters of interest (LoIs) only for Bengaluru and Shirpur in 2019 and Hyderabad in 2020, the Navi Mumbai and Indore proposals were rejected in January 2021. These campuses were started without permission and a final decision on them is still pending, said the affidavit.

Citing the provisions of the UGC (Open and Distance Learning and Online Programmes) Regulations 2020 and its amendments, the commission mentioned that NMIMS was among the top 100 universities in the NIRF ranking and entitled to start online programmes without UGC approval if it satisfied all conditions in the regulations. Under this, NMIMS was allowed to start only BCom and BBA in the online mode from January 2021.

The UGC noted that no ODL courses would be allowed unless recognised by it and admission “shall not be made in anticipation of recognition”.

Despite lacking permission for ODL courses for January-February 2023 intake, NMIMS admitted students. After the public notice, in a fresh appeal to the UGC, NMIMS said 50,000 students had been admitted in the 2023 intake but in the court petition the figure was 25,000, said the UGC. It pointed out that courses like architecture and pharmacy are prohibited in distance mode.

In other violations, the UGC said the director is not a permanent, full-time professor, technological resources are inadequate, entry level eligibility criteria for science programmes need revision, and proposed fees for ODL courses are high, all of which were communicated to NMIMS in a letter on October 12, 2022.

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