Kochi: Academics have come out against the practice of Mahatma Gandhi University to grant affiliation to colleges that do not meet University Grants Commission norms and extend it year after year citing future of students as the primary concern. In the latest instance, this year over two dozen self-financing colleges have benefited that way despite mainly not meeting the criteria of having five acres of land.
This year the university has extended affiliation after securing an undertaking from the SF colleges that they will fulfil the UGC criteria in the coming academic year. There are allegations that the practice of granting affiliation and extending was under political influence, and there is corruption involved in it.
"There are many SFCs under MG University that still don't have adequate land. One college in Kochi has even less than one acre but still enjoys affiliation," said Prof P K Somasekharan Unny, former Syndicate member of Sree Sankara University of Sanskrit, Kalady, and MG University.
He said that the university has failed to comply with UGC norms in this regard despite court orders to this effect.
"The violation is most in MG University in the state. In several colleges, there are not enough buildings while several faculty do not meet UGC qualification. Those having only third class teach in such colleges," said Prof Unny.
Another former Syndicate member of MG University Prof C H Abdul Lathif said that there are faculty in SF colleges who have not passed even PG.
"It is the responsibility of the university to ensure UGC norms on quality and infrastructure including land," said Prof Lathif.
He said that though Kerala surpasses the national average in enrolment in higher education, the quality remains average due to these factors.
RTI activist and former assistant registrar Salim Kalathil said that MG University has been renewing affiliation since 2013 for such SF colleges after accepting their undertaking every year that they will conform to the criteria.
"The university never bothered to enforce it or cancel the affiliation of such colleges. Due to this the university itself is in danger of losing UGC grants as it has become a party to such violations," he said....