SETTING UP A DEEMED-TO-BE-A-UNIVERSITY
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The second route for setting a private degree granting institution is by applying for a deemed status. According to the Ministry of Higher Education, an Institution of Higher Education, other than a university, working at a very high standard in specific area of study, can be declared‘deemed’ by the Central Government on the advice of the UGC as an Institution ‘Deemed-to-be-University’ (MHRD 2014). These Institutions enjoy academic status and privileges of a university. Such an institution can be under both private as well government management.
There are two routes to attain the ‘Deemed-to-be-University’ status. The first is the general route, where institutions with 15 years of standing and excellent research in the concerned field can apply for the deemed status. The second route is applying under the de-novo category.
The ‘Deemed-to-be-a-University’ status was initially given to leading institutions offering programs at advanced level to facilitate it to award degrees. Indian Institute of Science at Bangalore and Indian Agricultural Research Institute at Delhi were the first two institutions to be declared as ‘Deemed-to-be-Universities’, in 1958, for education and research at advanced level in the field of basic sciences and agriculture respectively.
Earlier, this status was granted only to government and government-aided institutions. The first privately managed and self-financed institution to be declared as Deemed-to-be-University was the Manipal Academy for Higher Education (MAHE) in 1976 (Agarwal, 2009).
In the year 2000, the UGC simplified and liberalised the guidelines for granting ‘Deemed-to-be–a-University’ status, so as to encourage the participation of private players in the higher education sector. The provision of granting this status to de-novo institutions was also introduced for the first time, so that the institutions which may not be fulfilling the conditions laid down under the guidelines but have promise of excellence, could be considered for the status1. For instance, The Energy and Resource Institute (TERI) is declared deemed under the de-novo category, while Symbiosis International University is declared as such under the general category. From 2000-2005, 26 privately sponsored institutions got the deemed status and many more till 2009. Currently there are 117 institutions ‘Deemed-to-be-Universities’, in India. Only 17 States and two Union Territories have institutions ‘Deemed-to-be-Universities’, of which Tamil Nadu has the highest number of such institutions, followed closely by Maharashtra. There are no deemed universities in many states such as Assam, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland, Sikkim or Tripura.