UP CM Yogi Adityanath(ANI)
LUCKNOW: The draft ordinance to ban use ofprivate universitiesinUttar Pradeshfor “anti-national activity” has not gone down well with theopposition, with the Congress saying that the move is “foisting” on RSS ideology on educational institutions.
Downplaying the fears of opposition, Deputy Chief MinisterKeshav Prasad Mauryadefended the ordinance, terming it “a very big decision” to maintain the sanctity of the “temple of education”.
“It is true that a very big decision has been taken by the cabinet. Not just in Uttar Pradesh but in any educational institution all over the country, anti-national activities are accepted without accepting it. Maurya said.
UPCC general secretary and spokesman Dwijendra Tripathi, however, said, “The hidden purpose behind the law is to create fear and pressure on educational institutions for foisting RSS ideology.”
“The law, when enacted, will act as the sword of Damocles and the universities will constantly face the threat of de-recognition,” he said, adding it was “sort of dictatorship.”
He said the educational system will not improve if the government controls institutions and if there is no scope for freedom of speech
He said it was an attempt by theYogi Adityanathgovernment to exert greater control over private universities and the education system, especially the lack of clarity over what defines “anti-national activities”.
The move has been welcomed by the association of such universities, which found “nothing new in it” even though the government termed the proposed legislation very important to maintain the sanctity of the educational system.
The cabinet on Tuesday gave its nod to the draft ordinance for bringing private universities under the umbrella act that provides for nationalism, social and international harmony, national integration, secularism and their objectives among the ethical values.
According to the draft, private universities will have to give an undertaking that their campuses will not be allowed for “any anti-national activity.”
It says the universities will have to abide by the promise of their foundation as their law, that is to “preserve the secular, democratic fabric and aspire for universal brotherhood and tolerance”.
Commenting on the development, UP Private Universities Association Secretary Pankaj Agarwal said, “The move is welcomed but there is nothing new in it”.
“We in constitution of our university have these points and abide by it,” Agarwal said, adding that educational institutions have been towards sensitive.
On the specific clause regarding anti-national activities, he said, “There must be some plan and private universities will seek details of how it goes.”
“All want that there should not be anti-national activities … I feel that patriotism and moral values should also be imparted through the education system,” he said.
“Our concerns over selfonomy and quality have been addressed by the government and we have been assured about the same,” he said.
The draft ordinance seeks to bring all 27 private universities under an umbrella law.
It says universities must act inculcate “desh bhakti (patriotism)” in students It also says universities must protect the secular, democratic fabric and aspire for universal brotherhood and tolerance.
While the current 27 private universities will have one year to implement the order, new universities will have to give an undertaking that activities will not happen on their campuses, an official said.
Universities in Uttar Pradesh are either bound by laws from institutions, they are affiliated to or, as in case of private universities, by their own laws and regulations.
The government provides a number of private universities in the state with grants.
The ordinance will also require private universities’ compliance to be overseen by the High Higher Education Council, which will be empowered to file reports with government for action if it is a specific period of time within any private university from information.
Other sections of the ordinance include sections to ensure specific numbers of students from poor sections of society to be admitted to these universities, and students so admitted to pay only 50 percent of fees.
In Video:Define what is anti-national activity: Congress to UP govt