Dozens of Indian Higher Education Institutes Can No Longer Call Themselves “Universities”

By: Lauren Mineau

More than 100 Indian higher education institutes are being required by the University Grants Commission (UGC) to drop the term “university” from their names.

Under a major initiative, 123 institutes will now be required to use the term “deemed to be university” within parentheses in their official name.

The new rule came after a Supreme Court case ruling directed the cancelling of engineering degrees given by deemed universities through the correspondence course. A deemed university can enjoy academic status and privileges of a university, but cannot claim the title of simply “university.”

In addition to the same, the apex court suspended such degrees granted by four “deemed to be universities” between 2001 and 2005. The new order by UGC covers those varsities that are yet to be granted “deemed” status by the commission.

The group of institutions must submit a request for a new name, without the universities term, by December 2017. If they are caught continuing to use the term, they could be penalized by law.

In its order the Supreme Court stated, "We must also put on record what we have observed during the course of the hearing and consideration of the present matters. It has come to our notice that many institutions which are conferred the status of Deemed to be Universities are using the word ‘University’, which in our view is opposed to the spirit of Section 23 of the UGC Act. The UGC shall take appropriate steps for stop such practice."

The Section 23 of the UGC Act, 1956 says, "No institution, whether a corporate body or not, other than a University established or incorporated by or under a Central Act, a Provincial Act or a State Act shall be entitled to have the word ‘University’ associated with its name in any manner whatsoever."