Ah, admission season. That time of year when every Indian parent wants to see their kid admitted into a prestigious university and flex about it to everyone. But in a country where pirated goods and fake news are more free-flowing than the groundwater, it’s easy to get so blinded in the rat race of college admissions that you don’t even realise your university may not have any real accreditation.
‘Fake’ universities that offer degrees at a certain price have been rampant for several years now. Student organisations and unions have been protesting about the unfairness of it all for a while now, but even so, doctored degrees keep finding ways to stick around. So, the University Grants Commission (UGC)—India’s higher studies regulatory authority—releases a list of all the ‘fake’ universities every year, with this year’s tally coming up to 23. At least five of these were included in last year’s list of 24 fake universities as well.
“Students and public at large are informed that at present following 23 self-styled and unrecognised institutions are functioning in contravention of the UGC Act in various parts of the country,” a notice issued by the UGC read. “These universities have been declared as fake and are not entitled to confer any degrees.”.
Eight of these universities are in Uttar Pradesh, followed by Delhi (seven). Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Puducherry have a fake university each.
These universities include Commercial University, United Nations University, Vocational University, ADR-Centric Juridical University, Indian Institution of Science and Engineering, Viswakarma Open University for Self-employment in Delhi, while those in UP include National University of Electro Complex Homeopathy, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Open University and Uttar Pradesh Vishwavidyalaya.
Meanwhile, West Bengal and Odisha have two fake universities each—Indian Institute of Alternative Medicine, Institute of Alternative Medicine and Research, Nababharat Shiksha Parishad and North Orissa University of Agriculture & Technology.
While UGC itself has been mired in controversy for pushing for autonomy of universities in the past, this list is meant to serve as a warning to parents who overlook important details to ensure that their child goes to college.
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