On November 29th, the University Grants Commission (UGC) gave a couple of universities 24 hours to drop the name ‘university’ from their names or lose their deemed tag. The UGC gave the institutes till 4 pm on November 30th to comply with the order.
UGC Secretary PK Thakur wrote to leading universities in the country like Manipal University, Symbiosis International University and Christ University to respond by 4 pm to stop using the word ‘university’ in their names. The two letters given by the UGC, the copies of which are in possession with the Hindustan Times said, “Failure to comply with these directions would amount to violation of the UGC (Institutions Deemed to be Universities) Regulations, 2016 and necessary action would be initiated… which may include recommending withdrawal of the declaration notifying the institution as an Institution Deemed to be University to the Central Government.”
The first letter was sent to seven institutes such as Jain University, Symbiosis University and Christ University directing them to change their names after the government had used the word ‘university’ while granting them the deemed status. Within two weeks of the UGC order, Symbiosis International University and Christ University dropped ‘university’ from their names. Symbiosis International University has been re-christened as ‘Symbiosis International’ and Christ University is now simply ‘Christ’.
Dr Vidya Yeravdekar, principal director at Symbiosis said, “Although other major educational institutes were ordered by UGC to change the name, we have now approached the Supreme Court to take a stay on the order”. Symbiosis has also maintained that if the SC grants a stay in UGC’s order, they will immediately revert to their old name.
The second directive was issued to 19 universities asking them to “revert” to the names the government notified while giving them the deemed-to-be status. For instance, Manipal University was registered as Manipal Academy of Higher Education.
Speaking to the Telegraph, Swami Suvirananda, general secretary of the Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission said, “We are aware of the UGC’s recommendation and have accordingly made the necessary changes.”