Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University was established by the government of NCT of Delhi in 1999. It is an affiliating and teaching university and awards degrees like BTech, MTech, MCA, MSc (environment management), MSc (forensic science) and MSc (criminology). Its registrar, Dr Bhaskar P Joshi, has done his masters and doctoral degrees in anthropology from Lucknow University. He was selected in the Delhi Andaman & Nicobar Island Civil Services (DANICS) in 1983. In an interview with Governance Now, Dr Joshi talks about what makes this university special and its plans ahead.
Before the university has emerged as a front-ranking institution in the field of professional and technical education, people used to ask if Delhi needed one more university when it already had DU, JNU and Jamia.
A professional university was an important requirement by Delhi. We had universities here which were offering various courses. But Delhi and the entire NCR did not have a university which offered professional courses. When this university was started in 1998, a large number of students who wanted to pursue professional studies had to go out of the state. For them the education was not just difficult but also very expensive. So IP University provided a solution.
There were national-level institutes in Delhi which were providing some professional courses but they had limited seats and they were able to meet the requirements of a few students. And because it is a national capital, everybody wanted to come and study here.
How did it provide solutions specifically to Delhi students?
IP University is a state university and under the Act there is a provision of reservation of 85% of seats for students of Delhi. This was the biggest advantage for Delhi students as the university gives priority to them.
Other state universities had their preferences but Delhi did not have a university which gave preference to students here. Other universities in Delhi are open for students from across the country, so there was a tough competition for boys and girls of Delhi.
Also, availability of a vast range of professional courses was the biggest advantage for students. Today the university offers a wide range of courses keeping in view the requirements of the industry. Our basket is full with almost all the professional courses in the fields of medical, engineering, journalism, pharmacy and more. It was the most valuable addition to Delhi and that is why it immediately picked up and became so much popular among students.
The university has a public-private partnership (PPP) model under which a majority of the affiliated colleges are privately run. [For explanation, read the note at the end of the interview.] This is very popular in the western countries. In Indian context how successful it is?
The huge benefit of this model is that we are not largely dependent on government funds. We have a kind of financial autonomy to develop academically and in terms of infrastructure. If you are largely dependent on the government funds then you have to wait for funds because the government looks into so many things before releasing the funds. Their priorities may not be exactly what your requirements are. So once you have financial autonomy and that kind of administrative autonomy you can always implement ideas faster.
But there are 106 institutions affiliated with the university. How do you ensure they maintain quality?
We give them the privilege of being associated with us but at the same time we also ensure they maintain quality and we control it by certain regulations. We control the entrance examination to maintain standards of the university, we also device the syllabus for them. We also have a set of norms for institutions to fulfill in order to get and retain the affiliation. We have an academic audit cell through which we do regular audit to see whether they have the required infrastructure, if teaching requirements are fulfilled and if they are following the parameters laid down by the university.
Has there been a case where you had to cancel the affiliation of any institute for not meeting the parameters laid down by the university?
We give annual affiliation to all the institutes and every year we do their quality audit. In case we find they do not maintain the quality we can cancel their affiliation. Sometimes we point out the deficiencies and give them time to improve on that. Till date, we have withdrawn affiliation of two institutions but we accommodated students of those institutions in other institutions.
Delhi University has faced the menace of fake degrees. How do you fight this problem?
We are a professional university and we have very strict norms in terms of conducting courses and exams. These are the areas of zero tolerance. Because the moment any dilution comes the university loses its importance. We have taken such steps that nobody is allowed to enter the system.
The university offers professional courses which meet the demands of the market. Does it also promote research?
We always try to meet the growing need of the industry and the market and we keep planning our courses accordingly. But at the same time we are involved in a lot of research. We have taken steps to promote research in our university. For the last two years we have been giving awards to the best researcher in various disciplines. Also we encourage students and teachers to go for doctoral degrees as well and for that we have started giving scholarships apart from what UGC offers. So these are the steps we have taken to promote research. And we keep encouraging students, faculty and other affiliated institutes to upgrade their facilities for research and carry out their faculty development programmes.
You talked about faculty development programmes. Does the university have any educational programmes for teachers?
We have faculty development programmes and we call teachers from the affiliated institutes as well for such programmes. We try and expose them to good lectures from professors of different universities to help them upgrade their skills and knowledge through seminars and workshops. This is because affiliated institutes do not have that kind of facility the university has. We invite best of scholars from various universities for such programmes.
Does the university focus only on imparting education or on overall development?
We expose our students to not just academic activities but also promote cultural and sports activities for their holistic development. And we are able to do with a strict semester system that we follow because we want out students to be thorough professionals. We have an annual sports meet and a cultural festival where all the institutes participate. We have a separate budget for this.
Tell us some special features of the new campus of the university.
Any institution’s identity is established when it has its own campus. Especially when you have such a big and impressive campus in Delhi, it shows that we have such good infrastructure and facilities and we have a tremendous scope to progress and evolve.
We have an international affairs division through which we have collaboration with a number of universities. We have MoUs with a number of countries and even have students exchange programmes with different universities and also faculty exchange programmes.
What are your plans for the university? Where do you see it ten years down the line?
In next ten years we may become a truly international university with a global presence. It will grow further in various disciplines. We will add new professional courses keeping in view the requirements of the market. We will ensure we have industry driven courses.
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PPP model at GGS IP University:
Under the PPP model, the institutes charge more fees from students than what is prescribed by the university. The extra amount taken by the institute is used for running the institute. The university does not give any money to them. Also, each private institute affiliated to the university is allowed to fill 10% of its seats under the management quota. A student who qualifies the common entrance test conducted by the university but does not get a seat in any institute can approach the institute directly for the management seat. The fees for the management seat are little more than what is prescribed by the university and go directly to the institute instead of the university.