Will the real regulator please stand up?

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March 12th, 2012 Kalpana Pathak

Last month, a Mumbai-based B-school shut shop. The students, when they turned up for classes one morning, were asked to leave and told they would be informed about when to attend classes next. That information, obviously, never came their way.

They have lost their time and money in studying at a B-school which, despite its impressive line of promoters, could not survive.  While some students are mulling legal action, the promoters are drawing another business plan to give wings to their education ambition.

This and over another 99 B-schools have shut shops in the past two years, but no one—State or Center—is ready to own up to this mess.

The regulatory body for B-schools says its the state’s responsibility to look into such matters. The state says, it is the Centre’s responsibilty to take care of such issues.

So while both keep passing the buck, the student is left high and dry with no option but legal recourse, another lenghty process.

The regulatory body for B-schools lists 340 unapproved institutions on its website. But what is interesting is that this list of institutions has been there ever since.

Even more interesting is the fact that these institutions have expanded, with branches in various other states. But State and Centre again are happy with their inaction.

Many B-schools indulge in practices that by no means can be called ethical. Cheating students, striking deals with test preparing centres, pocketing the salaries of faculty members and bribing HR officials are only a few examples that you will hear the fraternity talk about in the open.

Here again, the state and Central government officials will tell you its not in their jurisdiction.

Then who’s jurisdiction is it? Worse, it surprises me to see that many other education streams, still  do not have regulation. If you wish to start a training school tomorrow, you certainly can. Besides, given the huge demand for vocational programmes, you can fleece students and then fold-up one night.  No questions asked.

Two years ago, the Advertising Standards Council of India came up with advertising guidelines for the education sector. But we all know how much of it has been followed.  Advertisements have remained as they were before the guidelines came up.

Instead of making new rules and regulations, there is a lot of room to tinker with the old ones. While new institutions should be allowed to come up, reputed ones shouldn’t be stopped from expanding. Because education for them, is serious business.

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