Published On: Tue, Jan 17th, 2012

MHRD: Ombudsman in every Higher Education Institute

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Kapil Sibal

Kapil Sibal

Moving ahead with its education reform agenda govt. has decided to implement measures even if its bills are all stuck in Parliament. In a move to address student grievances, Ministry of Human Resource Development(MHRD) has mandated appointment of an Ombudsman in all higher education institutions. It should be remembered that the Unfair Practices Bill which proposes to address student  grievances  has been stuck in Rajya Sabha for almost a year.

Union minister for HRD, Kapil Sibal said, “There would now be a Grievance Redressal mechanisms in higher educational institutions. UGC, AICTE and NCTE would be requiring all Central Educational Institutions, institutions deemed to be universities, technical and management institutions under AICTE and teacher education institutions under NCTE to establish a Grievance Redressal Mechanism for Students and applicants for admission before the commencement of the admission this academic year.”

Detailing the setup, he added, “Every institution would be required to constitute an Ombudsman; person with judicial or legal experience to be appointed from a panel suggested by the affiliating university for technical and management institutions, by the Central Government for deemed universities and by the regulator for non-degree granting institutions. The concerned regulators would issue the detailed instructions to the educational institutions shortly.”

There are several grievances that arise relating to students and applicants for admission in higher educational institutions. These grievances require prompt redressal in order to provide timely succor to aggrieved students and applicants. The Parliamentary Standing Committee, while examining the Bill to prohibit and punish unfair practices, had recommended that pro-active steps be taken to constitute Grievance Redressal mechanisms in higher education institution.

Applicants for admission and students can apply to the Ombudsman for redressal of grievances and the Ombudsman shall deliver his/her order within one month. Although the order would not be binding on the institution, the regulator would rely on the frequency of non-observance to decide on continued recognition to such institutions.

The Ombudsman shall have the jurisdiction to hear grievances concerning denial of admission, non-observance of declared merit in admission, non-observance of applicable regulations for reservation, with-holding of documents and non refund of fees in case of withdrawal of admission, discrimination and other such matters concerning students in pursuit of studies in the institution. In case of matters concerning weaker sections such as SCs/STs/OBCs or minorities, the Ombudsman can co-opt a person of eminence from the area coming from the weaker section to assist him/her in arriving at a decision.