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HPPERC Chairman Flees Office When HPU Students Try to Meet Him in Wake of ‘Fake Degree Scam’

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Himachal Fake Degree Scam

Shimla-Schools and higher education institutions are ‘temples’ where the future of children and youth is shaped. Imparting quality education is elementary to strengthen the society of a democratic state. But corruption has plagued the education system and evidence of the same have shown up in the rather docile state of Himachal Pradesh.

Instead of becoming accessible, education is becoming inaccessible due to the government’s ignorance and apathy. Failure of the governments to ensure quality education in government schools has left no other option for parents but to opt for private institutions, which are generally unaffordable. Parents are helpless and have to pay the hefty fees for the future of their children because they don’t have faith in the government institutions and their education system.

To complement the situation, now it is official that private institutes have been selling fake degrees without attracting any action from the state government or the HP Private Educational Institutions Regulatory Commission. Lakhs of fake degrees have already been sold.

A huge question arises over the intentions of the government as it did not take any action despite the information provided by the University Grants Commission through a letter.

UGC had written a letter to the Government of Himachal Pradesh on August 30, 2019, informing that two private universities have sold nearly five lakh fake degrees during the past seven years. These two private universities mentioned in the letter are the APG Shimla University and Manav Bharati University, Solan.

The letter clearly said,

“APG Shimla University, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, has not sold Degrees this year but has sold more than 15,000 Degrees for almost all the courses they are offering in the campus. Even the courses where seats are limited, they have sold the Degrees which are restricted by Statutory Bodies like AICTE, NCTE, BCI.”

Regarding the involvement of Manav Bharati University, the letter said,

“Manava Bharati University, Solan, Himachal Pradesh, has sold more than 4.5 lakh Degrees during the last 7 years with the help of Agents from Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, UP, Bihar, Delhi, West Bengal and parts of South India. They never informed the HP Private Universities Regulatory Authority that they had sold so many Degrees.”

The letter further said,

“The Founder of this University made good money by selling the Degree of Jayasurya’s Open University for Complementary Medicine, Sri Lanka, by printing these Degrees himself without informing Lord Pandit Prof. Dr Anten Jayasurya.”

The Chairman of the Commission, KK Katoch, however, claims that he received this letter only in January 2020.

After the news broke out about a week ago, students affiliated to two major student organizations of HP University- Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad and Student Federation of India- have come out to protest the failure of the state government to monitor and regulate private universities.

Both organizations wanted to question the Chairman as to why he did not take any action despite having the information regarding this scam. The matter was already brought to his notice seven months ago through a UGC letter, they claimed.

On February 25, ABVP staged a protest at the Office of Regulatory Commission, Shimla, against fake degree scam by the two private universities. The Chairman of the Commission, KK Katoch, ABVP said, fled the office to avoid questions. ABVP alleged that other officials at the Commission told them that they faced pressure from the Chairman and were unable to discharge their duties adequately.

ABVP has demanded removal of Katoch from the post of Chairman along with a warning of larger protest if no proper action is taken against the private universities.

ABVP Protest Against Fake Degree Case

On February 26, SFI also staged a protest at the Office of the Commission. The Chairman remained absent from the office. SFI leaders accused the Chairman of escaping questions regarding the scam. SFI pointed out that the Commission has not even inspected the private institutes for the past several years. The Commission isn’t willing to move a muscle, it added. This is why instead of the Chairman or other officials; we are instead seeing a heavy police force.

It is only after the protest from the student bodies that the Commission has asked the State Police to hold an inquiry. The Director-General of Police, SR Mardi has confirmed that records and preliminary inquiry report are sought from the Commission relating to the scam.

There would be no wonder if these universities still continued to operate. This is how the unending cycles of corruption works in India.

There is no dignity left either in politicians or wealthy investors who establish private educational institute only to make money through unethical means. The ruling governments of both the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress have been seen standing on the side of private institutes and encouraging privatisation of education.

Campus Watch

Himachal’s Educational Institutions Closed Till April 4 Amid COVID-19 Case Surge, Pubic Holi Celebrations Prohibited, No Restriction on Tourism

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Himachal PRadesh closes Educationla institutes

Shimla– All the educational institutions in Himachal Pradesh, including Universities, Colleges, Technical Institutes and schools, would remain closed till April 4, 2021, as a precautionary measure keeping in view the spike in COVID-19 cases in the State, the government informed today. But schools would remain open for the classes having their examinations, it was informed.  

The decision was taken in a meeting held today that was presided by Chief Minister Jairam Thakur.

“Last year the spike in cases was gradual, but this year this surge is very rapid. In the last 20-25 days, the number of new cases has spiked from 220 to 2000, which is a matter of great concern for the state,” Chief Minister told media.

On being asked about tourist movement from neighboring Punjab – a state with massive surge in daily cases- the Chief Minister said that for now no restriction would be imposed on tourists given the peak tourist season starting from April.

Also Read: Himachal Reports Over 300 New COVID-19 Cases With 2 Deaths, Second Wave Could Peak in April & Last for 100 Days, says Report  

“Last year, the peak season was completely foiled. Therefore, it would not be favourable for the economy of the state and livelihood of the people to restrict tourist movement,” Jairam Thakur said.

“But if the surge continued and picked up more pace, then the government would review the situation again,” he told media. But the hotels and homestays would have to follow the SOPs while operating, he said. 

Chief Minister said that schools having residential facilities need not close their hostels, however, they would have to comply with all the SOPs to keep these residential areas cut off and appoint Compliance Officer to comply with all the orders. He said that teachers and other school/college staff would continue to attend the institutions.

Jai Ram Thakur said that no social and cultural events would be organized in the State by the Government and gatherings would be restricted to a maximum of 200 for indoor and 50 percent for outdoor events.

He said that nursing and medical institutions would continue to function as usual. He said that congregations and langers inside the temples would also be banned and other darshans would be allowed.

Chief Minister said that 3rd April would also be a holiday for all the offices in the State and there would be no public celebration of Holi.

He urged the people to celebrate Holi at their home with their family members only. He said that all the frontline workers would be sensitized to get themselves vaccinated at the earliest completing their second dose as per schedule.

It was also decided in the meeting that District Administration would take a judicious call on more restrictions keeping in view the positivity and fatality rate in their respective districts.

Chief Secretary Anil Khachi, Additional Chief Secretaries R.D. Dhiman and J.C. Sharma, Secretary Health Amitabh Awasthi, Mission Director NHRM Dr. Nipun Jindal and other senior officials were also present in the meeting.

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UHF Nauni Gets New Labs Equipped with Latest Technologies, Nature Park for Students  

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UHF Nauni Soil and leaf analysis lab

Solan- Dr. YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry (UHF), Nauni, today dedicated four projects to the students and farmers at the university campus. 

Among the project inaugurated by Dr. Parvinder Kaushal, Vice-Chancellor, UHF, was a state of the art Soil and Leaf Analysis laboratory established with the financial assistance of Rs 4.55 crore (over seven years) from the World Bank-funded HP-Horticulture Development Project.

UHF Nauni Vice Chancellor

Dr. Parvinder Kaushal, Vice-Chancellor, UHF, Inaugurating Soil and Leaf Analysis laboratory

The laboratory is equipped with the latest equipment like Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer, CHNS Analyzer, Microwave digestion system, UV-VIS Spectrophotometers. It is well equipped to analyze the different soil properties including different macro and micronutrients and as per the analysis values, the recommendations are also given to the farmers.

NEW UHF nauni lab building

Soil and Leaf Analysis laboratory

The samples received from different HP-HDP clusters of the state are being analyzed in the laboratory and ad-hoc recommendations for High-Density Planting on clonal rootstocks are given. A field laboratory of the Department of Plant Pathology constructed for Rs 14.17 lakh met out of the pesticide testing scheme was also inaugurated today.NEW Labs in UHF nauni

Two projects- Nature Park and a Commercial plantation model of wild pomegranate developed under the ICAR National Agricultural Higher Education Project were also unveiled today.

Lab facility uhf nauniv

The nature camp developed by the Department of Floriculture and Landscape Architecture has been developed as a recreation cum activity area for the students and showcases different landscaping methods. Under NAHEP,a commercial model of wild pomegranate developed by the Department of Silviculture and Agroforestry was also dedicated to the students and farmers. 

UHF nauni nature park

Nature Park

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Parvinder Kaushal congratulated all the team members behind the completion of the projects. He said that both the laboratories will be immensely beneficial for conducting research. Speaking about the development of projects under the ICAR’s NAHEP, Dr. Kaushal said that the university is in process of developing more such plantation models which will not only be beneficial to the students but also help popularize new technologies among farmers. The statutory officers of the university, heads of all departments, coordinator and team members of NAHEP IDP, students and staff were present on the occasion. 

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Schools in Himachal to Open for Non-Board Classes from Next Month, Admissions for 2021-22 Session from April 1: Education Department

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HP Govt School admissions 2021-22 session

Shimla-The Directorate of Higher Education, Himachal Pradesh, has issued a notification announcing the opening of schools for non-board classes from April for session 2021-22. All educational activities would be resumed in all school across Himachal and students would begin receiving education from April 11, 2021, the notification said.

The decision came amid a sudden surge in new COVID-19 cases in the state and restrictions announced by the state government in wake of it.

Yesterday, the state reported 200 cases in various districts and three COVID-19 deaths. Today, the state reported 157 new cases and four fatalities till 7 pm. Also, expressing concerns over this surge, the state government had recently issued SOPs asking the district administrations and police chiefs to ensure strict compliance with preventive guidelines. Organization of fairs was prohibited and restrictions were imposed on number of persons in any indoor and outdoor social gatherings. 

Pertinent to mention that the Centre government had recently expressed fear of the second wave of COVID-19 outbreak as several states including Himachal’s neighboring state Punjab are reporting a massive spike in daily cases. Six States- Maharashtra, Punjab, Karnataka, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh and Tamil Nadu- are reporting a surge in daily new cases. They together account for 80.90% of the new cases (40,715) reported in the last 24 hours.

Maharashtra continues to report the highest daily new cases at 24,645 (60.53%). It is followed by Punjab with 2,299 while Gujarat reported 1,640 new cases.

The schools would have to follow previously issued guidelines of the Centre Government. Students and teaching and non-teaching staff would have to ensure wearing masks, using sanitizers, and maintaining social distancing (2 meters).

The notification asked the school Principals/Headmasters to conclude yearly examinations of non-board classes by March 27, 2021, and declare the results by March 31. The admissions for the next session would be open from April 1.

For summer closing schools in Himachal Pradesh, the admissions would be open from April 5 and the these schools would remain shut from 1-4 April.  

Students who are taking board examinations of class 10, would be given provisional admissions to Class 11.

However, the notification mentioned “all students” and it’s not still clear whether these directions would also apply to primary classes or not.

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