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Approval to the Goa & Hyderabad off- campus centers : BITS Pilani

BITS Pilani is an all-India Institute for higher education. Over the years, BITS has provided the highest quality technical education to students from all over India admitted on the basis of merit. Its graduates may be found throughout the world in all areas of engineering, science, and commerce.

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BITS was one of 10 universities that were given a notice by UGC to shut off-campus institutes. All of this happened back in November 2015 when UGC alleged that the deemed to be Universities have built off-campus centers and operating them without taking permission. On the grounds of the standoff between BITS and UGC, the letter of intent given by BITS was held back.

Recently the UGC has given the long-awaited approval to the two centers-Goa & Hyderabad. UGC has resolved its three-year-old standoff with Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS), the University Grants Commission (UGC) this week approved the institute’s branches in Goa and Hyderabad.

The HRD Ministry will issue a notification announcing “regularisation” of the two off-campus centers next week, which would then make BITS eligible for the Institute of Eminence (IoE) status.

In July, the ministry had held back BITS’ Letter of Intent (LoI) notifying its ‘Eminence’ tag because of the institute’s standoff with the UGC over the legality of its off-campus centers.

BITS Pilani was selected along with Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE) and Reliance Foundation’s proposed Jio Institute under the private institution category for IoE status.

The confrontation between BITS and UGC dates back to November 9, 2015 when the higher education regulator issued notices to 10 deemed universities, including BITS, directing them to shut down their off-campus centers on the ground that they were set up without the UGC’s permission and, hence, violate the UGC (Institutions Deemed to be Universities) Regulations 2016.

BITS Pilani, subsequently, knocked the doors of the Hon’ble Delhi High Court. They asked the regulator to not take any coercive action. The institute had argued in court that the Goa and Hyderabad centers were established in 2004 and 2008, respectively, and, hence, pre-date the Deemed University Regulations, which are prospective in nature.

Although the off-campus centers in Goa and Hyderabad continued to function, UGC maintained that they were illegal. This had put the HRD Ministry in a bind, which then decided that BITS will be given the Los once the institute withdraws its court case and formally applies for UGC’s approval of the Goa and Hyderabad off-campus centers.
The premier engineering school then applied afresh and its off-campus centers were approved by UGC this week.

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