Ashoka University (Image: ashoka.edu.in/about-us/)
New Delhi: Ashoka University is embroiled in yet another controversy, with the Haryana Higher Education Department reportedly serving a show-cause notice to the university alleging “financial malpractice”. Additional Principal Secretary (Higher Education) Anand Mohan Sharan alleged in the notice that the university, located in Haryana’s Sonepat district, did not enroll enough students in various courses or provide them with the required fee concession. The state’s Private Universities Act, 2006, reported The Indian Express.
The Act states that at least 25 per cent seats for admission in the university should be reserved for students from Haryana state, out of which 10 per cent seats will be reserved for students belonging to Scheduled Castes of Haryana. “The government may relax this percentage of reservation in case the universities collaborate with reputed foreign or international universities or other similar institutions,” the law says.
In terms of fee structure, the law states that for 25 per cent of students residing in Haryana, one-fifth of the 25 per cent should be merit-based with full fee concession; Two-fifths of 25 percent were given a 50 percent tariff concession; Of the remaining 25 percent, two-fifths were given a tariff concession of 25 percent.
In this also, “Government may recognize different percentage of students eligible for 100%, 50% or 25% fee in case the universities collaborate with reputed foreign or international universities or other similar institutions. offer”.
Ironically, in September 2017, Ashoka University hosted a conference on ‘Making Haryana a Higher Education Powerhouse’.
Ashoka University seeks international partners from around the world, collaborates with them in research projects, implements student and faculty mobility and conducts joint programmes. With partnerships including the University of Sheffield, Trinity College Dublin and King’s College London.
The university, which denied the allegation, said it had strictly followed the requirements of the Act for reservation and fee concessions as stipulated in the Act. “In fact, Ashoka University provides generous financial assistance to more than 45 percent of its students (more than 3,500 students are supported with a scholarship of Rs 325 crore over the years), far beyond the requirements of the law,” quoted The Indian Express. The university said.
The university analyzed the applications received from candidates residing in Haryana and said that no deserving students were denied seats. Also, the unfilled seats from the Haryana quota remain largely unfilled, despite the provision for transfer of seats to other categories.
But in a show cause notice from the education department, the university says it has found serious irregularities. A serious lapse has been found on the part of Ashoka University, Sonipat, in clear violation of the Haryana Private Universities Act, 2006. Thus, in exercise of the powers vested in me, the Vice-Chancellor of Ashoka University, a show cause notice is issued to explain why the penalty under this Act should not be levied and an FIR should not be registered in respect of financial irregularities? The Additional Chief Secretary has said this in the notice.
Sources said the university had earlier been asked to provide detailed data (course-wise and year-wise) about the last five years of admission and fee concessions of Haryana residential students. “After analyzing the data, the enrollment of students residing in Haryana is low in all courses, which defeats the purpose of the provisions of the Act,” the notice said.