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AU bifurcation will affect quality of education’

CHENNAI: Around 80 academicians and activists have written an open letter to the State government urging it to reject Anna University’s Institute of Eminence tag in writing and not to carry out the bifurcation.

The bifurcation will deteriorate the quality of higher education in the State, said some of the signatories speaking at a virtual event on Thursday.

Once the Anna University is split, affiliating colleges will no longer have to abide by the standards developed for the parent varsity, professor A Marx said during the event. “Though the government has rejected the IoE status verbally, it has not done so in writing yet. The government is still keeping its options open,” he alleged.

“Once the IoE tag is received, the institution can enroll foreign students for 30 per cent of the seats. This will deprive Tamil students access to the top university in the State for engineering courses,” he added. Even as the Centre clarified that Tamil Nadu’s 69 per cent reservation policy will be upheld, it has not explained how it will be implemented without conflicting with the requirements for IoE status, State Platform for Common School System general secretary PB Prince Ganjendrababu pointed out.

Apprehensions over the issue surfaced when the University Grants Commission (UGC), in its regulation for IoEs stated, “The public Institutions of Eminence shall implement the reservation policy in admissions and recruitment in accordance with any Act of Parliament for the time being in force.” The bifurcation may also push many smaller colleges to shut down, Ganjendrababu further said.

Former head of the Tamil department at University of Madras V Arasu said that Anna University had also committed to the Centre to raise its own funds.

“IIT-Madras, which is just across the road from the varsity, hiked its fees from Rs 50,000 to Rs 2 lakh. Anna University cannot become a place only for the rich and affluent simply because it is conferred a status,” he said.

The Central government can create a brand new institute of eminence in Chennai instead of altering the State’s most reputed university, opined former justice D Hariparanthaman.