Delhi HC cautions against untrammelled proliferation of offshore Educational Institutes

The Delhi High Court has cautioned against “untrammelled proliferation” of unauthorised offshore educational institutes, saying a market of substandard education flourish because of them depriving several from seeking quality education.

Justice Purushaindra Kumar Kaurav said such institutes devalue academic credentials and adversely impact the aspirations of students who invest their time and resources into pursuing education through legitimate means.

The court’s observations came while dealing with a petition by a student who was denied admission into a PG course by IGNOU on the ground that his bachelor’s degrees obtained from an off campus centre of Sikkim Manipal University (SMU) in Noida was not acceptable for academic purposes.

The court dismissed the petition and said by virtue of completing his education through a mode which was neither prescribed nor considered legal, the petitioner cannot claim admission in the IGNOU course.

“This court is also of the considered opinion that an untrammelled proliferation of offshore study centres, without the requisite approvals from the concerned authorities, would lead to devaluation of academic credentials,” said the court in its recent order.

“An even-handed assessment of potential consequences of such a phenomenon would suggest that it would adversely impact the aspirations of students who invest their time and resources into pursuing education through legitimate means. It would, therefore, be unwise to allow expansion of such study centres which could flourish a market of substandard education and consequently, deprive countless individuals from seeking quality education,” stated the court.

In the order, the court noted that SMU was a private university, established by a State law, and the Supreme Court has taken a consistent view that the state universities established through the state legislature must not be allowed to operate beyond the territorial limits of the state concerned.

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It further recorded the top court has observed in a matter that at best, the offshore centres may apply for affiliation with any other university which has jurisdiction over their respective places of functioning.

“It is, therefore, explicitly clear that the concerned regulations governing the institution from which the petitioner had obtained his BCA programme degree through distance education, categorically restrain SMU in clear and unambiguous terms from conducting the said courses outside the periphery of the State of Sikkim,” the court recorded.

“Considering the foregoing, the petitioner might have an anticipation for securing admission in PGDMS course, however, the same would not yield a crystallised or an indefeasible right on the part of the petitioner against the admission in the said course without fulfilling the prescribed eligibility,” the court said.

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