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Page last updated at 17:46 GMT, Tuesday, 19 January 2010

India to strip 44 universities of their status

Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Development in Sriperumbudur in the southern Tamil Nadu state
Nearly 200,000 students are enrolled in these 44 universities

Students in India are protesting against the government's decision to strip 44 places of learning of their official university status.

The move follows a review which found the institutions were unable to provide proper educational facilities.

Nearly 200,000 students are enrolled in such establishments across India.

The government has said it will take steps to ensure the decision does not jeopardise the future of students currently studying at the universities.

Worried

The move sparked angry protests.

Students at the Savita School of Engineering in the southern city of Madras (Chennai) smashed furniture after hearing of the government decision.

Students say they are worried the order will affect their future prospects, but the authorities sought to reassure them.

"We will take care of all students who are in those 44 universities. The government's intention is to make sure not a single child will be affected," said federal Human Resources Development Minister Kapil Sibal.

His ministry, which looks after education, says the decision is based on recommendations made by a special task force.

"The review committee came across several aberrations in the functioning of some of the institutions deemed to be universities," the government said in a report to the Supreme Court on Monday.

Most of the 44 universities concerned offer post-graduate and undergraduate courses.

They include three government-sponsored institutes, including the Nava Nalanda in Bihar, the National Museum Institute of the History of Art, Conservation and Museology in Delhi, and the Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Development in Sriperumbudur in the southern state of Tamil Nadu.



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